How to Create a Timeline in PowerPoint Presentation?

Timelines become an essential communication tool while visually representing certain events and dates. Learn how to create a compelling timeline in PowerPoint presentations with our easy-to-follow guide. Ensure your timelines captivate and inform your audience effectively.

How to Create a Timeline in PowerPoint Presentation?
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Last Modified :  November 10, 2023

Timelines are essential business communication tools that visually represent project milestones, deadlines, and critical events. They simplify complex information, making it easy for teams, stakeholders, and clients to understand the sequence of activities and the overall plan. 

Timelines transform an ordinary list of events, leaving a lasting impact on your audience. They’re the key to making your content stick with your audience. If you ever hit a roadblock, our blog will guide you to create a timeline in your PowerPoint presentations.

What is a Timeline?

A timeline is a visual depiction of events to clarify their chronological order. A timeline’s scope can be as narrow or as broad as you wish. They come in handy for Project Managers to effectively present their project plans, key dates, or workflows over a period of time. Business professionals also use them to showcase their future plans.

How to Make a Timeline in PowerPoint?

There are two ways you can insert a timeline in PowerPoint. The first uses SmartArt, which can be done manually following some basic steps. The second method uses pre-made timeline PowerPoint templates, which is quicker. A complete step-by-step process for both methods is outlined below.

  1. Using SmartArt
  2. Using PowerPoint Templates

How to Add Timeline in PowerPoint Using SmartArt?

Follow the steps below to add a timeline in PowerPoint using SmartArt:

  1. Open your PowerPoint presentation, go to the “Insert” tab and choose “SmartArt”. 
  2. From the available SmartArt Graphics, select “Process” > “Simple timeline” to create a project timeline
  3. Add your data to the Simple timeline, click on the milestone’s [Text] or utilize the text pane for convenience. Press “Shift + Enter” to insert a line break. (You can easily add more milestones through the text pane by hitting Enter.)
  4. Select the text you want to change and use the Rich Text Editor that appears. Modify the font properties of your events using Rich Text Formatting. 
  5. Change the color of your milestones by selecting a milestone, right-clicking, and using the menu to adjust the fill color, outline color, and more.
  6. Right-click on the arrow to open a menu where you can change the axis color and adjust its width to emphasize milestones. (Customize the color and width of the timeline axis similarly to milestones.) 
  7. Rearrange the position of milestones using drag and drop, both vertically and horizontally. Bringing milestones closer to their description text enhances the connection between circles and text for your audience.

Customize your timeline using PowerPoint’s styling options. You can adjust colors, font properties, and other elements to match your desired look. PowerPoint also offers different templates to alter the overall appearance of your timeline, which you can access through the SmartArt Design tab and SmartArt Styles menu.

ALSO READ: The Effective Color Palette Combinations in Presentations

How to Add Timeline in PowerPoint Using SmartArt

How to Add Timeline in PowerPoint Using SmartArt

How to Add Timeline in PowerPoint Using Timeline PowerPoint Templates?

Customizing a timeline PowerPoint template is the quickest and easiest way to add a timeline in PowerPoint. Follow the steps below to insert a timeline in PowerPoint:

  1. Navigate to the Office Timeline tab in the PowerPoint menu.
  2. Click the “New” icon, browse the gallery, and double-click your preferred timeline template. 
  3. Click “Use Template” to open. (You can manually enter milestones and their dates or import an existing schedule.)
  4. Enter your milestones and set their dates. Make quick styling choices, like adjusting colors and shapes as needed. 
  5. Save the timeline slide. You’ll instantly have a new timeline slide in your PowerPoint presentation. The appearance of this slide depends on the style and template you select. 
  6. Change colors, shapes, and positions, switch the timescale (e.g., from months to quarters), add tasks or swimlanes, and adjust dates as your plans evolve. You can customize or update it automatically using Office Timeline. 

With minimal time and effort, you have now created a timeline in PowerPoint. You can use this timeline to roadmap, project milestones, business roadmap, company timelines, product roadmaps, etc.

ALSO READ: How to Make a RoadMap Presentation?

