Thursday, October 04, 2007
The current version of Timeline (and much of the competition) use a "What you see is what you get" (WYSIWYG) style of editing. The process for creating a document goes somethings like this:
- Create a new document, choose a page size and orientation
- Add events and set formatting (layout looks exactly like it will on paper)
- If events don't fit well on the page, change change spanning, paper size, or orientation to make it fit
- Zoom in and out to make pages fit on the screen
The nice thing about this style of editing is that you know exactly what the end result will look like. There are a few downsides though. The biggest is that what is best for the page might not be best for the screen. You may be working on a MacBook or you may have dual 30" displays. When you are editing, you want the layout to take the best advantage of the hardware that you have while minimizing scrolling, zooming and page setup.
T2 provides both Screen Optimized view which is the default for editing and Print Preview. Below is a screenshot of Print Preview with the paper size set to Letter in a Portrait orientation. Note that the resolution of the screenshot is that of a MacBook display.
The chart looks exactly like it will when printed, but notice that the vertical scroll bar is showing because the page size is too tall for the window and that there is gray space on either side of the timeline which is not being used.
Following is the exact same timeline in Screen Optimized mode:
Now the timeline is sized to fit the window, taking full advantage of the available screen real-estate and eliminating the need for scroll bars. As the window is resized, T2 automatically finds the best event layout for the new window size.
This isn't the most flashy new feature of T2 (I don't think it received any user requests), but it is one that is sure to make you much more efficient and save many clicks while creating timelines.