Old Family Portrait

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

General Program Questions

Ancestral Quest Technical Questions

  Installing/Registering AQ

  Upgrading to AQ 16

  General Program Use

  Family Links

  Limitations of and Converting Database Formats (.aq and .paf files)

  Working with Database, Backup and GEDCOM Files

  Using Collaboration


Questions about Incline Software

Questions for LDS

Questions relating to Personal Ancestral File (PAF)

Note: Additional Tips on the use of Ancestral Quest are available.


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We can improve the FAQ's if you will let us know whether there is another question we should provide an answer for, or let us know what was unclear about one of the current answers. Please e-mail feedback to: ancquest@ancquest.com.

General Program Questions

Printing/Report Questions

Ancestral Quest Technical Questions

Installing/Registering AQ

General Program Use

Working with Database, Backup and GEDCOM Files


Questions about Incline Software

Questions for LDS

Questions relating to Personal Ancestral File (PAF)

General Program Questions

Is training available for Ancestral Quest?

Start with our "Quick Start Video Tutorial" for Ancestral Quest. There are 15 segments to this video, ranging from one to twelve minutes in length. It is free if you view it from this site. You can choose any of the segments from a menu and learn about that part of the program.

You can also watch a training video on use of the new FamilySearch features.

There is a training video for translating AQ into other languages.

In addition, there is an army of volunteers around the world who should be happy to help you. Incline Software helped the LDS Church develop their Personal Ancestral File (PAF) program from an earlier version of AQ. This PAF program is taught in LDS Family History Centers and even in some LDS Sunday School classes around the world. If you attend a training class for PAF, the things you learn about PAF will apply almost entirely to its big brother, Ancestral Quest. The instructors may not know about the advanced features of AQ that are missing in PAF, but they will be able to help you with the basics of PAF, which can be applied to AQ.

Can I use databases created by other genealogy programs in AQ?

AQ provides the following options for working with data files other than its own (.aq) file:

  • Incline Software licensed portions of AQ version 3.0 to Ancestry.com. Ancestry Family Tree (AFT) was created from this older version of AQ, and uses a file extension of .aft for its files. These files are identical to AQ's own .aq files, so AQ can open .aft files created by AFT directly, just as AFT can open .aq files created by AQ.
  • Incline Software helped the LDS Church develop PAF 4 from portions of AQ version 3.0. A .paf file created by either PAF 3 or PAF 4 can be opened by AQ versions 3, 10 and 11. AQ 12 no longer uses this older format, but will convert the files into a newer .paf or .aq format. The .paf database has some limitations -- you can't use all of the functionality of AQ when using a .paf data file, but you can at least directly work with a .paf file.
  • A PAF 5 data file (with a .paf extension) is different from a PAF 3 or PAF 4 data file (which also has a .paf extension). AQ versions 10 and 11 will let you view the contents of a PAF 5 file and create reports from it, but it will not let you fully edit the file the way that it does with a .paf file created by PAF 3 or PAF 4. You can, however, directly convert a PAF 5 .paf file into a .aq which you can then fully edit. AQ 14 and AQ 12 work directly with this PAF 5 version of the .paf file, just as older versions of AQ worked with the older .paf format.
  • GEDCOM files can be imported into AQ, so if you have a .ged file created by any professional quality genealogy program, you should be able to import that data into AQ.

Where can I purchase Ancestral Quest?

Ancestral Quest can be purchased by:

What is the licensing policy? Am I allowed to install Ancestral Quest onto another one of my computers?

Our current Licensing Policy for Ancestral Quest is available on this page of our website: www.ancquest.com/policies/licensing.htm.

I am upgrading to a new computer. How do I transfer AQ and my data to it?

You can find your Registration Key within Ancestral Quest on your old computer. On the menu bar, select Help and then About Ancestral Quest. On the screen that appears, your Registration Key is in the upper area.

Note that the version number within parenthesis (16.0) and the platform text ([Mac] or [Win]) are not part of the Key.

Then install your software onto the new computer either from CD or by downloading the latest installer for your version from this site. When you run the program on the new computer, select the Use Ancestral Quest button and it will ask for your key.

If you have AQ version 3.0 or earlier, you will either need to upgrade to the latest version, or if you still have the original installation disk, you can install from that disk. Note that versions prior to 2.2 may not install properly Windows XP and newer.

Then backup your data file from your old computer (go to File > Backup) and restore your data onto your new computer (File > Restore).

Note: If you have an older version of AQ (version 2.2 or earlier) on your old computer, and you want to install a newer version (3.0 or later) on the new computer, the backups of the older versions are not compatible with the backups of the newer versions. You will need to either copy your data from the old computer to the new computer, or you will need to install the new version on the old computer, then convert the data, and finally make a backup with the new version.

If you have the older (2.x series or earlier) versions, and need to copy the old files, make sure you copy these 6 files: indiv2.dat, marr2.dat, name2.dat, notes2.dat, reptitl2.dat and namadd2.dat. If these two files exist, copy them also: indivex2.dat, multim2.dat. Once you have copied these files onto your new computer, open the "indiv2.dat" file with the new version, and it will convert the data into a new file.

My computer crashed, and I need to reinstall AQ. How can I do this without paying again?

If you have an install disk, simply reinstall from the disk. If you lost your disk, or had downloaded the program from our website, you can re-download versions 3, 10, 11, 12, 12.1, 14, 15, and 16 from this site. You will need your registration key to activate the program once installed. If you have lost your registration key, Incline Software may be able to help you, but it is best if you have recorded your key in a safe place.

Which program updates are available for free, and which do I pay for?

Within a major version, all minor updates are free. Upgrades from a major version to another major version require a fee to be paid. For example, if you have version 15.0, you can update for free from build 15.0.1 to build 15.0.2 to obtain the enhancements and bug fixes. But upgrading from version 15.0 to version 16.0 requires the purchase of an Upgrade.

How many generations of family history will AQ allow?

There is no limit to the number of generations you can enter into AQ. As a practical matter, there are only about 150 generations in recorded history (from the current day back to Adam and Eve), so AQ shows a limit of 999 generations on reports as a way of saying "All generations". (Download a sample file containing genealogy from modern European royalty back to Adam.)

How many individuals can I enter with AQ?

The limit on individuals is not a hard limit. You can enter roughly 1 million individuals. Less if you enter a lot of documentation with each, and more if you have less documentation.

What scrapbooking capabilities does AQ provide?

You can:

  • attach an unlimited number of photos, video clips, audio clips, and other documents to each individual in the file
  • attach a picture of each source to the source record
  • attach a sound clip to each photo for an individual
  • combine the various pictures and sounds to create choreographed, timed slide shows with background audio
  • create interactive scrapbooks where pictures can provide narration about the picture
  • print pictures on many reports
  • print scrapbook pages
  • print images of sources (such as immigration lists, birth certificates, etc.) on reports
  • print a list of all scrapbook items for maintenance

Is AQ available for the Macintosh?

Yes. See Ancestral Quest for Mac

Will Ancestral Quest run on Windows 11 or Windows 10 or Windows 8.x or Windows 7 or Windows Vista?

That depends on the version of Ancestral Quest that you have.

  • Ancestral Quest versions 16, 15 and 14 have been designed to work on Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8.x, Windows 7, and Windows Vista. However, be aware of a few items:
    • While the Help system for the program, itself, has been updated to the new Windows 11/10/8/7/Vista help format, the additional material, available with the installation of AQ 14 and earlier that utilize Help files, has not been updated to the new Help system. These items include: Line Upon Line - A Beginner's Guide to Genealogy, and Genealogical Resources. To access the content of these items, you would need to download and install the update from Microsoft, as discussed in the versions 3-11 section, below.
    • The ability to print reports to PDF files is made possible by a separate utility installed by Ancestral Quest. There is an issue with that PDF ability and 64-bit versions of Windows. See this page of our website for an explanation of the issue and the work-around.
  • Ancestral Quest 12.x has been designed to work on Windows 11, 10, Windows 8.x, Windows 7, and Windows Vista. In addition to the items mentioned above for version 14, there is one other item to be aware of:
    • Due to the change in graphical display, some screens may refresh or redraw a little sluggish. Also be aware that many newer computers utilize very high resolution monitors, so on many systems, Windows has had its default font size changed to make the text a larger, more readable size. This causes some text in AQ to be too large, or pushes some text right out of view. See the details on this particular issue further down on this page.
  • Ancestral Quest versions 3-11 are all the same, as far as operating systems go, and version 11, particularly, has been found to work on Windows 7/Vista, so the others should, as well. There are two operating issues and one installation issue; they are listed below with their resolves.
    • The Help system for these versions was developed using WinHlp32, a help program that Microsoft has decided to discontinue with the release of Windows Vista. So, by default, you cannot access any AQ Help screens. Microsoft has released a file that you may download that will enable the WinHlp32 system in these newer Windows systems (this will make Help work properly for not only AQ, but any other of your Windows programs that still utilize that help system).
    • If you have more than one printer installed on Windows Vista, and you do not wish to print to the default printer, you will need to change the default printer in the Windows Control Panel/Printers settings before you go to print reports from AQ.
    • While AQ 3.0 has also been found to run in Vista, the Installer for AQ 3.0 will not. To get around this, you would have to install AQ 3.0 on an older version of Windows and then copy the program files over to Vista.
  • Ancestral Quest versions 2.x and earlier have not been officially tested on Windows Vista. Typically, the older the program, the more likely it is that there will be a problem running it on newer operating systems. These older versions will experience the same issue with the Help system and default printer as with AQ 11, so the resolves, mentioned above, would be applicable.

