Not possible to change backup folder

Platform & OS Version

Platform: Windows
OS Version: 11
OS Language Setting: English, Norwegian

App Version

Version: 3.0.11
Application Shell: 3.0.11

I am not able to change the backup directory in Aeon Timeline.

This is a game stopper!

No one should ever be forced to store backups in their Working folder/directory.

Please Change ASAP to allow users to choose their Backup location…

Also provide a feature to set time intervals of the backup.
Something like

  1. On Exit
  2. On Open
  3. Every Hour
  4. Every Day (Set the time)
  5. Every Week (Set the day)

And an “Number of Backups to Keep”

This is extremally important, especially on large project and if project is randomly edited, it is important to take backups of a project in progress, but it is not that important to take backup of a randomly edited project, where “on exit” would be the best practice.

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Hi Jaran,
Thanks for the message.

Being able to change the location of the backups is something that we have on our planned task list, but we still have some higher priority issues we are working through currently.

Because we keep a combination of full backups and incremental backups (i.e. only saving changes from previous backups), the only hesitation I have with changing the backup location is there is a lot of benefit to the backups being in a somewhat “hidden” location so that users aren’t tempted to meddle with them through Windows Explorer.

If a user were to go through the folder and selectively delete backups without sufficient care, they may make it impossible for us to recover the full project from the backups they leave behind.

If the backup location is causing issues for you in the mean time (e.g. if you do not have sufficient space on C drive), you can disable them via Tools -> Manage Backups.

Obviously, you may wish to instigate your own backup process (automated or otherwise) to replace this if you take that option.

This is not something we are likely to change in the short term, but we may consider it further down the track.

Note that only saved changes are included in the backups, so “random edits” will generally not find their way into the backups.

If you don’t gonna change this, at least change the name from “Backup Manager” to Version Manager.

Don’t mislead people to think it is a “real” backup of their projects…

And it would be great if you could provide information about the TFS format,

  • Is it a full export of the project?
  • Does everything in the project get exported, unused elements as well as used, settings for the timeline etc.?
  • Can the TFS format be used as a “backup” file format?

And just so it’s clear, personally I do have both versioning and backup set with system tools, but many users don’t know how to do those things and when they read “backup”, they think their data is safely stored “somewhere else”.
I have had to many assignments trying to restore data for users that thought their “backups” from software they used was stored safe, and not within their working area… not everyone knows enough to set up a complete backup regime with a good backup software, so to at least provide them with a feature to save a backup to a “external location” from their workspace, is a little step in the right direction.

All that is needed is to set a folder and save the full and incremental backups in subfolders, i.e. making a new full backup at the end or start of each new month if there has been changes, and give the user a simple GUI where they can delete or keep older “copies” of the backup regime.
Same goes for “versioning” as it is now,

And one other thing, the backup should be individually set for each project, because why would I have backup/versioning on for a test timeline, or for the “embedded” examples provided by you, if I for some reason should do something that triggered a change to one of them that got saved?
Not a “big problem” but a detail.

And as a last note… I think it is great with a version manager for my projects, even though I also have it set as a file system function…
I just don’t think every user of Aeon is a software or system superuser (or writers that have worked with content creation for the last 40 years and have their own really special ways of safeguarding their creations) that know that they need to use an external software or utility to backup their workspace/working folder when they see the “backup manager”…

Hi Jaran,
I don’t necessarily agree with you regarding the language around “Backup” vs “Versioning”, but I understand your point of view.

One of the reasons we default to the hidden User/AppData folder on Windows is to keep the file away from the user’s “workspace”.

Physically, it is on the same disk drive, so it doesn’t guard against hardware failure, but it does protect against user error reasonably well.

But I agree that providing the option to move it elsewhere is sensible and something we intent to introduce. It just opens up a larger risk due to those other factors of the folders now being visible to the user, which may be interpreted as a green light to delete things they don’t understand.

Not insurmountable, but just not ideal.

