Editing Commands

Editing commands can be invoked from the menu, toolbar, or keyboard. Many can be invoked from all three. Most of the commands that appear in the File and Edit menus should be familiar to users of text editors.

In the following table, T means that, on Apple, the command is invoked by holding down the command key and typing the T key. On Windows, Linux and Solaris, ^T means that the control key (Ctrl) is held down and the T key is pressed.

File menu Windows/Linux     Apple Mac
  New Timeline ^T T
  New Relative Timeline ^R R
  Open ^O O
  Save ^S S
  Save As ^W W
  Print ^P P
  Print XML    
Edit menu
  Undo ^Z Z
  Redo ^Y Y
  Cut ^X X
  Copy ^C C
  Paste ^V V
  Delete backspace  
  Search ^K K
Entry menu
  New Element ^N N
  Remove Element ^D D
  Add Sequence ^G G
Options menu
  Time options..    
  Relative origin..    
  Update QViewer    
  Edit Preferences    
Window menu
  Store Panel Layout    
  Delete Panel Layout    
  Show/Hide Panel    
Help menu
  Help F1  
  Context help    
Edit panel commands
  Add Row Element ^N N
  Insert Row Element ^I I
  Delete Row Element ^D D
  Add Sequence ^G G
  Collect Tags ^M M
  Fill Rows ^L L
  Set End Time to Sound Duration    

File commands


New Timeline

Creates a new timeline in a new QEditor window. The user will be asked to choose the initial calendar and timezone for this file.


New Relative Timeline

Creates a new relative timeline in a new QEditor window.



The file chooser dialog box allows the author to choose a timeline file to open. A new editor window containing the timeline is opened.



Save copies the timeline to the author's hard disk. If a new timeline has not been saved before and doesn't have a file name, this command behaves like "save as" below.


Save As

The file chooser dialog box asks the author for a directory and a file name. If the suffix is absent, ".quotid" is appended to the name. The timeline is saved to author's hard disk in a file with that name and directory.



A standard print dialog is displayed, allowing the author to choose which printer to use and set standard printer properties. The timeline is printed with the selected printer. Variables the QEditor uses internally to format the printer output can be found in the print tab on the dialog box from the Edit Preferences command.


Print XML

The XML (eXtended Markup Language) text of the timeline is printed. This is essentialy the same text that is saved inside a timeline file by the save command.



If unsaved changes have been made to the timeline, a save command is executed first. The timeline window is then closed.

When the command is invoked on the last open editor window, the behavior of this command varies with the operating system. On Windows and Linux, this command exits the QViewer application when the last viewer window is closed. On Mac, this command closes the last window, but leaves the application running. These behaviors are consistent with application guidelines on each platform.



This stops the QEditor program and closes all timeline windows currently open. If unsaved changes have been made to a timeline, a save command is executed first.

Edit commands



A list of edit actions made to a timeline is kept. Undo goes through the list starting with the most recent edit action and tries to reverse its effect. The number of edit actions saved in the list can be set with Edit Preferences. The default size of the undo list is 100.

Changes made in an edit panel or in an in-line editor in a list panel do not create undo actions until the "Accept" button (or an equivalent action) is invoked.



As an edit action is undone with the undo command, the action is saved on the redo list. The redo command will restore the previously undo action. Any new edit action that is not an undo or redo erases the redo list.



Cut adds the selected text to the clipboard and erases it from the display object.



Copy adds the selected text to the clipboard.

When the name field of an event is selected, the reference URL of that event is also copied to the clipboard. This can be pasted in the locator or link list panels. It can also be pasted into an event's link edit panel.



Paste adds the text in the clipboard to the text at the current edit point.

When an event URL is copied to the keyboard, the URL can be pasted into the locator or link list panels, or into an event's link edit panel.



A dialog box is displayed for entering the search text and setting search options. The location where matching text was found is stored in the list in the search panel. The number of matches allowed in the list defaults to 100, though this number can be changed in the Edit Preferences window.

