Welcome! We're still filling out this guide. In the weeks to come, we'll add more details related to Plus features like collaboration, managing users, and importing and exporting data. You can always write to us if you have questions, and we'll get back to you as soon we can.

creating a timeline

A "timeline" is sort of like a folder for the events it contains. That folder has its own properties that define the entire timeline apart from the events in it, including its title, description, and whether it will have a public URL.

When you first arrive at Timeglider as a new user, you see an empty timeline "stage" — an empty space with the "ruler" at the bottom of the app, and the timelines menu. At the bottom of that menu, there is a "+ new" button.

Click the "+ new" button to create a new timeline.

To display the timelines panel, if it's not visible, click on "timelines" in the application header.

Enter information into the following fields:

timeline title

Keep the title brief and informative. This will show persistently in a header above the timeline if it is published. Otherwise, it is really for reference in the timeline menu panel.

timeline description

This is helpful for when a visitor lands on your published timeline and needs an introduction, guidance, credits, or other information. The description can contain basic html tags: img, a, strong and em.

focus date

The values of the zoom level and focus date are mere guesses at first! As you fill out the events in your timeline, it will become more and more clear how these ought to be set. See also the snapshot feature for setting timeline values.

When a timeline is loaded, it needs some date at which to start. This is the "starting point" of the timeline, as the user can in most cases drag or zoom the timeline away from it. Sometimes the focus date is best set as the middle of the information, but in other situations, the beginning of a narrative series of events is more appropriate. By clicking the calendar icon by the date field, you can use our date picker (shown above) to select a date using a calendar view.

zoom level

As with the focus date, a timeline needs a scope or zoom-level at which to begin. Any visitor might decide to immediately zoom in or out, but you ought to choose this value carefully before publishing your timeline to make sure the initial view is optimal.


Timeglider's special sauce — which makes it possible to look at large amounts of data in a zooming timeline — is the size-importance feature. With this box checked, an importance value given to events also determines their relative size as you zoom in and out, making them larger and smaller respectively. This check-box turns this feature on or off. (It can be handy to turn size-importance off to make sure you see all events, as less important events can fade from view as one zooms out.)

image lane height

Images that get placed in the image lane are sized according to the height of the lane. This can be set to a small number to start, or to zero if you don't plan on putting any images in your timeline. As you do add images, you can adjust it as you go — depending on how high your events go, how many images you have, and other factors.

public URL checkbox

If you want to share your timeline with others (using a web link), check this box, and after you hit "save", a URL will be generated for the timeline. After you hit "save", you can either go to the "sharing" button at the top of the app, or click the timeline title on the timelines menu panel, and then select "publish/share", and you will see the url. Leave this box unchecked if you want to make it impossible to visit this timeline except with your logged in account.

Click on "save" to create the timeline.

creating a snapshot

After you have created a timeline, the best way to set the zoom level, focus date, and image lane height (all at once) is to take a snapshot. Here's how: Zoom and drag the timeline to achieve the best scope and centered quality, and (optionally) expand or narrow the image lane. Then click the timeline title in the timeline menu (bringing up all options) and click on snapshot. This will change the zoom level, focus date, and image lane height to the visible settings.

opening a timeline

After creating a timeline, its title will appear in the timeline menu panel (at right). By clicking on the timeline title, then selecting "open timeline" it will be highlighted to indicate will be active in the stage.

Click the title of the timeline in the timeline panel, then the "open timeline" option to show the timeline on the stage.

(If the timeline has no events in it you won't see much, but you'll be prompted to create your first event.)

The timeline panel (clicking on a timeline title) is the hub for accessing other features for a timeline: getting to the list view, creating a legend, taking a snapshot, and publishing/sharing options.

opening a timeline

After creating a timeline, its title will appear in the timeline menu panel (at right). By clicking on the timeline title, then selecting "open timeline" it will be highlighted to indicate will be active in the stage.

Select the "open timeline" option to show the timeline on the stage.

If the timeline has no events in it you won't see much, but you'll be prompted to create your first event.

The timeline panel (clicking on a timeline title) is the hub for accessing other features for a timeline: getting to the list view, creating a legend, taking a snapshot, and publishing/sharing options.

Publishing and Embedding a Timeline

A timeline does not need to be visible to the public at any URL unless you choose for it to be. (See the public url field.)