Will Ancestral Quest run on a Chromebook?

Unfortunately, the advertising for Chromebooks has really increased lately.. but all those slick, convincing ads can be very deceiving--they lead you to believe you can run all your apps if you switch from Windows, but that is not true. Chromebooks cannot run traditional computer software.

Ancestral Quest requires a computer running either the full version of Windows or MacOS. It will not run on a Chromebook (nor Android, nor iOS).

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Printing/Report Questions

Are there other reports besides those listed in the Reports and Charts screen?

Yes. There are a few reports that you can ask for from the screens they are associated with. These include:

  • Line of Descent report. When you are on the "Relationship Examiner" screen, which you can access from the Tools menu or from the Search for Individuals screen, you can calculate relationships between any two people in your database. AQ will show you who the common ancestor is, and the line of descent from that common ancestor to each of the two selected people. You can produce a report to a text file showing this information. The most common use of this report is to show how you are related to someone you would like to correspond with about your family history. You can generate this report and send it as part of your introduction to the person.
  • List of Sources. As you work with the Source List, you have the option to view all sources, or just sources that meet certain criteria. There is a "Print to File" button that will print the information on all sources in the current list.
  • List of Citations for a Source. As you work with sources, you will find a Citations button showing all the places this source has been cited. This screen has a "Print to File" button that will let you print the citations of a source.

On the Modified Register report, there is the option for Gens Traceback. What is that? What does it do? Do I want it on my report?

The traceback is unique to the Modified Register report. We will try to illustrate it rather than define it.

Let's say, for example, that this is a brief family to be reported:


When the Modified Register (MR) prints information on John at the top of the report, it will print no traceback after his name, because he has no ancestor on the chart.

When the MR prints information on Joseph, John's son, it will print "(John)" after Joseph's name -- tracing back the ancestry of Joseph to the start person of the report.

When the MR prints information on Richard, Joseph's son, it will print "(Joseph, John)" after Richard's name, tracing back the ancestry of Richard to the start person of the report.

When you're only doing a few generations, this traceback list may not become unwieldy. But if you start getting 20-30 generations, the list becomes very long and might detract from the report more than it helps. So, AQ provides a limit on the number of generations to allow you to print all generations of traceback, or keep the list as long as you feel is useful. Setting this to 0 would turn off the traceback feature altogether.

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Ancestral Quest Technical Questions

Installing/Registering AQ

On my Windows system, I have downloaded the installer, but when I try to run it, nothing actually happens. What's going on?

Windows can sometimes be extra aggressive in protecting you from files that either come from another computer or are downloaded from the Internet. So, you may need to take an extra step to allow the installer file to run.

Go to the file that you had downloaded from our site (it is usually saved to your Downloads folder, and it will be named AQ16Setup.exe).

  1. Locate that file and then click on it once with the right mouse button.
  2. On the menu that appears, click on Properties.
  3. image of the Propeties dialog with Unblock option selected
  4. Within the window that opens, down near the bottom, you will probably see that it says the "file came from another computer and might be blocked". Click the Unblock checkbox or button.
  5. At the bottom of the window, click OK.
  6. Now, double-click on the AQ16Setup.exe file to start the installation.

If you see the Install Wizard open up, you can continue to install the program. If nothing happens, still, contact our Technical Support staff, and we can give you further assistance to get the program installed.

When I try to install Ancestral Quest, I receive the error, "Error -1607: Unable to install InstallShield Scripting Runtime." How do fix this problem?

If you have Windows 7, and you have some folder redirection in place (you have Windows set up to redirect the Documents, Pictures, Music and/or Video folders to a different location or disk), then the issue is most likely with that redirection. You can (1)remove the redirection, then (2)install the Ancestral Quest program, and then (3)re-apply the redirection afterwards. That should resolve the issue during installation.

If you do not have redirection in place on Windows 7, then this is most likely caused by an issue that is known to the makers of InstallShield. You may visit this page on the InstallShield website that lists some possible fixes for this error.

How do I uninstall AQ?

Uninstalling Ancestral Quest requires different steps, depending on which version of AQ you are trying to uninstall.

AQ 14, AQ 12.x, AQ 11 and AQ 10 (AQ 2002)
Simply go to "Start", then to "(All) Programs", then to the Ancestral Quest xx (14, 12, 11, or 2002) group, and select Uninstall.

After the main program has been removed, your computer may ask you about removing the Collaboration Support and (if you have versions 14 or 12 or 11 on a 32-bit system) the PDF-Exchange driver. If you also want to remove these, you should first respond to the request to remove the Collaboration Support (which will not require you to reboot your machine) and THEN respond to the request to remove the PDF-Exchange driver (which will require you to reboot your machine).

AQ 3.0 and earlier
For these versions, there was not an uninstaller. You will need to manually remove the program. (These earlier versions were small -- if you are uncomfortable with these steps, it may be easiest for you to just leave the program on your system -- it will cause no problem to leave it there.)
To remove version 2.2 or 3.0 from your system:
  1. Locate the program folder where you installed Ancestral Quest. Usually, this is the c:\ancquest folder. If you are not sure, use Windows Explorer to look at the properties of your shortcut to AQ.
  2. If you don't want to save any data files that you may have created with AQ, and you have not purposely stored any other files in this program folder or its subfolders, simply remove this folder and all of its contents. If you want to save any data files, but you want to remove the Ancestral Quest program itself, then follow these steps:
    • Remove these files from this program folder:
      • ancquest.exe
      • ancquest.hlp
      • ancquest.lic
      • aqplayer.exe
      • genres.hlp
      • llbgg.hlp
      • llbgg.ico
      • readme.txt
      • temples.txt
      • website2.txt
      • contents.txt
    • Remove the "web" folder and all subfolders. Note: if you have created a web page using AQ, the local copy of this page will be in a subfolder of this "web" folder.
    • If you installed the "Video Tour" of AQ, you will also need to remove the "Viewer" subfolder.
    • If you have the CD Suite, you may want to remove the other packages that came with the Suite. Remove these folders from your AQ Program folder:
      • CGE
      • Animap
    • Any other files remaining in this program folder are files that you have created, such as databases. If you have no need of them, you can delete them as well.
  3. Now remove the support files that AQ installs into the c:\Windows\System folder. Use Windows Explorer to get to this folder and remove these files. Remember that these files might also be used by other programs on your system. If you aren't sure, you may want to leave these files. If you remove these files, and another program on your system needs them, you may have to reinstall the other program.
    • All files that match this pattern: "LT???10?.DLL" (such as LTKRN10N.DLL and LTDIS10N.DLL)
    • All files that match this pattern: "LF???10?.DLL" (such as LFCMP10N.dll and LFBMP10N.DLL)
    • DZIP32.DLL and DUNZIP32.DLL or DZIP.DLL and DUNZIP.DLL, depending on whether you are using the 32-bit or 16-bit version of AQ.
  4. Remove the "ancquest.ini" file from your "c:\Windows" folder.
  5. The last step for a full removal of AQ is to remove the program group. This is discussed at the end of the discussion on removing earlier versions of AQ.
To remove version 2.1 or earlier from your system:
  1. Locate the program folder where you installed Ancestral Quest. Usually, this is the c:\ancquest folder. If you are not sure, use Windows Explorer to look at the properties of your shortcut to AQ.
  2. If you don't want to save any data files that you may have created with AQ, and you have not purposely stored any other files in this program folder or its subfolders, simply remove this folder and all of its contents. If you want to save any data files, but you want to remove the Ancestral Quest program itself, then follow these steps:
    • Remove these files from this program folder:
      • ancquest.exe
      • ancquest.hlp
      • aqplayer.exe
      • readme.txt
      • ctl3d.dll
      • lead52.dll
      • leaddib.drv
      • pcdlib.dll
    • Remove the "web" folder and all subfolders. Note: if you have created a web page using AQ, the local copy of this page will be in a subfolder of this "web" folder.
    • If you have the CD Suite, you may want to remove the other packages that came with the Suite. Remove these folders from your AQ Program folder:
      • CGE
      • Animap
    • Any other files remaining in this program folder are files that you have created, such as databases. If you have no need of them, you can delete them as well.
  3. Remove the "ancquest.ini" file from your "c:\Windows" folder.
  4. The last step in a complete removal of Ancestral Quest is to remove the program group where the shortcuts are installed. To do this, right-click with your mouse on the Start menu button and select Explore. Now select "Programs". Look down the list of program groups until you find the one in which you installed Ancestral Quest. This will usually be "Incline Software" or "The Hope Foundation", but you may have changed it to something else during the install process. When you find the group, delete it.

