First run tutorial

Once you run Timelinize for the first time, you will be asked to open or create a timeline.

Creating a timeline

A timeline is simply a folder that contains your data. The folder you choose should either not yet exist or should be empty.

Choose a folder where you want your timeline to be. If the folder isn't empty, Timelinize will create a timeline in a new subfolder called My timeline.

Timeline tips:

  • When using new builds, it is best to start over with a new timeline, because things are still actively changing.
  • Timeline folders are portable! You can move them around to other computers or disks. Don't modify the contents of a timeline manually.
  • When the app is finished, you will want to back up your timelines! For now, they are disposable and I expect you to start over often during testing.


Click the blue "+ Timelinize" button in the top-right to start importing your data that you already prepared.

First you'll choose the file(s)/folder(s) that contain one of your datasets.

The import dialog will detect the data source it came from. If it doesn't, you'll be given the option to do a generic import. Try to avoid these, as they lack richness and depth. If your dataset is not recognized, you can try selecting a different folder higher or lower in the hierarchy. If nothing works, please let me know.

After the data source has been detected and selected, you may be given the opportunity to customize the import with options specific to that particular data source. (Some data sources do not have options.)

KEEP YOUR ORIGINAL INPUT DATA! Do not delete your source data. Timelinize is still unstable software. So throughout your testing, if you delete old timelines, be sure to keep your original source data!

Duplicate entities

As you import data from various sources, you may notice that a single person -- including yourself -- appears multiple times as different entities (for example, "Matthew" on Google and "Matt" on Twitter). This happens when there's not enough information from the data source and no obvious link between that representation of the person to what's already in your timeline. For example, Bob may have user ID 12345 on Service A, but on Service B, Bob is known as 98765. Unless Timelinize has a profile for Bob that links the two accounts, there's no way to know they're the same Bob.

Common values that link entities across data sources are global identifiers such as phone numbers and email addresses.

Thankfully, there is a Merge button which you can use to de-duplicate entities. You can find it on the entity's page. It's primitive and slow right now but it works. In the future, this process will be way less tedious and more automated, including showing helpful suggestions (I hope).

Already, you may notice that Timelinize will automatically detect the same person across data sources when accounts use email addresses or phone numbers or other common globally-unique identifiers. This is why importing a contact list is so helpful: they tie all that kind of information together to create a profile about an individual that spans data sources.


As data is imported, click around under the "Explore" menu option to view your data in various ways. There is also a more "raw" listing of all your data under the "Items" and "Entities" pages.

Have fun!


This is perhaps the most important part of the testing phase.

Head back to our Discord and submit your feedback:

  • Why are you interested in or excited about this?
  • What were your first impressions seeing your data?
  • What do you like / what went well?
  • What could go better? (Be aware that "polish" is not a priority until later.)
  • What is most important to you in terms of functionality and features?
  • Any feature ideas / suggestions / requests? Data sources you want?
  • Please note that I am very aware of broken UI elements, lack of error handling, and many of the bugs you will encounter. You don't need to report all of those. However, if the app crashes, freezes, or doesn't start, I'd definitely like to know!
  • For now, you don't need to try to break the app. (You will succeed.) Just let me know your thoughts and wishlist, etc. Or crashes and major problems.

I hope you will stay involved with the discussion and the ongoing progress of the application to launch! Thank you!