There will be more information available about this format soon, but it is an ongoing and still-under-development collaboration we are doing with some other organisations (we don’t own the format, although we contributed, and it is not yet finalised).

It does not capture everything that is in our timeline files though.

Most substantially, the Narrative and Mindmap functions are completely omitted, the settings are a reduced set, most of the selected icons and colors are omitted, and it does not include any attachments.

It is highly unlikely any of the above list will be included in future iterations.


I dont use neither the “Narrative” nor the “Mindmap” functions.

I wanted to use AT3 because of the timeline and the freedom to create my own Events and Object Types (You call it Items, I call it Objects) and link them in any way I needed.
I use Freeplane for mind maps and Foam/Obsidian for Research Notes and eventually a draft for a written article or other publishing formats, and I use Constellation by the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) and Cytoscape for network graphs and analyzes of data, but none of them has a really good timeline graph view, event though Constellation actually do have features for handling dates and locations.

For me it looks like you should have looked at the Gephi GEXF graph format, It can hold date data (time series etc.), sub graphs and other “things”, and it is allowed to add customized namespaces for data… and the best is that it is an open data format…
At the end a timeline is nothing but a network graph with dates… for AT3 it is a network graph with 3 unique views/versions.

But it is your software, so you do what you want, for me, the only format I can use at the moment is the export to CSV… so it has limited my possibilities for using the data… but don’t misunderstand, I find most of the features of the Timeline part and the feature to add my own types great, I just wish I could actually use the input for anything but viewing it on my screen…

Just wanted to +1 what you’ve said @Jaran, including your views on backups and the absence of a backup directory. TL2 did this just fine.

The difference in my case is that I can’t view the timeline on my screen in the ways I could in TL2, so TL3 is less use to me than TL2.

I agree that the data/object additions are great in TL3… if only I could view my data as I need to… despite the additional views.

I regret not getting involved in the beta now. Ah well, on we go… at least I have discovered a new love for TL2!

I don’t think it would have had much to say if either of us had joined the “beta” or not.

You can’t view your data in the application, I can’t export to pdf or images…
the pdf version used is old and has pixel limitations for dimensions… so even though it is a vector image it have constraint because of the pdf version used… instead of just creating a svg vector image directly…
Well, I am glad I use a 4k monitor, I can at least take some print screen if I want to add the timeline in a document or something…

I’m sure they’ll fix these things eventually… I really hope they will fix the export problem first of all, because making backups, that I can do with a script.

For now, wouldn’t it be a solution to tick “Disable automatic backup” and set up external backup software such as rsync or Backup Service Home? For me, proprietary backup solutions that are integrated into applications are a fallback at best.


Already done. But no need to disable the function, I just use it as a versioning function instead of backup. Fallback if I should do something really stupid…

but it is still a game stopper regarding functionality because it can’t be set pr. project, so now I get “backups” of “auto save” files, I get “backups” of tests etc.
So if I should test out a large import of data, I would need to turn of the “backup”, test the import in a test file, delete the test file, even if the import went well, turn on the backup again so that the “live” projects get “backed up”… I don’t need backup/versioning of test databases?

Another problem is that even if I have my timeline projects in another location, the “backups” still get saved to the default location on “C:”, and for some reason I also get “backups” of some “auto save” files…

Using the “save as” to take a manual backup is not a good solution either, because when you have done a “saved as” that is the project file that is actually open, so you will need to close that file and open the “original” again, if you forget it and start editing/adding, you actually end up working on what you wanted as a backup… and you get “backups” in the “appdata\local\Aeon Timeline\Backup” folder on “C:” when saving those changes.

Well, those are a lot of good arguments to turn off automatic backup, aren’t they?

In another thread users tell about gigabyte-sized timelines (no idea how to create something like that. With high resolution images maybe?), so automatic backups might get tight at some point anyway.