The uninstall utility is not working. How do I manually remove AQ?

If you have tried to use the uninstaller, but have not had any success, you can manually uninstall the program.

First, we will remove the shortcut frm the Start menu:

  1. Click the Windows Start button, then go to (All) Programs, then point your mouse to the Ancestral Quest xx item that you wish to remove (xx represents the version).
  2. Click the secondary (right) mouse button on that folder of the copy of AQ that you wish to remove.
  3. From the menu that appears, click on Delete.
  4. Click Yes, you do want to continue.

Now we will remove the actual program:

  1. Open up (My) Computer.
  2. Double click on the C:\ drive to open it, then look for the Program Files folder.
  3. Double click to open up the Program Files (x86) folder, if you have one, otherwise double click on the Program Files folder.
  4. Hover your mouse on the Incline Software folder and then click the secondary (right) mouse button once.
  5. From the menu that appears, click on Delete.
  6. Click Yes, you do want to send the folder and its contents to the Recycle Bin.

Finally, you will want to remove the shortcut from your Windows Desktop:

  1. Locate the appropriate Ancestral Quest shortcut on your Desktop.
  2. Hover your mouse on that shortcut and then click the secondary (right) mouse button once.
  3. From the menu that appears, click on Delete.
  4. Click Yes, you want to move the shortcut to the Recycle Bin.

That should take care of it.

Note: There is no way to manually remove the Collaboration feature... but that is not an issue as it doesn't really take up any space on the hard drive. Collaboration has simply made one minor entry into the Windows Registry which will not have any negative impact on the computer or Windows system if it remains.

I am trying to use the free Ancestral Quest Basics program, but it is asking for a Registration Key. How do I use the free version of the program?

When you have not entered a Registration Key, this screen will appear every time that AQ starts up. This allows you to enter the Registration Key (if you have decided to purchase one), or to use the free AQ Basics program.

You can use the free Ancestral Quest Basics program for as long as you wish--there is no time limit. All you need to do is click the button labeled Use Ancestral Quest Basics. See the AQ Versions page for an explanation of the features included in both AQ Basics and the full AQ program.

AQ Version to Use dialog box

How do I enter my Registration Key?

After installing Ancestral Quest, every time you run the program, it will prompt you for the version to use (see the screen shot, above). If you choose the Use Ancestral Quest Basics option, you will be able to run AQ for free. If you have purchased the program, you can enter the Registration Key.

If you have purchased a copy of AQ, this key should have been sent to you via e-mail if you ordered through our website, or it should be inside the case which contains the CD, if you purchased a CD from a retail store or from this website.

Once you have purchased the full program and have your Registration Key, you can enter it on this same window, then click the Use Ancestral Quest button.

When typing in the registration key, use all capital letters and be sure to include the hyphens/dashes (-). For further assistance in entering the Registration Key, see the next question and answer, below.

I am entering my Registration Key, but AQ says it is incorrect. What do I do?

Typically, when Ancestral Quest does not accept the key, it is because it has been entered incorrectly.

Please refer to the following suggestions for entering the Registration Key properly:

  • Be sure that you have the appropriate Registration Key for the version of Ancestral Quest that is installed. Note that:
    • a Registration Key for either version 12.0 or 12.1 will work in AQ versions 11, 12 and 12.1.
    • a Registration Key for version 15 will work in AQ versions 11, 12, 12.1, 14, and 15.
    • a Registration Key for version 15 or earlier will not work in AQ version 16.
    • a Registration Key for the Mac version of AQ will not work in AQ for Windows, and vice versa: A Windows Registration Key will not work on AQ for Mac.
  • Make sure that in AQ, there is nothing inside the Registration Key entry box before you go to enter the key.
  • Be sure that you are entering the entire key with capital letters and the hyphens (-).
  • There should be no spaces before, during, or after any of the character sequences in the key.
  • The proper sequence of the number of characters to hyphens is 4-2-5-5-3 or XXXX-XX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXX (the letter X represents any character or number)
  • Make certain that you are entering the proper characters and numbers. Often times, letters and/or numbers can be mixed up. These characters are not interchangeable, so be sure to enter the proper character.
    Some often confused characters include:
    • the number 1 and the letter I
    • the number 2 and the letter Z
    • the number 3 and the number 8
    • the number 4 and the number 9
    • the number 4 and the letter A
    • the number 4 and the letter H
    • the number 5 and the letter S
    • the number 6 and the letter G
    • the number 7 and the letter Z
    • the number 8 and the letter B
    • the number 8 and the letter S
    • the number 0 and the letter O (the number zero is usually more of an oval shape, and the letter O is usually more of a circle shape)
    • the letter B and the letter D
    • the letter E and the letter F
    • the letter M and the letter N
    • the letter O and the letter Q
    • the letter P and the letter R
    • two consecutive letter V characters and a single letter W (VV vs. W)
    • the letter X and the letter Y
  • If you have received your Registration Key by way of an on-screen receipt or an e-mail message, and you are good with the mouse, you could just copy and paste the Registration Key.
    1. Use your mouse to select (highlight) the key (be sure to not select any spaces or punctuation before or after the key, itself)
    2. Use the Copy command (the Ctrl+c keyboard shortcut is easiest)
    3. Go into Ancestral Quest where you can enter the Registration Key. This is done in either the Ancestral Quest Registration window that appears when you start the program, or by going to the menu bar and clicking on Help > Register Ancestral Quest.
    4. Click in the box where the Registration Key needs to be entered.
    5. Use the paste command (again, the Ctrl+v keyboard shortcut is the easiest), to paste in the key.
    6. Click on the appropriate button -- Activate or Save and Continue or Activate and Continue -- to save the registration key.
  • If you receive a message stating that the Registration Key is incorrect, check the key that you have been provided and try entering the key again.
  • If you receive a message that you have successfully entered the Registration Key, then you are finished.

When I purchased the Windows version of the program, it said that the book, Line Upon Line - A Beginner's Guide to Genealogy by Margery H. Bell, was included. I have installed AQ, but where do I find that book?


Once Ancestral Quest is installed, you will find Beginner's Guide' to Genealogy within the Ancestral Quest Program Group of the Windows Start menu.

You can get to it using one of the following procedures.

Windows 7, Vista, XP, or 2000

  1. Click on the Start button in Windows.
  2. Point to Programs (or All Programs, depending on your Windows version or settings).
  3. If you see Incline Software point to that item, otherwise skip this step.
  4. Point to Ancestral Quest xx (where xx is the version of Ancestral Quest that you have installed).
  5. Click on Beginner's Guide to Genealogy. If you are using Ancestral Quiest 15, the book is a PDF file that will open with your default PDF reader. For earlier version of Ancestral Quest, the book will open up using the WinHlp32* Help system.

Windows 8.x

  1. While on the main Windows 8.x screen (the Metro Interface with all the live tiles) position your mouse pointer on the background area (not on a live tile), then click the secondary (right) mouse button once.
  2. A bar appears at the bottom of the screen. Go to the right and click on All Apps.
  3. Now you will see the contents of the "old" Start Menu within the Metro interface.
  4. Locate the heading for Ancestral Quest xx, and, beneath that, you will see the icon for the Beginner's Guide to Genealogy.
  5. Click on Beginner's Guide to Genealogy. If you are using Ancestral Quiest 15, the book is a PDF file that will open with your default PDF reader. For earlier version of Ancestral Quest, the book will open up using the WinHlp32* Help system.

