TimelineLite – Sequence/Group Multiple Tweens, Control Them as a Whole

This page covers version 11 of TimelineLite which will soon be “sunset” in favor of the new, more capable version 12. We highly recommend using v12 for all of your projects. It is very stable and has numerous improvements while being backwards compatible with most legacy code (see the v12 announcement for details). The new version also has an incredibly fast JavaScript flavor that uses an identical syntax. Don’t miss out; upgrade today.

The “Download AS3″ and “Download AS2″ links to the right get you the [older] v11 files. Click the “get GSAP” button on the left to get v12, or go to the main v12 announcement page.

Watch the TimelineLite Ultimate Starter Guide video tutorial series to get up to speed fast. Highly recommended.


TimelineLite is a lightweight, intuitive timeline class for building and managing sequences of TweenLite, TweenMax, TimelineLite, and/or TimelineMax instances. You can think of a TimelineLite instance like a virtual MovieClip timeline or a container where you place tweens (or other timelines) over the course of time. You can:

  • build sequences easily by adding tweens with the append(), prepend(), insert(), appendMultiple(), prependMultiple(),and insertMultiple() methods. Tweens can overlap as much as you want and you have complete control over where they get placed on the timeline.
  • add labels, play(), stop(), gotoAndPlay(), gotoAndStop(), restart(), and even reverse() smoothly anytime.
  • nest timelines within timelines as deeply as you want.
  • set the progress of the timeline using its currentProgress property. For example, to skip to the halfway point, set myTimeline.currentProgress = 0.5;
  • tween the currentTime or currentProgress property to fastforward/rewind the timeline. You could even attach a slider to one of these properties to give the user the ability to drag forwards/backwards through the timeline.
  • speed up or slow down the entire timeline with its timeScale property. You can even tween this property to gradually speed up or slow down.
  • add onComplete, onStart, onUpdate, and/or onReverseComplete callbacks using the constructor’s “vars” object.
  • use the insertMultiple() or appendMultiple() methods to create complex sequences including various alignment modes and staggering capabilities.
  • base the timing on frames instead of seconds if you prefer. Please note, however, that the timeline’s timing mode dictates its childrens’ timing mode as well.
  • kill the tweens of a particular object with killTweensOf() or get the tweens of an object with getTweensOf() or get all the tweens/timelines in the timeline with getChildren()
  • If you need even more features like AS3 event listeners, repeat, repeatDelay, yoyo, currentLabel, getLabelAfter(), getLabelBefore(), addCallback(), removeCallback(), getActive() and more, check out TimelineMax which extends TimelineLite.

Interactive example

Sample AS3 code

import com.greensock.*;

//create the timeline and add an onComplete callback that will call myFunction() when the timeline completes
var myTimeline:TimelineLite = new TimelineLite({onComplete:myFunction});

//add a tween
myTimeline.append(new TweenLite(mc, 1, {x:200, y:100}));

//add another tween at the end of the timeline (makes sequencing easy)
myTimeline.append(new TweenLite(mc, 0.5, {alpha:0}));

//reverse anytime

//Add a "spin" label 3-seconds into the timeline
myTimeline.addLabel("spin", 3);

//insert a rotation tween at the "spin" label (you could also define the insert point as the time instead of a label)
myTimeline.insert(new TweenLite(mc, 2, {rotation:"360"}), "spin");

//go to the "spin" label and play the timeline from there

//add a tween to the beginning of the timeline, pushing all the other existing tweens back in time
myTimeline.prepend(new TweenMax(mc, 1, {tint:0xFF0000}));

//nest another TimelineLite inside your timeline...
var nestedTimeline:TimelineLite = new TimelineLite();
nestedTimeline.append(new TweenLite(mc2, 1, {x:200}));

insertMultiple() and appendMultiple() provide some very powerful sequencing tools, allowing you to add an Array of tweens or timelines and optionally align them with SEQUENCE or START modes, and even stagger them if you want. For example, to insert 3 tweens into the timeline, aligning their start times but staggering them by 0.2 seconds,

myTimeline.insertMultiple([new TweenLite(mc, 1, {y:"100"}),
		new TweenLite(mc2, 1, {x:20}),
		new TweenLite(mc3, 1, {alpha:0.5})],

You can use the constructor’s “vars” object to do virtually all the setup too, like this sequence:

var myTimeline:TimelineLite = new TimelineLite({tweens:[new TweenLite(mc1, 1, {y:"100"}), TweenMax.to(mc2, 1, {tint:0xFF0000})], align:TweenAlign.SEQUENCE, onComplete:myFunction});

If that confuses you, don’t worry. Just use the append(), insert(), and prepend() methods to build your sequence. But power users will likely appreciate the quick, compact way they can set up sequences now.

