Timeline Mode


Just wondering – might it be possible to someday add a “timeline” feature, for those of us who are either writing fiction (or screenplays), or otherwise working with linear date-and-time type stuff? I’ve read a few other discussion threads here on the subject (including a fascinating article about why what one person wanted was not possible to implement in Scrivener), but despite that, hear me out … this is how I envision it working: First, the user goes to a menu and hits, “Enable Timeline Mode,” which “links” their Binder to their timeline. By default, each folder level in the Binder is its own timeline; a folder containing subfolders is a timeline containing a smaller timeline; the items in each one can be in any order at the start, but the descending order the Binder has at the beginning is the one Timeline Mode will use. The window that appears is divided in two – on the top is a the “default” timeline (which can contain other timelines), and on the bottom is the Corkboard. The initial Timeline obeys the document structure in the Binder with regard to what is where, and when; the user can then drag and drop index cards – which, if it’s a folder, contains a smaller “timeline” – from point to point in time, and the Binder structure rearranges itself accordingly. Or, alternatively, the user can navigate to the Corkboard below, and can pick out any index card – which can have subfolders or just documents inside it – and then drops that onto the timeline where they want it; the Binder obeys, copying items if necessary. Since the master timeline (i.e., root Binder structure in linear order) is tied to the Binder structure, if one index card is moved “ahead” of another in time, the order of documents in the Binder will adjust itself accordingly. The user can then affix “dates” and “times” to the items, basically the equivalent of assigning each item the Binder (and sub-items) a “date” field that pins that document or folder (i.e., sub-timeline) to a specific point in “time.” Then, by using Keywords – such as character names, or key phrases – the timeline is separated into “multiple” timelines . . . which are actually just abstracts that represent “when” a certain word or phrase is referenced. This would give the illusion of multiple timelines for different “characters” (or places, etc.), but in truth, the additional timelines are just “pulled out” of the main timeline based upon user-specified criteria.

Whew. Just writing it sounds like it would be a LOT of work to implement . . . but it’s a nice, nifty “maybe someday” kind of feature to contemplate, right?

This has been discussed at length and repeatedly. The problem, in a nutshell, is that timelines could never be integrated the way the other views are. There just isn’t a way that Keith (the one Mac developer), can find to do this. Besides, timeline software is it’s own beast, and would be too much for one programmer to keep up with.

Since you’re on a Mac, you might consider the beta Aeon Timeline, which has it’s own sub-forum. I don’t know much about it, but there are a number of people here beta testing for the developer, and you can join in the fun if you like.

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Thanks, I’ll check that out! :smiley:

This is super untrue. The best way to make a timeline feature is to give the Corkboard arrange-by-label mode just a couple extra features. The listing of sub-documents under the same line. The ability to pick and choose what labels are represented. And optionally an always-shown top bar and left bar that shows metadata like chapter name and arc name as you scroll.

Aeon Timeline is also subscription-only and almost $70 a year. As with many “starving artists”, I absolutely refuse.

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I think that is a misunderstanding of its purchase model, which is stated as, “Purchasing unlocks access to the current version of Aeon Timeline forever.”

It is a one-time purchase with upgrades for a year. You can then continue using it for however long you want, and if in a few years you see some improvements you’d really like, buy another year. They do have an optional renewal, but it is cheaper than what you quoted by almost half.

I’ve seen that model used in the past for far more expensive software and it always worked well for me. Sometimes I would keep it up to date, but other times I would go many years just using the last version I bought.