Components of the Aeon Timeline interface

interface overview draft1

The image above highlights the main components of the Aeon Timeline interface, including:

Toolbar: Provides access to regularly used functionality

Timeline View: The largest area of the interface, which shows your timeline content including events and groups for entities.

Inspector: Used to edit and view additional information and values for the selected events.

Context Bar: A horizontal scrollbar that allows the user to navigate the timeline and provides additional context of events surrounding the current viewing area.

Bookmarks: Shortcuts to scroll and zoom the timeline to a specific date or time.

Grouping Events

Click on the Group by button Lane-Menuon the toolbar to set how events should be grouped on the timeline.

You can divide events into groups based on any entity type, and change this grouping at any time (e.g. you can choose to group by Project or Employee, Story Arc or Character).

Manipulating events in the timeline

There are many ways you can manipulate events directly inside the timeline.

Selecting events

  • Click on an event to select it (and unselect all others)
  • Hold down  (Mac), Ctrl (Windows), or Shift (both) when clicking on an event to add or remove that event from the current selection (this is used to select multiple events)
  • Click and drag a rectangle over a number of events to select all events in that rectangle

Moving events to a new date

  • Move all selected events by dragging them left or right on the timeline. A line will show you where the events will be moved to, and a tooltip will show the distance the events will be moved by, and if a single event is selected, the new start date it will be set at.
  • If dragging a single event, if you move it close to the x-axis location of the start or end of another event, the event will “snap to” that location. This is indicated by a shorter line and “Snap to XXX” displayed in the tooltip.

Changing events duration/end date

  • Hold down Alt while dragging events left or right to alter their end date instead of their start date. As with moving an event, a line will show you where the event’s end date will be moved to,  and a tooltip will show the change in duration, and if a single event is selected, the new end date it will be set at.
  • If dragging a single event, if you move it close to the x-axis location of the start or end of another event while holding down Alt, the event’s end date will “snap to” that location. This is indicated by a shorter line and “Snap to XXX” displayed in the tooltip.

Moving/Copying events to a new group

  • If you drag an event vertically into another group, a new relationship will be added to that event for the entity you dropped it on.
  • If the entity type/role allows only a single entity per event, the event will be removed from the old group (i.e. the drag becomes a “move”)
  • If the entity type/role allows multiple entities per event, the event will be added to the new entity without affecting the original entity (i.e. the drag becomes a “copy”).

Moving events to a new parent

  • Hold down  (Mac) or Ctrl (Windows) while dragging an event to drop it onto a new parent event. The dragged event will become a child of the target event.
  • Hold down  (Mac) or Ctrl (Windows) while dragging an event out of a parent to the main timeline to remove it from its parent. The dragged event becomes a top-level event.

Measuring distance between events

  • Hold down Alt+Shift to measure the distance between two events.

Showing/hiding event details

  • Click on the green > arrow to show more information about an event.
  • Click on the green < arrow to hide information about an event.
  • Use the keyboard shortcut ⌘+Right (Mac) or Ctrl+Right (Windows) to show event details for the selected events
  • Use the keyboard shortcut ⌘+Left (Mac) or Ctrl+Left (Windows) to hide event details for the selected events

Note: you can control what event details are visible when you expand an event in Display Settings.

Manipulating groups in the timeline

Collapse/Expand Groups

Groups can be collapsed to reduce the amount of clutter and vertical space for the timeline. The location of events within the groups is still visible when you scroll, but you will need to expand the group to see the event content.

  • Click on the up/down arrows next to an entity name to collapse or expand a group.
  • Use the keyboard shortcut ⌘+Shift+Up (Mac) or Ctrl+Shift+Up (Windows) to collapse all groups.
  • Use the keyboard shortcut ⌘+Shift+Down (Mac) or Ctrl+Shift+Down (Windows) to expand all groups.

Re-order Groups

  • Groups can be re-ordered by clicking on the entity name and dragging it up or down the timeline. A blue line will indicate the current drop location.

Note: The last “No XXX” group cannot be moved and will always be displayed at the bottom.

Zooming and Scrolling the timeline

Use the following options to navigate around the timeline.

Horizontal scrolling

  • Use a horizontal scrolling gesture on trackpads or mice that support horizontal scrolling
  • Hold down Shift while scrolling with a regular vertical mouse wheel to invert it and scroll horizontally instead.
  • Use the context bar to adjust the scroll position (see section on Context Bar below).
  • Type a date into the search bar and hit Enter.
  • Click on a bookmark.

Vertical scrolling

  • Use a scroll gesture on a trackpad or a scroll wheel on a mouse
  • Click and drag the vertical scroll bar on the right edge of the Timeline View
  • Use the navigation bubbles on the right-hand edge of the Timeline View to jump directly to a group (hover your mouse over the bubble to find the group you are looking for).

Zooming

  • Use pinch gestures to fluently zoom in and out
  • Hold down ⌘+Scroll Wheel/Gesture (Mac) or Ctrl + Scroll Wheel (Windows)
  • Use the zoom slider in the toolbar
  • Adjust the zoom using the Context Bar (see section below).

The first two options will center the zoom operation around your current mouse position.

Note: you can set the minimum and maximum allowed zoom in the Range section of Timeline Settings.

Manipulating the Context Bar

The Context Bar acts as a tricked-up horizontal scroll bar for your timeline. The lens highlights your current position within the timeline, while the remainder of the bar shows you current events in your current view and the surrounding timeline.

Scrolling the timeline

  • Drag the context lens to the left or right to scroll the timeline. The context bar will automatically scroll when you get to the edge of the screen.
  • After you release the context bar, it will animate back to the centre of the screen after a short delay.
  • Alternatively, click anywhere on the context bar to scroll directly to that date.

Adjusting timeline zoom

  • To adjust the zoom of the context bar, click and drag the left or right edge of the context lens to stretch or contract it. The timeline will adjust to the zoom level you specify when you release.

Discuss

Bug reports? Suggestions? Feeling lost? Leave your questions or comments below…