Differences between Desktop and iPad apps

For those familiar with the Desktop app, there are a few differences with the iOS design. These design choices were typically made because of limitations with the iPad environment, or to better suit the smaller screen and touch interface.

Desktop features that are not currently available in iOS:

  • CSV importing
  • Image and PDF exporting (although you can take screenshots using the standard iOS function)
  • Web exporting
  • Scrivener and Ulysses syncing
  • Printing
  • Saving custom templates (but you can create an empty timeline and then duplicate it)
  • There is no search and replace functionality for text
  • Saved filters (you can filter in iOS, but they cannot be saved for reuse)

You can of course share your timeline across devices via iCloud or Dropbox, allowing you to access that functionality in the Desktop app when required.

Features that work differently on iOS:


Desktop's Group By functionality works different in iOS:

  • On the Desktop, you choose to Group By a particular entity type, and the timeline shows separate groups for every entity of that type, with the groups stacked on top of each other. Groups can be collapsed, or markers on the right edge of the screen allow you to quickly jump to different groups, making it easy to find your way around.
  • On iPad, smaller screen sizes get too cluttered with the navigation markers, and fat fingers makes them too hard to tap anyway. Without them, vertical navigation is possible with scrolling only, which makes it hard to quickly find the group you are after. The smaller screen also means it is rare to be able to fit many groups on the screen at the same time anyway, so the ability to make visual comparisons across groups is extremely limited.
  • Consequently, the iPad design shows only a single group at a time, and the quick navigation using the left hand Side Bar lets you quickly jump between different groups. This also improves app performance on older devices. This in effect acts like a very fast filter.

Individual column selection in Relationship View

  • On the Desktop, you can choose exactly which entities are visible as columns in Relationship View, including showing entities of more than one type at the same time.
  • On iPad, you can only view columns for a single entity type at a time, and all entities of that type will be shown (you cannot turn individual entities on and off).

    You cannot drag and drop columns to change their order. Instead, open the entity list via the left Side Bar and sort the entities there. The order will be reflected in the columns.


Expanding events inline to view more detail

  • On the Desktop, events can be expanded on the timeline view by clicking on a green arrow to show more information. Individual events, or in fact all events at once, can be expanded and collapsed.
  • On iPad, there is not enough screen real estate to show the expanded events - they tend to just push everything else off the screen, and there are performance limitations also. Instead, to see the additional event information, just tap on the event and the Inspector will slide out showing everything you have entered about the event.

Searching for events

  • On the Desktop, typing in the search bar highlights all instances of the search terms on the user interface, and Find Next/Previous scrolls the timeline between matching events.
  • On iPad, a list of matching events is shown as you search. Tapping on one of the events hides the search bar, and selects and scrolls to that event. You can also type a date and scroll to a set point in time rather than a specific event.

Adding events with double click

  • On the Desktop, double clicking on the timeline will add an event at that date.
  • On iPad, usability testing showed it was too easy to trigger the double tap gesture when meaning something else (e.g. scrolling), and so add events with the add event button instead.

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