Setting Time Units and Scale

A single TimeStory document can contain events over anything from hours within a day to years across centuries. It’s often important to pick the correct time scale and time unit to view and edit your documents appropriately.

Time Units

You set a document’s time unit using the Units setting on the toolbar. Changing the time unit does not change any of your event data—it just changes how TimeStory presents it and how certain editing commands work. Your time unit choice is saved with the document, but you can change it at any time.

Time units can be set to years, months, days, hours, minutes, or seconds. The default is set to months; when laying out project plans, for example, the months or days time units are often the right choice. For historical timelines, years are often a better choice. Note, however, that even if you set the time unit to years, you can still have events set to specific days or even times, and they’ll be placed appropriately.

The current time unit setting affects:

Time Scales

The time scale is, basically, how many time units appear on your screen (or, alternatively, how wide each time unit is). You can adjust the scale up or down using:

The View menu also provides two convenient shortcuts:

Trackpad Gestures

If you have a multi-touch-enabled trackpad (as on any MacBook), you can also use a two-finger gesture to “pinch” or “stretch” (shrink or grow) the timescale smoothly.

The First Day of the Week

When selecting Weeks as your time unit, TimeStory will use the document’s defined “Week Start” day. (For example, in the US, weeks are generally considered to start on Sunday.)

When you create a new document, its Week Start is taken from your Mac’s global settings (found within System Preferences), and should match your normal preferences. Once that document is saved, however, it will retain that setting, so you can send it to people in other regions without your time scale being adjusted out from under you.

To manually change the week start day, use the Document Inspector; any day may be chosen.

(Note: This behavior is new to TimeStory version 1.4. Documents created by older versions do not contain a saved weekday setting, so the time scale will adjust when you first open them, and will be saved when you save them again.)


If you want to leave time units and scaling alone, and just change how much of your document is visible by shrinking or growing everything, you can also zoom in or out.