*Note: If you are running Windows 8.x, Windows 7, or Windows Vista and you have not yet installed the update to run WinHlp32 files, then you will need to do so. You may find details and the links to download the update directly from Microsoft, within the Windows Vista/7/8.x discussion earlier on this page.


If you have purchased Ancestral Quest for Mac, you can send us an email message (at ancquest@ancquest.com) to request a PDF version of the Beginner's Guide' to Genealogy.

General Program Use

The program always starts with the wrong person. How do I change this?

By default, AQ always shows the first person entered (RIN number 1) when a database is opened. You can change this:

  1. Go to the Tools menu, then to Preferences
  2. Select the Database tab from the row of tabs
  3. In the section for "Initial RIN on Startup", you have two choices. Choose "Last Used" to have AQ start up next where you left off. Choose "Use ..." to select a specific person to start with.
  4. If you choose the "Use ..." option, you can either just type in the RIN number of the person if you know it, and if you don't know it, use the "Search" button to locate the person.
  5. Once you click on "OK", the next time you start AQ, this option will take effect.

The program always starts with the wrong database. How do I change this?

AQ remembers the last database that was opened when you exit AQ and re-opens that database the next time you run the program. This is by design, as it is expected that you want to work in the same database the next time that you run the program.

Now, lets say you experience this set of events:

  1. You are in your main database.
  2. You next open another/older database. You realize that this is not a file you want to see.
  3. Instead of closing the undesired file, however, you go back to the File menu and -- at the bottom of the menu -- click on your main database. Its window moves in front (but the other/older database is still open, only it is 'hiding' behind your main database) and you continue working in your main database.
  4. Now, when you are done, you close the Ancestral Quest program. Your main database closes.
  5. BUT the other/older database now appears on the screen (because it had been underneath your main database window).
  6. You close AQ.
  7. Next time you run AQ, it opens the undesired other/older database -- because it was the last database in AQ to be closed. Again, this is by design.. but in this case it is a pain.
  8. To avoid the issue, if you ever open a database that you don't want to see/access, choose File then Close, and only that most recently opened file will close. You will then be back to your previous database, or if not (you are at a gray screen), you can reopen your regular database.

I have more than one database on my hard drive and one on my flash memory drive, but I sometimes forget which one I am working in. Is there a quick, easy way to tell which database that I am using in AQ?

Yes. Within the main Views of Ancestral Quest (Family, Pedigree, Name List and Individual), look at the bottom of the program, in the status bar. Just to the right, you will see the drive letter, sometimes part of the path, and the filename of the current database, with extension.

In this first example, you can see that the database currently being edited is an .aq database file opened from the "c" hard drive.

Whereas, in this example, you can see that the database currently being edited is a .paf database file opened from the "e" flash drive.

How do I send a report to a friend or relative?

There are five methods you can use:

  • The traditional method is to print the report and send it.
  • Select "PDF File" as the destination for your report. AQ will create a PDF file that you can send as an e-mail attachment.
  • Select "Text File" as the destination for your report. A simple report in text format can be sent as an e-mail attachment.
  • For Book reports, you can select either Rich Text Format (.rtf) or WordPerfect (.wpd) as the destination. This will create a document that can be sent via e-mail.
  • Backup your data file and send it to your relative, along with an invitation to download AQ. Your relative can then restore the database to preview reports, and if they register AQ, they can print the reports.

Will Ancestral Quest allow me to enter accented letters and other special characters into the data fields and notes?

Yes. Ancestral Quest records Unicode characters anywhere within the database. Unicode is a method of storing any character in any language. This means that Ancestral Quest is truly International in its ability to store data. If you have family members or distant ancestors that use Cyrillan, Japanese, Chinese, or other characters not found on the traditional English keyboard, you can enter their names the way they should be.

Visit this “Tip” page for the details on adding special characters to the entries within AQ.

How do I spell-check my notes?

When working on the Notes screen, choose the "Tools" menu and select Spell Check Notes.

If you have a portion of notes highlighted, just that portion will be checked. Otherwise all the notes for this individual or marriage will be checked.

I added a word to the spell check tool by mistake. How do I remove that word?

The word needs to be removed from the dictionary file being used by the spell check tool. Here is the procedure to do this:

  1. Open the Documentation (Notes) window for anyone on your database.
  2. You must have a misspelled word in the notes in order for the spell check utility window to appear; if necessary, type in a misspelled word (such as "helllo") to the notes.
  3. Start the Spell Check utility (either click on Tools > Spell Check Notes or tap the F5 function key on the keyboard).
  4. At the bottom of the Check Spelling window that appears, click the Dictionaries... button.
  5. The Dictionaries window now opens. The list of words added to the dictionary will appear in the upper-left area of this screen.
  6. Click on the word that does not belong here (in other words, it is misspelled here and should not be included in this list of correctly spelled words).
  7. Click the Delete Word button to the right of this list.
  8. Repeat steps 6 and 7, as necessary, to remove any other words that do not belong in the list.
  9. Click Close to close the Dictionaries window.
  10. Click Cancel to close the Check Spelling window.
  11. If you had typed in a misspelled word to start this procedure (in step 2), delete that misspelled word form the notes.
  12. Close the Documentation window (you do not need to save the changes).

When should I run Check/Repair vs. the Database Rebuild?

Check/Repair is the primary method for repairing minor problems with the database. There are times that Check/Repair is unable to fix a problem. Using the "Rebuild Database" button at the bottom of the Check/Repair screen is a last resort method of fixing a database. This will cause reordering of some record types such as citations tied to events.

If you have trouble repairing your database, you should restore the backup you made prior to the attempt to repair it, then try an alternate method of repairing it. The three common methods of repairing a database are:

  • Check/Repair
  • Rebuild Database
  • Use Export to transfer your data to a GEDCOM file, then use Import to read it back into a new database.

On the Quick Start Video Tutorial and in the program Help, it explains the ability to change the Christening to a different birth rite by clicking a down arrow button. On my copy of AQ, I do not see that down arrow button. What is happening?

The Christening field can be changed to a different birth rite when editing Ancestral Quest (.aq) database files. This change is not available when using Personal Ancestral File (.paf) database files. This is due to the limitations of the .paf database structure.

See the FAQ on PAF database files for a more detailed explanation of the limitations and advantages of the .paf database file format.

Family Links

I got the husband and wife reversed. How do I switch them?

This happens when you accidentally assign the wrong sex to a person. When you later add a spouse to that person, AQ automatically assigns the opposite sex to the spouse.

In order to change the sex of an individual, you must first unlink them from all marriages, then change the gender, and then you will re-link them. The process is really quite simple. We will describe the easiest method:

  1. Within the database containing this issue, make a new backup of your database (go to File, then Backup and save the backup with a new name)
  2. Next, access to the Family view
  3. Locate one of the spouses whose gender needs to be corrected and move that record into the primary position (top left) of the screen
  4. Now move one of the children of this marriage into the primary position, placing the reversed spouses into the Mother and Father positions over to the right (if this couple does not have children, you can add a child, temporarily, then delete the temporary child after the process is over)
  5. Record the RINs of the two spouses, the MRIN of their marriage, and the RIN of the child who is currently in the Primary position
  6. Right click on each of these two spouses in turn, and choose the Unlink option - this will remove them from the marriage, leaving the marriage record otherwise intact
  7. If either spouse has other marriages, you will need to repeat steps 3 - 6 for the other marriages
  8. Now edit each of these spouses and change the gender
  9. Reselect the child from step 4 to be the primary person, verifying that the marriage whose MRIN you recorded in step 5 shows as the marriage of this child's parents
  10. Click on the Add Father space to re-add the father. When you get to the Add Individual screen, select Search for Existing and enter the RIN of the father. This will re-link the father to the marriage record as the husband.
  11. Click on the Add Mother space and follow the previous step to add the mother.

I have added children to the wrong parents. How do I correct them?

This is an easy mistake that is easy to correct.

In order to make this correction, you must unlink the children from the incorrect parents, then re-link them to the correct parents. The step-by-step process is described below.

  1. In the main screen of Ancestral Quest, go to the Family view.
  2. Position one of the incorrect parents into the primary position (the top-left box) with the other incorrect parent beneath.
  3. Locate the children that you wish to remove from this relationship and make note of the RINs for those children.
  4. Click the secondary (right) mouse button on each of these children in turn, and choose the Unlink option - this will remove each child from the current, incorrect parents, but leave their individual records intact.
  5. Now, position one of the correct parents into the primary position (the top-left box), with the other correct parent beneath.
  6. Down in the Children box, click on Add Child (or press Ctrl+L) to add a child.
  7. Within the top-left area of the Add child for... screen that appears, click on Search for Existing Child....
  8. In the Find Child for... window that opens, enter into the RIN: box the RIN for one of the children that you had removed from the previous marriage, and click OK. The child will now be added to the current, proper parents.
  9. Repeat steps 6-8, above, as needed until all the children have been added to the correct parents.

