Using the Timeline function in Fusion 360

25 July 2020

Those who don't know their history are doomed to repeat it

This short little article is designed to draw your attention to one of Fusion 360's most powerful tools, the timeline. The timeline is located at the bottom left of the Fusion 360 window. It contains a record of your design history which can be then be modified and manipulated.

What can I do with the timeline?

The most powerful thing the timeline allows you to do, and the thing you’ll mostly likely use it for, is editing a Feature or editing the Profile Sketch of a feature. Say you didn’t like a fillet you applied to your model, you can simply right click or double click the feature and edit it. Once you’ve extruded your model you may find the shape just a little off, you can quickly edit the Profile Sketch and fix that problem. Of course, the further back you edit the more likely you’ll find one feature depends on other features and you may end up breaking your model so edit with caution.

Locating a feature using the timeline

To find a Profile Sketch, or what model a Feature has edited, in Browser simply right click the Feature or Profile Sketch in the timeline. You’ll see a dotted grey line appear under the folder the sketch or feature is in.

Find a feature in the Timeline

Similarly to find a Profile Sketch from the Browser in the timeline simply right click the sketch and click Find in Timeline. The Profile Sketch will then be highlighted in blue.

View feature in timeline

This tool is especially useful if you’ve created a large model with multiple parts and components.

Suppress a feature

Suppress a feature

If you want to see what your model would look like without a feature you’ve applied, just right click that feature and press Supress Features.

Suppress feature

If that feature effects other features down the timeline, like an extrusion, then supressing it will automatically supress all the other features reliant on it.

Watch your project's history

Move through timeline

To view the steps taken in a project you can use the playback buttons on the far left of the timeline menu. The outmost buttons let you jump to the beginning or end of the project respectively. The inner two buttons allow you to move through the project one step backwards or forwards. The middle button allows you to play the project like an animation.

The ability to ‘re-watch’ the making of a project can be very helpful for learning more about how others model in Fusion 360.

Turning the timeline on and off

Capture Design History

You may find your Design History not being recorded when you import some models. With Design History turned off you enter a mode called Direct Modelling. This can give you powerful tools to fix an imported model. When you turn Design History on you will re-enter Parametric Modelling.