HelpTimeline Getting StartedSettings and Customization

Settings and Customization

The MasterFile template

MasterFile uses a specific Timeline template to create timelines.

Although there are other template styles provided with Timeline, including one called Legal, only the MasterFile template is used for automatically creating and updating timelines from MasterFile.

In this article, we explain customizations you can make to active and new timelines and to Timeline's MasterFile template itself.

Customizing timelines
1. Application Options

Application options affect the Timeline itself. You set global functions here. Generally these do not need adjusting. 

If you prefer a dark, light or different application skin and colour scheme, you can set that here.

2. Timeline Settings

The Timeline MasterFile template defines the date style, entity types and roles, properties and colors of all timelines you create. Timeline Settings applies only to your new or current timeline window. It doesn't affect other existing or new any timelines you create later.

To save changes to the MasterFile template itself see the last section of this article.

Range tab

The Range tab is preset by MasterFile and generally you do not need to adjust anything.

  • Name is set by default to “Date”. If your case spans events during a day, you could set this to "Time" for example.
  • Style is preset by default to "Regular dates". The other options are not applicable.
  • Zoom Limits is used to specify the minimum and maximum range of zoom within in the timeline.
  • Date Formatting governs the way dates and times appear on the timeline.
  • Edit Calendar modifications are not applicable. Calendars can only be edited before timelines are generated or events and entities added automatically by MasterFile and calendar modifications would therefore be lost.

Properties tab

The Property tab is preset by MasterFile. It corresponds to the same event properties you know from MasterFile.

The two fields, "Automatically calculate parent's value from children" and "Fade events based on this property", are not applicable.

Entity Types tab

The Entity tab is preset by MasterFile.

Entity roles correspond to their counterparts which you know from MasterFile. Role names should not be edited.

Roles allow you to group events letting you filter a timeline by issue, etc. just as you do in MasterFile. The icon on the right of the role name appears in Timeline's relationship view which cross-references roles and events, letting you probe new relationships visually.

3. Display Settings

These settings are for the most part self explanatory.

In Display Settings

  • Skin sets a different theme in this timeline.
  • Size will zoom the entire interface rather than just the timeline.
  • Scrolling
    • Do not constrain scrolling - gives you unbounded scrolling left and right.
    • Bounce once at first/last event, then continue - lets you scroll left and right, stops at the first and last events, but then lets you continue.
    • Restrict scrolling to first/last event - lets you scroll only between the first and last event.
  • Layout
    • Use minimum space possible - displays events at the top-most vertical space that will fit them. It uses the least space vertically but events are interleaved so a later event might appear at the top of the timeline, rather than at that time slot and under the previous event. Also, events are likely to shuffle around to very different vertical locations when you change the zoom level.
    • Cascade unbroken groups from top - displays an event underneath the previous one, until there is enough room to return to the top and have all later events displayed in another unbroken chain. This avoids the 'inter-leaving effect' and uses much less vertical space than the last option but more than the first. Events are also likely to shuffle around to very different vertical locations when you change the zoom level with this option.
    • Only return to top when clear of all previous events - displays each event underneath the previous one, until an event’s start position is further right than the right-most edge of all previous events. This is our preferred setting. It is more stable and consistent when zooming as events rarely shuffle but uses the most vertical space in large timelines.
  • Options
    • Show event IDs on timeline - display events with their IDs.
    • Show event dates  - displays event dates on individual events.
    • Indicate Today - marks the current date with a vertical bar that updates in realtime.
    • Show duration in title - adds the event's duration in its title if it's greater than zero.

Display contents for expanded events

  • Different entities represented by the placeholder buttons in the 'Other' section can be dragged in or out of the display as your case or presentation requires. They are shown in expanded event boxes on the timeline. In the screenshot above, placeholders for External Links, Relevance, Issue and Image were dragged and dropped over the respective columns.
  • These tags are shown when an event box is expanded and in the Inspector panel as well. Since no image has been added for this event in the Inspector, none is shown in the event box.
  • Note the link. Clicking on it in the Inspector or the event box takes you back to the event profile in MasterFile.
Customizing the MasterFile template

Before you start, we recommend you backup Timeline's original MasterFile template as explained in the last section below.

Customizing the MasterFile template is as simple as customizing a blank timeline, or opening one of your existing timelines, and saving either as the MasterFile template. All subsequent timelines will use those settings.

Starting fresh

To start from a blank slate, click on File > New and scroll to the bottom of the window.

Click on the MasterFile template icon and then on 'Customize'.

A new, blank timeline opens with the Timeline Settings dialog box displayed. Make any changes here and then click the "Save As Custom Template" button. Call it "MasterFile" (without an extension) and if you are asked to overwrite an existing template, say "Yes".

Make any other changes you need from View > Visual Display Settings as needed and then click on the toolbar cog icon or choose Timeline > Timeline Settings again and re-save the template using the "Save As Custom Template" button as above.

Starting from an existing timeline

Open the timeline and make any other customizations or changes to Visual Display Settings or Timeline Settings as needed. Then click on the toolbar cog icon or choose Timeline > Timeline Settings and then click on the "Save As Custom Template" button as above. Call it "MasterFile" (without an extension) and if you are asked to overwrite an existing template, say "Yes".

Backing up the MasterFile template

Click on File > New and scroll to the bottom of the window.

Click on the MasterFile template icon and then on 'Customize'.

A new, blank timeline opens with the Timeline Settings dialog box displayed. Click "Save As Custom Template" and call it "MasterFile - copy" (without an extension) or something similar.

If you need to restore the MasterFile template, you can then repeat the above steps, choosing the "MasterFile - copy" template icon and then clicking on the "Save As Custom Template" button as above. Call it "MasterFile" (without an extension) and if you are asked to overwrite an existing template, say "Yes".

You can also backup your MasterFile template directly from Windows Explorer on your as follows:

  1. Open Windows Explorer and in the address bar, type %appdata%.
  2. Your AppData > Roaming folder will open. Go up one level and click on Local, then Scribble Code, then Aeon Timeline, and finally Custom Templates.
  3. Copy and paste the MasterFile.xml file. A new file called MasterFile - copy.xml will be created backing up your existing MasterFile template.
  4. In Timeline, toolbar cog icon or choose Timeline > Timeline Settings again and click on the "Save As Custom Template" button.
  5. Call it "MasterFile" (without an extension) and if you are asked to overwrite an existing template, say "Yes".