How to Add Timeline in PowerPoint Using Timeline PowerPoint Templates

How to Add Timeline in PowerPoint Using Timeline PowerPoint Templates

Tips for Creating an Effective Timeline in PowerPoint

A well crafted timeline presentation eases the communication between stakeholders. Follow the tips below to create eye-catching timeline presentations in PowerPoint:

  • Create a rough layout and list dates and information in a separate document before copying it to PowerPoint.
  • Customize the timeline’s size, shapes, and colors to align with your style and presentation’s topic.
  • Utilize the text panel for efficient editing, saving time, and ensuring readability when making changes to the timeline.
  • Maintain consistency with your organization’s design requirements and any stylistic ideas during timeline customization.
  • Prioritize creating a visually engaging presentation to enhance audience engagement and information retention.

ALSO READ: How to Create a Timeline in Google Slides?

Creating a timeline from scratch can be time-consuming. On the other hand, you can easily customize the elements of pre-designed templates. These templates come with professional design elements, fonts, and graphics that make your timeline visually appealing. You can adjust the colors, fonts, and content to align with your brand style.

By leveraging these templates, you focus more on the content and less on the design, ensuring that your timeline effectively communicates your message to your audience. Let’s look at some of the top pre-designed timelines offered by SlideUpLift that you can use to ease your job.

Top Timeline PowerPoint templates from SlideUpLift

Curved Timeline PowerPoint Template

Its modern, scientific style and configurable aspects ensure audience engagement. Use it to showcase your business growth timeline over a period.

Curved Timeline PowerPoint Template

Curved Timeline PowerPoint Template

Steps Timeline PowerPoint Template

Elevate your presentations with a dynamic tool designed to visually narrate your story, project, or business journey with precision and style. Creates a compelling narrative using steps to highlight critical milestones, goals, and the voyage ahead.

Steps Timeline PowerPoint Template

Steps Timeline PowerPoint Template

Company Timeline PowerPoint Template

Navigate your company’s history and vision confidently. A strategic tool that encapsulates your journey and future goals in a compelling visual narrative.

Company Timeline PowerPoint Template

Company Timeline PowerPoint Template

Yearly Milestone Timeline PPT Template

This visually appealing design harnesses the power of data and images, making it an excellent choice for displaying project timelines, historical events, or growth trajectories over the years.

Yearly Milestone Timeline PPT Template

Yearly Milestone Timeline PPT Template

Key Events Timeline PowerPoint Template

Create visually engaging timelines over a decade. Highlight key events and happenings over a prolonged duration with this PowerPoint template.

Key Events Timeline PowerPoint Template

Key Events Timeline PowerPoint Template

EXPLORE MORE: 300+ Timeline PowerPoint Templates

Whether you’re working on a project report, a business presentation, a historical analysis, or any other task that requires a timeline, these templates can be a game-changer. They save time, reduce design effort, and offer a professional touch to your content. Timeline templates significantly ease the job of creating visually appealing and informative timelines. 

Now that you know how to create a timeline in PowerPoint, go ahead and impress your audience. We would suggest using timeline PPT templates to save you time and create engaging presentations. Download Now!


  1. How to Make an Interactive Timeline in PowerPoint?

    Create an interactive timeline in PowerPoint by following these tips:

    • Use Hyperlinks for dates or events.
    • Apply entrance and exit animations to make them appear and disappear smoothly.
    • Apply slide transitions to make timeline slides seamless.
    • Create navigation buttons.

  2. What's the ideal direction for a timeline, horizontal or vertical?

    Your content and preferences determine the direction. Horizontal timelines are best for historical events, whereas vertical timelines work better for project timetables.

  3. How to Create a Timeline in PowerPoint with dates?

    Follow these simple steps to create timeline in PowerPoint with dates:

    1. Open your presentation slide where you want to add the timeline.
    2. Go to the “Insert” > Select “SmartArt” > pick a timeline layout, “Basic Timeline”.
    3. Input your dates and event descriptions into the text boxes provided. 
    4. You can customize the design, including colors and shapes, to suit your preferences.

  4. Are timelines solely critical for business presentations?

    Timelines are valuable tools used in various areas, including education, history, project management, and others. They help to show processes and sequences properly.

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