To get the public url of the timeline, you first need to click the "public url" checkbox in the main timeline properties and click "save". Then click on the timeline title again from the timeline menu panel, and select "publish/share". This will open the tab in the properties panel that has the main URL, and an embed code for placing the timeline in an iframe into blogs or other web pages.

sharing panel

The sharing panel is a central place to find all publishing/embedding information for your timelines. Click on the "share" button in the header of the app, and then select the timeline you want to share from the pulldown menu. The share panel gives you the ability to customize a link or embed code with "min_zoom" and "max_zoom" values. In the resulting timeline, users will not be able to zoom beyond these values, making the zoom slider shorter, too. Also, if you have a timeline that you want to keep at a single, fixed zoom level, choose the same values in the min_zoom and max_zoom pulldowns.

collaborating and adding other editors to a timeline

Guide under construction: Contact us if you need help with this.

timeline presentations

Guide under construction: Contact us if you need help with this.

Creating/Editing an Event

With a timeline open (its title highlighted in the timelines menu panel), the simplest way to create a new event is to double-click on the stage at or near the date of the event.

You can drag and zoom the timeline until the date of the event you want to create is between the far left and far-right of the screen (by looking at the timeline "ruler"). You can even double-click right on the ruler itself.

Once a timeline is open, a context menu appears in the upper right part of the app. There is also a "new event" button there.

The event editor appears when you click on "new event", or double-click the stage:

Here's an overview of properties that belong to any event on a timeline.

event title

Event titles should be as short as possible. This allows for more space in the timeline for other events. A title like "Camembert introduced in Normandy in 1791" could likely be shortened to just "Camembert" — dates are shown in the timeline rule itself, and details like "in Normandy" can be reserved for the description.

event icon

To the left of the event title field, there is an icon. You can click on this to bring up the icon menu. Icons allow you to differentiate different sorts of events: good things, bad things, inventions, locations, and so forth. Timeglider Plus users can create a legend so that a timeline can be filtered to show sets of specific icons.

Click on an icon in the icon menu, then click on "CHOOSE" to choose an icon for the event

start and end dates

Every event on a timeline needs a precise date and time — even if you will not be displaying all that information to viewers. The start date of an event will create the position at which the event appears on the timeline, the left side of the title aligning with that date.

Click on the calendar icon to bring up the date picker. This provides a quick way to click on the month and day, and to advance the year, or simply type the year into the year field, and then click "OK" to have this date entered into the date field.

bce/bc dates

In the date field, use the format YYYY-MM-DD. For BCE dates, enter a negative number for the year. An event happening in 5000 bce would be entered as such: -5000.

You can enter just the year in the date field — but the month and day will be chosen for you from defaults (6 and 1 respectively).

Events can also be durations lasting mere hours, or thousands of years. Check the "span?" box to access the end date fields, and enter dates that indicate the end of the time-span.

date display

On many occasions, you may only know the year of an event you are entering. Timeglider gives you the ability to limit the displayed date for viewing purposes, even as we still need a precise date and time inside the data. Importantly, the date, and event the time, determine where on an x-axis (down to the pixel) the event will be placed.

Choose an appropriate date display value: year, month, day, hour, or no date display at all.

You can see from the image at right (with four different views) how the different date display options result in different types of visible rendering of the date.

When a viewer of a public timeline clicks on an event, a modal window pops up with the title and description. The same date display rule is used for modals.

event size and the importance value

First, here's how size-importance works: At any zoom level, matching an event's importance value to the zoom level value (visible at the bottom of the zoom slider) will mean the event will have a "normal" font size — at that zoom level. If you're at zoom level 35 (about 3 years of scope), and you create an event with an importance value of 35, the font will have a size of 12 pixels. Zooming out to level 40 (seeing 10 years across the screen), will mean that the size of the event is about 87% smaller (35/40). Conversely, zooming in to zoom level 30 will mean that the event appears larger, to a ratio of 35/30. Going back to zoom level 35, if you gave that event an importance value of 70, it will appear at twice the "normal" font size, and be 24 pixels.

There are two ways to edit the importance of an event. First, here in the event editor, you set the importance value with the slider, choosing a value from 1 to 100. Second, you can click on the icon of any event in the timeline, and slider panel comes up (pictured above) that allows you to edit just the importance of an event — and see it change relative to other events present.

event images, links, video urls

Any event can have an image associated with it that will either be displayed in the image lane or inline in the same space as other timeline events, placed above the event title.

We highly recommend that you place images in the image lane, as this affords the most flexible visually pleasing experience. When images are placed inline (unless the timeline has a fixed zoom level in its published form), they tend to stack quickly, and can look quite jumbled. A skilled timeline author can place images inline using absolute positioning — but only in the context of a timeline that is not meant to zoom in our out.

