Timeline View (Desktop)

Timeline View provides a linear, visual representation of all dated items in your timeline (that is, all items that have been given a start date). Items are laid out horizontally by date, with their vertical position determined by the chronological order of events (as laid out in the Spreadsheet View). 

Timeline view makes it easy to compare the dates and durations of individual events and view trends over time such as increasing and decreasing frequency of events.

Timeline View Interface

The image below shows the individual components of the Timeline View.

The components of the interface highlighted in the above image are as follows:

  1. Timeline Header: The header at the top of the Timeline View shows the dates associated with your current scroll position, as well as any relevant calendars markers you have added to your timeline
  2. Timeline View (Top Split): The timeline view where items are drawn on the item. This top view is filtered to show only items associated with the person "Hector MacQueen".
  3. Timeline View (Bottom Split): A second timeline view, with a different filter applied (the person "Count Andrenyi").
  4. Context Bar: A feature-rich horizontal scrollbar that allows you to navigate and zoom the timeline while showing a broader context of where items are positioned beyond the currently visible area. 
  5. Footer: The footer bar with a number of controls to alter the display settings for the timeline. Here, you can limit the date range of your timeline so that it will scroll within this date range. 

In the above example, horizontal scrolling is synchronised across the two timeline views, so the Timeline Header and Context Bar are shared between both views to conserve space. This can be disabled in the footer, in which case each split view will contain its own header and context bar instead.

Calendar Markers

Calendar markers are additional markers that you can add to the timeline header (and optionally, extending throughout the timeline) to mark important dates in your timeline.

Typical uses for calendar markers vary depending on your use case, but would typically involve either important global events that are relevant across all aspects of your timeline, or recurring events such as holidays or seasons that you don’t want cluttering your main timeline view. 

Comparing Filtered Timeline Views 

As shown in the screenshot above, Aeon Timeline allows you to view multiple timelines in different Split Views, with each view filtered to show a different subset of items. 

This allows you to visually compare the timelines of two or more people (e.g. characters in a novel, or employees in a project), or view items grouped by different story arcs, projects, or any other filter criteria you wish to apply.

For simple filtering of the active view, you can open an Entity Panel (e.g. People) from the Sidebar and then click on the filter icon next to an entity. The filter will be altered to show only items associated with that entity. By default, this replaces any other relationship-based filter that already applies, or you can use the Ctrl/Cmd key to add or remove from the existing filter instead.

For more complex filtering, you should use the Focused View tab in the Filter Panel instead.

By default, the Timeline Views will scroll together horizontally, allowing for easy comparison, as long as the  Lock Scrolling option in the footer remains active. The views will scroll independently in the vertical direction, making it easier to keep the relevant content on screen in each view.

You can also group all your events into all your different timelines for an item type (eg. Character) by using the Group By functionality.

Manipulating Items In The Timeline

There are multiple ways that you can manipulate events directly inside the timeline. 

Adding Items to the Timeline

Any item with an assigned start date will be shown on the Timeline View automatically, provided it matches the relevant filter and display settings for the view.

To add a new item to the Timeline:

  • Make sure the Timeline View is selected as the active view, click the + Icon in the sidebar, and choose the item type you wish to add. This will create a new item with its date set at the centre of the visible Timeline View.
  • Double click in the Timeline View to add an item at the date that you click.

To add an existing item to the Timeline, you can:

  • Select the event in another view, and use the Inspector to assign a start date to the item.
  • Assign a date to the item in the Spreadsheet View.
  • Select the item in any other view, and drag it into the Timeline View.

If your newly added item does not appear in the Timeline View after setting its date, it is most likely because the item does not match some other part of the filter that is active for that view. In that case, you should either adjust the item properties to match the filter, or remove the filter on the view.

Selecting Events 

  • Click on an event to select it exclusively, or hold down Shift or Cmd while clicking to add it to the current selection
  • Click and drag a rectangle over a number of events to select all events in that rectangle 

Moving Events To a New Date

You can move items by dragging them to a new location on the timeline. When moving items, both the start and end date of the item will change, keeping the duration of the item the same.You can move events in several ways:

  • Move one or more selected events by dragging them to the left or the right of the timeline. A line will show you where the events will be moved to, and a tooltip will show the distance the events will be moved by, and if a single event is selected, the new start date it will be set at. 
  • If dragging a single event, if you move it close to the x-axis location of the start or end of another event, the event will ‘snap to’ that location. This is indicated and “Snap to XXX” displayed in the tooltip. 

