2017 Donald R. Snow

This page last updated 2017-03-31.   Return to the Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group Home Page or Don's Class Listings Page .
ABSTRACT:  There are many free or inexpensive computer programs that are very helpful for family history. This class will discuss four of these, EVERYTHING - a free program that finds all files on your computer quickly and easily; Q-DIR - a computer utility program that helps move, rename, delete, or copy programs in various ways; PDF-XCHANGE VIEWER - a freeware program that reads and edits pdf's and does OCR (Optical Character Recognition) on them; and GOOGLE DOCS - a free website that allows storing notes online, sharing files, and online collaborating between several people.   The notes for this class and related articles, all with active Internet links, are on Don's website .


  1. INSTRUCTORS are Donald R. Snow of Provo and St. George, Utah  (  and his daughter Linda Snow Westover of Orem, Utah  (
    1. "Freeware" refers to computer programs that you can use freely and give copies to anyone else; there are usually no "nag" screens.
    2. "Shareware" refers to programs that you can try out and use and, if you like them and plan to use them regularly, you should send a specified small donation (usually $5-$10) to the author at the address in the program and they ususally have nag screens.
    3. "Portable" means the program doesn't have to be installed on the computer, so it can be run from a flashdrive anywhere, e.g. on a computer at a FHC; but some organizations set their computers so you can't even run portable programs on them.  
  3. CAVEATS -- Be careful when downloading and installing freeware; read before clicking; DON'T use the "recommended" or "standard" installation options since those usually change your default programs and/or add bloatware to your computer; use the "custom" installation and read before clicking
    1. Ninite -- -- you select the freeware you want from the hundreds it has available and it sets up an installer so you don't have to do each program separately; will also check for updates for those programs 
    2. Glary Utilities -- -- includes a program to check for updates for all your installed programs and has a safe place to download updates without getting viruses -- 
    3. Portable Apps -- -- Put this program on a flashdrive and you can then run other programs from the flashdrive without having to install them on the computer, so they become portable for you to use anywhere, e.g. at a FHC
  5. CATEGORIES OF FREEWARE FOR FAMILY HISTORY -- See my  SUPPLEMENTARY FREEWARE NOTES  for more than 70 free programs in these categories
    1. Record Management Programs
    2. Other Genealogy Programs and Databases
    3. Computer Utilities
    4. Graphics Programs
    5. Sound and Video Programs
    6. Text and Office Programs
  6. CLASS TODAY -- will discuss four programs; more details are on my SUPPLEMENTARY FREEWARE NOTES and in FREEWARE CORNER articles on my webpage -- .

  8. EVERYTHING is the name of the program; available from 
  9. Very helpful to find and work with files anywhere on your computer, if you know anything in the name of the file 
  10. Search syntax (See Help Menu):  (space) = AND; | = OR; ! = NOT; < > = GROUPING; " " = EXACT PHRASE; Wildcards * and ?
  11. Can find, run, rename, delete, form shortcuts, find duplicates, organize -- Number in lower left corner is number of files found for that search criteria
  12. Click on the title field at top of result columns to sort results by name, date, size, path, etc. ; second click there reverses the sort
  13. From the results you can drag-and-drop files to move them a folder on desktop or in a file management program such as File Explorer or Q-DIR
  14. New feature is the Preview Panel -- click on View > Preview  and you get a panel at the right that shows what's in the file without having to open it in another program -- very helpful in file management, renaming, deleting, etc.
  15. Q-DIR

  16. Available from -- Download button is in upper right corner -- FAQ's at 
  17. File maintenance program with up to four File Explorer-type panels in various configurations (Name seems to mean Quad Directories)
  18. Can use it to find, run, copy, delete, rename files; also has a way to copy the path of the file to your clipboard
  19. Each panel can be set to show different folders and sort results by title, size, type, date, etc.; can drag and drop between panels; very helpful for organizing files
  20. Has a portable version, so you can run it from a flash drive without installation on the computer

  22. Available from 
  23. Older version was called PDF-XChange Viewer and is also still available; both are free for private use
  24. Freeware reader and editor for pdf's with many features including extracting and inserting pages, filling out pdf forms, rotating images, posting "sticky notes" on the pdf, etc.; free version does not include merging pdf's, but other freeware programs will do that, e.g. 
  25. Has OCR (Optical Character Recognition) for pdf's that will OCR pages, articles, or entire books, e.g. can OCR a pdf book downloaded from Google Books

  27. Available from 
  28. Uses your (free) Google account in any browser, but works best in Chrome
  29. Go to Google > Apps (3x3 "Tic-Tac-Toe" square in upper right corner) > Docs and sign in with your Google account -- if you have a Gmail address, you already have a Google account; Google accounts are free
  30. Can write, edit, save, and share documents online and is available to you through your Google account on any computer connected to the Internet 
  31. Stores your files on Google Drive "in the cloud"
  32. Includes programs to handle text files ("docs"), presentations ("slides"), and spreadsheets ("sheets"); if using the Chrome browser, download the extension "Office Editing for Docs, Sheets, and Slides" which is helpful to edit documents
  33. Can work with others simultaneously on the same document and everyone sees all the changes made in real time with the changes labeled by who made them
  34. To share a document you send others an email with the link
  35. Also has a Calendar program to keep track of your appointments and other calendars you can also see

  37. We have discussed what freeware is, some programs that help in installing and using it, and four of many freeware programs and websites; see Don's  SUPPLEMENTARY FREEWARE NOTES  and FREEWARE CORNER articles on  for more details and many others. 
  38. If you get the vision of what can be done, then when you need it, look up the details of how to use the program.

Return to the  Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group (UVTAGG) Home Page  or  Don Snow's FH Class Notes Page .