The Quotidian Window


future view


side view


The toolbar shows buttons that allow quick access the menu and to a few of the most frequently used commands.

The size of the buttons (and the size of the toolbar) can be changed with the toolbarSize variable in edit preference. The allowed sizes are 16, 24 and 32. These numbers are the size in pixels of the images used to create the toolbar buttons.

The keyboard shortcuts for toolbar commands all require the control key to be held down while another key it hit. On the Mac, the command () is used instead of the control key.

  Command Windows / Linux    Mac
set time to clock time ^T T
set time to start of selected event ^S S
set time to end of selected event ^E E
real time mode ^B B
category edit mode ^Z Z

play audio



The menu shows the commands available to the user of the QViewer. Some commands have keyboard shortcuts that can be used to invoke the commands.

Some menu choices are grouped so that selecting one will deselect another. The one selected is indicated by a black circle (Windows, Linux) or check mark (Mac) in front of its name.

Some menu choices represent a mode that can be turned off and on. These are indicated by a check mark before the menu name when the mode is on.

The keyboard shortcuts for menu commands all require the control key ( on the Mac) to be held down while another key is hit.

Command Windows / Linux    Mac
open ^O O
open URL ^shift-O shift-O
remove ^D D
remove all ^shift-D shift-D
reset display ^A A
category mode ^Z Z
new viewer ^N N
close viewer ^W W
find ^F F
exit ^Q Q
set time to clock time ^T T
set time to start of selected event ^S S
set time to end of selected event ^E E
real time mode ^B B
face left ^L L
face right ^R R
face future ^Y Y
face past ^P P
bookmark selected event    
links from selected event ^J J
time options.. ^U U
show event info in browser    
event info..    
play sounds    
show status line    
show scroll bars    
show compass rose    
show time scale    
show mouse sliders    
move selected event to screen center    
show event duration in tooltips    
send event locations to Google Earth    
orthographic view    
edit preferences ^comma comma
Contents.. ^? (shift-slash) ?

Datetime Box

The datetime box shows the current display time of the viewer. The display time is represented by the front clipping plane of the display when the direction is towards the past or future, and by the center line when the direction is towards the left or right.

All date and time values are stored relative to midnight on 1 January 1970 UTC. The current calendar and current timezone are used both to print the display time in this field and to convert date and time values into the internal form.

The user can edit this value directly. Changes become effective when the enter key is hit. The format of the displayed time varies with the time scale value. As the scale increases, more detail is shown.

The order of days, months and years is a matter of convention and varies with locale. Currently, the QViewer always expects to see them in the day, month, year order. This may change in a future version to be more locale-specific.

The values in the datetime box will always have a date part and the date part will always have at least a year. Depending on the current calendar and locale, the year may be followed by an era such as BC or AD. If no era is present it is assumed to be the one for the present day. Not all year values are acceptable in all calendars. For example, there is no year 0 in the Julian calendar.

  • 10 Jan 2008
  • Jan 200
  • 200 BC
  • 2008

Months have a short form and a long form; either will work for input. The output form is set in the edit preference window. Names of the months change with the current calendar and with the operating system locale settings. Dates without a month day are assumed to be the first day of the month. Dates without a month are assumed to be the first month in the current calendar system.

  • 10 Jan 2008
  • 10 January 2008
  • January 2008
  • Jan 2008
  • 28 août 2009 (in the French locale)

There is an alternative form used for dates in the distant future and past. MYA (million years ago) and MYF (million years in the future) are preceded by a decimal number. They take 1 Jan 1970 as their origin.

  • 3.58 MYA
  • 1.7 MYF

The date can be followed by a time component: Hours are always in the 24 hour form. This may change in a future version to be more locale-specific. If no time is given, it is assumed to be midnight at the start of the given date.

  • 16
  • 16:05
  • 16:05:44
  • 16:05:44.001
  • 16:05:44.000000000000000001

The time scale value determines how much precision is used to display the date and time. The value the user enters in the datetime box will be set as the display time, but if the time scale is set to a low value, only the most significant parts will be printed in the datetime box.

The timezone abbreviations for standard time and daylight savings time (summer time) are shown only to disambiguate the times that re-occur when clocks are set back (usually in the fall).


  • 2 Nov 2008 00:30
  • 2 Nov 2008 01:30 EDT
  • 2 Nov 2008 01:30 EST
  • 2 Nov 2008 02:30

The abbreviation can be found in the city listing in the time options dialog. Not all locales, particularly those in tropical countries, perform seasonal clock changes. In these timezones, the two abbreviations in the table are the same and are ignored. The abbreviations can be used at any time in input, but only the ones for the current timezone are understood. Typing a timezone abbreviation cannot be used to enter a time from another timezone.



The timezone shows the timezone that is used to convert the display time into the date and time printed in the datetime area. This timezone is also used to convert date and time typed by the user into the datetime box.

When the QViewer starts, it uses the local timezone from the user's operating system. The timezone is shown on a button. When the button is pressed, a dialog box is presented that allows the user to change the timezone and calendar.

Display Area

The display area shows a view into the imaginary three-dimensional space, which is where events are drawn. The time ruler and mouse sliders also appear in this area. The category editor mode replaces the three-dimensional display area with a two-dimensional representation of the category layout.


Compass Rose

In the lower left corner of the display area is an indicator of the current view direction. The arrow always points towards the future. Each of the arms of the indicator represents a view direction.  A mouse click on one of the arms changes the display to the corresponding direction.


Status Line

The optional status line at the bottom of the QViewer window shows the current x location, y location, x/y scale, and time scale in numerical terms. These numbers can be edited directly. The status line also shows the name of the current time ruler division.

The status line is usually turned off. It's display can be requested with the Menu->Options->Show status line command.

X/Y Scale

The x/y scale ➀ is used to scale the display in both the x and y axes. These two axes always scale together. The larger the number, the larger the events in the display appear. The x/y scale can also affect how and when categories are displayed.

The range of this value is from about 0.002 to 584 million.

X and Y

The x ➁ and y ➂ values are the current positions of the viewpoint along the x (horizontal) and y (vertical) axes. These values are bounded only by the precision of numbers on the computer. However, the current size of the surface of the category plane where categories can be positioned is set to the range from -10,000 to 10,000. The (nameless) units are based on the size of the visible display area, which always has a width of 200.

Time Scale

The time scale ➃ shrinks or expands the display of time duration. As this number get smaller, the duration of events appears smaller.

The range of this value is from about 1.0 × 10-12 to about 8.64 × 1023.

When the time scale is 1.0, the front clipping plane of side views is about 200 days wide.

Current Ruler Scale

The current ruler scale ➄ shows the name of the divisions on the time ruler. The names are the size of the alternating color and transparent segments of the time ruler. If the name is day, then each segment is one day long. While the time scale changes smoothly, the ruler's divisions change at pre-set time scale values. Unlike the other values on the status line, the ruler scale cannot be edited directly by the user, but changes with the time scale.

The names vary from second × 10-18 to 100 billion years.

Display Time Centerline

The display time centerline is a vertical line drawn in the middle of the display area in the left and right side view directions to indicate the display time. In side view directions, the time axis runs left and right across the display, so this line represents the front clipping plane in past and future view directions turned sideways.

© 2011 Quotidian Incorporated