How to Make a Timeline Graphic in Google Docs, Word, Excel, Google Sheets, and PowerPoint

Infographics are a good way to seize person consideration and talk key ideas. Why? As a result of they mix related info with graphic impression to extend retention and engagement.

Knowledge backs up this common sense assertion: Research discovered that folks retain 65% of the knowledge they see — however solely 10% of the knowledge they hear — and spend 39% much less time trying to find the content material they want when it’s displayed in infographic format.

→ Download Now: 15 Free Infographic Templates

One of the crucial compelling makes use of for this useful format? Timeline graphics. These date and knowledge supply automobiles supply a strategy to shortly talk necessary info — from key dates in your organization’s historical past to imminent challenge milestones or predicted market traits.

In fact, it’s one factor to see the worth in timeline graphics and one other to truly create engaging and efficient visuals. On this piece, we’ll deal with timeline techniques for acquainted purposes together with Google Docs, Phrase, Excel, Google Sheets, and Powerpoint.

3…2…1…let’s go!

What’s a timeline graphic?

Whereas there’s no single format for timeline graphics, the most typical composition makes use of 4 elements:

  • Knowledge
  • Visible
  • Header
  • Description

Every timeline aspect incorporates all 4 elements, and components are then organized in left-to-right order of oldest-to-newest occasions. This format affords simplicity of kind and performance — components are straightforward to learn and determine, and the “circulate” of time is straightforward to identify.

Let’s say you’re making a timeline of key occasions in your company historical past utilizing this framework. It’d look one thing like this:

an example of a timeline graphic made in google docs

This (very primary) instance was made in Google Docs and makes use of an arrow to indicate the passage of time. Dates above the road are paired with transient particulars beneath. Some timelines will embody each a header — similar to merger — with an extended description beneath. How a lot info is price together with will depend on the complexity of the subject at hand, who’s going to be utilizing the chart, and its general objective. On this case, our graphic aspect is the road itself however you can even insert related photographs of individuals or locations related to the occasion to extend person engagement.

One other widespread graphic timeline format runs top-to-bottom with earlier dates on the high of the web page and later dates additional down. To maximise house many of those top-to-bottom templates alternate info left-and-right down the road.

The best way to Make a Timeline on Google Docs

So how do you make a timeline graphic?

1. Create an image.

Head to “Insert”, then choose “Drawing” and “+ New”. This can carry up a brand new window that appears like a checkerboard.

2. Begin drawing.

Choose the “Line” button from the highest menu and select “Arrow”. Then, draw a line throughout the display screen. To verify it’s straight, have a look at the left-hand aspect — for those who solely see one line, it’s degree. If you happen to see multiple, it’s at an angle.

3. Enter your textual content.

Click on on the Textual content Field device — represented as a T surrounded by a field — and create a field above or beneath your line to start out including particulars. You possibly can both copy and paste a number of bins to make sure constant sizing and spacing or use a single, big textual content field. Whereas the latter possibility is faster to create (we used it) the pure left-to-right format of the field means you’re restricted in how info seems.

4. Save and shut.

Once you’ve entered your whole timeline knowledge, click on “Save and Shut” and the picture will likely be robotically added to your Google Doc.

The best way to Make a Timeline in Phrase

Perhaps you don’t like Google Docs, possibly your organization makes use of Microsoft Workplace solely, or possibly you don’t like the concept of doubtless shared timelines. Regardless of the case, it’s additionally doable to create a timeline graphic in Phrase.

1. Insert SmartArt

Open a brand new Phrase doc and head to the “Insert” tab, then choose “SmartArt”.

2. Discover your timeline.

From the brand new menu that seems, choose “Course of”. This can carry up a number of potential timeline graphic choices, all the things from single, giant arrows to related textual content bins to linked circles. The best possibility is the “Primary Timeline” which incorporates dots embedded in a big, clear arrow.

3. Enter your knowledge.

Use the textual content pane situated on the left-hand aspect to enter your timeline knowledge. Urgent “Enter” creates a brand new timeline entry — if you must add extra info to a selected timeline merchandise, press Shift+Enter to create a line break.