When I delete an individual from a marriage link, the word UNKNOWN still remains in the list of spouses. Why?

When you delete an individual from a marriage, the marriage record still exists. Now, however, there is an empty placeholder for the spouse who was just unlinked or deleted. Whenever you display this marriage, AQ will look at that placeholder, and display "Unknown" -- indicating that AQ doesn't know who the spouse is. It is designed as a reminder to the user to locate information on the missing spouse and add the spouse to the marriage, at which point AQ will again "know" who the spouse is.

As long as the marriage record exists, it will show "Unknown" when there is an empty placeholder. If you want the marriage to go away, you need to edit the marriage record and click on the "Delete" button. Then the entire marriage, with any dates, places, sources, notes, as well as the empty placeholder, will all go away. Then you won't see "Unknown" anymore.

Note: If there are any children attached to the marriage record containing an "Unknown" spouse, they will be unlinked from the existing spouse when you delete that marriage record. Make note of the RINs of any children attached to the marriage with the Unknown spouse prior to deleting that marriage record. Then, you can access the correct marriage, and choose the "Add Child..." option, select "Search for Existing Child," then enter the RIN for the child. Repeat this for each child that you need to re-link to the proper marriage.

How do I add additional parents?

On the Family view, notice the "Add'l Par/Rel" button between the parents of the primary person. If you click on this button, you will be able to add an additional set of parents to the person. This button is only available if you have already entered a first set of parents. Other methods to achieve the same result include:

  • Go to the Add menu, then click on Parents
  • Select the second set of parents as the primary couple on the Family screen. Then click on "Add Child". When you get to the "Add Child..." screen, use the "Search for Existing Child" button to add this person as a child to this second set of parents.

How do I select another set of parents?

With the person in the Primary position of the Family screen, use the "Add'l Par/Rel" button to view all the parents and relationship types for this person. You can also go the Edit menu and select Parent Links. Highlight the set of parents you wish to see and click on 'OK'. If you wish to permanently set this set of parents as the default parents for this child, use the "Make Primary" button.

On my Family view, I see the Relationship Indicators (Father, Grandfather, etc.), but they are not displaying the correct relations. How do I fix that?/How do I set the Root Person?

Sometimes the Relationship Indicators get confused. In order to fix it, you just need to have them re-calculated.

  1. From the main screen of AQ, go to the menu bar and choose Tools, then Relationship Indicators.
  2. Click the box labeled Show Relationships in Family View to remove the checkmark. Click OK.
  3. Now, again, go to the menu bar and choose Tools, then Relationship Indicators.
  4. Within the Select Root Person section, click the Search button to locate and select the individual for whom you wish the relationships to be calculated (this is known as the Root Person, and you, typically, want this to be yourself), and click OK.
  5. Click the box labeled Show Relationships in Family View to insert the checkmark, if necessary. Click OK.
  6. A window will appear to inform you that the relationship indicators have been updated. Click OK.

The relationships in the Family View should now display correctly for the individual you had selected.

How do I locate the record of a female in my database by her married name?

The standard genealogy recording practice is that women are entered into a database, and hence viewed everywhere in the file, with their maiden name. But there are many times when doing your research that you may only have reference to a woman by her married name. In this tutorial, we will explain how to make it possible to view and search for a female individual based on her married name.

These instructions are also found in the built-in Ancestral Quest Help, under the Name List View Column Options topic.

  1. In Ancestral Quest, access the Name List view, and position the mouse pointer in the heading area at the top of the columns (where you see the headings: RIN, Name, Date, Place).
  2. Click the secondary (right) mouse button to open the QuickMenu.
  3. Within the menu that appears, click on Modify Columns or Sort Order. The Name List View Column Options dialog box appears. The columns currently being shown in the Name List view appear in the top-right box. The top left box lists the additional columns that you can have appear in the Name List view.
  4. In the top left Available Fields box, click the plus sign (+) next to Individual (if needed). You should see the items General, Standard Events Custom events, and so on underneath the word Individual.
  5. Click the plus sign next to General. Click the field, Sex, then click the right pointing arrow (>) button to place the field in the list on the right.
  6. Also in the upper-left Available Fields box, click the plus sign (+) next to Marriage, then click the plus sign (+) next to General. Click the field, Spouse Surname, then click the right pointing arrow (>) button to place the field in the list on the right.
  7. Using the small Up and Down arrow buttons to the right of the Shown Fields list, you can click on a field and change its position up or down in the list. Place these fields into the order in which you would like the columns to appear, left-to-right, in the Name list view.
  8. Now, we will set the sort order. In the lower-left Available Fields box, click the plus sign (+) next to Individual (if needed). Click the plus sign next to General. Click the field, Sex, then click the right pointing arrow (>) button to place the field in the Sort Fields list on the right.
  9. Also in the lower-left Available Fields box, click the plus sign (+) next to Marriage, then click the plus sign next to General. Click the field, Spouse Surname, then click the right pointing arrow (>) button to place the field in the Sort Fields list on the right.
  10. Finally, in the lower-left Available Fields box, under the General section, locate and click the field, Given Names, then click the right pointing arrow (>) button to place the field in the Sort Fields list on the right.
  11. Click OK.
  12. Scroll through the name list and you will see that it is 'grouped' by gender: unknown, then male, then female. Go to the grouping of females, and you will see that it is sorted by the females' married names. Now it is easy to find the individual you are looking for!

Working with Database, Backup and GEDCOM Files

How do I remove extra databases?

Once you have identified data files that you no longer need, you can delete them in either of two ways:

  • Go to the File menu, then to Delete. This will bring up a typical Windows browse window that will let you select a file to remove. Once you highlight a filename, you can click on the "Delete" button to remove it. USE THIS FEATURE WITH GREAT CAUTION! You do not want to delete a database you have any doubts about. Note that you cannot delete the file you currently have open -- you must first close a file before you can delete it.
  • You can use "My Computer" to locate the extraneous file and delete it. The same cautions apply as above.

I just imported a GEDCOM file and realized I shouldn't have. How do I undo this import?

The first time you import a GEDCOM file into an existing database, AQ will automatically make a temporary backup file of your database before proceeding. This file will have the name of your database file, but will have an extension of ".tqz". On subsequent imports into this file, AQ will ask if you want to replace this temporary backup before importing.

If you want to restore your database to the state prior to the import, simply restore from this ".tqz" file. To do this, close your file, then go to "File > Restore". Look for the .tqz file and restore it.

How do I backup my data file to a CD?

Depending on your CD writer and the software you have installed, you may be able to directly backup to the CD, or you might have to do a two-step backup. If you get any kind of error message while trying to backup directly to the CD, then try this procedure:

  1. Backup your file to your hard drive (usually 'C:'). When you do this, pay attention to the folder you are saving to, and the name of the backup file.
  2. Exit AQ.
  3. Use the method you use to transfer other files to the CD to copy this backup file from its location on the C: drive to your CD.

I am trying to backup my data file to a flash drive, but I receive a DynaZIP error. How do I get the database backed up to the flash drive?

There was an issue when performing a backup directly to a flash memory drive or other removable drive that has a capacity of two gigabytes (2GB) or larger. This has been resolved with the release of Ancestral Quest 12.1 build 21, released on 9/18/2009. If you have AQ 12.1 build 21 or later (including AQ 14), this issue is resolved.

If you have an earlier version of AQ, there is a work-around that will involve a two-step backup routine. Please follow this procedure:

  1. Backup your file to your hard drive (usually 'C:'). When you do this, pay attention to the folder in which you are saving the file, as well as the name of the backup file.
  2. Use (My) Computer, or another preferred method, to copy the backup file that you had just created onto the desired flash or removable drive.


Within the Pedigree view of Ancestral Quest, I have the links to Ancestry.com turned on. When I click on one of the Trees or Records items, I am presented with a message that states, "We're sorry. The page you tried to access is no longer available." What is going on?

When you click on any of these links, Ancestral Quest lets Ancestry.com know that you would like to see the records or trees referenced by the links. It is up to Ancestry.com to then display their data to you. Once you click on one of those links, you are no longer working with Ancestral Quest, you are now working with Ancestry.com. Ancestral Quest has no control over what Ancestry.com will show you.

