How to Make a Timeline in Apple's Pages
Making your own timeline to illustrate historical periods, epochs or events in your own life is a snap with Apple Pages 5.2. The process involves creating a thick timeline, adding events in text boxes and connecting those events to the timeline with regular lines. Connector lines don't work for this purpose because they don't connect text boxes to lines.
Drawing the Timeline
Launch Pages and open a new blank landscape document to make a horizontal timeline. If you're worried about going over the margins, add the ruler to the page by pressing "Command-R" on the keyboard.
Click the "Insert" menu, select "Line" and then click "Line" again from the drop-down menu. A diagonal line appears on the page with a square anchor on each end. Notice that the Format drawer opens on the right of the screen with the Style tab selected.
Hold down the "Shift" key and drag one of the line's anchors to the edge of the page, placing it about half-way down from the top. Do this again to drag the other anchor to the opposite side of the page. Holding down the "Shift" key produces a horizontal line.
Click the color menu in the Stroke section of the Style drawer to select a color for the line. Increase the thickness of the line so it's easily visible by clicking the unlabeled line-width menu in the same section. In most cases, a 6-point line should work well.
Adding Dates and Events
Select "Text Box" from the Insert menu. Type a date, press "Enter" and then type a description for the date. Note that the Text formatting options appear on the right.
Highlight the date and select a font in the Text formatting drawer. Click the "B" button to emphasize the date. Change the color and font size as needed. Highlight the description and change its formatting. It doesn't have to be the same font, but it shouldn't be larger than the date or in bold. Press "Command-A" to highlight all the text and then select the alignment. Center alignment works well with timelines.
Click the "Style" tab in the Format drawer and click the "Border" menu. Select any border. If there isn't going to be a lot of text in the timeline, you can select "No Border."
Click any blank area outside of the text box and then click inside the text box to highlight its border. Drag the "Anchor" on any corner to resize the text box as desired.
Press "Ctrl-C" while the text box is still highlighted to copy it. Press "Ctrl-V" to paste as many copies as you need. Drag the boxes to their positions above and below the timeline. Click the text in each pasted text box to change the date and description. This saves you from having to reformat the text for every text box. Change the sizes of any boxes as needed by dragging the corners as you did with the first text box.
Adding Date Lines
Add a new line from the Insert menu. Drag one end to the timeline. Hold down the "Shift" key as you drag the other end to the edge of the text box to constrain the line to a 45-degree angle. Change the width and color of the line as needed. Ideally, it should much thinner than the timeline -- 1 point or so.
Press "Command-C" while the line is selected to copy it and then press "Command-V" to paste as many copies as you need for the other text boxes. Drag the lines into place with the text boxes. Hold down the "Shift" key and drag an end to make the line longer or shorter as needed. Make sure each date line actually touches or slightly overlaps the timeline.
Click the timeline to select it and then click "Bring to Front" from the Arrange tab. This ensures that the date lines appear to be connected to the dateline, rather than overlapping.
Tips & Warnings
- To create a multicolored timeline with different colors representing different periods, copy and paste the existing timeline. Change the color of the copied line and shorten it. Then, place it over a section of the existing timeline.
- If your event text boxes are not directly above the point in the timeline or if you have more than one box for the same date, use a Right Angle Connection Line or Curved Line to connect them to the timeline.