Options for how to search:

Entire field The given text should exactly match the text in a text entry field. If this is not selected, any occurance of the given text in a field will be recorded as a match.
Ignore case Upper and lower case are ignored when matching.
Regular expression The given text is a regular expression. A regular expression is a (possibly complex) pattern for matching text.
Options to tell where to search:
Match labels Look for matches in only the name fields of timeline entries.
Match time Look for matches in only time fields of timeline entries.
Match any text Look for matches in all text fields.

Entry commands

These commands act on the active list panel.

These commands do not act on lists in edit panels. Separate menu and toolbar buttons are added when an edit panel becomes active.


New Element

Add a new row to the most recently active list panel. For example, if the currently active edit list is the Event list, a new event is added to that list.


Remove Element

Remove the row containing the current selection from the active list panel.


Add Sequence

This is a quick method for adding a series of events. A dialog box is displayed that lets the author choose the count, start time (a relative time for relative timelines, otherwise a datetime), interval (a relative time), duration (a relative time), and a name. Count is the number of events to be created. For each new event, the duration is added to the start time to get the end time. If duration is left blank, the interval is used to compute the end time. The interval is then added to the start time to get the start time of the next event in the sequence. Sticky buttons are used to fill in other properties of the event if set. The optional name becomes the name of each event.

For example,

This example adds ten events:

name   start time   end time
ides   15 Mar 2002   16 Mar 2002  
ides   15 Mar 2003   16 Mar 2003  
ides   15 Mar 2004   16 Mar 2004  
ides   15 Mar 2005   16 Mar 2005  
ides   15 Mar 2006   16 Mar 2006  
ides   15 Mar 2007   16 Mar 2007  
ides   15 Mar 2008   16 Mar 2008  
ides   15 Mar 2009   16 Mar 2009  
ides   15 Mar 2010   16 Mar 2010  
ides   15 Mar 2011   16 Mar 2011  

Options commands


Time options..

The time options menu shows a dialog box that changes a timeline's timezone and calendar. These are originally the timezone and calendar that are selected when a new timeline is created. The timeline's current timezone is shown to the right of the toolbar.

If the author changes a timeline's timezone, the times already entered remain unchanged, because the times are all stored in Universal Time. However, the author may have one of two intentions:

The author may want to convert the times to a new timezone, in which case all the times should be shown relative to the new timezone.

Or, the author may want to keep the existing times as they are, but enter new times in a new timezone.

The "Pin times to the previous timezone and calendar" checkbox lets the author explicitly attach the previous timezone and calendar to all the times that don't have already have explicit timezone or calendars. This will show the existing times as they were before the QEditor's timezone and calendar were changed, but with the timezone and/or calendar added to each time.

For relative timelines the only time option is to set an origin time. A relative timeline is often given an origin only when the QViewer loads the timeline file. In that case, the "Ask for relative origin time when timeline is loaded" is checked and no datetime is given.


Update QViewer

The current state of the edited timeline is shown in the QViewer. The QViewer is launched if it is not already visible. This is almost exactly like saving the timeline in a file and loading it into a separately running QViewer. However, by using this command the author can use the category editor in the QViewer to graphically change the position and size of categories. These changes are transmitted back to the editor.

New events and other editor changes are not written to the QViewer until the "Update QViewer" command is invoked.

Selecting an event in the QEditor will change the QViewer to show that event.

Selecting an event in the QViewer will change the QEditor to select the line for that event in the events list panel.


Edit Preferences

A window shows a list containing all the preference variables available to authors using the QEditor. Each one has a default value that is built-in to Quotidian and set when the QEditor is first installed. Selecting a row in the list shows some information about the variable and its possible values. The author can add a new value for a preference variable in the rightmost column of the list. Erasing the value in the rightmost column restores the default value.