IMAGES: You can link an image to an event simply using any web URL for an image, i.e. a URL ending with .jpg or .png or .gif. The FULL URL of the image must always be entered, starting with "http://"

You can also upload images into a Timeglider image library, and place those images into any event. Click on the "upload" button to upload a new image into your library, or "pick from library" to select from existing images.

In using images in Timeglider, please respect copyright laws, and respect others' intellectual property. There are plenty of open-source image respositories for historical timelines (i.e. the WikiMedia Commons). If you have doubts about whether an image is useable, don't use it.

LINKS: To create a link for your event (which gets displayed clearly in the event modal), you can enter both a label for the link (which defaults to "link"), and a URL. The URL must be a full web url beginning with "http://" or "https://". Make sure to test that the url you will enter into this field brings up a valid web page. Plus users can create multiple links for a single event by clicking the "+" symbol under the first link; a second set of label and url fields will be created.

VIDEOS: You can embed YouTube and Vimeo videos in Timeglider events by entering the iframe source URL into the video field. This is different than the page url on which you would watch the video. In YouTube, to get the embed code, click on "share", then the "embed" buttons; then copy that entire <iframe> element. Paste into the Timeglider video field only the URL from the "src" attribute of that tag.

creating and managing users

Timeglider Plus users can add up to 30 "sub-users" in their account, who have the same capabilities as Free users (3 timelines, limited features). This is typically used by teachers for students, but can also be used in business situations, too.

Before setting up sub-users, you will need to have a screenname. If you don't already have one, click on the "settings" button in the upper right (or on your name) and enter a screenname in the corresponding field, then hit "save".

To create or manage your users, click on the "users" button in the upper right of the app, and then the "add user" button within that panel to create a user. Sub-users do not have email addresses; instead, they log in with a hyphenated screenname: your_screenname-subuser_screenname. So, if you give a sub-user the screenname of "emily", and your screenname is "martha", she will log in with "martha-emily" and the password you provide.

Users can create timelines on their own — which won't appear in your list of timelines. However, you can either load any of theirs or "claim ownership" of them by first clicking the "timelines" link by their name, then clicking "become an owner" or "load".

assigning timelines to users

Once you've created one or more users, you can assign them to timelines that are in your account. Those users will be able to set up their own timelines, which you can "pull into" your account if you need to (see below).

To assign a timeline to a user, first open the properties editor for that timeline, then click on "editors". In the panel that comes up, you'll see a pulldown list of your users on the right side. Pull down the user you want to assign to the timeline at hand, and then click the "add" button. Finally, you can determine whether this user will be an "editor" (the default, where they can add/edit events, but not the main properties of the timeline), an owner (where they can control all properties), or just a "viewer".

Exporting and Importing data from/to a timeline


timeline edit propertiesAll users can export their timeline data as either .CSV (comma-separated values) which can be easily imported into spreadsheet applications, or with JSON, which can be used in the context of JavaScript and web applications, including the Timeglider JS Widget.

To export data, click on the timeline title in the timeline menu, choose "edit properties", and then click on the "import/export" tab. You will see "CSV" and "JSON" links, each of which will open a new tab with the plaintext data (or a download prompt on IE). The CSV data includes some "header" information about the timeline itself; the only useful CSV data is the events data. be sure to look at the plaintext file before importing it into Excel or another spreadsheet.


Timeglider Basic users can also import data from CSV files that are structured identically to the exported CSV files. There is a detailed explanation of this structure here. To import, follow the instructions above to the "import/export" tab, and then click on the "import data" link. This opens a new tab/page in the browser to allow for enough space to see a preview of data before actually importing it. This preview will indicate any problems you might have with the data — especially with dates.

Printing Timelines

Timeglider does not have a native printing feature. The best way to get a good printout of a timeline is to create and print a screenshot. What we recommend is:

  1. Open the browser window as large as possible to get the widest view of the timeline.
  2. Set the focus and zoom of the timeline as desired
  3. Use a screen-capture utility to take a screenshot of the entire screen, or a selection rectangle.
  4. If your screenshot extended beyond the timeline itself, you would need to crop the image in a basic image editing program (Preview on Mac, Photoscape on Windows, or Photoshop).
  5. Print the image from the photo-editing application.
  6. If you need help creating a JPEG of your timeline, send a public timeline URL to info@timeglider.com (along with the proper date range), and we'll send you back a file for printing.

© 2012 Timeglider/Mnemograph LLC