The discussion made me curious, and I took a closer look at auto backups. It is remarkable that the read-only variant of Aeon 3 (trial period expired) still saves two full-size copies of each opened project.

The next surprise: Aeon Timeline 2, which I am still using, has also accumulated a nice amount of backup files that I have not been aware of yet. It looks like there is even no option to turn this off. But at least you can choose the location, and access is intended via the file system, i.e. via Explorer. That’s what you wanted, isn’t it?

yes, I will have to do it for my “live” projects, but at the moment I have stopped using AT3 for anything other than testing and trying to build a Configuration/Template for my research objects… need to make a lot of workarounds to get the result I want, if I shall use Aeon for this…
And I can’t use Aeon for anything “live” because I have no way of exporting the results, except CSV… and for that I could just use Excel…

I understand the problem. For special solutions you can program scripts and macros as I have presented them elsewhere here in the forum. However, the exported csv files do not contain all the information to resolve more complex dependencies (e.g. the short labels used for relationships). Personally, I prefer to access the native file format directly. With the new .aeon format, at least read access looks feasible to me. I have started with a Python module for this purpose, but at the moment I don’t want to pursue the topic because November, and thus NaNoWriMo, is approaching.

I did this in AT2 by extracting the json file from the zip,

I have just taken a quick look at the ver3 file, and find that there is a lot of internal references, I am not sure if I want to start trying to transcode that to a network graph or other formats, I am not that good at using neither Python nor other programming languages and really hoped for using more time researching and finding data, than programming my own solutions… I just cant manage to get my head spinning around creating the code, even though I know how to I wants things in theory…

I have looked at your scripts, but not tested them, I can see that multiple of them would be of great use for writers that do not use Scrivener, i…e. your yWriter scripts etc.

That is exactly the point. Parsing JSON or CSV is a piece of cake with the standard Python library. And for extracting the JSON part from the .aeon file, I have a robust solution by now. The rest will have to wait at least until my next writer’s block. For the moment there is a thriller in the queue.


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Then I hope you release that script too when you find yourself ready, it might be that I can learn something…

And… maybe it will be possible to combine data from Gramps with data from AT3 in a network graph next year or so… :clap: :clap: :pray: :pray:

Sure. Anyway, my paeon project is open source, so publicly available.
The current timeline modules map the timeline to the yWriter novel metamodel, but the JSON extractor in is generic.

I just put a standalone Python script online for extracting and pretty-printing the JSON part from an .aeon or .aeonzip file. A Python installation is required. The script has a command line UI, but It should also work via drag-and-drop.
Beware: It could possibly weaken with gigabyte-sized projects.

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This is off-topic now: I had a quick look at Gramps and was impressed by the variety of import and export options, as well as the documentation and tool support. I would be interested to know how you envision connecting Aeon and Gramps. From the looks of it, Gramps has people, places, and events, among other things. With database reports you should be able to generate a variety of views. Furthermore, there is XSLT support and everything your heart desires Is it primarily about seeing a timeline, or is it also about seeing relationships as in Aeon’s spreadsheet view? Or is it about showing events that are not stored in Gramps?

By the way, I have now extended my JSON extraction script to process .aeonzip files as well.

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I use Gramps as a storage for my “researched objects”, mostly because of all the advanced feature, even though there is some limitations still… and not only for “genealogy objects”, Gramps is an advanced software, but with a few additions it can be a near complete historical research software…
All it needs is:

  • Main and Sub Events
  • Places as subject for Events (coming)
  • Better support for interchangeable citation/bibliography (i.e. CSL) (I think they are working on it even though some of the “developers” call me an idiot for asking for it, because Zotero can’t do what they want to have in their citations, while I have tried to tell them that they can create a new CSL Citation Style for Gramps if they like, that can be used by other software supporting CSL, but some of them is still trapped in the Zotero thing because I mentioned Zotero as an example at a time)…
  • Some export to interchangeable standard formats, I used graphml, json-ld and CSL-json as examples… I think it will be an export feature to GEXF in near feature though.