4. Customise your timeline.

Customise your timeline dots and arrow with shapes or colours to realize your required look.

Phrase doesn’t robotically calculate time between occasions; because of this, all gadgets in your timeline will likely be equidistant from each other. If you must talk a bigger span of time, you may drag occasions additional aside manually, however this may finally distort the graphic.

The best way to Make a Timeline in Excel

If you happen to get pleasure from utilizing Microsoft Workplace for creating timelines however wish to make issues tougher for your self, attempt constructing an Excel timeline. Whereas the completed product affords easily-accessible knowledge in a well-recognized format, the trouble required is considerably extra substantial.

1. Create a knowledge desk.

Create a three-column desk in Excel that incorporates your timeline knowledge. Use the primary column for dates and the second for occasion titles. Within the final column, enter a sequence of numbers — these numbers will decide the peak of your timeline plots. You possibly can set all of them to the identical top with the identical quantity or totally different heights in a repeating sample relying in your choice.

2. Insert a scatter chart.

Choose “Insert” from the highest Excel menu, then “Charts”, then choose a Scatter chart.

3. Import your knowledge.

Proper-click the chart that seems and select “Choose Knowledge Supply.” Choose the “Add” button within the “Legend Entries (Sequence)” menu that seems. Click on on the small spreadsheet picture that seems subsequent to the “Sequence X values” field, then select the column of dates you created.

Then, choose the small spreadsheet subsequent to the “Sequence Y values” field and select the information in your timeline top column. Click on “OK” and also you’ll create a scatter chart with dates on the backside and dots at various heights.

4. Remove gridlines, add error bars.

Choose your chart and discover the “+” within the upper-right to carry up the Chart Parts menu. Uncheck “Chart Title” and “Gridlines”, then examine “Knowledge Labels” and “Error Bars”

5. Join the dots.

Head to the “Error Bars” menu possibility and choose “No Line” on your Sequence X Error Bars — this may take away the horizontal strains on both sides of your knowledge factors. On your Sequence Y Error Bars, set the course to “Minus” and the Error Quantity to “100%”. This can create vertical strains between your dates and your knowledge factors.

6. Insert occasion titles.

Within the “Format Axis” menu, choose “Sequence 1 Knowledge Labels”, uncheck “Y Worth”, and choose “Worth from Cells.” Then, click on the small spreadsheet icon. Choose your occasion titles column after which click on “OK”.

This could create a primary timeline with dates alongside the underside and knowledge factors at various top, every with a small description above. If desired, you may add further formatting and colour choices from the Format Knowledge Sequence menu.

The best way to Make a Timeline in Google Sheets

The polar reverse of Excel, Google Sheets makes it straightforward to create challenge timeline.

1. Create a brand new timeline.

Open Google Sheets and choose the “Challenge Timeline” possibility.

2. Customise.

Edit your timeline. Change any textual content field, add colours, and modify dates as required. Whereas customization is bounded by the fundamental format of this Gantt chart, Google Sheets affords one of many best methods to create and share a timeline.

The best way to Make a Timeline in PowerPoint

Making a timeline in PowerPoint is sort of an identical to the method utilized in Phrase.

1. Choose your design.

Head to the “Design” tab and choose your theme.

2. Insert SmartArt.

Click on on “Insert”, then “SmartArt”.

3. Select and fill your timeline graphic.

Choose the timeline you favor and it will likely be created with three components. Add textual content to the weather immediately, and use “Add Bullets” so as to add bullet factors beneath. Choose “Add Form” to further timeline sections.

Timing is All the pieces

Timeline graphics add handy context to in any other case dry knowledge factors. From particulars about your organization from inception to present interplay to in-depth challenge milestone markers, visible timelines in Google Docs or Sheets, or Microsoft Phrase, Excel, or PowerPoint supply a strategy to seize crucial knowledge whereas concurrently boosting viewer curiosity and bolstering info retention.

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