Edit your timeline's template using Timeline Settings
When creating a new timeline you start by choosing an initial template that defines the date style, entity types and roles, properties and colors that can be used in your timeline.
The Timeline Settings dialog allows you to edit the template used by your timeline. Changes made in Timeline Settings are localised to your timeline – they will not affect any other timelines using that template, or any new timelines you create from the same template later.
If you want to save your template changes so you can use them in subsequent new timelines, click on the
Save As Custom Template button when you have finished making your changes.
The Range tab allows you to edit details for the x-axis of your timeline. Most of the time, this will relate to the
Date properties of your timeline, but numeric timelines are available that use numbers instead of dates.
Name: If you want to use a name other than the standard “Date” for this property, you can change it here.
Zoom Limits: Aeon Timeline is capable of zooming out to show billions of years, or zooming in to show minutes and seconds. Use these values to specify the minimum and maximum range of zoom allowed in the timeline.
Date Formatting: Choose the date and time format that you want dates to be displayed in on the timeline.
Edit Calendar: Click on this button to edit the calendar used by the timeline and create your own Custom/Fantasy calendar.
Note that calendars can only be changed for new timelines before they have any events or entities.
Properties are additional fields you create to store information about events in your timeline. If you wish to track additional metadata fields relating to your event, you can add properties using this window. You can also delete or edit existing fields.
You can set the following values for each property:
Name: A unique name used for the property.
Type: The type of value you want to store for the property. Allowed property types are:
- Single-line text
- Multi-line text
- List of options
- Integer number (whole numbers without a decimal component)
- Decimal numbers
- Percentage (a numeric value from 0 to 100)
- Yes/No (a boolean value representing true/false, yes/no, on/off)
Calculating parent values
For numeric (integer, decimal, currency and percentage) and Yes/No properties, you can choose to calculate the value for a parent based on the value of its children. Situations where this may be useful would include:
- Project planning, where the percentage completion of a parent task is determined entirely by the percentage completion of its children
- To-do management, where an event is only completed (Yes/No) when all of its children are.
- Calculating costs of a project, where the costs of a parent task are based on the sum of all of its children.
Automatically calculate parent’s value from children checkbox to turn this feature on for the current property.
Mode: Specifies how child values should be used to calculate a parent, according to the following options:
- choose from sum, min, max, or average.
- A single option, “weighted percentage“, is provided. This option weights the contribution of each child based on its duration (e.g. a child lasting 3 months will be given 3x the weighting of a child lasting 1 month).
- Choose from All (parent is true only if every child is true) or Any (parent is true if any of the children are true)
Fading events on the timeline
For certain projects, it can be useful to fade events on the timeline once they are completed.
A single Yes/No or Percentage property can be used to determine whether an event should be faded on the timeline.
Fade events based on this property checkbox to have events fade when the selected Yes/No value is Yes/true, or when the selected Percentage value is at 100%.
Note that only a single value can be used to fade events. Turning it on for one property will turn it off for all other properties.
Entity Types and Roles Settings
Entity Types define particular classes of entities that can be added to your timeline. Available entity types vary based on template, but may typically include types such as Person, Location, Project, Story Arc, Character, Client, or Company.
Entity Types are important, as they can be used to divide your timeline into different groups (e.g. you can group events by Project or Employee).
For each entity type, you can specify the following information:
Name: A unique name used for the entity type
Allow start/end events and age calculations: Whether this entity type should be allowed to have birth and death events, and therefore be able to calculate entity ages.
Generally speaking, you would only allow start/end events for entity types if you want Aeon Timeline to calculate entity ages for you. This is very useful for fiction or historical timelines, but may not be very useful for Project Management or Legal timelines.
Each entity type is able to fill one or more roles for an event. A few examples to illustrate this include:
- An employee may be able to fill different roles such as “Project Lead”, “Developer”, and “Reviewer”.
- A character in a novel may fill a role of “Participant” in an event or “Witness” to an event.
Every entity type must have at least one role, but are allowed to have more than one. For each role, you can set the following:
Name: The name of the role. This must be unique across all names in your template (including entity type names, roles in other types, and property names). The one exception to this is that one role may share the same name as its owning entity type (e.g. an entity type called “Story Arc” can have a role called “Story Arc”).
The icon used for this role in the intersection of entities and events in the
Allow multiple per event: Whether an event can have multiple entities fulfilling a role, or whether it can only have a single value. For example, an event may be allowed to be allocated to a single project only, but it may have multiple people working on it.
When to add a new type vs when to add a new role
This depends on your individual circumstance and what you are trying to achieve, but as a general rule of thumb:
- If the same entity may perform different roles for different events, then you should add a new role to that entity type
- If no existing entity or entity type will ever fill a role, then it would make sense to create a new Entity Type.
As an example, if an employee may sometimes act as a Manager and sometimes as a Developer, depending on the event, they should be different roles.
You can choose a color for each event using a dropdown list in the Inspector. The Color section of Timeline Settings allows you to create and edit the colors that are available in this list.
Colors have two properties:
Name: The name given to the color. Depending on your needs, this may be a color name (e.g. Red, Yellow) or the meaning you want to give to a particular colour (e.g. Critical, Trivial, Fred’s POV).
Color: The color to be used.
The default template colors are selected to stand out sufficiently across all of the skins available in the application.