At the moment there are little analyzing features in Gramps, therefore I use Cytoscape to look for relations and links between other objects, places, events and people that can’t be viewed in a “only family relations” software.
And Cytoscape and other network graph software (Constellation has a timeline module and a map module, but I have not tested it for my purpose yet) do not have a timeline view for where in time Events and objects existed, so I started to use The Timeline Project for that, then I found AT2 an liked the visuals of it, with a timeline it is possible to see if 2 objects could have been at the same place at the same time, or if i.e. two similar names was so far apart in a given period that there is no way it could be the same person… even though I don’t have exact dates… i.e. a seaman on board a ship, could he have been signing on another ship in a given port at a given time… or as one of my main problems was when I started with this ships and voyages research, how did a seaman be signing on in Kristiania, Norway on a given ship at a given date, when that ship actually was on a voyage between Tampico, Mexico and Providence, US, did any ship leave Norway for any City near Providence that could reach a port in that area within a given period, or did the ship he signed on go to port in other cites to…

I have got a lot of those answers using a combination of AT2, Obsidian with JUGGL and Cytoscape, but to combine results from 3-4 software and getting it in to the 5, without knowledge of programming, has been a hassle, and mostly been done manually, but when I now start to add multiple thousands of Norwegian Merchant ships to the research, I don’t want to do manual anymore or at least as little as possible, since I need to transcribe old Norwegian newspapers for that information, the OCR for those letters is just not good enough, and trying to train Tesseract with new fonts etc. is way outside my base of knowledge, and since this is tables in a newspapers, I either need to correct the errors in Excel, or in a markdown table, and that work is huge…
Approx. 1 newspaper every week with those lists, linking ships, dates and locations (countries, ports of call) together and creating something structured out of it…

So most of my use of any software is for registration and analyzes of data, but the Weekly Ship Index I really would like to publish as Open Data at a point, as a network graph/knowledge graph with a timeline view of all the ships and some of the Crew Lists and Manifests, information about the owners and lines etc. At the moment I mostly use Obsidian for my research “notes”, because of the Juggl addon that can save the graph to a cystoscape.json file. But nearly all addons/templates for publishing to static pages use github, and I am not sure I want to use github for this…

Much of this is already out there, but nearly everything is for the WW2 period, and ships sailing under the war…

And the reason I use Obsidian is of course also that Foam is starting to mature, so there will be a “backup” software that can utilize most of the YAML and Graph settings with little rewriting…
I hope Zettlr would support wikilinks with pipe aliases like wiki use it, but not sure if that gonna happen… but there is a addon for Obsidian that can convert links both ways, so…

Oooh… I also used Twine 2 in a period because of the Graph View and exported it to a graphviz file, got the developer of the import module of dot files in cytoscape to support unicode… and Gramps export a few reports to graphviz, so there was some possibilities to combine those… but it is a hassle to use a dozen different software… so I try to limit it…
I used/use Freeplane for some things, but for someone that cant much scripting, there is limitied possiblities to get an export from Freeplane that are real interchangeable with anything but other Mind Map tools.

I’m not getting through it all at the moment, but it sounds very interesting. Is there another place to continue this off-topic discussion without blowing up this bug report?

Just very briefly, Gramps uses a relational database it looks like, so that should allow for very flexible analysis. Have you tried SQL and a powerful 3rd party client? I’d probably lose track with so many different tools. On the other hand, if I had a project as large as yours, I’d most likely set up a custom database on a fast server.

The Timeline Project, although compared to Aeon with significantly fewer features, has the advantage of a very simple XML file format, which can also be generated by yourself. I have already done something like that for yWriter, where synchronization is possible in both directions. For Gramps, with a little luck, it might even work with XSLT. With this you could create a timeline view from Gramps pretty fast. Since Gramps has a Python API for plug-ins, a script-based export to TL format would also be imaginable.