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The GEDCOM Format section contains properties that affect the format of the GEDCOM file.


Byte Order Mark

The Byte Order Mark property determines if the GEDCOM file starts with a UTF-8 signature called the "byte order mark". The default value is checked.

TMG to GEDCOM writes GEDCOM files using the UTF-8 character encoding. The UTF-8 signature is optional. Adding the UTF-8 signature ensures that a program that reads the GEDCOM file will know which encoding it uses. GEDCOM-compliant programs should read the CHAR value to determine the character encoding, but other programs, such as text editors, will not. Adding the signature avoids issues with non-compliant GEDCOM programs and helps when reading the file with text editors.

Double @ in Text

The Double @ in Text property determines whether TMG to GEDCOM exports @ characters found in text values using two @ characters as required by the GEDCOM 5.5.1 specification. The default is checked.

Some GEDCOM readers, such as Ancestry.com, do not comply with the GEDCOM 5.5.1 specification and do not process doubled @ characters properly. To accommodate those readers, uncheck Double @ in Text.

For additional notes about @ characters and Ancestry.com, see the template page for Ancestry.

Maximum Value Length

The Maximum Value Length property determines the maximum length for a text value before its GEDCOM record is split into multiple records using CONC (concatenation) subrecords. The default value is 240, and that is also the maximum value allowed by TMG to GEDCOM.

If you are planning to review the GEDCOM file in a text editor, you may want to choose a lower value. The minimum value is 100.

The GEDCOM 5.5.1 specification (and prior) defines a maximum record length. To ensure that GEDCOM records do not exceed the maximum record length, TMG to GEDCOM will use CONC (concatenation) records when a long text value would otherwise cause a GEDCOM record to exceed the maximum length.

Attributes Mode

The Attributes Mode property determines how events usually written with GEDCOM attribute tags, such as OCCU, are handled. There are three choices:

  • Always use attribute's tag – TMG to GEDCOM uses the attribute's tag for all text values, even if the value will result in an invalid GEDCOM record because it is too long, or in the wong format, etc.
  • Use EVEN tag if invalid – TMG to GEDCOM uses the attribute's tag for all valid text values but uses an EVEN/TYPE combination when the text would otherwise cause an invalid attribute tag. This reduces the risk that an invalid record will not be processed as desired by the program that reads the GEDCOM file.
  • Always use EVEN tag – TMG to GEDCOM always uses an EVEN/TYPE combination in place of the usual attribute tag. This keeps the treatment of TMG events consistent, but may require extra configuration steps in the program that reads the GEDCOM file.

See the GEDCOM Tags page for more information.

Include Primary Indicators

The Include Primary Indicators property determines whether custom GEDCOM tags are written in the GEDCOM file to indicate primary events. The default is checked.

The default custom GEDCOM tag is _PRIM, but that value may be changed in the GEDCOM Tag Names section. See Primary Indicator Tag.

Most GEDCOM readers will not process _PRIM tags and will use other logic to determine which tags are primary.

Primary Value

The Primary Value property determines the value used in the primary indicator tag (_PRIM) when a record is primary. The default is "Y". Some GEDCOM readers may prefer "1" (one).


The Include HEAD.SUBM property controls whether TMG to GEDCOM includes the HEAD.SUBM record in the GEDCOM file. The default is checked. HEAD.SUBM is required by the GEDCOM 5.5.1 specification, but many programs ignore it. If the GEDCOM reader does not load the HEAD.SUBM record or its subrcords, you can uncheck this item.