Using Chronolator Documents
Special Columns

Chronolator treats most of the columns in a chronology table as free-form text, only checking them if the Case Review Administrator has deemed them mandatory. However, some columns play a major role in the way a Chronolator Document is processed.

These special columns are described below.

Chronolator's names for them are shown like this, but the Case Review Administrator can give them different headings in the actual chronology table.

Event order: Date, Time and Sequence columns

Up to five special columns can be used to specify when an event happened:

Chronolator can populate the Sequence column with event reference numbers, which can also be used to specify the order of events on a particular day when you do not know their times. If you need to do this and the Administrator has not included one, you can add a Sequence column using the Tools > Sequencing > Add column button (this is the only change you can make to Administrator-defined column headings).


Chronolator allows you to enter dates in many formats. For example, all the following will be recognised:

Chronolator expects a Date column to contain a single date and no other words or characters except a question mark at the start if you are unsure of the exact date. For example ? 22 may 2016 is OK, but 22 may 2016 ? and probably 22 may 2016 would not be allowed.

If you want to enter a range of dates and the Case Review Administrator has not included  an End Date column, enter the first date in the Start Date column and the other date in one of the other columns.

The Format Dates menu on the Chronolator toolbar lets you set all the dates you have entered in a Date column into a consistent format. This means you can enter dates exactly as they are on the original records, which is easier and less prone to error.


Chronolator is also flexible about the formats used in any Time columns in the table. For example, the following will all be recognised:

As with dates, if you are unsure of a time you can put a question mark before it.

The Format Dates menu on the Chronolator toolbar also puts all the times you have entered in a Time column into a consistent format; all the above would become 01:00. As with dates, you can enter times exactly as they are on the original records.

Source of Information column

After the Event Order columns comes the Source of Information column, where you specify the source of your information about the event.

When entering the source of your information, do not include your own organisation or department. This information will be added by the Administrator who sent you the document.

For example, suppose you work at the Berrick New Town Clinic and are entering data you have obtained from a Health Visitor's notes. You should record the source of information simply as, say, HV notes, not as Berrick New Town Clinic HV notes. The administrator who sent you the document will add Berrick New Town Clinic when using Chronolator to combine chronologies. (You can see an example of this in Specify where the document came from).

Author Notes

Authors and Reviewers can annotate a chronology with special 'events' called Author Notes. To create one, start the Source of Information column with one of the characters # ^ ¬ ~ . Author Notes bypass all event validations except Date and Time.

To add an Author Note at the start of a chronology, you can use a date in the year 0100.

Glossary column

A Glossary column can be included which should contain only abbreviations that have been defined in the Abbreviations Glossary - for example, somebody's initials. This can be useful when a chronology contains information pertaining to more than one person. Chronolator will check that anything in this column has been defined in the Abbreviations Glossary.

You can view the glossary and add your own abbreviations to it by pressing the Tools > Glossary > Edit button on the Chronolator toolbar. Each abbreviation can be up to ten characters long, and its definition up to thirty.

You can anonymise and personalise a document by using the Abbreviations Glossary in conjunction with the Tools > Glossary > Anonymisation and Review button.

You can search and navigate through a document by using the Abbreviations Glossary in conjunction with the Tools > Glossary > Anonymisation and Review button.

Mandatory columns

Chronolator insists that the Start Date and Source of Information columns must always be completed. The Case Review Administrator decides what other columns are mandatory.

Finding what special columns are included

The Admin > Show Document Details button on the Chronolator toolbar displays a summary of what special columns and abbreviations the Case Review Administrator has set up.

It will usually be obvious from the column headings what type of data is expected. If not, ask the person who sent you the document to explain them.