It is our understanding that Ancestry.com made some changes around April 22, 2010 that caused this page to be removed from their site. As of May 21, 2010, Ancestry.com seems to have reinstated the page, as this feature seems to work normally.

If you have not used this feature, and would like to try it, start Ancestral Quest, make sure you are on the Pedigree view, then open the "View" menu. Finally, make sure that the Ancestry.com Links option is checked. AQ will search Ancestry.com for information on any of the names shown, and give you a count of records and trees that Ancestry.com indicates you could look at. Click on one of these numbers to use this feature. If you are an Ancestry.com subscriber, you will have access to these trees and records. If not, you may have an option to try a free trial of Ancestry.com.

AQ is suddenly giving warnings or acting like something is wrong. What do I do?

First, make a backup of the file. Do NOT overwrite an older backup. For the purpose of this backup, it is best to backup to your hard drive (typically drive "C:") rather than to flash memory (thumb) drive.

Go to the "Internet" menu, then "Check for Latest AQ Release". If there is a newer build of your version, you should upgrade to get the latest build of your version of AQ.

With a backup made, and having the latest available version of AQ, go to the Tools menu, then to "Database Check/Repair". Set the option for "Check and Repair" and run the check. Most problems are caused by an internal database problem, and most of these can be fixed by running this tool. (The strongly worded messages about restoring from a previous backup are there in case the amount of damage is unusually high -- it should be ignored in most cases.)

If this doesn't resolve the problem, you should search for the "ancquest.ini" file that stores your user preferences. Remove or rename this file. AQ will then act like you are using it for the first time.

If this doesn't solve the problem, contact Incline Software by one of the methods given in the contacts page.

I have encountered what I think may be a bug in the program. What do I do?

  1. Read the FAQs on Check/Repair and Rebuilding a database. The 'bug' may be caused by minor problems in your database that can be solved by using these tools.
  2. If the problem persists, document the nature of the problem and the typical steps that cause the problem, then contact Incline Software by one of the methods given in the contacts page.

I'm having trouble reading the information on the screen. Can I adjust the fonts and colors?

Yes. Go to the Tools menu, then to Preferences. In the "General" tab, you will find a button to adjust the colors. In the "Fonts" tab, you will be able to adjust the font type and size for the Pedigree and Family views. Usually a slight adjustment to the font size can make a large difference in the readability of your screen.

I entered the wrong place into a record. Now, whenever I go to enter the correct place, the incorrect place name appears. How do I fix this?

Within Ancestral Quest, go to the menu bar and select Edit, then Quick Entry Place List.

The Edit Quick Entry Place List window will open. Scroll through the list, as needed, to locate the incorrect place. Click on the desired place to select it. At the bottom of the window:

  • click the Delete Name button to remove this place from the list. This is the best choice if you have already entered the correct place and it appears within the list.
  • click the Edit... button to change the incorrect place to the correct place name. This is the best choice if you have not yet entered the correct place and it does not appear within the list.

Once the entries have been deleted or edited, click the Close button to close this window.

I entered the wrong place into a record. I have corrected that record, and have removed that place name from the Quick Entry Place List. But I still see the wrong name appear when I try to enter the correct place name. How do I fix this?

Here is what typically has happened in such a case. While you have successfully removed the full place name (such as Quency, California), from the Quick Entry Place List, the Single Place name (Quency) still exists in the database. You need to remove the incorrectly spelled name from the Single Place name list, as well:

Note: In order for this fix to work, you will need to have the incorrect spelling of the place entered into a place field of at least one record.

  1. From the Ancestral Quest menu bar, select Edit then Replace Names/Dates/Places....
  2. At the top of the window, within the Select the type of data to replace: list, click on Single Place Names.
  3. Down in the Find What: box, click your mouse and type in the incorrectly spelled place name (in our example, Quency). As you begin to type, the word may fill in for you - just be sure that this is the name that you no longer want to appear in your database.
  4. Next, click your mouse in the Replace With: box,and type in the correctly spelled place name (in our example, Quincy). Again, as you begin to type, the word may fill in for you - just be sure that this is the name that you do want to keep in your database.
  5. Make sure that the checkmark appears in the box labeled Delete the replaced value from the quick entry list.
  6. Click the Replace button.
  7. The Confirm Replace dialog box will appear, displaying the record in which the Find text is located. You are asked if you wish to replace the existing, incorrect place name with the new place name. Click the Yes to All button. The replacements will be made and the dialog box will close.
  8. Back in the Replace Names/Dates/Places window, click Done.
  9. The misspelled place name should no longer appear when you go to enter the correct place name.

Note: There is a rare case when, after completing the above procedure, the issue may still occur. To remedy the problem in such a case, you will need to back up your database, then either:

  • Go to Tools then Database Check/Repair... and click the Rebuild Database button (be sure to give the new database a slightly different name than the existing database)... or
  • Export the entire database to a GEDCOM file, then import that GEDCOM file into a new database.

Whenever I go to view the notes (Documentation window) for someone, Ancestral Quest freezes. How do I fix that?

The Documentation window is a dialog box that you can reposition and resize. Sometimes, it can be positioned so far that it can be moved off the screen. If you later access the Documentation window, and it comes up off the viewable screen, it will appear as though AQ has locked up, because you cannot do anything in the program while the dialog box is open.

One way to verify that this truly is the issue, is to open the notes for someone --the dialog box will not appear-- then tap the Escape key to see if you regain control of the computer; you'll be back to whatever screen you were working on before you invoked the documentation screen. If you do regain control, then this is likely the problem that you are experiencing.

To resolve this issue, you will need to move the Documentation dialog box back into view. Please follow these steps:

  1. Open the Documentation screen for someone in your database. Wait a moment for the info on the screen to populate (even though you can't see it, this is taking place).
  2. Next, using the keyboard, hold down the Alt key as you tap the Spacebar once (then release the Alt key). A menu will appear on your screen.
  3. Tap the letter m key on the keyboard to select the Move option. You will see a four-headed arrow on the screen.
  4. To the right of the main typing keys on your keyboard, tap the Down Arrow key once.
  5. Move your mouse around, and you should see the screen come into view at some point. Position the mouse so you can see the whole window.
  6. Click the mouse button once, to set the window into place.

I am not seeing all of the content of the screens. (Such as the Search for Individual window, where the third column typically displays the birth year).
The fonts on the main Family screen are way too big.
Why is this happening?

This issue is caused by the Windows setting for Font Size/DPI. This is usually changed to enable larger fonts (125% or 150% of normal size) so that text is more easily seen on higher resolution monitors. The result, however, is that it causes some displays of information within AQ to be 'pushed out of view,' or in the case of the Family Screen, appear too big. We can make a slight adjustment in how your copy of Ancestral Quest runs in order to correct that scaling/display issue.

Before proceeding, please exit out of Ancestral Quest. The AQ program cannot be running while performing these steps.

  1. Open up My Computer/This PC. (Either locate and double-click on the Windows Explorer/File Explorer icon to the right of the Windows Start button, or hold down the Windows Logo key on the keyboard as you tap the e key on the keyboard.
  2. Go to the C:\ drive (it may be labeled Local Disk (C:) or Windows (C:), or something similar), then scroll, as needed, to locate the Program Files (x86) folder, if you have one, otherwise, find the Program Files folder.
  3. Double-click on that Program Files (x86) or Program Files folder to open it.
  4. Double-click on the Incline Software folder.
  5. Double-click on the Ancestral Quest xx folder (where xx is the version you have installed).
  6. Now, position your mouse on the ancquest.exe file (it is the one with blue and white program icon) and click once to select the file, then click the secondary (right) mouse button while pointing to that selected file.
  7. From the menu that appears, click on Properties (down at the bottom).
  8. Near the top of the Properties window that appears, click the Compatibility tab.
  9. Down within the Settings section, click to place a checkmark in the box labeled Disable display scaling on high DPI settings.
  10. Click OK.
  11. Close the Windows Explorer/File Explorer window.
  12. Start up Ancestral Quest, and you should now see everything within the AQ program screens.

When I go to create a web page, I receive an error that AQ cannot use the directory. How do I resolve this problem?

This problem typically occurs because a default folder for the web pages has not yet been designated within AQ's Preferences, or the folder that has been designated cannot be utilized (it may be in a location where AQ cannot create the files, as restricted by Windows*). Here is how to remedy this issue:

  1. In Ancestral Quest, from the toolbar, click on Tools, then click on Preferences.
  2. Near the top of the Preferences window that appears, click on the Files and Folders tab.
  3. Notice that the bottommost setting is for the default folder for Web Pages. Click the Browse button to the right of that setting and then navigate to the desired folder in which you would like your web pages to be saved. *Typically, you will want to select a folder inside of your (My) Documents folder.
  4. Click OK to save this change.

