DNAGedcom – Open and Edit a FTDNA Chromosome Browser File

Using DNAGedcom to download autosomal DNA match information from FTDNA produces three files in zipped format. When extracted there are three files. One of these is the Chromosome Browser matching segment information. This tutorial explains how to open this file and use Microsoft Excel to format it.

The three files are in CSV format. CSV stands for comma separated variable. This is a simple format that can be opened with many simple text editors. The Chromosome Browser is named with the kit number, and underscore, and ChromosomeBrowser as one word.

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This file contains the matching segment data between you and your matches. It is what Family Tree DNA uses to show matching on their Chromosome Browser.

The Chromosome Browser File in Excel

When you first open the file, it the columns will be evenly sized. There will not be a header row. There will also be some extra columns.

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Add a header row

To add a new row, right click on the 1 to the left of the first row. A menu will open. Select Insert from the menu.

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Re-size the columns

Move your courser to the point on the top left where the letter A and the number 1 come together. When the courser changes to a large cross, click. This will select all columns in the spreadsheet.

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Move the courser between two column letters such as B and C. This will change the courser to a bar with two arrows pointing left and right. Double click. This changes each column to be the max width of the data in it.

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Delete extra columns

The first column of the file is empty. To delete it, move the courser over the letter A until the courser changes to an arrow pointing down. Click the column to select it.

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Right click the column to open an options menu. Select Delete from the menu.

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Move to the G column and repeat the process.

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Again right click to open the menu and select Delete.

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Name the column headings

Fill in the names of the column headings by clicking each heading and typing the name. They should be from left to right: Name, Chr, Start, End, cM, and SNPs.

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After adding the Chr heading, re-size the column by selecting it and double clicking again. Chr stands for chromosome.

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When done, the headings should look something like this.

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Save changes

With your changes made, you can save the file. Click the blue Disk icon at the top left of the menu.

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You will get a warning that you are saving in CSV format. Click to Yes button to continue saving.

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That is it for now. On to the next file…