Old Family Portrait

Frequently Asked Questions


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

Yes. Go to the menu bar and select Tools, then 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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