Tablet UI Overview

This article provides an overview of the key components of our iPad interface, to help you get started quickly and make the most of your time using Aeon Timeline.

Main Interface

Aeon Timeline’s interface ensures important functionality is visible and easily accessible directly from our main user interface.

Aeon Timeline’s interface is broken into the following components: 

  1. Toolbar
  2. Sidebar
  3. Floating Panel
  4. Workspace (main working area, optionally divided into multiple split views)

We discuss each of these components in more detail below.


The main Workspace is where you view and edit most of your timeline data.

Aeon Timeline allows you to switch between multiple views within this workspace to help you capture, analyse and present your data. 

There are seven different views available in Aeon Timeline, which can be divided into three distinct groups based on the way items are ordered within the views:

  1. Chronological-order views, which display items in sequential order based on when the event occurred:
    • Timeline View: a linear, graphical view of events on a timeline;
    • Spreadsheet View: a sorted table interface for quick data entry and editing;
    • Relationship View: a grid interface showing relationships between events and entities such as People and Places;
    • Subway View: a non-linear graphical view showing events as intersecting points on a series of tracks
  2. Narrative-order views, which display items in narrative order based on the order you wish to present them:
    • Narrative View: a graphical view showing items within a hierarchical narrative structure (e.g. of chapters and scenes);
    • Outline View: a sorted table interface showing the hierarchical narrative structure
  3. Free-form views, which do not impose any order onto the display of items:
    • Mindmap View: a free-form graphical display showing the connections between items;

Each view serves a different purpose and will be relevant at different stages of your workflow, so it is likely you will change between multiple views as you work. As discussed in the next section, you can also show multiple different views at the same time.

You can read more about the difference between chronological and narrative data in Chronological vs Narrative Order.

Item Inspector

The most common floating panel you will interact with is the Item Inspector, which is shown in the screenshot above.

The Item Inspector opens whenever you tap on an existing item to select it, and allows you to edit all information about an item, including its label, color, dates, relationships and property values.

You can read more about the Inspector here. 

Edit Mode

Aeon Timeline operates in two modes: Normal mode, and Edit mode

To enter Edit Mode, press and hold your finger on any part of the main Workspace area, until the toolbar changes to a vibrant blue color. You can exit again by clicking on the Done Editing label in the toolbar.

Edit Mode enables additional interactions with your timeline view that are disabled in normal mode:

Action Normal Mode Edit Mode
Tap an item to select it
  • Only one item can be selected.
  • Item selection immediately opens the Item Inspector
  • Closing the inspector clears the current selection
  • User is able to select multiple items. 
  • Tap on an item to add or remove it from selection.
  • Click the pencil icon in the toolbar to open the Item Inspector and edit all items.
Drag items within an existing view or between views Disabled to prevent accidental edits when scrolling around the timeline Select one or more items, and use your finger to drag those items into a new position:
  • Drag to a new date in the timeline
  • Drag to a new position in the narrative
  • Drag between split views (see below) to add to a different view

 Split Views 

The workspace can be divided into a number of Split Views, allowing you to see multiple representations of your data. Each Split View can show the same or a different view type, and a separate filter can be applied to each Split View, providing a lot of flexibility to your workflow.

Examples of how this might be used include:

  • Opening Spreadsheet View in the top half of the screen and Timeline View in the bottom half, so you can see the graphical timeline representation while taking advantage of the rapid data-entry of the table format;
  • Opening separate Timeline Views, each with different filters, so you can compare different subsets of data.

This latter example of applying separate local filters replaces the “Group by” functionality of Aeon Timeline 2. You can read more about this in Global and Local Filtering.

Adjusting Split Views

The Split View icon in the toolbar shows the current spit view setup, and allows you to change to other arrangements. The exact arrangements available depends on your device size and orientation and the current text size setting on your device.

The Focused Split View

Several user actions, including switching view types or applying filters, are designed to target only the current focused split-view. 

The focused view will usually be the last view that you interacted with, and is indicated by a vibrant blue or teal header (teal acts as a visual reminder for narrative-order views). The headers for all other non-focused views will be faded versions of their primary color.

