gramps - Man Page


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gramps(1)                5.1.6               gramps(1)


gramps — Genealogical Research and Analysis Management Programming Sys‐ tem.


gramps [-? | --help] [--usage] [--version] [-l] [-L] [-u | --force-unlock] [-O | --open= DATABASE [-f | --format= FORMAT] [-i | --import= FILE [-f | --format= FORMAT]] [--remove= FAMILY_TREE_PATTERN] [-e | --export= FILE [-f | --format= FORMAT]] [-a | --action= ACTION] [-p | --options= OPTION‐ STRING]] [FILE] [--version]


Gramps is a Free/OpenSource genealogy program. It is written in Python, using  the GTK+/GNOME interface.  Gramps should seem familiar to anyone who has used other genealogy programs before such as Family Tree  Maker (TM),   Personal Ancestral Files (TM), or the GNU Geneweb.  It supports importing of the ever popular GEDCOM format which is used world wide by almost all other genealogy software.

gramps FILE

When FILE is given (without any flags) as a family tree name or as a family tree database directory, then it is opened and an interactive  session is started. If FILE is a file format under‐ stood by Gramps, an empty family tree is created  whose name is based  on  the FILE name and the data is imported into it. The rest of the options is ignored. This way of launching is suit‐ able for using gramps as a handler for genealogical data in e.g. web browsers. This invocation can accept any data format  native to gramps, see below.

-f , --format= FORMAT

Explicitly specify format of FILE given by preceding -i , or -e option. If the -f option is not given for any FILE , the format of that file is guessed according to its extension or MIME-type.

Formats  available for export are gramps-xml (guessed if FILE ends with .gramps ), gedcom (guessed if FILE ends with .ged ), or any file export available through the Gramps plugin system.

Formats available for import are gramps-xml , gedcom , gramps-pkg (guessed if FILE ends with .gpkg ), and geneweb (guessed if FILE ends with .gw ).

Formats available for export are gramps-xml , gedcom , gramps-pkg , wft (guessed if FILE ends with .wft ), geneweb.


Print a list of known family trees.


Print a detailed list of known family trees.

-u , --force-unlock

Unlock a locked database.

-O , --open= DATABASE

Open DATABASE which  must be an existing database directory or existing family tree name. If no action, import or export options are given on the command line then an interactive ses‐ sion is started using that database.

-i , --import= FILE

Import data from FILE . If you haven't specified a database, then an empty database is created for you called Family Tree x (where x is an incrementing number).

When more than one input file is given, each has to be preceded by -i flag. The files are imported in the specified order, i.e. -i FILE1 -i FILE2 and -i FILE2 -i FILE1 might produce different gramps IDs in the resulting database.

-e , --export= FILE

Export data into FILE . For gramps-xml , gedcom , wft , gramps-pkg , and geneweb , the FILE is the name of the resulting file.

When more than one output file is given, each has to be preceded by -e flag. The files are written one by one, in the specified order.

-a , --action= ACTION

Perform ACTION on the imported data. This is done after all imports are successfully completed. Currently available  actions are summary (same  as  Reports->View->Summary), check (same as Tools->Database Processing->Check and Repair), report (generates report),  and  tool  (runs a plugin tool).  Both report and tool need the OPTIONSTRING supplied by the -p flag).

The OPTIONSTRING should satisfy the following conditions: It must not contain any  spaces. If some arguments need to include spaces, the string should be enclosed with quotation marks, i.e., follow the shell syntax. Option string is a list of  pairs  with name and value (separated by the equality sign). The name and value pairs must be separated by commas.

Most of the report or tools options are specific for each report or tool. However, there are some common options.

name=name This mandatory option determines which report or tool will be run. If the supplied name does not correspond to any  available report or tool, an error message will be printed followed by the list of available reports or tools (depending on the ACTION ).

show=all This will produce the list of names for all options available for a given report or tool.

show=optionname This will print the description of the functionality supplied by optionname, as well as what are the acceptable types and  values for this option.

Use the above options to find out everything about a given report.

When more than one output action is given, each has to be preceded  by -a flag. The actions are performed one by one, in the specified order.

-d , --debug= LOGGER_NAME

Enables debug logs for development and testing. Look at the source code for details


Prints the version number of gramps and then exits


If the first argument on the command line does not start with dash (i.e. no flag), gramps will attempt to open the file with the name given by the first argument and start interactive session, ignoring the rest of the command line arguments.

If the  -O flag is given, then gramps will try opening the supplied database and then work with that data, as instructed by the further command line parameters.

With or without the -O flag, there could be multiple imports, exports, and actions specified further on the command line by using -i , -e , and -a flags.

The order of -i , -e , or -a options does not matter. The actual order always is: all imports (if any) -> all actions (if any) -> all  exports (if any). But opening must always be first!

If no -O or -i option is given, gramps will launch its main window and start the usual interactive session with the empty database, since there is no data to process, anyway.

If no -e  or -a options are given, gramps will launch its main window and start the usual interactive session with the database resulted from all imports. This database resides in the import_db.grdb under ~/.gramps/import directory.

The error encountered during import, export, or action, will be  either dumped to stdout (if  these  are exceptions handled by gramps) or to stderr (if these are not handled). Use usual shell redirections of stdout and stderr to save messages and errors in files.


To open an existing family tree and import an xml file into it, one may type:

gramps -O 'My Family Tree' -i ~/db3.gramps

The above changes the opened family tree, to do the  same, but import both in a temporary family tree and start an interactive session, one may type:

gramps -i 'My Family Tree' -i ~/db3.gramps

To import four databases (whose formats can be  determined from their names) and then check the resulting database for errors, one may type:

gramps -i file1.ged -i file2.tgz -i ~/db3.gramps -i file4.wft -a check

To explicitly specify the formats in the above  example,  append  file‐ names with appropriate -f options:

gramps -i file1.ged -f gedcom -i file2.tgz -f gramps-pkg -i ~/db3.gramps -f gramps-xml -i file4.wft -f wft -a check

To record the database resulting from all imports, supply -e flag  (use -f if the filename does not allow gramps to guess the format):

gramps -i file1.ged -i file2.tgz -e ~/new-package -f gramps-pkg

To import three databases and start interactive gramps session with the result:

gramps -i file1.ged -i file2.tgz -i ~/db3.gramps

To run the Verify tool from the commandline and output the result to stdout:

gramps -O 'My Family Tree' -a tool -p name= verify

Finally, to start normal interactive session type:



The program checks whether these environment variables are set:

LANG — describe, which language to use: Ex.: for polish language this variable has to be set to pl_PL.UTF-8.

GRAMPSHOME — if set, force Gramps to use  the  specified  directory  to keep program settings and databases there. By default, this variable is not set and gramps assumes that the folder with all databases and  pro‐ file  settings  should  be  created  within  the  user  profile  folder (described by environment variable HOME for Linux  or  USERPROFILE  for Windows 2000/XP).


Supports a python-based plugin system, allowing import and export writ‐ ers, report generators, tools, and display filters to be added  without modification of the main program.

In addition to generating direct printer output, report generators also target other systems, such as , AbiWord , HTML, or LaTeX to allow the users to modify the format to suit their needs.








Donald Allingham <>

This man page was originally written by: Brandon L. Griffith <> for inclusion in the Debian GNU/Linux system.

This man page is currently maintained by: Gramps project <>


The user documentation is available through standard web browser in the form of Gramps Manual.

The developer documentation can be found on the portal.

gramps(1)                 5.1.6               gramps(1)