2018 Donald R. Snow - This page was last updated 2018-03-01.
These Freeware Corner notes are published in TAGGology, our Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group (UVTAGG) monthly newsletter.  They are also posted on my Freeware Corner Notes page on  where the links are active and there may be corrections and additions, as well as other related notes and articles.


Each RootsTech has 200-300 presentations, classes, and labs.  Most have handouts that the authors provide in pdf format to post along with the information about their presentations on the RootsTech app.  These pdfs can be downloaded whether you attend RootsTech or not.  They used to post them on the RootsTech website so you could download them onto a computer, but last year and this year (2017 and 2018) they have only been available to download on mobile devices.  Here's the quote from this year's FAQs (2018), "The syllabus is available only through our mobile app for Apple or Android.  There is not a desktop version."  However, this year they are printing a complete hardcopy syllabus like a large paperback book and selling it for $50, if you want to buy one, when you register.   A picture of the syllabus is here -- .

Anyone can download the ROOTSTECH app to their smartphone or tablet, whether attending the meeting or not, so you can see the schedule, teachers, and even get to the handouts.  However, on your computer you can only see the schedule, teachers, etc., but not the handouts.  It seems to me that most of us older genealogists use computers primarily and mobile devices secondarily, but the people they have writing the apps are younger and use mobile devices primarily, so there's a disconnect.  When I have taught classes at RootsTech in past years, few people have either a hardcopy or an electronic version of the handouts, so I have always provided a printed hardcopy for them to take notes on.  What I will describe in this article is a way to actually get the pdfs of the papers on your computer by first using your mobile device.  The procedure is to download them to a mobile device, store them "in the cloud", and then download them from the cloud to your computer.  With them on your computer you can print copies of the classes you want or even copy them to your mobile device for the meeting without having to use the "flaky" Internet connection in the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City.  It takes time and effort to do this, but is a work-around .  It also allows those not attending to have access to the papers on their computers at home.


The RootsTech 2018 app seems to be the same one they used last year, with a few modifications.   It has some good features, but some of the same problems that many of us pointed out in our evaluations last year.  The app works well, if you have a good fast wi-fi connection or can get to the Internet directly with your smartphone, but as mentioned above, there are problems with the wi-fi in the Salt Palace.  The method described in this note will allow you to get the papers saved off at home and you can then work with them any way you want, e.g. print the ones you want, copy them all to your mobile device so you won't have to use the Internet at the meeting, and organize and use them for a helpful family history database.  For most of us older genealogists, just having them available on our computers is a real benefit.


In order to get the papers onto your computer, you first download the RootsTech 2018 app on your mobile device.  When you find a class you are interested in, click on it and scroll down to Resources at the bottom.  If the speaker has provided a handout for that class, it will be listed there as Handout.  It appears to me that about 95% of the classes have handouts.  Clicking on the Handout box brings up the question of what you want to do with the handout.  The options include Open, Email It, and Take Notes On It.  I first tried the Email It and sent it to myself.  The problem with that method is that the emailed file has a completely different name than its name in RootsTech.  The name is some long string of characters and doesn't even have the RootsTech code letters at the start.  These
RootsTech code numbers in front, e.g. RT####, GS####, FDD####, etc., show which class this is so you can find the class it applies to.  If you only want a few of the handouts, this email method is fine and you can change the file names yourself.  I was interested in downloading all the papers in order to form a "how-to" database and didn't want to have to rename them all, so I tried other things.  I found that by clicking on the Open option the app asks me what program to use, so I tried Adobe Acrobat which is free and has a Document Cloud feature.  I set up a (free) Adobe account on , so I could get to it on both my smartphone and my computer, and then saved the files in Acrobat on my smartphone to the Document Cloud by clicking on the 3-button icon in the top right.  With the files in my account for Document Cloud they are available to me on my computer, as well.  I'm sure there are other ways to get the pdfs into cloud storage to make them available on your computer, but this works for me.  To get all the papers I went through the entire alphabetical speaker list in the RootsTech 2018 app and clicked on each speaker and their classes.  Most had provided handouts, all of which I saved to my Acrobat account in Document Cloud.  One thing to be careful of is that, if a speaker is giving more than one class, only the first one shows in the app until you click on See More.  So if he or she is giving more than one class that you want, be sure to click on See More.  This whole process took several hours of working with my smartphone, but I could do it anytime I was sitting waiting, wherever I was.


Each file you save to your Acrobat Document Cloud shows up in the Recent collection of files in your account on the website.  Every couple of days on my computer I highlighted the Recent collection of files and downloaded them to my computer and moved
the Recent collection in my Adobe account to another folder in Document Cloud, so Recent was ready to collect the next set of files from my smartphone.  In downloading the highlighted set from Document Cloud, the website formed a single zip file of the collection and downloaded that to the folder I specified on my computer.   The zipped collection file comes down with a name like  Then, on your computer, when you highlight the file in FILE EXPLORER, it will extract the individual pdfs from the zip file to save anywhere you want.  The names of the downloaded pdfs are the names assigned by RootsTech and have the codes GS=Getting Started, RT=RootsTech, FDD=Family Discovery Day, LDS####, etc. , at the start so tell which class it applies to easily.  Eventually, I will add one or two additional terms in the titles and RootsTech2018 at the end, so they are findable and I can tell where they came from.  I will include them in my "How-To" collection of family history papers.  My labeling system is explained in another set of class notes on my website .  I will also include them in an EVERNOTE notebook, as described in the next paragraph. 


EVERNOTE from  is a free program, with commercial versions, for notes which can be text, pdfs, photos, audios, or other file formats.  To copy the RootsTech pdf, or any collection of files, into EVERNOTE you can drag-and-drop each pdf into a note, but it's easier to do the entire collection all at once as follows.  Open the EVERNOTE notebook you want them in, highlight the entire collection in FILE EXPLORER, right-click, and click "Send To" EVERNOTE.  Each pdf will go into a separate note in the EVERNOTE notebook you had open.  Once in EVERNOTE the pdfs will be completely indexed for all words in each of them.  This indexing takes place
overnight for the free version of EVERNOTE and immediately for the paid versions.  With the entire collection in EVERNOTE they are completely organized and searchable.


There is a wealth of family history data in this collection, but it takes time to download and organize it.  On the other hand, it took me fewer hours to download and form this collection than it would to drive to Salt Lake City to attend the conference in person.  And it was a lot less stressful.  Several years ago the Rootstech organizers stored the handout files differently and I explained a simpler way of downloading the entire collection in an old Freeware Corner note on my website, but that required them to be stored by RootsTech differently than they are this year.  If any of you find a simpler way to download all the files now, please let me know.