What Are Relative Dates

When planning your story, you might not want to have to think about the exact dates that your events happen. You might know that your story is vaguely set in a certain time period, but the exact dates aren’t too important, or you may not wish to think to this level of detail in your initial planning stages.

However what can be important is the date of an event relative to one another. For example, you know that it is important in your story that a second murder takes place 3 days after the first one. Aeon Timeline allows you to convey this on a timeline without having to give exact dates. This is done using “Relative Dates”, where the start and end dates of an event are given as relative to an arbitrary “zero date”.

Types of Relative Dates

There are three types of relative dates:

Weekly: Weeks count forward or backwards from zero, ie. Week 0, Week 1, Week 2 etc. Events can be specified as occurring on a specific day or time during that week (eg. 10 am Monday Week 6)

Daily: Days count forwards or backwards from zero, ie. Day 0, Day 1 etc. Events can be specified as occurring at a specific time during the day (eg. 10 am Day 3)

Time: Time counting forwards or backwards from zero, ie. 02:32:34 or -12:45:00

Setting up Relative Dates

To set up your project to use Relative Dates, choose the relevant template when creating your file (eg. Fiction/Novel etc.) and choose “Customise” at the bottom right hand side. Choose which option you wish to use to map your relative dates (Daily, Weekly or Time) and continue with the template wizard to create your file.

Now you can add events and entities to your project as normal, but with the relative start and end dates. The time scale bar on Timeline View has been changed to use these dates as well.

Changing Your Relative Dates to Absolute Dates

Once you have planned out the events of your story in relation to one another, you might then wish to convert them back to absolute real world dates.

Open Timeline Settings  and under the Calendar & Date tab, choose “Absolute (Regular dates) from the Calendar Style dropdown.

This will bring up a popup asking you to pick the zero date you wish to use. All events in your timeline will be converted based on their relative offset from this zero date. For example, if you choose a zero date as 1 Jan 2016, then “Day 2” becomes 3 Jan 2016 etc.

Once you have chosen this date and applied your settings changes, your events will convert to use absolute dates.