Structuring Timelines with Sections

Sections let you structure your document into parallel slices, with titles, optional divider lines, and configurable colors. Sections can be rearranged with drag and drop or temporarily hidden, and events can be freely moved between them. Sections can also nest; you can subdivide a main section into subsections, to provide more context.

A sample timeline with sections and subsections

Section Headers

Each section has a header, which shows its title, and which you click on to select or drag the section. By default, section headers are on the left, as shown above; you can also choose to place them above each section, in which case they appear as a bar spanning the entire document. (Change this in the Document Inspector, or in the main menu, under Sections.)

Creating Sections

To add sections to a document which doesn’t yet have any, you have two choices. Use Sections ▸ New Section to create a single new section, placing every event and row in the current document into it. Use Sections ▸ Create Section for Each Row to instead create one new section for each row in the current document. Either way, you can split or merge the resulting sections to achieve the same result.

Once your document uses sections, use Sections ▸ New Section to create a new, empty section; it will follow your mouse around until you’ve placed it where you like, at which point you click to place it.

In the Sections menu, or in the context menu if you right-click on a section, you’ll find a common set of section-creation commands.

The top of the Section context menu

Use New Empty Section Above or Below to insert an empty section. Use Create Subsection for Each Row to subdivide the current section into subsections, one per row. Use Group into New Containing Section to wrap the selected section(s) into a new container. Finally, use Split Section Here to find the nearest row boundary within the section, and split the section into two at that point.

Merging and Deleting Sections and Subsections

Pick two or more sections and use Sections ▸ Merge to combine them. The merged section takes the name, style, and position of the uppermost selected section, and includes all the events from all the selected sections.

Select a section and use Delete to delete it. Depending on what it contains, and what it’s contained within, you will have up to three options:

  • An empty section will just be deleted.
  • If it’s not empty, you will be given the option to delete it along with all of its contents.
  • If it’s a subsection of a larger section, and its contents can be “moved up” into that larger section, you will also be given this option. Note that you can’t have a section which contains both subsections and events, so this is not always possible.

If you have a section with subsections, and you just want to strip off that layer of subsections, select the containing section and choose Sections ▸ Remove Subsections. (This is equivalent to selecting all of those subsections, pressing Delete, and choosing the third option above.)

Editing Sections

To change the title of a section, double-click on that title. To edit other properties of one or more sections, such as their header color or font, select them and use the Section Inspector.

You can grab a section header with your mouse and drag it up or down in the document to rearrange the order of sections.

Hiding and Collapsing Sections

A hidden section doesn’t appear at all and can’t be selected. Use the right-click “Hide” option on any section header, or the Display value on its Inspector, to completely hide a section. This is useful to keep event data in your document which you don’t normally want to see.

For headers-on-top mode, you can also collapse a section. It only shows its title and header, which still spans across the entire document horizontally. You can use the +/- button at the right side of a section heading to quickly expand or collapse its view.

The Section Management Dialog

For a large or complex document, you can use the Section Management dialog to quickly view, locate, or edit your section structure. Open it from the toolbar or via Sections ▸ Manage Sections.

The Section Management dialog

This dialog presents a navigable outline of your sections, along with event counts and date ranges. Click on any section then “Go to Section” to close the dialog and scroll your timeline there.

You can also directly edit section titles, visibility, and order in this dialog; these have the same effect as doing the same thing direction within your timeline.

Selecting All Events in a Section

Often, you’ll want to apply a color or style change, or other edit, to all the events contained within one or more sections. If you select those sections, then choose Edit ▸ Select All Events in Selected Section, all contained events will instead become selected.