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PAF Compatibility

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.

Compatible Versions

AQ Versions PAF Versions
AQ 1.0 - AQ 2.2 PAF 2.1 - PAF 2.31
AQ 3.0 PAF 3.0 and PAF 4.0
AQ 10 - AQ 11 PAF 3.0, PAF 4.0 and PAF 5.x*
AQ 12.0 - AQ 12.1 PAF 5.x

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:

  • AQ 12.1 can fully edit the data used by PAF 5, and will no longer work with the older type of .paf file. It can convert older PAF files into the new .paf file compatible with PAF 5, or to the .aq data format.

NOTE 3: AQ 2002 and AQ 11 supported 3 data types:

  • If a user uses the .paf data type in the PAF 3/4 format, then PAF 3 and PAF 4 will be compatible with the data. AQ can fully edit these files.
  • If the .paf data file is in the PAF 5 format, then AQ can read this file, show the data on AQ's screens, and generate reports, GEDCOMs and web pages from this data. AQ versions 10 and 11 are, however, unable to edit the data in a PAF 5 file. You must use PAF 5 to edit your data if you want to use this data format. AQ 10 and 11 can convert a PAF 5 data file into its .aq format to allow you full editing of your data within AQ.
  • If a user uses the .aq data type, he/she will be able to be more precise in recording information, but will have to use AQ's built in converter for the PAF 3 and 4 programs and other PAF utilities to work with the data.