Changing Events Duration and End Date 

There are two ways to change the duration or beginning/end date of an event: 

  1. Select the item, expand the Inspector, and modify either the duration field or end date. When adjusting the end date, the duration will be recalculated automatically. 
  2. In Timeline View, hover your cursor over the item marker, and drag the arrows that appear on either side of the marker to adjust the start or end date of the item without affecting the other end. 

Measuring Distance Between Events 

You can measure the distance between two events by holding down the modifier keys  Alt/Option and Shift when dragging the cursor between two items.

Navigating Your Timeline 

There are a number of ways to navigate your timeline to show a different area of your timeline. These include:

  • Use a horizontal scrolling gesture on a trackpad, or hold down Shift while using the scroll wheel on a regular mouse to scroll horizontally instead
  • Choose the Scroll to Date option from the Navigation menu, and then type your chosen date. 
  • Use pinch gestures on a Trackpad to fluently zoom in and out around the current mouse position.
  • Hold down ⌘+Scroll Wheel/Gesture (Mac) or Ctrl + Scroll Wheel (Windows) to zoom in and out around the mouse position.
  • Use the Context Bar to adjust the scroll position or zoom (see the section below) 

You can also adjust the current zoom using the zoom slider in the footer. This also allows you to adjust the limits of allowed zooming.

Manipulating the Context Bar

The Context Bar acts as a tricked-up horizontal scroll bar for your timeline. The lens highlights your current position within the timeline, while the remainder of the bar shows you current events in your current view and the surrounding timeline.

  • The context lens appears as a white box around the currently visible time period.
  • To adjust the zoom of the context bar, click and drag the left or right edge of the context lens to stretch or contract it. The timeline will adjust to the zoom level you specify when you release. 
  • Drag the context lens to the left or right to scroll the timeline. The context lens will automatically scroll when you get to the edge of the screen. 
  • Once you release the context bar, it will animate back to the centre of the screen after a short delay. 
  • Alternatively, you can click anywhere in the context bar to scroll directly to that date. 

Adjusting View Settings

When a Timeline View is active, the footer will show numerous controls to alter the display settings of the timeline.

Adjusting zoom

The timeline zoom can be adjusted by dragging the knob on the zoom slider in the footer:

The dropdown menus on either side of the slider set the minimum and maximum zoom for the timeline view. This corresponds to the zoom level at either end of the zoom slider, and also limits zooming via other mechanisms (such as pinch gestures).

Limiting Date Range 

A dropdown to the left of the zoom slider allows you to limit the date range of your timeline.

When the date range is limited, you will not be able to scroll your timeline beyond the limits you have set, unless items already exist beyond those dates.

Display Settings

In addition to the zoom slider, the Timeline View footer contains the following additional controls:

Card Details: Choose which properties are visible on the timeline alongside each item. By ticking Marker Only, items will be collapsed into the tightest possible space without any extraneous information.
Timeline Layout: Select the layout algorithm used to calculate the vertical position of events. The Compact layout works well with Marker Only enabled, but items will tend to change position much more frequently when zooming in or out of your timeline.
Type Selection: Choose which Item Types are shown on your timeline. This allows you to hide items such as people from the timeline, even when they have dates.
Show Dependencies: turn on and off the visual lines indicating dependencies between items.
Show Today Line: Toggle a visual indicator at the current date and time.
Lock Scrolling: Choose whether multiple Timeline Views are linked together to share the same horizontal scroll position (defaults to locked). Unlock scrolling if you wish to compare timeline views across different time periods or zoom levels.
100% Visual Scale: Change an optical scale across Work Views, making content visually larger or smaller. At smaller values, you will be able to see the layout of more content, but it may become difficult to read.

Group By: Choose how you would like to group items in Timeline View. If you choose to group by person, for example, then your View will be divided by each person in your file. In each group, only items relating to the relevant person will be shown. 

These controls apply universally across all Timeline Views.