Use the Storyline 360 timeline to control the duration and timing of slide elements, adjust the layering of objects, and sync animations. Learn more about all the latest time-saving upgrades to the timeline here and here.

Opening the Timeline

The timeline is only accessible in Slide View. If it isn't visible at the bottom of the screen, click the arrow in the lower right corner of the slide stage to open it. Then select the Timeline tab.

Resizing and Undocking the Timeline

It can be helpful to enlarge the timeline panel or even undock it to make working with numerous objects easier. To resize the timeline, drag its top boundary up or down.

To undock the timeline panel, just click the word Timeline and drag it to a new location—or even a different monitor.

To redock the timeline, click the Redock button in the panel's upper right corner.

Hiding Objects

You may find it useful to temporarily hide some objects so you can focus on others. To hide an object, click the eye icon to the left of its name. Click it again to unhide it.

To hide all slide objects at the same time, click the eye icon at the top of the panel. Click it again to unhide all objects.

Tip: Hidden objects won't appear in your published output, so remember to unhide them before you publish.

Locking Objects

To prevent an object from being moved or modified while you're working with other slide elements, lock it in place by clicking the box before its name. It'll change to a padlock icon. Click it again to unlock it.

To lock all slide objects at the same time, click the padlock icon at the top of the panel. Click it again to unlock all objects.

Renaming Objects

We recommend giving objects recognizable names so they're easy to identify when working with triggers and freeform interactions.

To rename an object, double-click its name, or right-click it and select Rename. Enter a new name for the object and press the Enter key on your keyboard.

If your object names are too long to fully display on the timeline, hover your mouse over the beginning of the timeline (i.e., the 0-second mark) until a two-headed arrow appears, then click and drag to the right.

Expanding Grouped Objects and Answer Choices

When you group objects together, they appear as a single item on the timeline. Likewise, many question slides automatically group answer choices together as a single item on the timeline.

You can expand a grouped object to work with its individual elements. This is helpful if you want to rename, reorder, or animate each item in the group separately.

To expand a grouped object, click the triangle to the left of its name. Click the triangle again to collapse the group.

Changing the Order of Objects

All slide objects will be listed on the timeline. They'll be listed in the same order in which they're layered on the slide, with the topmost item in the list at the front (or top) of the slide.

To change the order of an object, just drag it up or down the list.

To change the order of multiple objects on the timeline all at once, hold down the Shift or Ctrl key as you select the objects on the timeline and drag them up or down the list.

Changing the Timing and Duration of Objects

To control when an object appears (or animates in), drag it left or right along the timeline.

To change the duration of an object, drag its right edge along the timeline. This controls when the object disappears (or animates out).

When you right-click an object on the timeline, you'll see additional options for managing timing and duration:

Align to Cue Point

Move the object along the timeline so its starting point lines up with the cue point # you select.


Hover over Alignment, then select one of the following alignment options that appear.

  • Align Object to Playhead to move the selected object to the playhead (blue vertical line).
  • Align Playhead to Object Start to move the playhead to the start of the selected object.
  • Align Playhead to Object End to move the playhead to the end of the selected object.

Show Until End

Display the object until the end of the slide's timeline.

Show Always

Display the object for the entire duration of the slide, from beginning to end.


Open the Timing window to specify the start time and duration of the object (in minutes and seconds).

Resetting the Timeline

When the timeline is too long, you can reset it to five seconds or shorten it to match the object with the longest duration. Just right-click anywhere on the timeline and select one of the options below.

Fit Timeline to Longest Object

Shorten the timeline duration to the lengthiest object.

Reset Timeline to Default

Change the timeline to the default 00:05 time except when there's an audio file. In that case, Storyline 360 shortens the timeline to the duration of the audio file.

Timeline Scrubbing

View when timed elements appear and disappear on the slide stage without previewing the entire slide. Click and drag the playhead to view timing and animation. While scrubbing, you won't see layers and triggers on the slide stage.