Now you should be able to create web pages without any errors occurring.

When I go to print a report as a PDF file, I get two watermarks at the top of the page telling me to purchase PDF-XChange. How do I remove those marks from my PDF printouts?

This issue occurs in either of these two cases:

  • You are running Ancestral Quest on a 64-bit Windows operating system. This page of our site explains the issue and the work-around.
  • You are trying to print your report from the PDF-XChange print driver directly, as a printer. To resolve this, when you are on the Print Reports and Charts screen, go to the lower-right corner of the window and, within the Destination section, select PDF File (.pdf). Then, when you click the Print button you will be prompted for the location and name of the PDF file that will be generated. The PDF-XChange program will generate the report without those watermarks.

When I try to save any changes, I get a message saying "You are not authorized to perform this function"; I am being prompted for a password--I don't know what password it is asking for. How do I get past this problem?

First some background information:

Ancestral Quest has the ability to password protect your database. The purpose of the password is to protect your file from changes when you let someone else (your children or grandchildren) work with your file.

To set a password, select Preference in the Tools menu, then select the General tab. Select Password.

This is not a highly restrictive type of password. You will be able to see the password as you enter it. The password is case sensitive. This means that if you enter Spot for your password, you must later enter Spot, not spot, or SPOT, to gain access.

AQ will assume that since you entered the password, you must know it, so you will not be asked for the password during the current session. The password will be activated the next time AQ is started. Once activated, you must enter the password to change the password, or to do anything that will change your data. The password can be deactivated by going back into the password screen and deleting all characters in the password entry field.

AQ's password may act a little differently than what you are used to in other applications. If, during a session, you never try to make any changes, you will never be asked for the password. The first time you attempt to make a change, or view the current password, you will be prompted for the password. Once it is entered correctly, you will not be asked again during that session. If you make a mistake, you will be allowed up to three attempts at correctly entering the password, after which time AQ will presume you are not authorized to make any changes for the remainder of the session.

Now to recover the password:

The password is not so secretive that you can't be shown how to recover should it be forgotten. If you need to recover the password, you can find it in AQ's settings file. Here are the step-by-step instructions:

  1. Go to Help, then About Ancestral Quest
  2. Hold down Ctrl + Shift + Alt on the keyboard, and then double-click in the Record Count box (in the lower half of the window). This will open up the Credits window.
  3. On the Credits window, in the lower portion labeled AncQuest.ini File, click the View button to open up the Ancestral Quest settings file.
  4. In the settings file, you need to find the field called "PedPwd" and it will have password listed next to it. For example, if my password is "Guest", then the password would appear like so: "PedPwd=Guest". Simply copy down the text to the right of the equals sign and that will be your password. To find this more quickly, know that the PedPwd field is located about halfway down the file; and remember you can press Ctrl+f on your keyboard to have the computer search for the text "PedPwd" for you.

Once you have recovered the password, close the Credits and About windows. Then, go to Tools then Preferences and click on the Password button to the lower-right. You will then need to enter the password to continue; afterwards, you can delete the password and hit OK to clear it.

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Questions about Incline Software

When did Incline Software become associated with Ancestral Quest?

In 1993 and 1994, Incline Software developed the first version of Ancestral Quest, with a mission of becoming the first Windows genealogy program.

Over the years, Incline Software has aligned itself with various partners in an effort to make the general public aware of AQ. If you are reading this FAQ, it is probably because you have seen the name of one of these partners. Some of these partners include:

  • Infobases (from 1995 to 1997, when a new division of Infobases was named Ancestry)
  • Ancestry (this division of Infobases continued the earlier contract into 1997)
  • The Hope Foundation (from 1999 until early 2001)

Incline Software continues to develop and support Ancestral Quest.

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Questions for LDS

Is Ancestral Quest available in Family History Centers?

Incline Software has offered to provide all Family History Centers with a free license to use AQ in the Centers. If your local FHC does not have AQ installed, you could make them aware of this offer. Many Family History Center computers are connected to LANDesk. You should be able to download AQ using LANDesk. If you have trouble with this, or do not have LANDesk, the director of the Center can contact us at ancquest@ancquest.com for information and assistance in placing AQ on the computers of the center.

Recently, the LDS Church has sent notices to the directors of Family History Centers informing them that Incline Software is a FamilySearch affiliate, and has specifically invited them to obtain a copy of Ancestral Quest for their computers. We hope that all FHC computers would have copies of AQ, as this is authorized.

Does Ancestral Quest work with FamilySearch Family Tree?

Yes. Ancestral Quest was the first full genealogy program to become a FamilySearch Compatible Solution.

You can learn all about using AQ with the features of FamilySearch Family Tree at the Learning Center page of this website.

You can access the Frequently Asked Questions regarding the FamilySearch features of Ancestral Quest on our website, as well.

Can I record LDS Ordinance information in AQ?

Yes. When you first start AQ, it will ask you to set some major preferences. If you didn't turn the LDS options on at that time, go to the Tools menu, then on the General tab, activate the LDS Data option.

I don't see the LDS Ordinances on the main Edit for Individuals. What can I do?

If you have turned on the LDS Data option, you should see the LDS Ordinance information on the Individual Add/Edit screen either on the main Individual tab, or on a secondary LDS tab. To change the location of this information, go to the Tools menu, then to Preferences. On the General tab, you will see a section for "Individual Edit Screen". If your screen and resolution are large enough, you can choose to display both LDS Events and Other Events on the Individual tab. If you have a lower resolution, AQ will let you choose one or the other. If the LDS data is not shown on the main Individual tab, then it will be shown in a separate "LDS" tab.

How do I submit names to the Temple (formerly known as TempleReady)?

As of July, 2009, the temples of the LDS Church no longer accept TempleReady disks. While AQ still has the functionality to create a GEDCOM file for TempleReady, you should now use the new Ordinance Reservation and Tracking System to submit ordinances directly from within AQ. If you do not have Internet access to use the FamilySearch tools through Ancestral Quest, take your database to a local Family History Center, where a staff member will have access to AQ on their FHC computers, and will have the ability to help you.

How do I update ordinance information in my file?

You will need to use the new features to access FamilySearch through Ancestral Quest. In summary, you link records in your file with corresponding records in FamilySearch, then transfer the ordinances from FamilySearch into your own records. Click here to see the tutorials.

What Ordinance reports are available in AQ?

  • From the Reports and Charts screen, you can go to "Lists" and find two ordinance reports. One for missing Individual ordinances and one for missing Marriage ordinances. Once you have selected the general report type, you can use the "Options" button to select various options dealing with these reports.
  • You can use the Custom Report capability, combined with the powerful advanced selection and filtering capability of AQ to define other reports.

How do I remove the "Submitted" designation?

  • Go to the Edit menu of AQ, then to "Replace Names/Dates/Places".
  • Select "Date Fields" as the type of item to replace.
  • A special button will appear on this screen labeled 'Remove "Submitted" Dates...' Click that button.
  • Make your selections on that screen to remove all dates with "Submitted" or just some dates.

How do I update the list of temples that appears in the program?

If you have the current release of AQ, you can just go to the menu bar, choose Internet > Check for Latest AQ Release. Once you download and run the installer for the latest version, your temple list will be updated.

If you have an older version of AQ (versions 3, 2002/10, 11, 12.x. or 14), you can download the TEMPLES.TXT file, here -- just click on the link with the secondary (right) mouse button, then choose Save Target as... or Save Link as... and then save the file to your Windows Desktop. Make sure that AQ is closed before proceeding. You will then want to copy the file from your Desktop, and then paste it inside the Ancestral Quest program folder, which is typically found at C:\Program Files (x86)\Incline Software\Ancestral Quest xx or C:\Program Files\Incline Software\Ancestral Quest xx). You will be asked whether you wish to replace the existing Temples.txt file, to which you want to reply Yes, you do wish to replace the existing file. Once that file is in place, run AQ and your temple list will be updated.

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Questions relating to Personal Ancestral File (PAF)

Is there a relationship between PAF and Ancestral Quest?

In 1999, Incline Software, with some strategic help from its partners, helped the LDS Church develop PAF 4 based on the newly released AQ 3.0. Both PAF 4 and the newer PAF 5 are therefore very similar to AQ. Since 1999, while the LDS Church has developed adjustments and new features into PAF, Incline Software has also developed dramatic new features into AQ.

If a user of PAF were to decide to upgrade to AQ, he/she would be able to take advantage of these wonderful new features with virtually no learning curve, as the PAF he/she is used to is so similar to AQ.

