I recently switched to MacFamilyTree (8.0.10) and a) would like to know whether it is possible to have one first name underlined (or somehow highlighted) in the program, like:

John S̲e̲b̲a̲s̲t̲i̲a̲n̲ Smith

The underlined first name (is there a word for it?) would be the name which the person preferred to be called (not a nickname), but the order John Sebastian would be the official order.

b) More generally, how do you highlight the preferred first name of your ancestors?

  • 2
    As far as I know, e.g. the tree outputs don’t emphasize the first name. I made a feature request some time ago, maybe it helps if more people contact support and ask for such a (basic) feature.
    – lejonet
    Oct 16, 2016 at 21:14
  • 4
    Family Historian uses an item "Given Name Used" to record the preferred given name within an individual's name. While this is an extension to GEDCOM I am sure that I have seen it used elsewhere (in PAF?). FH tree diagrams can be adjusted to show this "Given Named Used" with approp text - I have mine set to show (say) "Charles Edward Smith (Edward)". How relevant this is to MFT I have absolutely no idea, but it does show one option in some software.
    – AdrianB38
    Oct 16, 2016 at 21:25
  • Re" "Is there a word for it?" In German this is the Rufname ("appellation name") and is underlined in documents. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_name -- I've also sometimes seen it referred to as a "call name" or a "use name" -- see guides.lib.udel.edu/c.php?g=85348&p=549167
    – Jan Murphy
    Jan 3, 2017 at 20:45

3 Answers 3


You can use the default name fields as the preferred name. Then any place that displays the person name will have the preferred name. You can add other names to the record, including Formal Name and many others as well.

It's not a perfect solution but its the best I've come across.


I achieve a similar thing by adding an 'Adoptive Name' entry in the Additional Names section of the Person record. It is rendered as Forename Surname (adopted name) throughout the app.

I can't find a formal description of this field (in GEDCOM it is serialised as a NAME of TYPE adoptive. I take it to be the name adopted for common use by the person in question.


Although generally used for nicknames, you can use double quotes as in: John "Sebastian" Smith. Genealogy software rarely lets you underline words, but do allow you to add quotes.

Alternatively, you could use an: "Also known as" field if it is available.

Whatever do you, be sure to add a note about this, and the source you know this from.

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