Overriding Timeline's Styles

For more technically capable creators, you can override or extend TimelineJS's CSS to have more control over how your timeline looks. To do this, you must be able to create CSS files and host them at a URL where TimelineJS can find them.

Fonts and Typography

The easiest way to change the fonts TimelineJS uses is to select from one of the list in the "Optional settings" section of step 3 of the Timeline authoring tool. However, if none of those font combinations work for you, you can create your own.

To create your own, you can download a model copy of a typical font CSS file from our CDN. You may want to put it through a CSS formatter before you start to edit it. If you are familiar with LESS, you may prefer to work from our LESS files on GitHub. If you set up Timeline as an `npm` project, then after you edit those files, you can run npm run dist to compile the LESS into CSS. You'll find your generated font CSS file in the dist/css/fonts directory.

Whether you use npm or simply edit a copy of one of the provided font CSS files, it's up to you to put this file on a web server. If you're using the embed code to publish your timeline, then you should change the src attribute of your iframe so that it has a parameter font with the URL to your font CSS as the value. This URL demonstrates setting the font with a URL, albeit in this case a URL to one of our provided font sets.

If, instead of the embed, you are directly instantiating the timeline in your page using JavaScript, see this documentation for more details.

Other CSS presentation

TimelineJS uses the Less CSS pre-processor to manage the complex number of elements, variables, and conditions needed to make everything look great. One side effect of how we use Less is that various style rules for TimelineJS are often very specific. Since, in CSS, more specific rules take precedence over less specific ones, you may find it easier to edit Timeline's Less files and compile your own stylesheet than to work out the exact selector which controls style rules.

If you want to change more than just typography, the basics are similar. You can create a Timeline CSS file by editing a copy of the main CSS file, or by checking out TimelineJS from GitHub and using npm to set up the development environment, and then editing the LESS files TimelineJS uses. If you are instantiating the timeline using JavaScript, you may also be able to selectively override CSS with <style> tags in the page.

Assuming you've created your own CSS file and put it on a web server somewhere, if you are using iframe embeds, you can edit the src of your embed to tell TimelineJS to load your CSS. Add a parameter called theme and set its value to the URL for your custom CSS. (At one point we considered providing alternative themes with TimelineJS, but we haven't made the time to fully complete and test any.)

See below for more details on various CSS classes which TimelineJS uses.

Timeline CSS classes

This table lists the major CSS classes which TimelineJS uses. You may just be able to tweak some of these. However, TimelineJS uses Less for CSS preprocessing, which means that some of the CSS rules are very specific.

Slide options affect the media and text areas of slides.

Class Name
Element Type?
Notes
tl-timeline
div
Added to the initial div containing the timeline. Contains entire element.
tl-slider-container-mask
div
A wrapper around the slides. Background colors or images can be set here.
tl-slide
div
Each complete set of slide items. May appear in conjunction with .tl-slide-titleslide (for title slides) or .tl-slide-media-only (slides without text).
tl-media-content-container
div
Contains the media, its credit, and its caption.
tl-media-content
div
Contains the media item. Use this to add borders, padding and more.
tl-credit
div
The media item's credit.
tl-caption
div
The media item's caption.
tl-text
div
The slide's text plus padding. Add background color to the text portion of the slide here.
tl-text-content-container
div
The slide's text minus padding.
tl-headline-date
h3
The date that appears over the slide's headline.
tl-headline
h2
The slide's headline. Title slides have the additional class .tl-headline-title. Note that you will probably need to use the selector h2.tl-headline to change the appearance of the slide titles.
tl-text-content
div
The text of the slide, in p tags.
tl-slidenav-next
or
tl-slidenav-previous
div
The navigation and text for moving forward and back. Use in conjunction with the following selectors to render the navigation arrows and text.
tl-slidenav-icon::before
div
Inserts the navigation arrow. Preface with .tl-slidenav-next or .tl-slidenav-previous to specify which arrow to render.
tl-slidenav-title
div
The title of the next/previous slide. Preface with .tl-slidenav-next or .tl-slidenav-previous to specify which title to render.
tl-slidenav-description
div
The description of the next/previous slide. Appears on hover. Preface with .tl-slidenav-next or .tl-slidenav-previous to specify which description to render.

Timenav options affect the portion of the timeline that renders the time series.

Class Name
Element Type?
Notes
tl-timenav
div
The timeline element. Change the background color here.
tl-menubar
div
The zoom icons.
tl-timemarker
div
All of the elements that make up the markers (flags and lines) on the timenav. The marker of the current slide also has the class .tl-timemarker-active.
tl-timemarker-content-container
div
The flag of the marker. You can set the flag's background color and text color here. When writing styles for this selector, preface this selector with .tl-timemarker (for slides other than the current slide) or .tl-timemarker.tl-timemarker-active (for the current slide).
tl-timemarker-timespan
div
The width of the marker. This draws the translucent background behind markers if your event has a start and end date. When writing styles for this selector, preface this selector with .tl-timemarker (for slides other than the current slide) or .tl-timemarker.tl-timemarker-active (for the current slide).
tl-timemarker-media-container
div
The icon or thumbnail representing the media in the timeline flag.
tl-headline
h2
The text of the flag. Set color and font family here. Note that this is the same class used for the headline in the main slide body. If you want to change only the headline in the navigation, use .tl-timemarker .tl-timemarker-content-container .tl-timemarker-content .tl-timemarker-text h2.tl-headline. (Yes, ideally it wouldn't need to be so specific, but for now, it does.)
tl-timeaxis
div
The ticks representing the timescale.
tl-timeaxis-background
div
The appearance of the background for the tick marks.
tl-timeaxis-tick:before
div
The line drawing the tick. Set the background color to change the color of the line. Preface with .tl-timeaxis-major to target major ticks or .tl-timeaxis-minor to target minor ticks.