Alternatively, the PAF 5 user could use AQ as a PAF Add-in, as AQ is a FamilySearch certified PAF Add-in.

How is AQ compatible with PAF?

The AQ versions 15, 14, 12.1, and 12 are fully compatible with a PAF 5 database. See the chart below. If you have an earlier version of AQ, you may want to read through the history presented below.

The earlier versions of AQ used the same data file structure as was then used by PAF. As a result, a user could use AQ by itself, or a PAF user could use AQ as a supplemental program to PAF. Since PAF was then a DOS program, and AQ was a Windows program, many PAF users took advantage of the graphical Windows reports and screen of AQ to work with their PAF data. So while there was not an official relationship between PAF and AQ, many users found a natural synergy.

In about 1997, PAF 3 was introduced with a changed database structure. Shortly thereafter, Incline Software upgraded AQ 3.0 to work with this new database, so that the synergy between PAF and AQ could continue. As we were about to release AQ 3.0, we started helping the church develop PAF 4.0 from our AQ 3.0. So there were then 3 programs that could all use the same data files: PAF 3 (DOS), AQ 3 (Windows) and PAF 4 (Windows).

Incline Software felt that the data structures used by PAF 3, and enhanced by AQ 3 and PAF 4, had limitations, so Incline Software developed its own .aq data structure that overcame these limitations. AQ 3.0 gave users the choice of using the more powerful .aq database, or of using the limited .paf database that would allow them to continue to use PAF 3 or PAF 4 with that data.

PAF 5 introduced yet another data structure. None of the older versions of PAF or of AQ could read this new format. With AQ 2002 (version 10) and later with version 11, AQ can still work with the older PAF database as well as with its own .aq database. Versions 10 and 11 could also read the newer PAF 5 database, but cannot update the PAF 5 data file -- they could only read the file and produce its improved reports and web pages from the data. A PAF 5 user would have to use PAF 5 rather than AQ to make changes to the data.

Starting with AQ version 12.0, AQ no longer worked with the older .paf files from PAF 3 and 4, but instead AQ 15, 14 and 12.x work directly with the newer PAF 5 format of the file.

Perhaps this chart will help clarify:

  Earlier Data Structure
(ie. indiv2.dat)
.paf Data Structure
(Prior to PAF 5)
.paf Data Structure
(For PAF 5)
PAF 2.31
and earlier
Edit none none
AQ 2.2
and earlier
Edit none none
PAF 3 Convert Edit none
PAF 4 Convert Edit none
AQ 3 Convert Edit none
AQ 10/11 Convert Edit Read Only
PAF 5 none Convert Edit
AQ 12.x/14/15 Convert Convert Edit

To help you read this table, let's translate the last three lines:

  • Both AQ 10 and AQ 11 can convert an older PAF database into a newer database. They can directly work with the .paf file that was also used by PAF 3 and PAF 4. They can read, but not edit, a new .paf file that is used by PAF 5, and they can also convert this file into any of the databases that they directly use.
  • PAF 5 cannot in any way work with an older PAF data file from prior to PAF 3. It can convert a .paf file that was used by PAF 3 or PAF 4 into its new format. It can directly work with its newer .paf file.
  • AQ 12.0, 12.1, 14 and 15 can directly edit a PAF 5 data file. They can open up a .paf file just as PAF 5 can. Any changes you make to the .paf database in AQ 12.x/14 will be apparent in PAF 5, and vice versa. AQ 12.x/14 no longer edits a .paf file created with PAF 4 or with earlier versions of AQ (version 3 through 11) -- instead, it will convert this file to either a .paf file compatible with PAF 5, or to a .aq file, based on the options you set. You can then continue to work on this file in one of these newer formats.

What are the advantages and limitations on using a .paf database file within Ancestral Quest?

If you edit a Personal Ancestral File 5.x database (.paf) file within Ancestral Quest, you will have true compatibility with PAF 5. You can use the same data file in AQ 15/14/12.x and in PAF 5.x and switch back and forth between the programs whenever you wish. You can also use any of the PAF utilities or Add-on programs that enhance a PAF 5.x database file.

The other advantages of editing a PAF file within Ancestral Quest include:

  • Ancestral File Numbers can be entered and edited. In PAF, they can only be added to the database through GEDCOM imports and they cannot be edited.
  • You can enter the following types of information, which you will not be able to access from the PAF 5 program, but are always available in AQ:
    • The Source Definition screen has an extra field for additional information, such as translator or compiler.
    • Sources can be assigned a category. AQ uses this to allow you to filter your sources, and more easily find the source you are looking for.
    • Sources can be flagged as a 'master' source, further helping in the filtering.
    • Sources can be assigned a quality code, such as Primary Evidence, Secondary Evidence, etc.
    • The citation detail has a quality code field; it also has a reference field in which you can enter a code specifying where that document can be found in your paper filing system.
    • Notes can be entered for a repository.
    • You can add To Do/Research Items.
    • You can manage DNA test results for each person
    • You can mark a child as confidential, or a set of parents as confidential
    • You can mark a spouse as confidential, or a relationship as confidential
    • Mark an individual as 'Not a Problem', so that in AQ's Possible Problem report, this individual will not be listed.
    • Mark an individual as having never married.
    • Mark a couple as having had no children
    • You can edit the various other sentences that are used in the Book reports – not just the sentences dealing with an event, but sentences that transition sections of the book.
    • To assist in printing images of sources, information about how a source image should be presented on a report is stored.

There are some limitations on what you can do with the PAF database file within Ancestral Quest, however. The following commands and/or features will be unavailable:

  • Within the Add/Edit Individual dialog box, you cannot choose a different Birth Rite; the only available option is Christening. You can, however, add a different birth rite as an Other Event.
  • You are limited the option of using Quick Entry (Simple); the Quick Entry (Advanced) feature is not available.
  • Bookmarks are not available
  • In the Edit menu, the following are disabled:
    • Quick Entry Place List
    • Replace Names/Dates/Places
  • In the Tools menu, the following are disabled:
    • Convert Names to Mixed Case
    • Convert Place Abbreviations
    • Change Log

How do I convert a PAF database over to an AQ database format?

To convert from a .paf database to the .aq database format, follow these steps:

  1. Have the desired PAF database opened up within Ancestral Quest.
  2. Up on the menu bar, click on File, then select Database Converter.
  3. In the window that appears, notice that the dot will appear next to Ancestral Quest, indicating the type of database to which you are converting.
  4. Click to select the checkbox labeled Preserve old RIN Numbers if you want to keep the RINS the same in the new AQ database as in the PAF file from which you are converting.
  5. Click the Continue button.
  6. The Save As dialog box appears. Here, you can choose the location for the new file and give the file a filename. It will use the same filename as the PAF file by default, and you can keep that option. Or, if you wish, you can change the file name to something completely different (As an example, if your PAF database is Smith.paf, the default new name for the AQ database will be Smith.aq. You could change that name to something else, however, if desired). Once you have the proper location and file name, click the Convert button to continue.

The database will then be copied to the new AQ format. The original PAF database file will remain untouched. A window appears to state that the conversion is complete. This window also may instruct you on what to do to correct any Custom Events sentences. Click OK when you are done with that window.

Note: We need to explain a little about something going on after you convert the file.

  1. You had the PAF database open in AQ.
  2. You then converted the PAF database to an AQ database format.
  3. The newly created .aq database opened up, in front of the .paf database, so there are now two copies of AQ running, one with each version of the same database.
  4. Look down at the Windows Taskbar (along the bottom edge of your screen). You should see at least one button for AQ (if you do see just one button for AQ, point to it with your mouse). There is one button/thumbnail of AQ with the .paf file, then another button/thumbnail for AQ with the .aq file.
  5. Click on the first button/thumbnail to view the .paf file.
  6. To verify that you are viewing the .paf file, down on the AQ Status Bar, at the bottom of this AQ program window, check the filename. It should end with .paf.
  7. Exit out of this Ancestral Quest window (click the X on the red button in the upper-right corner of this AQ window).
  8. You should now be in the AQ program window containing the .aq database.
  9. Now, when you exit out of AQ, since the .aq database was the last one closed, it should automatically reopen the next time you run Ancestral Quest, directly.

You can now delete the PAF database file, if desired. Note that if you keep both versions of the database, they are completely different copies of that file. If you go into PAF, you will be editing the original PAF database, and not the new AQ database. Likewise, if you go into the AQ file in Ancestral Quest, you will be editing the new AQ database, and not the original PAF database.

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