What has changed in Aeon Timeline 2?
Aeon Timeline 2 is packed with new features and improvements from version 1, as well as some user interface changes to reflect the feedback we received over our time supporting version 1. Here are some of the most important details to make the transition smoother.
Aeon Timeline 2 opens version 1 files
The file format has changed for version 2 to accomodate all of the new features, but Aeon Timeline 2 can open existing version 1 timeline files. You can recognise version 1 files from their xyz.aeonxml file extension, which has been updated to xyz.aeon2 for the new version.
To open a version 1 file, choose Open… from the File menu, or click on the Open Existing File button on the welcome screen.
Aeon Timeline 2 has a flexible template system when starting new projects to reflect the type of project you are working on. When upgrading version 1 files, a special template is used that most closely resembles the original version 1 format. You can always edit the template after opening the file by going to Timeline Settings.
To preserve your original file, you will be asked to save any changes you make as a new version 2 file with the xyz.aeon2 extension – Aeon Timeline 2 cannot save changes to the old file format.
Arcs are now another entity type
In version 1, you grouped events by dividing them into “arcs”, which were stacked on top of each other in the timeline display. Version 2 is a lot more flexible, and allows users to group events by Arc, Person, Location, Project, and more.
To accomodate this change, Arcs are now considered to be just another type of Entity. Each template defines its own entity types – the Fiction template contains Arcs and Characters, whereas the Project Management template has Projects and Employees.
You can add a new arc using the Add Entity button in the toolbar.
Relationships can be set in the Inspector
Relationships between events and entities (including Arcs) can now be configured in the Roles tab in the Inspector.
Birth and death relationships (for entity types that allow them) are configured via the Manage Entities window.
Relationship View is now a standalone view
In version 1, the Relationship View was an add-on that appeared at the bottom of the timeline view, which tended towards a cluttered and chaotic user interface under higher event volumes.
With version 2.1 we have introduced a new standalone Relationship View that provides similar functionality to the original, but with a cleaner and more scalable design.
This new view, combined with the grouping mechanisms and Inspector changes described above, provide more flexibility in the ways relationships can be viewed and created in version 2.
Group by any entity type
You can now group events by any entity type you wish, and switch between your chosen grouping at any time. This allows you to have different views of your data depending on your current needs – group by Arc when you want to follow your story line, group by Person when you want to look for inconsistencies in the actions or locations of an individual character.
Click on Group by in the toolbar or View menu to switch between different grouping options. If you group by Person or any other entity that allows birthdates, the age of the entity will be displayed at the top of each group as you scroll through the timeline.
As events can have relationships with multiple People, it is possible for the same event to appear in multiple groups. When you click on such an event to select it, all copies of that event will be highlighted.
Expand events to see more info
Every event on the timeline can be expanded to show more event information by clicking on the green > arrow next to the event.
Expanded events can show summary text, character relationships and ages, images and other properties for an event – all configurable via the Display Settings window.
Dependencies and Nested Events
Aeon Timeline 2 introduces new functionality including Event Dependencies and Nested Events.
Dependencies allow you to tie the start date of one event to be an offset from the beginning or end of another – e.g. Event B = end of Event A + 10 years. These are configured under the Range tab in the Inspector.
Nested Events allows you to place events as child (sub) events under a parent. Parents can be expanded to show their child events, and automatically collapse as you zoom the timeline out, allowing you to view the detail when you want it, and zoom out to see the context without having a lot of smaller insignificant events cluttering your view of the whole.
You can set a parent event in the Inspector, by holding Alt and dragging events on top of their intended parent, or by choosing Embed in New Parent Event from the Timeline menu.
Aeon Timeline 2 provides many new ways to quickly get around the timeline:
- Click First or Last in the bookmarks bar at the bottom of the screen to go to the first or last event.
- Click Previous or Next to be taken to the first event to the left or right of the currently viewable time axis.
- Add your own Bookmarks to quickly navigate to a set zoom and time.
- Hit ⌘F (Mac) or Ctrl-F (Windows) to activate the search bar, and type a search term to be taken to the first event matching that term. Use Find Previous/Next to navigate between matching items.
- Alternatively, type a date into the search field to be taken directly to that date.
- To navigate vertically, use the group nodes on the right-hand side of the timeline to jump straight to a given entity group. Entity names will be shown when you hover over the nodes so you can see where you are jumping.
- Alternatively, collapse all of the nodes at once by hitting ⌘+Shift+↑ (Mac) or Ctrl+Shift+↑ (Windows), and then expand the group you want to view to minimise the need for vertical scrolling.
Exploring the Application Further
The changes listed above are the biggest, most noticeable changes in version 2, but there are many more changes found all over the application.
Significant changes have been made to importing, exporting and Scrivener syncing, so check out the support pages on each of those for more information.