Understanding Automatic Layout

Event layout is automatic, but understanding how it works can help you make better timelines.

About Auto-Layout

One of Timeline 3D’s most unique and powerful features is Auto-Layout. Auto-Layout enables you to focus on the information contained in your timeline, while the software handles many of the complex details involved in making your chart look as good as possible. Auto-Layout is also the technology which allows Timeline 3D to create complete timelines in a few clicks using the automatic importers.

While so many of the details are handled for you, it can be helpful to understand what is going on under the hood so that you can achieve the end results you want.

Basic “rules” of auto-layout

The auto-layout system follows these guidelines:

  1. Events can not overlap with each other
  2. To avoid overlap, earlier events are moved above later events
  3. If events do not fit in the preferred chart size, the chart is expanded horizontally until they do fit
  4. If events still overlap when the chart has reached a maximum horizontal size, then the chart is expanded vertically

What is auto-layout based on?

The following settings are user adjustable, and are taken into account when Timeline 3D performs an automatic layout. Changing any of these elements may cause the chart layout to change:

  • Fonts: Style, Size
  • Event Text: Label, Notes, Date Range and Format
  • Event Date Spans
  • Event Images: Aspect Ratio, Maximum Size
  • Row Foundation Height
  • Paper Size Orientation, and Margins (in Preview Mode)
  • Window Size (in Screen Mode)

What is changed during auto-layout?

The following chart elements are automatically adjusted by Timeline 3D to optimize the layout:

  • Event Line Wrapping
  • Start and End Dates for the Chart
  • Tick Mark Intervals
  • Tick Mark Date Format
  • Page Spanning / Chart Width
  • Event Height
  • Chart Height

Manual Adjustment

Timeline 3D does not allow users to override the automatic layout using direct manual adjustment of event positions. If you require manual adjustments, we recommend exporting the completed chart as a PDF or EPS and using software such as Adobe Illustrator to manually adjust the positions of events.