We’ve gotten some great feedback form our initial Advisors group around our plans for Virtual Binders and I think the design is almost complete.  We will likely do another round or two of tweaks, but then it should be good to add to the development queue.  That means that we’re ready to publicly share information about this feature, so here we go!

Virtual Binders

One of the problems with the genealogy software world is the fact that people have to use multiple programs to manage their information – their tree program for their tree data and then something like EverNote or OneNote for their research files and logs.  Origins will fix this problem with the inclusion of Virtual Binders.  Virtual Binders are:

  • A different view into your data – instead of using a traditional tree/datasheet approach to managing and viewing your person/family/event/location data, you can organize it and view it using a binder and folder paradigm.
  • The data in your binder views is fully editable, so a change made here is immediately reflected if you switch over to the traditional tree/datasheet view.  If you don’t want that to happen, then you can pick one of several approaches to separate the two – Origins’ What-If scenario support, versioning, or simply having the binders work on a data snapshot.
  • Binders support file attachments, rich text, web clippings and more.
  • Binders are dynamic, meaning that you define the rules for how the binders are organized and records show in the appropriate folders and pages automatically.  It also means that you can have multiple Binders and have the same information show in each.  This allows you to have, for example a Binder per surname as well as a Binder for all people who served in the Civil War.  Then, your relative Robert Jones will show in both the Jones Surname binder as well as the Civil War binder, since he is a Civil War veteran.  All of his information, or whatever subset you define, will show in each Binder.
  • You can organize each Binder as you need – add folders and pages, pull content from your tree data.  Whatever you need.
  • Binders are fully printable, including a comprehensive Index of people, places and events.  If you change some data after printing a copy of a binder, Origins allows you to reprint just the changed pages.
  • Binders can be exported to PDF
  • Printed and Exported binders contain all pictures, documents and data contained in the digital binder.


There’s more to the Virtual Binder feature, but that’s a pretty good overview.  Here’s a couple of screenshots to help you see where we’re going:

NOTE: These images are just mockups, so they’re not pixel-perfect, don’t contain “real data” and for the most part do not include color.  We use these just to convey intention and a view of the overall user interface.

1. Binder Home – lists all Binders you’ve created


2. Binder Pedigree Chart – shown here for a particular family line


3. Binder Person Profile – summary details about a person.



That’s our current plan for Virtual Binders.  Please tell us what you think in the comments.  As always, final design and exactly which release will include this feature is yet to be determined.  Stay tuned for more details as we move forward.