Watch a video that explains the basics of working with TimelineLite and TimelineMax.


Please view full ASDoc documentation here.


  1. Does TimelineLite only work with TweenLite instances? Can I use TweenMax too?
    You can put ANY (or all) of the following into a TimelineLite: TweenLite tweens, TweenMax tweens, other TimelineLite timelines or TimelineMax timelines. It’s an integrated suite. Go crazy mixing and matching. The only part of the platform that doesn’t work with TimelineLite/Max is the freakishly tiny TweenNano class.
  2. Do the AS2 and AS3 versions work exactly the same?
    Yes. To accommodate scope issues that are inherent in AS2, however, the AS2 version of TimelineLite also recognizes the following special properties to define the scope of callbacks: onStartScope, onUpdateScope, onCompleteScope, and onReverseCompleteScope. These are not necessary in AS3.
  3. If I reverse() a TimelineLite right after I create it, nothing happens. Why?
    reverse() simply causes the timeline to change direction and go back towards its starting point, but if it is already there (if it never got past its starting point), there’s nowhere for it to go. There’s nothing wrong with reversing a timeline when it’s at its starting point, but keep in mind that doing so doesn’t force it to jump all the way to the end. You can easily do that with myTimeline.currentProgress = 1 though.
  4. How do I install the class? Do I have to import it on every frame?
    Just make sure the “com” folder from the download is in the same folder as your FLA file. Keep the directory structure in the “com” folder, though (the class files are inside a “greensock” folder that belongs inside the “com” folder). That’s it. And, yes, just like any class, you need to import TimelineLite at the top of any frame that contains code referencing it. This does NOT add extra kb to your file size every time you import it. Flash is smart enough to embed it once and all the other import statements just act as a “pointer” to the embedded class.
  5. Can I put the same tween in multiple timelines?
    No. Every tween and timeline has one (and only one) parent timeline. Think of them like DisplayObjects/MovieClips – they cannot exist in two places at once. They can only have one parent.
  6. What’s the difference between TimelineLite and TimelineMax? Don’t they do pretty much the same thing?
    TimelineLite contains all the essentials, but TimelineMax extends it and adds more features (just like TweenLite and TweenMax). So TimelineMax can do EVERYTHING TimelineLite does plus more, like AS3 event dispatching, repeat, repeatDelay, yoyo, addCallback(), getActive(), tweenTo(), tweenFromTo(), getLabelBefore(), getLabelAfter(), currentLabel, etc. If you don’t need any of those features, stick with TimelineLite.
  7. Do I have to purchase a license to use this code? Can I use it for commercial purposes?
    You may use the code at no charge in commercial or non-commercial web sites, games, components, applications, and other software as long as end users are not charged a fee of any kind to use your product or gain access to it. If your client pays you a one-time fee to create the site/product, that’s perfectly fine and qualifies under the “no charge” license. If multiple end users are charged a usage/access/license fee of any kind, please simply sign up for a corporate Club GreenSock membership which comes with a special commercial license granting you permission to do so. See http://www.greensock.com/club/ for details. Club GreenSock members get several nifty bonus plugins, classes, update notifications, SVN access, and more. Your donations keep this project going. Please see the licensing page for details on licensing.

Need help?

Feel free to post your question on the forums. You’ll increase your chances of getting a prompt answer if you provide a brief explanation and include a simplified FLA file (and any class files) that clearly demonstrates the problem.

