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Using a Custom Color Palette In Timeline Maker

Posted by:    Category: Tips and Techniques

Timeline Maker has a number of built in themes, each with unique color palettes. But what if you need to create a timeline chart with a custom color palette? If you are building your timeline for work, you may want to match the company’s brand colors, or if you are placing the timeline inside of another document, presentation or website, you may want to match those colors. Timeline Maker is designed to allow a large amount of customization when creating a personal theme, including customizing the color palette.

To design your own personal theme with custom colors, this is the basic workflow:

  1. Choose your color palette. If you have five colors in your company color palette, create a timeline with enough data to incorporate all of these colors. For our example, we will use a timeline with 5 events, each with a different category. Timeline Maker uses RGB colors so you will need the Red, Green and Blue values for each color in your color palette.
  2. Timeline Maker Color Palette - Enter Events

  3. Create your chart. After you have entered your data, select the Timeline Chart tab to create your timeline. Choose the type of chart (I find working with a flag chart is best when creating a theme, but you can use either).
  4. Edit your chart. Select your first event, then select from the Timeline Maker menu, Format > Event. In the format menu, you can also modify the background, title and footer styles which will also be saved with your theme.
    Timeline Maker Color Palette - Format Menu
    This dialog allows you to give each item on the chart a shape, color and font that you prefer. For a flag chart, choose the Head Fill tab or for a bar chart, simply choose the Fill tab.
  5. Timeline Maker Color Palette - Format Event

  6. Set your theme colors. If you double click on the color bar, next to the dropdown it will bring up your color palette. You will see a set of “Theme Colors”. This is the color palette for the current working theme. Select a color you would like to change. It will be highlighted with a dashed border. Then press Add Custom Colors >>. Enter in the RGB values for your color choice and then press the button << Add to Custom Colors. You will now see your color added to the theme color palette. Repeat this process for each event.
  7. Timeline Maker Color Palette - Colors

  8. Remove unwanted styles in your working theme. Beneath your chart is the Timeline Maker Style Selector. Right click and Delete Style for styles you do not want to keep.
  9. Timeline Maker Color Palette - Delete Style

  10. Save the newly designed colour/shape set as a Theme. Also located underneath your timeline chart is a Theme List. In the Theme list, click Save. This will save the “Working Theme” which includes all of the style settings we just created. Give this theme a name, ie. Company Colors.thm. For your information, your themes are saved in My Documents > My Timelines > Themes.
  11. Timeline Maker Color Palette - Save Theme

  12. Use the theme on any new chart. Once you have saved your theme, you will now see it available in the theme list with the name you selected. In the theme list, simply find your theme and choose Apply.

Working With Your Theme

When using your theme, all of the themes colors will be shown in the Style Selector. To apply a specific color, find the color swatch you want. Right click on it and choose Apply to Category. All events in that category on your timeline chart will have that color (and style) applied. An alternative is to simply drag the color swatch over the selected event(s) and let go of the mouse button. The color will be applied to that event.

Also, if you will be using this theme a lot, especially if it is a company theme, you may want to set your default theme for each new timeline that you create. Set your Timeline Maker program to use it for every new chart, if you wish. Click on Tools > Options > Chart. Choose your new theme as the default. You may also want to edit the default footer text at this time as well. For further explanation of Tool Options, please read our quick tip here.

Share Your Custom Color Palette With Colleagues

You can also share your custom color palette by sharing the theme with colleagues. Go to My Documents > My Timelines > Themes and find your theme. Send this “Company Colors.thm” file to them. They can then add the theme to Timeline Maker by selecting Import from the Theme List.

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