Importing Tab-Delimited Text Files

Import events from a spreadsheet, 3rd party application, or database

The quickest way to import events from an external data source is in the form of a tab delimited text file. You can create such a file with many programs including text editors and spreadsheet software such as Microsoft Excel.

The file must contain ten columns labeled “Label”, “Start Time”, “End Time”, “Link”, “Notes”, “Image”, “Movie”, “Tags”, “Color”, and “Custom Date Label”. Each column is separated by tabs. The dates can be in any common United States or international format recognized by Timeline 3D. The “End Time” column label must exist but the End Time value is not required for each event. The image and movie values are specified using the following format: file://localhost/Users/myaccount/Desktop/image.png

Once you have created a tab-delimited text file, save it using the file extension .txt. Then you can open the file directly by dragging the file onto the application icon or using the Open command in the File menu.

A valid file for import might look something like this:

Label	Start Time	End Time	Link	Notes	Image	Movie	Tags	Color	Custom Date Label
Chinese invent paper	100 AD	Note with a\nline break.
Paper spreads to Japan, Arabia, and Europe	125 AD	400 AD
Codex book form introduced	400 AD	
First printed book	868 AD				file://localhost/Users/myaccount/book.png
Illuminated manuscripts	900 AD	1300 AD
Movable type invented in China	1040 AD	
Gutenberg invents printing press	1450 AD	
Full-color printing invented	1719 AD	
First pencils made	1795 AD	
Melvil Dewey invents vertical file system	1874 AD	
Typewriter invented	1874 AD	
Paper clip invented	1900 AD	
First ballpoint pen	1938 AD	
Desktop publishing	1984 AD	


  • Create a few events in Timeline 3D and use “Export Events…” from the File menu to save them as a text document. This file can serve as a template for text imports that you create automatically.

  • Timeline 3D will attempt to match the date format in your timeline to the date format in your text file. It is simple to change this format after the data is imported.

  • Event Colors and Event Rows can not be automatically imported using a text file. If you need more flexibility, we recommend writing an Applescript to perform the import.