What's New in Version 3

Aeon Timeline 3 is packed with changes allowing you to capture and create more data and view it in a larger variety of ways.

This article summaries some of the biggest changes introduced in version 3. Click through to the included links to read more about each of these changes.

New ways to view your data

Version 2 Version 3
View Types
  • Timeline View
  • Relationship View
  • Timeline View is a linear display of events across time
  • Relationship View is a grid structure to quickly view and edit relationships
  • Spreadsheet View is a simple table for fast data entry and ordering
  • Narrative View is card-based display to order and structure events independently of dates
  • Outline View is a tree-like view of your narrative, allowing for quick data entry
  • Subway View illustrates how events connect with characters, arcs, and other entities across time
  • Mindmap View is a free-form map showing connections between entities and events for brainstorming
Split Views
  • Events can be grouped according to item type, creating multiple parallel timelines.
  • Every entity shown, but some can be collapsed.
  • With larger timelines with lots of entities, difficult to manage vertical scrolling to view and compare data

Window can be split to show multiple views of your data at the same time.

This allows you to:
  • View multiple instances of the same view (e.g. two Timeline Views), with different filters applied to each
  • View multiple different view types at the same time (e.g. Spreadsheet on top for fast data entry, and a Timeline underneath for the visual display)
  • Each view has independent vertical scrolling, making it easier to bring data into view for comparison
  • Horizontal scrolling can be synced or separated, allowing you to compare items across time
Calendar Markers
  • Optional "Today" line drawn on timeline at current date
  • Add your own calendar markers to the top of the timeline, with configurable:
    • Start, duration and end
    • Repetition
    • Colors and icons
    • Display just on header, or across entire timeline
  • Optional "Today" line drawn on timeline at current date
Event Display
  • Events can be expanded and collapsed inline to show more information about the event
  • Configure information to show for every event, without the need to expand and collapse individual items

New ways to model your data

Version 2 Version 3
Item Types  Two distinct types of data, events and entities:
  • Events always required dates so they could be displayed on your timeline
  • Entities, such as people and places, which could be associated with events
  • Relationships could only be created between events and entities
Everything is an item, and the item type determines what types of data is allowed:
  • If you don't want to think about dates initially, then don't... events can be created without dates, and can be added later when convenient
  • Entities such as people can be given birth and death dates and displayed directly on the timeline
  • Events, like entities, can be separated into different types (such as events/scenes/flashbacks in fiction, or epic/story/task in agile project management)
  • Events can have relationships with other events
  • Entities can have relationships with other entities (a person can have a birthplace, or two people can be friends or associates)
  • Entities can have additional properties as well as events (e.g. a person can have a gender)

A new template wizard makes it easier to get started with a new timeline, by allowing you to customise aspects of a template as the timeline is created.

Event Orders
  • All events have a date, and are sorted in chronological order.
Two different independent event sequences:
  • Chronological Order: represents a date-based, sequential order of events as they actually occurred (even for items that have not yet been allocated dates).
  • Narrative Order: represents the order in which events (and other items) are introduced within a narrative or presentation of the timeline data

Events can be included in just one or both of these orders, allowing you to map things such as non-linear narratives and backstory beyond what you intend to include in your final storytelling.

Item Hierarchies
  • Events can be nested underneath other events
    • Parent event dates calculated directly from children (dummy start and end events needed to mark start and end of the timeline)
  • Events can be nested underneath other events
    • Parent events have their own dates, removing the need for dummy child events
    • Parent events highlight when child events exceed the start or end dates of their parents
  • Other items can also be nested, such as:
    • Smaller locations (e.g. cities) nested within larger locations (e.g. countries)
    • People grouped into departments, or character groups (e.g. Protagonists vs Antagonists)
Dependencies
  • Dependencies tie events directly together, forcing an exact time distance between events
  • True project management dependencies enforce item order without enforcing strict dates (i.e. Event B must come after Event A, but it doesn't matter if it follows immediately or delays 3 months)
  • More flexible constraints offer advanced options, including comparison against dates or other items, offsets, specific time components (e.g. must be on a Sunday), and comparison operators (less than, equals, greater than)
  • Violated constraints can be automatically or manually resolved, depending on your preference
Event Locking

  • Lock individual events to ensure they cannot move unless explicitly unlocked
Item Dates
  • Choose the precision when entering events (e.g. day, month, or year)
  • Choose the precision when entering events (e.g. day, month, or year)
  • Optionally, specify latest possible start and earliest possible end dates to provide more detail around uncertain events:
    • Used in historic timelines to represent unknown dates
    • Used in project management to represent flexibility or unknown task durations
  • Mark items that have not yet ended (e.g. a person's life) as Ongoing

Scrivener and Ulysses syncing

Version 2 Version 3
What can be synced?
  • Events in the timeline manually linked to documents anywhere in the Scrivener or Ulysses project
  • All data synced via custom metadata
  • Narrative items automatically synced with documents in Scrivener Manuscript or selected Ulysses folder
  • Other entity types such as Characters and Places can be synced with matching folders in Scrivener
  • Relationships synced via keywords, providing better search and sort within Scrivener/Ulysses, and making renaming easier
How does syncing occur?
  • Syncing must be triggered manually by the user, by opening the Scrivener or Ulysses project
    • Events or documents must be manually dragged into or out of the project binder, or linked with an existing item
  • Aeon Timeline always keeps track of changes within the writing project (Scrivener or Ulysses) and will notify the user when a change has occurred that should be synced
  • Syncing of narrative structure to manuscript folder, and entities to entity folders is automatic
Working across applications
  • Scrivener project must be closed to check sync status and to sync across changes, interrupting workflow
  • Scrivener project does not need to be closed to view sync status. This is checked automatically.
  • Aeon Timeline can automatically close Scrivener project when syncing occurs, and re-open the project as soon as writing is complete

Usability Improvements

Version 2 Version 3
Manage Entities
  • Entities hidden away into inaccessible modal window
  • Entity lists accessed via icons in sidebar
  • Selected entity items can be edited in the inspector
  • Items can be dragged directly out of entity list into other views such as Mindmap
Improved Search
  • Search within event labels only
  • Search for any item (events and entities)
  • Search within item, summary, tags, and other text properties
  • Whole word and case sensitive search options
  • Matches listed in side panel, making it easier to find the desired
Improved Filter Interface
  • Global filter controlled using boolean logic in a bar along the top
  • Filter controls shifted into their own side-panel, providing an easier layout to view and navigate
  • Apply a global filter, or individual filters for each view
  • Fast filter access from entity list to filter by a specific entity 
Display Settings
  • Separate display settings modal
  • Display settings moved to footer to make them easier to access and immediately view effects of changes
  • Footer adapts visible display settings for active view type
  • More display settings for each view (e.g. Timeline View allows you to view a marker-only display)
Improved Printing — 
  • Underlying printing mechanisms improved to make printing and PDF export faster, more reliable, and with a better preview that shows the exact final result
Improved CSV Import — 
  • More flexibility in types of data that can be handled
  • CSV import modal provides a preview of imported data, and how many rows will successfully import
Resizing Items
  • Hold down Alt when dragging an item in timeline view to shift its end date
  • Grab handles on each end of timeline item marker allow resizing an event without adjusting the other date
Keyboard Accessibility — 
  • Reviewed and improved keyboard accessibility and navigation throughout the app