Timeline Visualization

Know how the stage appears when you're not scrubbing through your timeline. Click the Timeline Visualization icon, as shown below, or press Ctrl+H to show objects on the slide stage only when they intersect with the playhead. Disable this option to view all stage elements at once.

The Timeline Visualization icon on the timeline.

Timeline Animation Editing

View and adjust the duration of object animations right from the timeline. See what objects are animated and adjust their animation duration quickly without having to enter values in the ribbon. This works with all entrance and exit animations, as well as motion path animations that occur when the timeline of the object starts.

See What Objects Are Animated

When you add animation to an object, you'll see a representation equal to its duration on the timeline, as shown below.

Animated object on the timeline.

With timeline scrubbing, you'll see basic fade-in/fade-out animations as you move the playhead over these visualizations. To see full animation and advanced slide interactions, you'll need to preview your slide. The basic animations are provided as a quick visual representation while scrubbing.

Adjust Animation Durations

Hover over a timeline element, and yellow handles appear at the beginning or end of the animation. Click and drag the handle to manually adjust the animation's duration. The animation duration value updates on the ribbon when you release the handle.

Using the Playhead to Sync Animations

To synchronize animations, use the Align to Playhead feature. Here's how:

  1. Click the play/pause button in the lower left corner of the timeline to play the slide audio.
  2. When the audio reaches the point where you want an object to animate into the slide, click the play/pause button again to pause the playhead (blue vertical line). (You can also press the spacebar on your keyboard to play/pause.)
  3. Right-click the object on the timeline that you want to animate, hover over Alignment, then select Align Object to Playhead.
  4. Repeat steps 2–4 until you've synchronized the entire slide.

Using Cue Points to Sync Animations

Another way to sync animations is to use cue points. Cue points let you precisely align objects on the timeline.

marker aligned to cue point 1

First, you'll need to place cue points on the timeline where you want animations to occur (see details below). Then, right-click each object on the timeline, scroll to Align to Cue Point, and choose a cue point.

Align to Cue Point option.

Here's how to add, delete, and move cue points:


Right-click anywhere in the timeline and select Create Cue Point at Playhead.

Tip: To add cue points on the fly, click the play button in the lower left corner of the timeline, then press C on your keyboard at any point where you want to insert a cue point.


Right-click the cue point marker you want to delete and select Delete Cue Point.

Delete All

Right-click anywhere in the timeline and select Delete All Cue Points. (This only deletes cue points for the current slide.)


Drag a cue point marker left or right along the timeline to reposition it.

Zooming the Timeline

To get a closer look at a portion of the timeline, drag the zoom slider to the right. To zoom out, drag the zoom slider to the left.

Previewing a Slide

Quickly preview a slide using the player controls in the lower left corner of the timeline. Timeline previews aren't interactive. They let you see how slides look without previewing or publishing your course.

  1. Click the play/pause button once to start the playhead (blue vertical line) moving along the timeline.
  2. Click the play/pause button again to pause the playhead at its current location.
  3. Click the stop button to end the preview and return the playhead to beginning of the timeline.

These objects won't work in timeline previews:

  • Slide numbers
  • Videos from websites, such as YouTube and Vimeo
  • Web objects
  • Engage interactions

Working with Audio

When you right-click an audio track in the timeline, you'll see the following options for editing and exporting audio.

Edit Audio

This opens the selected audio track in the built-in audio editor. To learn how to use the audio editor, see this user guide.

Tip: You can also double-click an audio track to launch the audio editor.

Export Audio

This exports a copy of the selected audio track. You'll be prompted to browse to the location where you want to save the exported audio file. Give it a file name, select the file type (MP3, WAV, or both), and click Save.

Working with Video

When you right-click a video in the timeline, you'll see an option to Edit Video. This opens the built-in video editor, where you can trim, crop, adjust the volume, control brightness/contrast, and insert a logo.

Learn more about the video editor.

This option isn't available for website videos.