Storyline 1: Using the Timeline

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In Storyline, use the timeline to arrange and animate objects, so they appear in the right places at the right times. Here's how:

Opening the Timeline

If the Timeline, States, and Notes panel isn't already visible, here's how you can open it:

  1. When you're in Story View, double-click the slide you wish to edit. Or, when you're in Normal View, select the slide you wish to edit from the left navigation pane. 
  2. Click the arrow in the lower right corner of the slide stage to expand the Timeline, States and Notes panel.
  3. Select the Timeline tab.

Resizing the Timeline

You can expand the Timeline panel to make it easier to work with numerous objects, or you can make the Timeline panel smaller to give yourself more room for the slide stage. Simply hover your mouse over the boundary between the Timeline panel and the slide stage. When it changes to a two-headed arrow, drag the boundary up to expand the Timeline panel, or drag the boundary down to make the Timeline panel smaller.

Rearranging Objects

All the objects on your slide will be listed on the timeline, including images, shapes, audio, and video.  These objects will be listed in the same order in which they are layered on the slide, with the topmost item in the list being at the front (or top) of the slide.

To change the order of objects on a slide, select an item on the timeline and drag it up or down to its new location. 

Hiding and Unhiding Objects

When there are numerous objects on a slide, you may find it useful to hide some of them, so you can focus on certain elements.  To hide an object, click the eye icon that appears to the left of its name on the timeline.  Click the eye icon again to unhide it. 

To show or hide all objects at once, click the eye icon at the top of the Timeline tab.

Be aware that hidden objects will not appear in your published output, so remember to unhide them before your publish.

Locking Objects

You can lock objects to prevent them from accidentally being moved or modified while you are working with other items on your slide. To lock an object, click the empty box to the left of its name on the timeline.  A padlock icon will appear, which indicates that the object has been locked in place. To unlock an object, click the padlock icon

To lock or unlock all objects at once, click the padlock icon at the top of the Timeline tab.

Renaming Objects

It can be very useful to give objects on your slide easily recognizable names, especially when working with Freeform Questions.  To rename an object, simply double-click its current name (or right-click and select Rename), which opens an editable text field.  Then type a user-friendly name for your object, and press the Enter key on your keyboard to save the change.

If your object names are too long to fully display on the Timeline tab, you can hover your mouse over the vertical line that divides the Timeline tab and the top of the actual timeline until a two-headed arrow appears.  Then drag the dividing line to the right to widen the Timeline tab until your object names are no longer truncated.

Expanding Grouped Objects and Multi-Item Quiz Answers

When you group objects together, they appear as a single object on the timeline.  Likewise, many of the question slides in Storyline automatically group answer choices together as a single object on the timeline.

However, you can expand the group to work with the individual elements of the group on the timeline.  This is helpful if you want to rename, reorder, or animate each element in the group separately.  To expand the grouped object or answer choices, click the triangle that appears to the left of the answer group on the timeline.  Click the triangle again to collapse the group.

Changing the Timing of Objects on Your Slide

To change when an object appears on the slide, drag it left or right along the timeline. 

You can also adjust the duration of an object if you want it to disappear before the end of your slide. Simply drag the right edge of that object along the timeline until you reach the point at which you want it to disappear (or animate out).

Additional options for managing the timing of an object can be found by right-clicking the object on the timeline and selecting one or more of the following:

  • Align to Cue Point:  moves the object along the timeline so that its starting point lines up with the Cue Point # that you select. For more information about using cue points, see this tutorial.
  • Align To Playhead:  moves the object along the timeline so that its starting point lines up with the current position of the playhead (red vertical line).
  • Show Until End:  displays the object until the end of the slide
  • Show Always:  displays the object for the entire duration of the slide
  • Timing:  allows you to specify the Start Time and Duration of the object (in seconds)

Managing Cue Points

Cue points allow you to precisely align objects on the timeline. They're useful for synchronizing your animations to appear at specific times. Find out more about synchronizing animations here.

You can add, delete, and move cue points on the timeline.  Here's how:

  • To add a cue point, right-click anywhere in the Timeline panel and select Create Cue Point At Playhead. Or, to add cue points on-the-fly, click the Play button in the lower-left of the timeline, and then press on your keyboard at any point where you want to insert a cue point.
  • To delete a cue point, right-click the cue point marker on the timeline and select Delete Cue Point.
  • To delete all cue points on a slide, right-click anywhere within the Timeline panel and select Delete All Cue Points.
  • To move a cue point, drag it left or right along the timeline.

Zooming the View of the Timeline

To get a closer look at a portion of the timeline, drag the zoom slider, which is located in the lower left corner of the timeline, to the right.  To zoom out, drag the zoom slider to the left. 

Previewing Your Slide Using the Timeline Controls

You can preview a slide using the player controls in the lower left corner of the timeline:

  • Click the Play / Pause button once to start the playhead (red vertical line) moving along the timeline.
  • Click the Play / Pause button again to pause the playhead at its current location.
  • Click the Stop button to end the preview and return the playhead to beginning of the timeline.

Working with Audio

There are a couple of timeline options that pertain only to audio that you may find helpful.  When you right-click an audio track in the timeline, you'll see the following options:

  • Audio Editor:  opens the Audio Editor.  To learn how to use the Audio Editor, check out this tutorial.  (Note that you can also double-click on an audio track in the timeline to launch the Audio Editor.)
  • Export Audio:  allows you to export the selected audio clip.  Browse to the location where you want to save the exported audio file, change the default name if you want to make it more specific, select the file type (MP3, WAV, or both), and click the Save button.

Working with Video

When you right-click a video in the timeline, you'll see an option to Edit Video. This allows you to modify the video using the built-in Video Editor. You can trim, crop, adjust the volume, control brightness and contrast, and insert a logo. For more information on using the Video Editor, see Editing Videos(This option is not available for website videos or SWF files.)

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