Tuesday, November 5, 2013

FamilySearch Adds Docs, PDF, Larger Files

Adding to its support for photographs, FamilySearch recently added support for documents, PDF files, and larger file sizes.

Navigation bar of the Photos section of FamilySearch.org

With the addition of PDF files, photographs can now be .jpg, .png, or .pdf files. File size can be 15 MB, up from five. Some users have already used the photograph feature to upload images of documents. (I’ll confess. I’m one of them.) Now documents are officially supported.

In the Photos section of FamilySearch.org, FamilySearch has added “Documents” to the navigation bar. Document upload, viewing, and tagging is handled almost exactly like photographs. The same file types and size apply. Like photographs, documents can be shared. While tags are circular on photographs—making it easy to encircle a face or head—they are rectangular on documents—making it easy to enclose a name.

The Details option of the photo viewer contains the Document checkboxFor those like me who jumped the gun, photographs can be converted to documents—and vice versa. In the photo viewer, click on Details, then check the Document check box underneath Delete This Photo. (See the image to the right.)

I generally recommend against using PDF files for archival storage. However, they are a convenient mechanism for keeping multi-page documents together. Viewing PDF files is integrated into the image viewer (see an example), which is nice.

Note that the document feature is officially in beta, so there are bound to be rough edges.

I consider the lack of TIFF files a major limitation. I’ve contributed a few photographs, but I’m mostly holding out for TIFF support so that I don’t have to scan my photos and documents twice.

On the other hand, I have a fair number of documents photographed in archives. My camera saves only in JPG format. Thanks to document support, I’ll be uploading them now to FamilySearch.org.

Attachment of photos or documents to sources is still coming soon.


  1. why would you have to scan twice? If you use Picasa and open and tif and then export, e-mail, share, save, etc.; it automatically outputs a .jpg. Your .tif file is untouched and still there as big as it always was and you also have a usable .jpg for attaching, posting, etc. Another solution is to use Hamrick software for the original scan and it allows you to output to multiple formats in one scan.

  2. You can also open in Paint and save as a .jpg. Then you have two copies, one in each format.


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