Storytelling Timeline built in Javascript.
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Document history with TimelineJS

There are lots of timeline tools on the web but they are almost all either hard on the eyes or hard to use. Create timelines that are at the same time beautiful and intuitive for users

TimelineJS is great for pulling in media from different sources. Just throw in a link from Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Vimeo, Google Maps or SoundCloud and TimelineJS will format it to fit perfectly. More media types will be supported in the future.

Creating one is as easy as filling in a Google spreadsheet or as detailed as JSON.

Add it to your site

Place the embed code where you want the timeline to show in the <body> of your site.

	<div id="timeline-embed"></div>
	<script type="text/javascript">
	    var timeline_config = {
			width:				"100%",
			height:				"600",
			source:				'path_to_json/or_link_to_googlespreadsheet',
			start_at_end: 		false,							//OPTIONAL START AT LATEST DATE
			start_at_slide:		'4',							//OPTIONAL START AT SPECIFIC SLIDE
			start_zoom_adjust:	'3',							//OPTIONAL TWEAK THE DEFAULT ZOOM LEVEL
			hash_bookmark:		true,							//OPTIONAL LOCATION BAR HASHES
			font:				'Bevan-PotanoSans',				//OPTIONAL FONT
			lang:				'fr',							//OPTIONAL LANGUAGE
			maptype:			'watercolor',					//OPTIONAL MAP STYLE
			css:				'path_to_css/timeline.css',		//OPTIONAL PATH TO CSS
			js:					'path_to_js/timeline-min.js'	//OPTIONAL PATH TO JS
	<script type="text/javascript" src="path_to_js/timeline-embed.js"></script>


###Language lang Localization default is en Languages available:

  • en English
  • fr Français
  • es Español
  • de Deutsch
  • it Italiano
  • pt-br *Português Brazil *
  • nl Dutch
  • cz Czech
  • dk Danish
  • id Indonesian
  • pl Polish
  • ru Russian
  • is Icelandic
  • fo Icelandic
  • kr 월요일
  • ja 日本語
  • zh-ch 中文
  • zh-tw Taiwanese Mandarin

Help us add more. Grab a copy of a language file and replace it with your language Example language file

###Start at End start_at_end set to true to start the timeline on the last date. default is false

###Start at Slide start_at_slide You can tell TimelineJS to start at a specific slide number default is 0

###Start Zoom Adjust start_zoom_adjust This will tweak the default zoom level. Equivilent to pressing the zoom in or zoom out button the specified number of times. Negative numbers zoom out. default is 0

###Hash Bookmark hash_bookmark set to true to allow bookmarking slides using the hash tag default is false

###Map Style Types maptype:

  • Stamen Maps

    • toner
    • toner-lines
    • toner-labels
    • watercolor
    • sterrain
  • Google Maps

    • HYBRID

###Font Options font:

  • Arvo-PTSans
  • Merriweather-NewsCycle
  • PoiretOne-Molengo
  • PTSerif-PTSans
  • DroidSerif-DroidSans
  • Lekton-Molengo
  • NixieOne-Ledger
  • AbrilFatface-Average
  • PlayfairDisplay-Muli
  • Rancho-Gudea
  • Bevan-PotanoSans
  • BreeSerif-OpenSans
  • SansitaOne-Kameron
  • Pacifico-Arimo
  • Or make your own

File Formats


JSON is the native data format for TimelineJS. It is easy enough for “normals” to use but powerful enough for real nerds to get excited about.

The thing about JSON is it is picky. A misplaced comma or quotation mark can prevent the timeline from loading properly. Instructions on actually using the JSON file are included in the example data.JSON file.

Here is the full model:

		"headline":"The Main Timeline Headline Goes here",
		"text":"<p>Intro body text goes here, some HTML is ok</p>",
		"asset": {
			"credit":"Credit Name Goes Here",
			"caption":"Caption text goes here"
		"date": [
				"headline":"Headline Goes Here",
				"text":"<p>Body text goes here, some HTML is OK</p>",
				"tag":"This is Optional",
				"asset": {
					"credit":"Credit Name Goes Here",
					"caption":"Caption text goes here"
		"era": [
				"headline":"Headline Goes Here",
				"text":"<p>Body text goes here, some HTML is OK</p>",
				"tag":"This is Optional"

Google Docs:

If you don’t want to mess with JSON, fire up Google Docs and build your timeline in a spreadsheet. It’s as simple as dropping a date, text, and links into the appropriate columns in TimelineJS’s template.

You can find the template here: TimelineJS Google Spreadsheet Template

There are only four things you need to know in order to create a timeline using Google Docs:

  1. Make the spreadsheet public:
    Google Docs are automatically set to private but the spreadsheet must be public.
Click the blue “Share” button on the top right-hand corner. In the “Share
settings” window, you’ll see the private setting of the spreadsheet: click
“Change...”. In the Visibility options window, choose “Public on the Web” and
  1. Publish to the Web
    Under the File menu, select “Publish to the Web.”
In the next window, check the box next to “Automatically republish when
changes are made.” Uncheck all other boxes. Click “start publishing.” This
will give you the URL to embed in your HTML file.
  1. Copy/paste the Web URL into your TimelineJS HTML file
    After you publish the spreadsheet, Google Docs will generate a link to the file. Copy the link for the Web Page option (as opposed to PDF, HTML, XLS, etc.), then paste it into the timeline’s HTML file:
`timeline.init(“URL goes here”)`
  1. Designate the “start” slide
    This indicates which event is the title slide, the one that begins the timeline.
Only one should be labeled "start" (generally, the first one). The title slide
must have a start date, headline and text to appear properly.


Support for Storify is still in it's early stages. It works though. Just paste a link to the storify story as the source.


Included in the zip file is a kitchen sink example. This timeline shows how to incorporate the different media types from different services like Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Instagram, TwitPic, Wikipedia, Dailymotion, SoundCloud and Vimeo.

Just copy and paste the address of the media from the browser bar into the media parameter. TimelineJS will auto-magically pull in the media via their api and format it.

Best practices

Tips and tricks to best utilize TimelineJS

  1. Keep it light - don’t get bogged down by text or other elements
  2. Pick stories that have a strong chronological narrative. It does not work well for stories that need to jump around in the timeline.
  3. Include events that build up to major occurrences, not just the major events.