You can give a view focus by clicking anywhere within the view, including the header. Once active, you will be able to perform the following actions that are associated with the Focused View:

  • Filter the ‘Focused View’: With the Focused View tab selected in the Filter Panel, any filter changes will only apply to the focused view.
  • Change View Type: When changing the view type via the Toolbar or View menu, the focused view will switch to the new view type.
  • Adding an Item: When adding an item to your timeline via the Sidebar + button, the item will be automatically added to the focused view. In practice, this means:
    • When Timeline View has focus, the new item is given a date at the center of that view;
    • When Narrative or Outline View has focus, the new item is added into the narrative order;
    • When a Mindmap View has focus, the item is added into the current mindmap
    • As items are automatically added into the Chronological/Sequential order based on the item type, there is no change necessary when Spreadsheet, Relationship, or Subway views have focus.

Dragging Items between views

In Edit Mode, you can drag and drop items between different views. 

If you wish to add an existing item into your narrative order, for example, you can drag the item out of one of the other views and drop it into your desired position on the Narrative View. 


Two different versions of the toolbar will be shown, depending on whether the app is in Normal mode or Edit mode.

In Normal mode, use the View Selector in the center of the toolbar to switch between different view types.

The remaining toolbar buttons are described below:

Close Timeline: Close this timeline and return to the file browser screen

Split View Mode: select the number and arrangement of split views in your workspace

Settings: Open the Timeline Settings window

Undo: Undo the previous change made to your timeline file
Redo: Redo a change that was just "undone"
Done Editing

Exit Edit Mode: Tap this button to leave edit mode again

Edit Selected Items: Open the Item Inspector to edit all selected items at once (Edit mode only)
Delete Selected Items: Delete all selected items from your timeline (Edit mode only)
Overflow menu provides access to a number of other functions:
  • Shift Items By: Move selected item dates by a specified offset
  • Make Consecutive: Arrange the selected items to occur one after the other
  • Make Dependent: Add dependencies between the selected items to ensure they always remain in the same order
  • Embed in New Parent: Add a new item into the view, and put all the selected items inside it

The sidebar on the left of the screen provides a quick access point to create new items, and allows you to open a number of additional panels. It contains the following buttons:

Add item: create a new item or calendar marker and add it to the focused work view or matching entity list
Search Panel: open panel to search within existing items, or perform search and replace throughout the entire timeline
Filter Panel: open panel to filter items globally or within the focused workview
Calendar Markers Panel: open panel to view and create calendar markers
Various icons

Entity List Panel: open a panel to view a list of items of the chosen item type (e.g. People, Places, Projects)

The available icons and panels will vary based on your chosen template.

View Settings: show view options associated with the current view

Tutorial: open the Tutorial to learn more about using Aeon Timeline

Floating Panels

Clicking on most Sidebar buttons will open a panel to provider access to the selected functionality. A short summary of these panels is provided below.

Search Panel

The Search Panel allows you to search for events, people and other entities within your timeline. Any item matching the entered search term will be shown within the search panel, regardless of whether the item is currently visible within the workspace (i.e. search is unaffected by view types and filters).

You can also perform a global Search and Replace within the panel if you wish to alter text (such as a person’s name) that is referenced in many items.

Where appropriate, items from this list can be dragged into the main view (e.g. to add an item into the narrative order)

Filter Panel

The Filter Panel allows you to apply filters to reduce the number of items visible in your work views. Filters can be applied globally across all work views, or limited to the focused work view.

You can read more information about filtering in Global and Local Filters.

Calendar Markers Panel

The Calendar Markers panel lists all of the calendar markers that are currently configured in your timeline.

Calendar markers are specific events or time periods that are shown at the top of the Timeline View header, and optionally as part of the background of the timeline view.

Depending on industry, there are many uses for calendar markers, including marking global events, key project milestones, or recurring events or anniversaries. Calendar markers give those items global prominence without cluttering the layout of the timeline itself.

You can read more about Calendar Markers in our article on Timeline View

Entity List Panel

Each Entity List shows a list of all items matching the given Item Type, and provides a means to view and access items that are otherwise not shown as distinct events or items within the other workviews.

The Entity List allows you to create, select, edit, and delete items, and organise entities into hierarchical structures.