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RootsMagic Essentials 4

Publisher: S&N Genealogy Supplies 
System: Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7
Price: FREE

Choosing the program with which to record your family's history isn't easy. Nothing beats actually sitting down and using a program to discover if it's the one for you, but often the only way to do this is to try a demo version of the software with limits on the length of time it will run or the number of people you can record.

RootsMagic Essentials (RME) takes a different approach. This is a program without limits, so you can continue building a large tree, but with some of the advanced features locked until you upgrade to the full version.

An unlimited trial program is a difficult balancing act, as it must contain enough tools to stop users getting frustrated, yet offer enough carrots to tempt them to upgrade. In the case of RME the publisher has got the balance just about right; retaining all the tools you need to build a tree while withholding some of those needed to share your researches with others.

The interface is identical to the full product with its Pedigree and three-generation Family tabs providing navigation, and sophisticated data entry of personal facts. RME even retains the ability to add photographs and audio-visual clips as well as a good range of reports.

The RME line-up is missing the spectacular wall charts that the full program produces, website creation, book reports that combine all of a family's information into a single volume, and RootsMagic-to-Go, which enables you to run the program and your data on another computer using a USB memory stick.

RME accepts GEDCOM files and reads some other popular files, such as Family Tree Maker (version 16 or earlier), Personal Ancestral File, and Legacy (version 2 or later).

The full version of RootsMagic is one of our favourite programs, with its easy-to-use interface and depth of features. With RME you can try it for yourself for as long as you want - you won't be disappointed.

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