Using the Automatic Importers

Create timelines automatically using your photos, calendar events, and more…

Step 1: Select an Importer

When you first launch Timeline 3D or when you create a new document the intro panel will be shown automatically. This panel allows you to select a Look for your timeline as well as an importer. The following importers are available:

  • Address Book: Chart contacts based on their birthday
  • Aperture: Chart photos based on the date they were taken
  • Basecamp by 37signals: Chart project messages, milestones, or to-do items
  • iCal: Chart events from your calendar
  • iPhoto: Chart photos based on the date they were taken
  • iTunes: Chart songs or albums based on the last time they were played
  • NetNewsWire by NewsGator: Chart your blog and news feed subscriptions
  • RSS / Atom Feeds: Chart blogs and news feeds
  • Skitch by Plasq: Chart photos and screenshots that you have taken using Skitch
  • System Profiler: Chart updates you have installed for Mac OS X
  • The Hit List by Potion Factory: Chart tasks that have due dates assigned.
  • Things by Cultured Code: Chart To Do items that have due dates assigned.

Step 2: Configure the Imported Events

Click an importer to select it and then press the “Configure…” button. At the top of each configuration panel is a list of checkboxes that allow you specify what information you would like to import for each event.

Below the checkboxes are options which allow you to filter the events that you import. For example, if you are importing iPhoto albums, you may select a specific photo album to import. Most importers also allow you to specify a date range for the events you would like to import. While you adjust these settings, keep an eye on the information text at the lower right of the panel which will tell you how many events will be imported.

Click the “Create Timeline” button to complete your configuration and create your timeline.

Step 3: Edit Your Timeline

Once your timeline is created, you can edit it like any other timeline. Add events, remove events, change the color settings, add notes, or copy and paste events from other timelines.


  • Check the box labeled “Don’t show this dialog again” if you do not want to see the intro panel each time you create a new timeline document. If you have the intro panel turned off you can still choose “New with Intro Sheet…” in the File menu to make it appear again.

  • For best performance, limit your imports to about 300 events, especially if they contain photos.

  • Most importers will only be displayed if you have the source application installed on your computer.

  • Timelines look best with a relatively even distribution of events. Timelines with clustered events (such as rolls of photos taken weeks apart), may need to be simplified. For example, you could edit the timeline to show one photo per roll of pictures, or you could create a separate timeline for each roll.

  • Some import configurations allow you to deselect the date of the imported events. In this case, the date is still imported so that the timeline can be properly drawn, but the date format is set to “None” so that event dates will not be displayed.