Gramps for the Mac

by Don Allingham
This is where you review the Mac version of Gramps. The Unix and Windows version have enough differences from the Mac version that it should be reviewed separately. Please go to the main Gramps page to review Gramps on Unix, or go to the Gramps for Windows page to review the Windows version.

Free • Mac • Full Featured • Builds Website
Overall101.33 out of 51.33 out of 51.33 out of 51.33 out of 51.33 out of 5 1.33
20180    No Ratings
201711 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 1.00
Earlier91.64 out of 51.64 out of 51.64 out of 51.64 out of 51.64 out of 5 1.64

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10 Reviews of Gramps for the Mac     RSS 2.0 RSS                   Add Your Review

Gramps for the Mac Review by John,  May 17, 2017

1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5

It is 2017… If you can not produce a simpler, more intuitive software that is basically just loading a relational database then you need to find a new career.

Biggest Con: Totally non-intuitive!!! Waste of time…

Gramps for the Mac Review by Marcu7,  Dec 25, 2016

1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5

I don’t get it….I’ve been using computers for the last 20 years and this was practically unusable for me. I spent an hour clicking, trying to add data, pics ….anything! I never got to first base. This must be for the guys who like to make code and secret passages to find the start button. Sorry this was a waste of an hour.

Biggest Pro: None
Biggest Con: Totally non-intuitive. What the heck?

Gramps for the Mac Review by Matt P,  Mar 6, 2014

4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

GRAMPS is not the most attractive program. People who want eye-candy should look elsewhere. But in my six year experience with it, it is very stable and very powerful, primarily because of its use of user-defined tags and filters. It also has the most thorough implementation of privacy features I’ve seen, allowing just about anything to be marked Private. Exporting and production of web pages can be as selective as you like with the use of those filters. Users should be aware that exporting to a GEDCOM is NOT equivalent to backing up the data contained in GRAMPS, because the program stores more information than is compassed by a GEDCOM. To save all of your data, you will need to export in ‘GRAMPS XML’ format. I use it and Reunion after looking at others, including the dreeadful Family Tree Maker 2, the interesting but oddly limited Heredis and Mac Family Tree.

Biggest Pro: Powerful flexibility using tags, filters and pervasive privacy control
Biggest Con: Not pretty

Gramps for the Mac Review by Art,  Jan 4, 2013

5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

I have the mac version and it takes some time to understand how to enter information. This is due to the opensource nature of this application. However, It is very nice for compiling a family tree. I would say that once you spend some time learning how to use it, you ge very good at. The reporting could use some improvement but it may also be becuase I have to learn exactly how to report things correctly and so for non computer literate folks thisis an even bigger challenge. I still say that it is the best I have seen yet.

Biggest Pro: Organization of family tree and book reporting capability
Biggest Con: Ease of use (practice makes perfect)

Gramps for the Mac Review by R Stevens,  Apr 30, 2012

1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5

Mac version is awful, ridiculously difficult to enter the most basic of info. Help buttons don’t work

Biggest Pro: Instantly awful so little time wasted before dumping it
Biggest Con: Takes user friendliness to new lows

Gramps for the Mac Review by catsy,  Nov 29, 2011

1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5

15 years of experience with genealogy software, and this is the most user-unfriendly experience ever. Utterly non-intuitive. None of the links work. Trying to figure out how to enter basic data is nearly impossible. Who knows what I should have done differently with the Mac installation, but I can’t be bothered to waste any more time with it. Reading the reviews, I wonder how there can be any relationship between the software I downloaded, and the software that others are reviewing.

Biggest Pro: free
Biggest Con: completely non-intuitive

Gramps for the Mac Review by Dan Cornett,  Jul 20, 2011

4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

I was looking for a means to transfer GEDCOM data from online genealogy site ( to a local Filemaker Pro (FMP) database (Mac OS/X). I haven’t found anything to do that directly yet, but I came across Gramps and found that I could import GEDCOM, then export .CVS files, which will import into FMP. I’m still deciding between staying with my FMP vs. moving everything from there into Gramps, but so far I find Gramps can do most things (and a lot more) than I had in my FMP database … except data entry (new person info) — that’s the main thing keeping this from being a 5 (best of breed).

I haven’t tried a large dataset yet, however (only ~800 people, but that went at a reasonable clip).

I’m currently thinking I may end up maintaining/updating most things online, but using my local copy (via AncestorSync, when completed!) for detailed analysis and validation — and Gramps has great tools for that. I will wait a while before deciding to keep the FMP version or make Gramps my ‘reference copy’.

