Creating and Editing Events

Create events to mark points in time (which TimeStory calls point events) or timespans, tasks, or durations (which TimeStory calls span events. You can place them graphically, with point and click; you can type them in, using Quick Entry; you can import them from external sources; you can automatically add them via Shortcuts or AppleScript; and you can edit and manipulate them in a variety of ways.

Basic Event Editing

Click the “Span” or “Point” buttons on the toolbar, or use Events ▸ New Span Event or Events ▸ New Point Event from the menu, to place a new event. A new “floating” event will appear on the timeline, and as you move your mouse around, it will follow you; click to place it.

Alternatively, right-click or Control+click anywhere on the document background and choose “New Span Event” or “New Point Event” to place an event at that location.

Once an event has been placed, you can grab it and drag it around with your mouse, or, for span events, you can freely drag its start or end date independently. Double-click on an event to start editing its title in place.

On your keyboard, you can use ↑ or ↓ to move selected events up or down by one row, ← or → to move them earlier or later by one day, ⌘← or ⌘→ to move them earlier or later by the smallest time unit in your current timeline configuration. Press Return to start editing the title.

With one or more events selected, open the Inspector for another way to adjust its title or dates, or to tune its graphical presentation, color, font, size, and more. You can standardize event styles using defaults and copy-style/paste-style, and events can also have attached images, tags, and links.

Events are deleted with the normal Delete key or Edit ▸ Delete.

Span Event Graphic Style and Title Placement

Span events are represented by a bar or line on the timeline. TimeStory offers several options for marking span events; adjust them in the Event Inspector, under Graphic Style.

Demonstration of just a few span styles
  • Bar Type lets you choose between full height, line above, and line below. In the above image, Event 3 is set to line-above, and the other two are full-height.
  • For full-height events, you can individually choose Start Shape and End Shape, each of which offer square corners, rounded corners, arrow shapes, jagged edges, and more.
  • Event colors can also be individually chosen.

Under Title Text, you can also choose each event’s title placement. Span-event titles can be placed before or after the bar, or within it, either left-aligned, centered, or right-aligned. (Note that for full-height bars with text within, the text must fit within the graphic; it can’t spill out.)

Point-Event Graphic Style and Title Placement

Point events are marked by an icon plus a title. The icon can be freely chosen from a set of built-in icons, or you can use your own; see Customizing Event Icons for more. The title may be placed before or after the icon.

A couple of point events

Location of Point Events Within a Day

Note that a point event always refers to a specific date. In TimeStory, by default, this means that the point is placed in the horizontal center of that day’s space on the timeline; you can think of this as representing midday.

In the Document Inspector, you can switch this to place the point events instead at the left edge of that day’s space, which you can think of as representing midnight. (This was the default behavior prior to TimeStory 3.0; if you have a document created in an older version, this value will reflect that, and you’ll need to switch it to center placement if you’d like.)

Multi-line Event Titles and Titles with Dates

If you want a title with multiple lines of text, press Option+Return while editing to insert a line break. (If your text flows downward into the next row, and another event interrupts it, it will be cut off with an ellipsis.)

In the Inspector, under Title Text, you can also choose a Date Label format. This asks TimeStory to insert a second, smaller line of text to your title, containing its date range, in the requested format. For example, you may want to combine a timeline header labeling only months with events which are individually labeled with specific days, for clarity.

Events which Track Today’s Date

You can create a point event which always stays on today’s date, or a span event which always ends on today’s date, using the special date formula =today. You can enter this in place of the corresponding date in the Inspector, in Quick Entry, or even in a CSV file you’re importing.

(Make sure to include the equals sign, and to spell it exactly as shown; unlike other date strings, it’s not translated to your system language.)

Popping Up Event Details

You can quickly access an event’s title, description, date range, and tags in a special pop-over details view. This is useful when browsing or editing a large timeline, and lets you see everything while keeping the Inspector closed. Select an event and type the ? key, or use View ▸ Show Details.

If you’d like these details to appear whenever you hover your mouse cursor over an event, there’s a setting in Preferences for this behavior, on the General tab.

(Sections and attached images also have a corresponding details view).

Copying, Pasting, and Duplicating Events

Events can be copied, pasted, and duplicated, using the standard menu items under the Edit menu or with the standard keyboard shortcuts.

When pasting one or more events, they follow the standard event-placement rules, including avoiding span overlap.

Merging Span Events

Suppose you have two (or more) tasks in your plan which you’ve realized would be easier to manage as one. You can combine them with Events ▸ Merge Spans.

This will replace all selected events with a single merged event, which has:

  • A start date, start shape, title, description, and most other properties equal to those of the earliest event selected;
  • An end date and end shape equal to that of the latest event selected.

If your document uses sections, the selected events must all be in the same section; the merged event remains there.

Snapping to Dates While Dragging

When placing, dragging, or resizing an event, horizontal dragging snaps to time unit boundaries as you get close to them. The time unit used is the smallest unit in your timeline configuration, which is usually the bottom row in your timeline’s header. While dragging an event, or just its start date, it will snap to the start of that time unit (e.g., the first day of the month, or the first weekday); while dragging its end date, it will snap to the end of that time unit.

Press and hold the Command key while dragging to disable this snapping, allowing you to smoothly drag to any dates.

Event Overlaps

TimeStory tries to avoid allowing span events to overlap in the same row. If you try to drag or place one span event such that it overlaps with another, it will insert a new, empty row for your event instead.

This overlap avoidance only applies to the time ranges of the two events; their text will simply be cut off if needed.

Point events may be freely placed atop span events, to mark milestones within a task, for example. A point event always appears over a span event on the same date, regardless of which one you created first. But if you try to place a point event on exactly the same date as an existing one, the same avoidance will kick in, again creating a new row for you.

Prevent this by holding down Shift while placing or dragging events; this will allow any overlaps of any kind.

Force this by holding down Option while placing or dragging events; even when there isn’t any overlap, your event will get its own, new row.

Automatic Event Arrangement

TimeStory can automatically move your events vertically to achieve a clean look, either compacting them into as few rows as possible, or arranging them in a waterfall so that earlier events are placed towards the top and later events are placed towards the bottom.

Use Events ▸ Arrange Events to open the Arrange Events dialog.

The Arrange Events dialog

Note that event arrangement does not rearrange sections; events are moved around only within their containing sections.

Note also that this is a one-time action, and doesn’t prevent you from freely moving around events after it’s done.