Author: Jack Doyle
Copyright 2013, GreenSock (This work is subject to the terms here.)
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Comments (18) RSS

Posted by Todd Shelton on October 23, 2009


This is great news and we all appreciate all the work you put into GS. Good Work and Thanks this is a great new version!!!!


Posted by Tom Hermans on November 26, 2009

The TweenLite/Max was already killer, this timeline stuff makes it even more worthwile !

Great work guys.


Posted by MaX on December 18, 2009

I^m in awe.
You`re the master of putting pleasure back to animating via code.
This is even better than Fuse.

Love it!

Thanks so much!


Posted by kevin deng on January 6, 2010


question, is there a way to get timelinelite/max to reverse frame by frame animations as well? for example if i’m tweening/timelining a movieclip, can i get that to play in reverse too?

Posted by admin on January 6, 2010

Sure, Kevin. You can have any tween or timeline base its timing on frames instead of seconds by passing useFrames:true in the constructor’s vars object, like:

var myTween:TweenMax = new TweenMax(mc, 29, {frame:30, useFrames:true});
var myTimeline:TimelineLite = new TimelineLite({useFrames:true});

and then you can reverse it anytime, like:


Or you can even gotoAndStop() or gotoAndPlay() a TimelineLite/Max to a certain frame/time. Lots of flexibility.

Posted by AlexR on January 20, 2010

AMAZING toolset – been using it for over a year and always find new and inovative ways to use it!!

Posted by GP on February 15, 2010

Hi Guys,

I have a question regarding the timeline new fixture.
Is it possible to tween multiple objects at the same time but with different property or destination?


Posted by admin on February 16, 2010

Absolutely, gpon. You can have as many tweens going as you want at the same time. For example:

var t:TimelineLite = new TimelineLite();
t.insert( new TweenLite(mc1, 1, {x:100}), 0);
t.insert( new TweenLite(mc2, 1, {y:200}), 0);

that has mc1 and mc2 tweening different properties at the same time.

If you haven’t done so already, I’d highly recommend watching the video at http://www.greensock.com/timeline-basics/

Posted by Dan on February 17, 2010

This is so freaking good, as are all the greensock products in general, i am going to upgrade to the paid version soon even though i don’t need the extra functionality just to say thanks!

Posted by Luka on March 13, 2010

I just wanna say thanks. I migrated from Tweener to TweenLite and TimelineLite and i haven’t look back. :)

Posted by Heng.He on March 16, 2010

I can’t wait anymore to use them.Thanks all you have done for us!

Posted by Mescalina on March 19, 2010

You are simply the king of Tween..

Posted by Tim Lieberman on May 20, 2010

Dude you guys rock!!!

Posted by Mads on April 25, 2011

Fantastic greensock :)
I bought the extra package because this is definitely worth supporting.

Is it possible to reset/stop(send back to the beginning) all timelines running ?

Posted by Jack on April 25, 2011

Thanks, Mads. If you want to send a bunch of timelines back to the beginning, you could just put them into a parent TimelineLite/Max and then gotoAndStop(0) or gotoAndPlay(0) that parent timeline. Or restart(). Or pause().

Posted by im4aLL on November 30, 2012

That’s really awesome! As a beginner, its really very helpful for me. Thanks a lot!

Posted by Renu on February 5, 2013

I am using Tweenlite and activated ColorMatrixFilterPlugin to change brightness of a MovieClip. Now I want to get the brightness of a MovieClip in onUpdate function. Can anybody please let me know about this. See below the code I am using:

var tween = new TweenLite(target_mc, time, {colorMatrixFilter: {brightness:1}, onUpdate:function() {
trace(“I want brightness here”);


Posted by Jack on February 5, 2013

There isn’t an easy way to read the brightness value of a ColorMatrixFilter, but since you know that it starts out at 1, you could just track it separately along with your tweens. In other words, create a simultaneous tween like:

var obj = {brightness:1};
TweenLite.to(target_mc, time, {colorMatrixFilter:{brightness:2}});
TweenLite.to(obj, time, {brightness:2, onUpdate:report});
function report() {
trace(“brightness: ” + obj.brightness);

Just make sure you use the same easing and duration for both.

In the future, please post questions like this in the forums at http://forums.greensock.com

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