Biggest Pro: Capabilities, extensibility (e.g.: Gramplets), good set of import/export/analysis options.
Biggest Con: Rather clunky interface for adding new people & relationships.

Gramps for the Mac Review by corb,  Jun 23, 2011

4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

I’ve used a half dozen gen programs including and ftm. I’ve settled on online with Gramps offline. Ancestry has easier data entry and great integration of their databases. However I augment this with Gramps because it has such a wide breadth of features that I havent seen elsewhere - great configurable reports, great consistency checkers (birthdates,etc). Gramps is a bit hard to learn and definitely a pain to use, but if your serious I don’t see how you can work without its add on tools.

Biggest Pro: breadth of add ons
Biggest Con: data entry is cumbersome

Gramps for the Mac Review by Jane Anderson,  May 25, 2011

3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5

I like this software, but it could be beter. I have never found a genealogy program that I like totally. I would say the main competition to Gramps is GenoPro in the sense they can both publish to the web. I like to use Acrobat Writer to create pdf from web page so it acts exactly like html web site with clickable links. With Gramps I can do this. With GenoPro I cannot, something strange in their coding.

The problem with Gramps however, the pedigree charts could be much much better. I also like to do pedigrees of Arabian horses, and these can extend to 20 generations. All this obviously cannot fit on one page, but GenoPro does a much better job of compressing a pedigree yet still showing info. Why does Gramps have the name boxes so far apart so they extend to more than one page?

The color used in the pedigree charts, I would like to be able to change. Arabian horses are color coded for strains - Seglawi, Kuhailan, Hadban, Dahman, Muniqui, etc. It would be nice if we could have our own colors for the name boxes (in very light pastels please).

The interface of Gramps, I do wish could be more like Family Tree Maker 2011. Normally you use a genealogy program to enter names and info and that’s about it. But FTM’s interface is an end to itself and is excellent for studying this info: names on the left, pedigree in the middle, info on the right.

Gramps reminds me of Open Office as opposed to Microsoft Office. You come across Open Office and you think WOW. But then you try Microsoft Office and you wonder how you ever thought Open Office was good.

however - with the willingness of the open source to improve Gramps, this is a program to keep track of. The ability to allow editing of charts and reports would be huge, to allow pedigree charts to be moved around (like Generations and Reunions), to be compressed or expanded (individual name boxes too). To be kept on one page as much as wanted. To allow boxes to resize to fit names and pictures, with no splitting of names on multiple lines or cut off.

Biggest Pro: Can be made into pdf with clickable links just like a web page.
Biggest Con: The resulting report just looks too amateurish

Gramps for the Mac Review by NathanM,  Feb 2, 2011

2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5

The primary platform for my family tree is online at Plus I make periodic backups by exporting a GEDCOM, which I then import into GeneWeb running locally on my laptop. That works great, since GeneWeb has functions that aren’t available from Ancestry, and I can access it anywhere, even if I’m offline.

However, I’m always on the lookout for free genealogical software, and I’ve particularly been searching for something that can graphically manipulate family trees. I want to be able to easily select a portion of my family tree, and export it as a GEDCOM for sharing or creating specific charts. That’s why I downloaded Gramps, which sounded interesting from the reviews. The website and documentation are impressive compared to other open source projects.

First, I tried importing a small GEDCOM, about 100 people in a file under 100 kB. Importing was pretty slow, and the interface hesitated a few seconds whenever I switched between different panes. The Gramps database from this file is more than 11 MB.

Then I tried the GEDCOM from my main family tree. This file is a lot bigger, but other software I’ve tried handles it without complaint. It has almost 7000 people, and it’s just over 17 MB. My first attempt should’ve warned me, but I let it go to see how it performed. The import took almost 7.5 hours, and the Gramps database from this file ballooned up to 650 MB! That’s ridiculous. GeneWeb imports the whole file in a few seconds, and its database is actually less than 2 MB.

As one further experiment, I tried to import the same data from a GeneWeb file. But after Gramps hung at 0% for five minutes, and the application stopped responding, I’d had enough and forced it to quit. Now, I don’t have the newest computer, but it’s no slouch either: Apple MacBook 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 2 GB RAM. It can handle audio and video editing just fine, so it’s not my system. Something is definitely wrong with Gramps on MacOS X.

Biggest Pro: free, lots of features, good website and documentation
Biggest Con: godawful slow, ridiculously huge database file size, poor MacOS X interface