Splitting Up a Large Timeline

You may find yourself in a position where you want to split a single timeline into several smaller timelines.

Common situations where this happens include:

  • You've run into Preceden's 1,500 events per timeline limit
  • You have 500+ events and your timeline is getting very slow or you're running into issues exporting it
  • The timeline is just too large visually and you want to split it up to make it easier to view and work with

In the following examples, we'll be splitting up this timeline with 11 events in 2 layers (in reality you probably wouldn't want to split a small timeline like this into smaller ones, but it's easier to demonstrate these steps on a small timeline).

Option 1: Create Duplicates of Your Timeline, Then Delete Duplicate Content

The idea here is that we're going to create multiple identical copies of our timeline (which we'll call Original Timeline), then delete content from each one to make it unique.

1. Create a backup of your Original Timeline by downloading it as an Excel file. 

Just in case you accidentally delete something during this process.

2. Decide how many timelines you want at the end of this process. 

In this example, lets say we want to split the Original Timeline into 2 timelines. 

3. Load the Original Timeline, then click its name on the top left of the page, then click the Duplicate Timeline link. 

This will create an identical copy of your Original Timeline and then redirect you to it. You'll be able to tell you're on the duplicate because the name will include "(Copy)".

At this point we have two timelines with the same content: "Original Timeline" and "Original Timeline (Copy)". If you want to split your Original Timeline into more than 2 timelines, you can repeat this process to create additional copies.

Common issues:

  • If you don't see a Duplicate Timeline link, it means you're on a plan that limits you to 1 timeline. Upgrade your plan to one that supports creating multiple timelines, giving you the ability to duplicate your timeline.
  • If you see an error after clicking Duplicate Timeline, then it means Preceden ran into some issue and you'll need to use the spreadsheet method (see below).

4. Delete duplicate content so each timeline is unique.

For example, after creating a copy of the timeline above we could make it so one timeline just has the "Develop" layer and the other timeline just has the "Design" layer. 

You can delete content in a few ways:

  • Recommended: Use the Bulk Editor to quickly delete layers and events: Bulk Editor
  • Alternatively, you can delete layers by clicking on the layer name and clicking the Delete Layer link or delete events by clicking on an event and clicking the Delete Event link. 

In the end you should wind up with two or more small timelines:

Timeline 1:

Timeline 2:

Option 2: Spreadsheet Wrangling

Instead of using the Duplicate Timeline option, you can also split a large timeline into smaller ones by taking advantage of Preceden's spreadsheet features.

1. Create a backup of your Original Timeline by downloading it as an Excel file. 

Set this aside and don't do anything with it. It will serve as a backup of your timeline in case something goes wrong during the steps that follow.

2. Decide how many timelines you want at the end of this process. 

3. Download your Original Timeline as an Excel file. 

You'll want to download it as an Excel file (not a CSV) because Excel automatically reformats dates which can cause problems when you go to reimport it.

I'd recommend moving the file into its own folder too.

4. Create multiple copies of the spreadsheet, one for each smaller timeline you want to create. 

In this case, we want to split our original timeline into 2 smaller timelines so we'll create 2 copies:

5. Edit each copy to only include the events you want on that timeline. 

For example, we'll load original_timeline_1 (which will have all the events initially) and delete all of the events in the Design layer, leaving only the ones in the Develop layer:


Then we delete the events we don't want in this new smaller timeline:

Leaving just the events we want to keep in this timeline:

Save it, then repeat this process for  original_timeline_2, but this time keeping only the events in the Design layer:


After deleting the events in the Develop layer:
Then save it.

At this point you should have one Excel file for each smaller timeline and it should only include the events that you want in that smaller timeline.

6. Create a new blank timeline in Preceden, then import the Excel file containing its events

For example, create a new timeline then import original_timeline_1:

Then create another new timeline and import original_timeline_2.

After you've done this you'll have successfully split your timeline into smaller ones. You can keep your original large timeline or delete it if you'd like.

One downside to this option (vs using the duplicate option) is that your new timelines won't automatically keep the same settings as you original timeline. After you've created the new smaller timelines you may want to go back and adjust the date formats, layer background colors, etc., to match the original timeline.

As always, if you run into any challenges along the way don't hesitate to reach out to us.

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