Credit: Pixabay

What is it? Timetoast is a web tool you can use to create timelines of different events.

Cost: Free, with paid-for options

How is it of use to journalists?

With major developments in world events happening on an almost daily basis, it is all too easy for readers to lose track of the background story.

Whether it is detailing the latest news in Brexit or presenting the history of the climate crisis, Timetoast offers a way of explaining the lead-up to an event in an easy-to-understand format.

After signing up, you can create a timeline by clicking the ‘Timelines’ option from the toolbar. This is where any timelines you have worked on will appear. Create a timeline by selecting ‘Add timeline’.

After this, you can add a name for your project, upload a photo, and decide whether you want your timeline as a draft or make it public.

Public timelines will appear on the website and are categorised into a range of different sections. You can choose from a range of different categories to find the right place for your timeline to be published.

Once you have filled out the details for your timeline, you can add events which cover a single day or a time period.

Click on either 'Add event', for an event on a single day, or 'Add timespan' for events that cover a longer period. You will then be able to add a title for the event, a description, an image, and the date/s of the event itself. You also have the option to input dates in BC/BCE.

You can change any of the Timeline details by clicking the ‘Edit’ button next to the title of your project.

If there is something you forgot to add to one of the events, you can edit them by simply clicking on the event you want to make a change to and then clicking ‘Update event’.

There is no upper limit to the number of events you can add but Timetoast recommends up to 50 items. More than 150 will impact your timeline’s availability.

Once you have added in all the events you want to include, you can view the timeline, share it and change its visibility by clicking ‘Menu’ and selecting the relevant option.

Clicking ‘View timeline’ will show your project, which you can view either in a timeline format or as a list. You can view the description of any event by clicking on its box.

On this screen, you can also add relevant tags to improve the searchability of your timeline on the website.

On Timetoast, you can also view other users’ public timelines by clicking ‘Public timelines’ and selecting a category. You can also search for a particular topic by clicking Search.

Timetoast also offers a range of premium options with ‘basic’ and ‘pro’ plans, which include collaboration, the ability to embed timelines on different platforms and the removal of advertising. It also offers the ability to have more than one draft saved at any time.

Looking for new ways to present statistics and events? Sign up for our Storytelling with infographics course on October 9th with former New Scientist graphics editor Nigel Hawtin.

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