Working with Events

You author TimeStory documents mainly by creating and editing events. Events can represent points in time (like a milestone in a project plan) or time spans with a start and end (like a task in a project plan).

Adding New Events

Using the New Point Event or New Span Event items under the Events menu, or the corresponding toolbar buttons, you can place new Span or Point events in the visible document. After clicking the menu item or button, just move your mouse into the document; a “floating” event will follow it around, and when you click, that event becomes part of the document. (Press the Esc key to cancel.)

See Dragging, Moving, Resizing for more information on how you event placement works, including how to more precisely pick dates and how to automatically insert rows.

You can also point at the place where you’d like a new event, right-click, and select New Span Event or New Point Event to create a new event based on that location.

Alternatively, Quick Event Entry allows you to enter events purely from the keyboard, when that is convenient.

Event Titles

A newly-created event normally has the title “New Event”. Just double-click anywhere on an event, or on its title, to select and begin editing that title. Press Return (or click elsewhere) to complete the changes, or press Esc to cancel them.

Each event has a title text color and font, but you can also use the Style > Text menu, or standard Mac shortcuts such as ⌘B for Bold, to update selected parts of the title while editing. You can also insert hyperlinks into titles, if you’d like.

Titles are most commonly a single line. If you press Option+Return while editing, however, you can insert a line break, creating a multi-line title. (TimeStory will fit the title based on your title placement and the available space, and will cut it off with an ellipsis if it collides with anything below.)

Event Graphics

Each event in a timeline has a graphic; this is its primary representation in the document.

For a span event, this takes the form of a horizontal bar from its start date to its end date. The start and end of this bar each have a shape; they can be squared off, rounded, have the form of an arrow head or tail, have a jagged shape (like torn-off paper), and others. You can set the two ends independently, and set the bar’s color.

For a point event, the graphic is an icon, a symbol or image which marks that point in time. TimeStory provides a set of built-in icons you can use, but you can also add and use your own. Icons can have their own colors, or you can set their color; you can also individually control icon sizing if needed. See Point Event Icons for full details.

Event Details View

With an event selected, press the ? key (or choose View > Show Details from the main menu) to pop up its title, date range, description, and tags. Click away to dismiss this popover.

If you prefer, there is an option in TimeStory Preferences to automatically show this view when you hover over an event (replacing its tooltip).

(The same Details feature is also available for each image attachment, showing its summary text and the event to which it’s attached.)

Displaying Dates in Event Titles

Events are represented in time by their position within the document relative to the date index across the top. If desired, TimeStory can also automatically include each event’s date or date range in its title, as shown here:

Screenshot: Events with dates included

To enable this, select the event or events (for example, use Select All to select all events), open the Inspector, and choose what to include next to the “Include Dates” field.

Each automatic date string will use the same font and text color as the event’s title, but reduced in size a bit. These dates are always shown beneath the event title, even if that title has multiple lines.

Depending on your document’s row height and this event’s font size, the date labels may not fit when the title is positioned inside the event graphic, or when there is another event in the row below it. In such cases, the event’s Inspector will display a warning message and provide a button to launch the “Event Title Vertical Layout” tool to visualize and adjust these values, if needed.

Creating Events which Track Today’s Date

You may need to describe an event with a known start date, but which is ongoing. One clear way of doing so is to set its end date to “today”, and adding a visual indicator to the end of the span (such as the arrowhead-style “Pointed” endpoint).

For cases such as this, type =today into the end date field of the given event. (The leading equals sign indicates to TimeStory that it’s a date formula, not a specific date; if you are familiar with spreadsheet apps, the idea is the same.)

The event’s end will be set to today’s date, and will get updated each time the day changes.

You can also create a point event whose date is =today; this event will always be located on today’s date.

Note that you cannot create a span with a start date of =today. Note also that if you drag an event (or just its end date) around on the document view, TimeStory will change that formula to whatever fixed date you make it. (There is no way to graphically bind an event to today’s date; you have to type it into the Inspector or Quick Event Entry form.)

Moving Events Around

You can move events around with the mouse, with the arrow keys, or by manually editing dates.

Typing dates in to the Inspector can sometimes be quicker and more exact than dragging events around. For a span event, typing in a new start date moves that event while preserving its duration, while typing in a new end date leaves the start date in place and edits its duration.

See Dragging, Moving, Resizing for more information on these actions, including how TimeStory avoids overlapping events, and how you can control the precision of your dragging actions.

Duplicating Events

You can duplicate one or more events by selecting them and choosing Duplicate under the Events menu (or right-click menu). The duplicated events will appear directly below the selected events, with the same dates, and in the same section (if you are using sections).

Copying and Pasting Events

You can copy or cut one or more events, and paste them where desired. Use Paste Here, on the right-click menu, to paste the copied events at a specific location, or just use the normal Paste command to paste them in their original locations.

Events can be copied and pasted between documents. Note that when pasting an event, it keeps its copied styling (font, colors, shape).

Merging Span Events

Suppose you have two (or more) tasks in your plan which you’ve realized would be easier to manage as one. Select the events and choose Events > Merge Spans. This will replace all selected events with a single merged event, which has:

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

(You cannot merge point events.)

Deleting Events

To delete events, select them and press Delete (or click Edit > Delete).