Aeon Timeline is a piece of software that has been around for a few years, and the second version of this software just released back in April. I have had the original software for a while but didn’t use it much as I had other things I needed and wanted to work on. It was a unique software and planned to use it, now with the release of Aeon Timeline 2 I thought what better time to start using the software than now. I have many projects in the works and a few the timing of the events can get a little confusing. For the past few weeks I have been playing around with the program and I am here to report my findings.

Overview

Overall, Aeon Timeline 2 looks far more professional looking software then the predecessor did. Not to say that Aeon Timeline didn’t look good, but compared to the newest version, it is far better. Let’s start with the main screen. You are greeted by a list of standard timelines templates that you can pick from. The options are Fiction, Project Management, Legal, Historical, Screenplay, Basic, Weekly, Daily, and Number Line. Below that if you have any custom templates that you have saved they are below. Long the left side of the screen just below the icon is a column that offers two options recent and examples. I think they are self-explanatory.

When you are ready, you select one of the options and click on it. The icon will change giving you three more options, choose, customise, or cancel. Choose opens a blank timeline for you to start, wile customise brings you to settings of the timeline. Yes, you can create your own calendar. Note, that this is only possible at the begining of the process. The second you start adding things anywhere else, the edit calendar will become just part of the window. No matter how many times you click on it nothing will happen. It does help just below the button there is a reminder of this. (Note: Calendars can only be edited for empty timelines.)

Depening on the skin you are using, the edit calendar button can blend direction in with the menu. After two weeks break coming back to try to work on a new calendar I had to load up a tutorial on Youtube to find it. The skin I am using makes it only text while others there is text surrounded by a alternate color. Under Edit calendar is where you can add or subtract eras, months and days tto your world’s calendar. Starting with Eras, BC and AD come standard with each new timeline, you can rename them, however you cannot delete the era or edit how many years. It sucks. Any Eras you add can be deleted. You pick how many years are in each era if the years count backwards, and if they contain leap years. Months, come with twelve but can be deleted and renamed, change how many days are in a regular year and in a leap year. You must have at least one month always. This goes for Days, you can change how many hours in a day, and click the something called the first day in the final era. Not sure what that is, just noticed it.

After you are done editing your calendar if you are going to do that, you are back to the main settings page, where you can determine the look of your timeline. You can determine the style and zoom limits. There are three other pages you can go in and edit Properties, Entity Types, and Colors.  I am going to skip Properties since I really don’t change anything really there. An entity type is where you can place information on. Three are already there, Arc, Place, and Character. You can add more, like me I do Timespans for eras, and for putting all events under the book and worlds. If you think of anything you might want to add later on you can always come back and add more as it is only the calendar part that can’t be edited after you start adding things. Colors are just if you want to topics to be color coded. Once you are done, you can same the template if you know you may want to use it. Then you start working on your events.

This is where can Aeon Timeline gets complicated. If you just want to add events and not worry about adding roles like Location, Arc, or Characters, then you will be fine. You just click add event give it a name and put in the date of event and end date and click okay. Magically, the event pops up on your timeline. However, if you want to go through and be able to add roles you need to make sure you add things to choose from. Characters for example on the right side of the screen you get an inspector window will have the current event that is active. There are there things, Title, Color, and Parent. Below that is a tool bar: Range, Values, Roles and Links. Depending on which one you are on, different things change. I am going to focus on three of them.

The range is the dates so if you want to change when the event happens and don’t want to drag the event you can edit it there. Values are things bassed on Properties. You have Tags, Tension, Summary and completed. I only bring this up because if you want to add full details of what happens in the event you can do it here. I only use the Summary box under this one. Finally Roles. Under the Entity tab is Timeline settings I mention there were three already there and they are: Arc, Place, and Character. This is where you will find them Character, however, is divided into two observer and participant. here you can add the event is part of what arc (story, character, etc.)

Put the location it is happening and who is involved from participating to observing it. However, you have to do is click the add Entity button next to Add Event and click between the three options and any you may have added. From there a window fill it out, but some of it you can’t do. Characters birth/creation has an event where you link a character to an event. However, if you have no event on the timeline yet, you can’t fill this out. You can put a date below that for their birth/creation if you want. However, you will need to come back and edit this part if you add the event. Luckily, place and Arc just have one text box for the name of the event or arc.

It can get a little confusing and stressful when you are trying it out for the first time. There are a few tutorials on Youtube, but make sure they say Aeon Timeline 2 because without the 2 it is referring to the previous version. One of the coolest things they added is group by and it is based on your Entities you have. So let’s say you want to break down events by characters or arcs or locations you click the group by button next to the zoom bar and pick what you want and it will change.

Pros

  • New look and layout
  • More options then Aeon Timeline
  • Learning curve is steep, but once you get the hang of it is worth the pain. Also, Steep doesn’t mean takes a long time. Just that you will most likely have to refer to tutors the first few times you use it.
  • Custom Calendars
  • Several Templates to choose from
  • Easy to save your own template
  • Entities

Cons

  • Steep learning curve, while it may be worth it but it is annoying and frustrating while you are doing it. Some people may not be stubborn enough to get plunge through it.
  • It is easy to forget how to do things if you don’t use the software often or have long gaps between use.
  • Time Jumps, this is when you are editing the date of events you can put in the time, however on the end time if you put an exact time, hit enter or click in duration box the time will automatically change. Sometimes by a few seconds other by days weeks or months. This is very frustrating since I know the time for some events and it changes.
  • Still no multi-calendars (This is where you have the using two or more calendars. This would be useful in a fantasy world or science fiction if you are having events take place on different worlds. It was supposed to be done in the original timeline, but I don’t think it ever was.

Conclusion

Aeon Timeline 2 has made huge steps forward from the original. While there are some problems with the software, it is only reasonable with the program being new. The learning curve was going to be steep for anyone who hasn’t ever used the original or has been a while, but in my opinion, those who push through and figure it out and keep using it will be happy. Scribble Code did a great job of making it look better and seeming professional. I have a huge beef with writing software out there that looks like it is from Windows 98. We are in 2016, not having programs look like they are from this time is unforgivable. Thankfully, Aeon Timeline does not fall into that. While it is concerning that some features that many of the users of the previous version have been asking for were not included (multi-calendars timeilnes) is a letdown. Hopefully, it will be added into the program eventually. The new features that were included make the program worth the $50 price tag.

Score

8.3/10

(Score will be adjusted as new updates and features are added)

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