Histropedia Sheets – Timelines from spreadsheets

Spreadsheet fading to timeline

Histropedia Sheets is a new free tool for creating interactive timelines from spreadsheets published online with Google Sheets. It allows you to create custom timelines for any purpose using simple spreadsheet knowledge only.

The columns in your spreadsheet are used to add colour codes, filters and related content for each Event. The resulting timeline can be viewed full screen or embedded on a web page.

Because the timeline data comes from Google Sheets, it’s easy to collaborate with others by managing the access rights to your spreadsheet.

The main Histropedia app has a directory of over 350,000 timelines and 1.5 million Events that you can mix and combine in any desired way. You can now export any timeline directly to Histropedia Sheets, where you can easily make changes or add content which is not available in the Histropedia directory.

Getting Started

Make a copy of the example spreadsheet, then follow the steps on the “instructions” sheet included.

The columns headings in the example spreadsheet are highlighted to show the 3 main types:

  • Red = Basic event details
  • Green = Related content
  • Blue = Filter/Colour code options

The Green related content columns allow you to optionally include different types of content for each event, such as Wikipedia articles, YouTube search results or embedded web pages. Each type shows up as a different tab in the related content panel, which the end user can switch between.

You can write your own custom text for each Event using the “Summary” column. It supports HTML, so you can add images, links or other custom content if required.

Tip: Avoid using large images for Events on your timeline, as this can make scrolling and zooming a bit jerky. Where possible, choose portrait images at around 200px wide.

Wikimedia Commons lets you select any desired width with a special URL format! For example, we can use the Aldrin Apollo 11.jpg image with a width of 200px like this:

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Special:FilePath/Aldrin_Apollo_11.jpg?width=200

The example template produces the “Works by Leonardo da Vinci” timeline embedded below:

Timeline link: https://js.histropedia.com/sheets/index.html?id=1t9fpU31zXxiVCu82uEyj6PmUPc9LfOpKd5lvgDo_tvY&colourCode=Movement|Type of work&filter=Type of work|Location|Material used|Genre

Spreadsheet source: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1t9fpU31zXxiVCu82uEyj6PmUPc9LfOpKd5lvgDo_tvY

Advanced users: This spreadsheet template allows you to populate the timeline using a Wikidata query which updates on a schedule! There is also a separate sheet for any manually created Events you want to include alongside the automatic content.

Importing Events

There is a now an “export to Histropedia Sheets” option on the main timeline app and Wikidata Query Viewer.

  1. Click export > Histropedia Sheets
  2. Copy the exported text
  3. Paste it directly into you’re working spreadsheet

The export from the Wikidata Query Viewer will include any data used for colour codes and filters.

Share and embed

During the setup steps in your copy of the example spreadsheet, you will generate a timeline URL which can be shared in any way you like.

You can also embed timelines on other web pages, just like the one above in this blog post. After loading the timeline, click the share button and copy the embed code provided.

All timeline settings are in the URL, so make sure you’re happy with everything before you share it.

The timeline URL includes the following settings.

  • id – The unique id of the spreadsheet to use as the data source
  • colourCode – Which column(s) in your spreadsheet to use for colour code options. Use the “|” character to separate if you need more than one, e.g. “Gender|Occupation” would give the end user 2 possible colour code options they can switch between.
  • filter – Which columns to use for filtering the timeline, using the same syntax as the colourCode option.
  • density – How many Events can be shown on screen at one time, using “low”, “medium”, “high” or “all” setting.

Note: In your spreadsheet, the column headings used as colourCode or filter options need to begin with the text filter/, e.g. filter/Occupation

Any problems?

Email support@histropedia.com if you have any problems or suggestions for new features.

We’ve release the tool at quite an early stage so user feedback can really shape the direction we take!

We hope you enjoy 🙂

Navino Evans

Co-Founder at Histropedia

Latest posts by Navino Evans (see all)

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