Timeline JS: visual timelines from google doc spreadsheets

My latest discovery is JS Timeline. A simple tool that uses a Google spreadsheet template to create a graphical timeline.  I didn’t even need a timeline tool… but I found this and couldn’t help but stop and play.

I had a simple timeline up in minutes – view my test timeline.

If you follow the instructions on the site it’s important to know that before you can see your timeline you will have to make your spreadsheet public (that is visible to everyone/the world) .  If you are not comfortable with this, you may need to look for alternative products (or study and modify the source code to suit your needs).

Create your own JS Timeline right now!

  1. Think up a timeline idea – could be history (obvious), life events, calendar events… made up guff. Your choice. You can be creative with your ideas.
  2. Login to your Google account
  3. Open the Timeline JS google spreadsheet template
  4. Go to the Google Docs/Google Drive File menu and select ‘Make a copy…’
  5. Once you have your copy, rename the file so it has a meaningful name for the timeline you want to create
  6. Replace the sample content with your own dates, titles and information – you can add links to images and other media to your timeline if you want to have some rich content in your timeline.
  7. Publish your timeline to the web – go to the File menu and select ‘ Publish to the web’ (Pro tip: select to have future updates auto publish to the web to ensure any updates to your timeline are automatically made available to people viewing your timeline).
  8. Copy the spreadsheet URL/web address/link
  9. Go to the JS timeline website and paste it into the form (currently step 3 of the ‘Make a timeline’ process’)
  10. Preview your timeline – you can also copy a preview link (my test timeline – it’s based on my participation in online spaces, places and use of online/mobile tools).
  11. You can also copy the copy to embed your timeline into your website or blog.
  12. Keep updating your timeline spreadsheet and the changes will be reflected in the data visualisation.

In my sample, I have added a media file for the Popcorn Maker entry –  I will probably go back and add more later.  For now, I just wanted to test how easy the tool was to use. It’s stupidly easy.

It’d be fabulous for student and class projects too. Google documents allow you to create a document on your own – or collaborate with anyone else world wide with access to Google Docs/Google Drive.

Too easy!

Now – off you go… create your own JS timeline – and feel free to share links to your timelines via comments – I’d love to see what you create.

2 responses to “Timeline JS: visual timelines from google doc spreadsheets

  1. A bit of help, please. When I head to the Google Docs, I arrive at the general site…not a site where I can find the TimeLine template. What am I doing wrong? Can you send me the template?

  2. To access the spreadsheet you will need to have be logged in to a Google account. I found I was taken to the general website before I logged in too.

    Once I’d logged into Google Drive (which incorporates Google Docs) I was taken straight to the JS Timeline spreadsheet template.

    Note: If you are an educator, you may wish to sign in with a google account you use for teaching purposes, and then share the document you create from the template with students (either by making it accessible to edit by anyone with the link or, depending on their ages, inviting them to collaborate using their google accounts.

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