Ancestral Quest™ (AQ) is the only Windows genealogy records manager that is fully compatible with Personal Ancestral File® (PAF).
While all other genealogy programs must communicate between each other using GEDCOM, Ancestral Quest and PAF both actually work on the same data file. Some other genealogy software programs claim to be PAF compatible. This always means that they can either accept a GEDCOM file from PAF, or they might even be able to directly convert a PAF file into their program. Once converted, PAF can no longer read the data as updated by these programs.
Ancestral Quest, on the other hand, does not need to do any conversions. It simply opens the PAF file, updates it, and closes it. PAF can then read the file and 'see' the data that AQ changed.
AQ DOES NOT NEED PAF, nor does PAF need AQ. Both programs are complete in their own right. However, both programs peacefully coexist and complement each other. An AQ user can benefit from any features that the LDS church may put into PAF, by using PAF as an add-on utility for AQ. Similarly, a PAF user can benefit from any features the Incline Software creates in AQ, by using AQ as an add-on utility for PAF.
There have been several utility programs written specifically to enhance PAF. Due to AQ's compatibility with the PAF database, most of these programs can also be used to enhance AQ, thus giving AQ users additional capabilities they might not be aware of.
If a user of the older PAF or older AQ is ready to upgrade to a recent version of AQ, AQ provides an automatic conversion utility that will leave the old data alone, but create a new data file from that data. This new data file can be used by either AQ or PAF 5.
NOTE 1: In 1999, Incline Software donated a copy of the source code for Ancestral Quest 3.0 to the LDS Church. The LDS Church then used this code as a base for creating PAF 4 and PAF 5. This is part of the reason why the two programs are so compatible.
NOTE 2: AQ 12.0 and AQ 12.1 support 2 data types:
NOTE 3: AQ 2002 and AQ 11 supported 3 data types: