Build Status LoC

The latest version is v7.4, released on 2022-08-01. See the release notes.

What’s the problem the tool solves?

ged2dot is a script that takes a GEDCOM file and tries to visualize it using Graphviz's dot tool. The basic idea is that you can map individuals and families to graph nodes and connections between them to graph edges, then dot takes care of the rest. What’s unique about ged2dot is that it allows more than showing ancestors and descendants of a single individual (what you can easily do with random family editor software).

You usually want to customize your input filename, output filenames, the root family and the depth of the graph visitor. You can provide these either by using command-line arguments (see --help) or by using a configuration file (see ged2dotrc.sample). When using both, the command-line arguments overwrite configuration values.


The layout does a Breadth First Search (BFS) traversal on the graph, from the starting family:


This has several benefits over explicitly trying to guess which family belongs to which generation. Some example more tricky cases, which are handled by ged2dot:

  • root family → husband → sister → showing her kids

  • root family → wife → cousin → showing her kid

  • root family → husband → grand father → showing both wives with the matching kids

  • marrying cousins

(ged2dot ⇐ 7.0 allowed multiple layouts, none of them supported the above more tricky cases.)

GEDCOM files don’t contain images, but you can put images next to the GEDCOM file, and in that case ged2dot will try to pick them up when generating dot output. The expected location is images/Given Family 1234.jpg, relative to the GEDCOM file. For example, there is a person called Ray Smith in the above screenshot. The birth year string is Y, so the image location has to be images/Ray Smith Y.jpg.

Qt-based GUI

The script is a Qt-based GUI for ged2dot, which can turn the dot output into PNG files.

For macOS, the DMG is not signed digitally, so you need to allow its usage explicitly.

The installer bundles Graphviz for macOS and Windows.

The app icon is by Appzgear.

LibreOffice Draw GEDCOM import filter

The libreoffice/ subdirectory contains a LibreOffice extension, that implements a GEDCOM import filter for Draw. Needless to say, it uses ged2dot internally — think of it as a GUI for ged2dot, with the additional benefit that you can hand-edit the resulting layout in Draw, if you want.

Its dependencies:

  • It uses Graphviz to process the dot format. In case you don’t have Graphviz installed:

    • For Windows, get it here (2.38 is tested).

    • For Linux, use your package manager to install the graphviz package (2.28 is tested).

    • For macOS, install it from brew (2.36 is tested).

  • LibreOffice >= 7.2


  • Filter detection: you can use File → Open and select a GEDCOM file, and it’ll be opened in Draw automatically.

  • Import options: On import, a graphical dialog can be used to set a subset of the options available in a ged2dotrc.

  • Internally reuses the excellent SVG import filter of LibreOffice, contributed by Fridrich Strba and Thorsten Behrens, so the result can be manually fine-tuned if necessary.

  • Runs on Windows and Linux and macOS.

You can grap a release binary at the releases page — more on how to to install a LibreOffice extension here.

Linux distributions install Python support separately, be sure to install the libreoffice-script-provider-python (deb) or libreoffice-pyuno (rpm) packages before the OXT file.

Once that’s done, you’ll see something like this if you open a GEDCOM file:



For ged2dot, in case a given input results in a runtime crash, it’s considered a bug. If you have a fix for it, pull requests on GitHub are welcome. Make sure to run make check before submitting your changes.

For the LibreOffice extension, in case you get an error during opening:

  • For Windows, the log file location is something like:

C:/Users/John/Application Data/LibreOffice/4/user/Scripts/python/log.txt
  • For Linux, start LibreOffice from a terminal, the log is printed to the standard error.

  • For Mac, start LibreOffice from Terminal:

cd /Applications/
./soffice --nologo /path/to/test.ged

then the log is printed to the standard error as well.


Icons are from WPZOOM, in case placeholders have to be used for missing images.



From GitHub.