I need a simple time line program for OSX.
March 16, 2009 9:56 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a program, or way to use a program I already have, that will make simple time lines. I'm studying for a history midterm that features lots of dates, and I want a way to display all of them in relation to each other. I don't need a lot of features, but I do need free.

I'm using Mac OSX. I downloaded this program, which doesn't seem to deal well with dates that are just years. I also have Excel 2008, if there's a way to make it create simple time lines easily. I do not not not want to do this by hand- my handwriting sucks and it wouldn't be worth the time it would take to make it. I just want a simple line down the page, with the dates displayed with a simple title. Surely, someone has developed a bare bones freeware solution to this problem over the years, right?
posted by MadamM to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I did the same thing for my exams. I just used Excel.

Years on the left, notes on the right. I ended up using a few columns for subheadings. It's now turned into this huge, awesome document.

Is there a reason you don't want to use Excel? To make a very simple timeline, start with your first date, say 1800, in say, cell A2. Then in the cell directly below that (A3), write "=[A2]+1". Where [A2] means you really select that cell. Then that little cell will have a small box on the bottom right-hand corner. If you drag that down the column, it'll make a long timeline of dates by year!

It makes more sense actually in Excel. Someone else can explain that better.
posted by barnone at 10:05 PM on March 16, 2009

I'm not sure exactly what you're looking for in your timelines, but you could change the cell border for an entire column in Excel to give you a single vertical line down the page. Then adjust your column widths how you like them, use one cell for the date (YYYY/MM/DD format) and one for the description, and you'll be able to auto-sort the things in your timeline. It's a list with a vertical line next to it, effectively, and auto-sorting ability, but that might be enough for you.
posted by Picklegnome at 10:07 PM on March 16, 2009

barnone, the easier way to do it, IMHO, is to put 1800 in A2, 1801 in A3, and 1802 in A4, and to highlight all three and drag the lower right-hand corner of the highlighted box down as far as is needed.
posted by Picklegnome at 10:08 PM on March 16, 2009

Best answer: This timeline gadget will integrate with Google Spreadsheets.
posted by null terminated at 10:21 PM on March 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

Timeline builder.
posted by LarryC at 10:46 PM on March 16, 2009

Maybe try Timeglider? I've just started playing around with it, but it's nifty so far.
posted by paleography at 10:55 PM on March 16, 2009

I wonder if the Mit Smile Timeline widget would be useful for you at all? This page in their documentation is also quite cool.
posted by singingfish at 2:57 AM on March 17, 2009

Response by poster: So it looks like the integration of the MIT Simile widget with Google spreadsheets is the winner. The Excel advice is helpful, but it doesn't look like there's a way to represent ranges of time well- ie. King x's rule from 418-434. The Google widget is still a little bit more than I wanted, presentation-wise, but I think it'll work. Thanks guys!
posted by MadamM at 2:47 PM on March 17, 2009

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