How to create a timeline in PowerPoint

Looking at the statistical data, the use of Microsoft PowerPoint has only been increasing for the last few years. Up until then, it was not that widely used as compared to the other Microsoft products. Since the beginning of the digital age, it has been observed that PowerPoint presentations are getting in trend as they help users in presenting their ideas much more effectively in comparison to any other software. Use of audio and visual aids to represent data, and to quickly highlight the key points of a presentation, MS PowerPoint always comes in handy. Being relatively new to this, a lot of users face difficulties while using a wide range of features provided by the MS PowerPoint.

This how-to guide aims at helping the users to easily insert timelines in their presentations. As timelines add an air of authenticity to the provided data, they also help us input and present a number of details neatly that are also easy on the viewers’ eyes. They help you in marking milestones and highlighting important events that happened over a period of time. By doing so, you will expose your viewers to a large number of details that they will not be overwhelmed with and hence your point will be easily communicated to them.

By following the given steps and instructions, you can also make your PowerPoint presentations much more engaging while packing all the necessary details in the presentation without making it too difficult to comprehend.

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Step by step instructions on how to make a timeline in powerpoint

To begin with, you need to have Microsoft Office installed on your PC or laptop. Once you have started making your slide, choose the slide where you need to insert a timeline. After that, follow the steps given below.

  • Click on the Insert tab on the toolbar.
step1 - click insert
  • Select SmartArt from the options in the insert tab.
step2 - click smartart

A dialog box opens, carrying a list and templates of different process-relaying SmartArt. You have a number of options to choose from according to your requirements

  • Click on the Process tab in the dialog box. 
step3 - select process
  • Double-click on any template you want to add to your slide.

The following boxes will appear along with the template. In the areas where Text is written, you can click on it and input the details. Or else, you can input the details by clicking on the text buttons in the dialog box on the right side of the screen.  

step4 enter text
  • Press enter after you have input the data in the third text box.

It will add another milestone in the process. You can add as many of the time periods, instances, or events as you want.

step5 enter timeline content

One thing to be kept in mind is that the more points on a template, more dense and congested the slide will become. Mention of only a few important periods is recommended. Besides, you can always add more than one process templates, in different shapes, to keep the content more engaging.

To change the style of the timeline,

  • Click on any style as shown in the Design tab under SmartArt Tools.
step6 - select timeline template

To change the color theme of the timeline,

  • Click on the Change Colors in the Design tab under SmartArt Tools.
step7 - change timeline color

To change the color of individual indicators,

  • Click on them and select a color from the fill option that pop-ups below the indicator.
step8 - fill timeline color

To change the font style and size,

  • Click on the text you have to change.
  • Select the text.
  • Click on the button given right by the font style in the Home tab.
  • Choose the desired font from the drop-down menu.
  • Click on the font size button given right by the font style.
  • Click on the desired font size. 
step9 - change font in timeline

This was the way to manually design a timeline. The following section will be guiding you about how-to-use and restructure the MS PowerPoint’s pre-made timelines that are much time-saving as compared to designing the timelines from the scratch.

To work on a pre-made template, you will have to select the template right from the beginning when you are starting to prepare your presentation. Follow the given steps to see how to do so.

  • Open the MS PowerPoint.
  • Click on the search bar on the top of the window.
step10 - search timeline template
  • Write timelines in the search bar and press the enter key.

You will see a number of different options on the screen.

  • Click on timelines in the Category list on the right side of the screen.
step11 - insert new timeline template

A variety of timelines will appear on the screen,

  • Click on the template you like.

Or to further narrow down the search,

  • Click on a sub-category of timelines.

(It will show search results from the other MS Office applications, such as Excel, on the bottom of the page. You can also choose a suitable template from there as well).

step12 - select from timeline infographics

Once you click on a template, a dialog box will appear, asking you to download the template.

step13 - create new timeline project
  • Click on the Create button.

The template will be opened in the first slide. You can add more slides before or after the slide carrying the template of the timeline.

  • Click anywhere on the template.

A dialog box carrying all the data of the pre-made template will appear on the left side of the screen.

  • Input your data in the dialog box by clicking on each item.

If the data is already written somewhere, it could also be copied from there and pasted in the template to save time.

step14 - insert new timeline

All the text could be edited and the font style, size and color could also be changed by following the steps that were mentioned above. The pre-made templates provide a variety of options to choose from, so to opt for such a template is highly recommended. Besides, it will give you a few suggestions on how to write the data and the suggested font styles and, sizes are also helpful for the users to get a general idea of how to make the timeline!

About Amna Akbar

Born to be an avid reader and always interested in how language works, I’ve been a writer for four years. I’ve mainly written things about fashion designing and tourism industry. Although to satisfy my exploratory nature, I love writing about the whole lot at hand.