Timeline JS (Knight Lab)

Timeline JS

Timeline JS is an open-source timeline generator from Knight Lab, a part of Northwestern University in Chicago. Using this site, you can create your own multimedia timelines using a Google spreadsheet template. You don’t have to sign up for anything. You just input the information you want to include in your spreadsheet — text, photos, videos, tweets, maps, and lots of other things — and they’ll put it together for you. It’s a really great way to organize your research information if you’re researching something that has a clear linear story you want to tell.

The example on the top of the page is about women in computers:

Women in computers example

And there are many other examples you can browse. The one about Akira Toriyama is in Japanese:


This is what the spreadsheet template looks like. You can download it to your own Google Drive, or you can just do it all online. If you have trouble getting the template on your phones or tablets, try this link: Timeline JS template (you’ll need to have a google account).

spreadsheet template

After you finish inputting all the information, you publish the spreadsheet and copy-and-paste the URL into the Timeline JS box and they will create your timeline for you. The instructions are clear and easy to follow.

Make a timeline

One thing I really like about this tool is that they’re trying to make sure you give credit where it’s due: there is a column in the spreadsheet for you to add the source citations and hyperlinks (“Media credit”).

Finally, here’s an explainer video I found. There are probably others, too.


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