The Print tab on the preference window contains variables used to define the font styles and sizes, and other aspects of printing a timeline file from the QEditor.

Preference variables that are common to both the QEditor and QViewer appear in the common tab of the QViewer's edit preferences.

Currently, preference values are read only once when the QEditor application is started. To use changed preferences the author must restart the QEditor application.

Window commands


Show/Hide panels

This sub-menu has a choice for each panel. A menu choice toggles a panel between the open or close state. The open panels have checks before their names.


Window layout

Editor panels can be closed, sized, and re-arranged. The author can save an arrangement in a layout file on the hard disk and load it any time. The QEditor window's size is not saved with the layout, but is saved each time the QEditor is shut down and used when the QEditor is started again.

There are two special names that can appear in the list of layouts:

  • startup

    If this file is present, the startup layout file is loaded when a QEditor window is created, either by opening an existing timeline file or creating a new timeline. This allows the author to customize the startup appearance of the QEditor. The layout file can also be revloaded at any time.

  • default

    This is not actually a layout file. This choice lets the user recover the default layout if the panel layout or one of the layout files is damaged in some way.


Store window layout

The current panel arrangement is saved in the quotidian application directory. (~/.quotidian/perspectives on Linux, %APPDATA%\Quotidian\perspectives on Windows, and ~/Library/Application Support/Quotidian/perspectives on Mac)

The author is asked to name the window layout, and that name is shown as a menu choice. The names should be composed of alpha-numeric characters and _ (underscore). "startup" is allowed, "default" is not.


Delete window layout

Deletes a layout file and its menu choice.

Help commands



Shows a window with information about the QEditor.



Shows a dialog with version and copyright information for the QEditor.

Edit panel commands

Some edit panels require special edit commands. When such an edit panel becomes active, the menu and toolbar are changed to contain the new commands.

For example, when a sound file is added to an event, the sound edit panel becomes active. This causes "play" and "stop" to be added to the toolbar and the "sound" menu with those commands to be added to the menu. When the author moves away from the sound edit panel, or presses the accept or cancel button in the sound edit panel, the menu and toolbar change back to their previous states

Often the table menu is displayed when an edit panel contains a table. This menu contains commands to add and delete rows, and perhaps others depending on the context.


Add Row Element

Add a row to the table in the current edit panel.


Insert Row Element

Insert a row after the selected row in the table in the current edit panel.


Delete Row Element

Delete the selected row in the table in the current edit panel.


Add Sequence

This command is present when editing extension argument lists that contain a time parameter. Like the Add Sequence command for list panels, this command allows adding a number of rows in the list by computing the time value for each.

Command for the color table edit panel and label table edit panel

Collect Tags

When editing color and label tables, this command asks for the name of a category and finds all the color (or label) tags in the events that are attached to that category. Rather than defining the color (or label) list first and then choosing a color (or label) when an event is created, the author can make up tags for the events and later collect them when building a table. This command adds groups of tags by category, but it can be repeated for other categories to add them to the same color (or label) list.

Command for the level/scale edit panel

Fill Rows

This command allows filling in a level/scale table by giving starting and ending values and interpolating between them. The first level should be less than the last level. The time scales have pull-down lists choosing values associated with time precisions.

Commands for the sound edit panel

Play sound

When the sound edit panel is active, this command will attempt to load and play the sound file. This will fail if no URL is present for the sound, or the file cannot be loaded for some reason.


Stop sound

This command will stop playing the sound that started with the play sound command. The sound will also stop when the sound edit panel becomes inactive.


Set End Time to Sound Duration

This will look at the sound file and attempt determine the sound's running time. It will set the selected event's end time to the duration in milliseconds. Not all sound drivers and sound file formats allow the editor access to the sound's duration. Some sound files represent streaming sources which have no fixed duration. If a duration is not available for any reason, the command fails and the end time is left unchanged.

© 2011 Quotidian Incorporated