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Imported Text Tab

Imported Text

Use this feature to import the contents of external text files and web pages. Rather than linking to another web page, you can include that file's contents directly on your family group sheet.

Suppose you have a web page telling a family's story, complete with formatted text and pictures. GED-GEN copies the contents of that page so it appears on the family group sheet. This integrates the family group sheet with your family narrative on the same web page.

      . . .
 03  (M): John Doe
Born: 04 JUL 1776
. . .
 04  (F): Jane Doe
Born: 18 MAR 1779
. . .
The DOE family settled in Cumberland Valley in May 1760. The homestead was situated near Crooked Creek about four miles west of Grandview. Abraham Doe immigrated to New York in...

Or, suppose the research notes you keep with your favorite genealogy program are not suitable for presentation on your website. You could keep separate text files about each family. Each could be an essay summarizing your research, suitable for presentation. When you generate your web pages, GED-GEN will import and display your essays directly on the family group sheets.

Option Meaning
Registered version only Include imported text Place a check here to enable imported text processing. When generating family pages, GED-GEN will insert the contents of the appropriate external files.
Position Specify where the imported text should appear on the family page, either above or below the family group sheet area.
External File Content Specify the format of the external files to be imported. All files must have the same format.

Plain text files contain no special formatting. They are created with a simple text editor like the Windows Notepad program. GED-GEN will automatically convert plain text to HTML as it imports your file. It does not modify the original file.

HTML text files contain text formatted with HTML. Use an HTML editor to create your external web pages. Or, create a plain text file and add your own HTML markup using Windows Notepad. See Importing HTML Text Files below.

GED-GEN imports only text and HTML files, not word processor files, such as those created with Microsoft Word. If you use a word processor, use its Save As... command to save your files either as text files or as web pages.

Full folder path for external files

Enter the full folder path where your external files reside. All external files must be in the same folder.

Unlike other options that require a relative folder path, this path should include the drive letter and all sub-folders. GED-GEN uses it to obtain the full name of the import file while generating your family pages. Click Browse to more easily specify a path.

Registered version only = Feature is available only in the registered version.

Character Set Conversions

All web pages generated by GED-GEN specify the UTF-8 character set. However your imported text files probably use the native Windows (ANSI) character set. Therefore as it reads in your files, GED-GEN automatically converts the text to UTF-8. It does not modify your original files.

However, your imported text files may already be in UTF-8 format. To determine this, GED-GEN looks for a Byte Order Mark (BOM) in the first three character positions in the file. If it recognizes a BOM sequence, it imports the UTF-8 text file directly. Otherwise, the contents are converted to UTF-8.

The three characters in a Byte Order Mark (BOM) appear as strange characters: . Some text editors automatically insert the BOM when you save a text file in UTF-8 format. For instance in Windows Notepad, choose File | Save As.... Enter a name for the new file and under Encoding, choose UTF-8. You generally will not see a BOM sequence when you are editing the file. Instead it is stored internally with the file.

HTML files generally do not have a BOM. Instead they rely on a META tag to specify which character set is used, for example:

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8">

However GED-GEN still looks for a BOM to determine whether your HTML text files are already encoded in UTF-8. If you specify HTML text for the External File Content option above, then your imported HTML text files should have a BOM as the first three characters, if they are in UTF-8 format. Otherwise GED-GEN will automatically convert your imported HTML text to UTF-8.

Importing HTML Text Files

When importing HTML text files, GED-GEN imports only the text between the <BODY> and </BODY> tags. It does not import scripts or internal style elements in the header of your HTML file, if any. Instead, you can include scripts using the Headers tab and you can include style elements using an external CSS file.

If it cannot find the body tags, GED-GEN assumes the file contains paragraphs of HTML-formatted text. In this case it imports the entire file content without converting the text to HTML. This allows you to import simple HTML-formatted text without creating a complete web page.

File Content <BODY> Block Present Text Imported Converted to HTML
Plain Text Not Applicable Whole File Yes
HTML Text Yes Body Block Only No
HTML Text No Whole File No

Advanced Users

The contents of your HTML text file becomes part of a family page. If your file contains relative links to other web pages or images, those links must be relative to the destination folder, where the family page will reside. If you choose to display source citations in a frame window at the bottom of the browser, you may also need to include a target= attribute in each link. Specify target="_parent" if your HTML file is imported into a family page containing footnotes. Otherwise you can omit the target attribute, or specify target="_self". If your website is frames-based, specify one of your frame names, or target="_top" to replace your frameset.


The frame target should not be included when generating pages that conform to the HTML 4.01 Strict standard. Please refer to HTML Conformance.


When importing HTML files, GED-GEN does not rigorously parse the HTML. This should not cause problems for most HTML files. However if your files are complex, it may not find the BODY tags. This may cause the final pages to display improperly. In these cases, please consider simplifying your HTML files.