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Getting Started with Timeline Maker

The Complete Guide to the Event Entry Screen

Posted by:    Category: Tips and Techniques

Every timeline chart starts with data. That is why we are starting our “Getting Started with Timeline Maker” series with the guide to the event entry screen. We will take you through creating a timeline using basic information to customizing column names and everything in between.

Entering basic information in the Event Entry tab.

The most basic timeline requires only two pieces of information, an Event Name and a Start Date.

  1. Enter an event name. This is a simple description of the event.
  2. Then enter a start date. You need to enter at least 4 digits for the year in the date field. You can also enter a day and month or choose BC dates if you wish.
  3. Then click on the next line where it says “Enter new event here…” and repeat the previous two steps as many times as you like.
  4. Click Chart > New Timeline Chart, choose your type of chart and Voila! Your timeline chart is shown in the Timeline Chart tab with the information you just entered. Click back to the Event Entry tab to add more events or change existing events if you want.

Add more information using built in fields

So there, you have created a chart, and for some projects, this is the only information you will need and can stop here. But that wouldn’t be a very “complete guide” of the Timeline Maker event entry screen. You may have noticed while going through the previous steps that there are a number of other built-in fields available in the event entry screen: Category, End Date, Start and End Time, and Notes. You can enter data in these fields, just like above, but below are a few tips to keep in mind.

  • Use TAB or click to get to the next field in the row.
  • Use the time of day if you are drilling down to the specifics of a date. For example, the start time and end time of a training session event.
  • All information may not be shown in the chart until requested. For example, by default, data entered in the notes field do not show on your timeline (More about this in the an upcoming lesson about working with the chart).
  • Less is more! If you don’t know specifics or don’t need a field for an event, leave the field blank.
  • Click the Timeline Chart tab at any time to view your changes on the chart.
  • You can also click Chart > New Timeline Chart to access a new chart. You can have several timeline charts within one timeline file.

What are Categories for?

Categories can be helpful to sort information into groups of related events in the timeline. The chart will display categories in different colors to help you. These colors can be adjusted as desired in the chart (more on this in the article “Using a Custom Color Palette In Timeline Maker”). Just click in the Categories field and start typing. Categories can have any name you desire. This field is also a dropdown, so you can easily select previously created category names from the dropdown. Re-use category names as often as you like or type something else to create another.

Out of Order? No Problem!

Maybe you have a list of events from various sources and they are out of order, or you are entering a new event to a pre-existing timeline. Timeline Maker has a solution for that! It is okay to enter the new event information as you find it. In Timeline Maker Professional, all of the field columns are sortable. Simply click on the column header to sort your event list by that field. For the event name, category, place, notes or source fields, Timeline Maker will sort alphabetically, in either ascending or descending order. For start date, start time, end date or end time, Timeline Maker will sort in order of occurrence. Timeline Maker will also sort the new information after the file is saved and reopened.

Change the order of columns.

Hold your mouse button down over the column name and drag it to your desired position left or right. If you have a column you are not using, ie start time, you can drag it to right so that it is out of your way.

Customizing the field names.

Although Timeline Maker does have Place, Note and Source as column names by default, they can be renamed. This helps if your data has nothing to do with Place, for example, but you need something more useful. For instance, if you are using Timeline Maker to develop a project plan, you could replace the Place field with Responsibility to keep track of who is responsible for various tasks. Just right click on the column name to change it to your desired label.

Linking documents, pictures, or other files to an event.

Click the paperclip icon beside an event. Follow the instructions to browse and find the file. Give it an icon type and nickname if you want. To access this linked document, hover your cursor over it in Event Entry or on the Chart or in the Presentation. Also, you can use Timeline Maker’s Package for Sharing option when you want to share a timeline with any attachments included.

Importing/Exporting your information.

If you have your timeline data in another program, there is no need to re-enter this information into Timeline Maker. It can be incredibly time consuming, especially if you have a lot of events. Timeline Maker can import CSV file data from other programs. Simply select File > Import and follow the directions on screen to select your file and import.

You can also Export your Timeline Maker file as CSV file to bring it into other programs, ie Excel. Simply select File > Export and follow the prompts.

Use your data to do what you do best.

Timeline Maker is a tool to help you do your job, whether you are a software developer who is planning a new product or you are law enforcement officer investigating a case. The event entry is a necessary part of the timeline creation process, but our goal is to make it as easy, intuitive and personalized to your needs as possible. Some of the tips mentioned above, like the import function, designed to save you time entering events or the sorting capabilities designed to help you assess the information you have put into Timeline Maker Professional allow you to spend less time entering data and more time doing what you do best.

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The Timeline Maker blog is your source for tips, tutorials, downloads and news. It is here to help you get the most out of our Timeline Maker software. The program is available as a free trial below.