What is a Timeline

A timeline is an essential tool to illustrate the chronology of events or activities. We use timelines for research, studies and event planning. Timelines make it easier for students to understand the historical events related to any subject in an orderly manner. It helps researchers keep track of the time interval between various experiments and discoveries. You can learn anything you want to know about timelines from here. Don't forget to check out the examples down here to understand the types and uses of a timeline.

What is a Timeline?

Timeline is the alignment of time, a chronological statement, to define a certain chain of events or activities that happened at a particular phase. In a visual context, it is a representation of the data, defined through lists, tables or graphics, where its all jotted down, sequenced in the same chronological order.

Like a flowchart, it helps users identify specific patterns in a scheme or course of procedure with a streamlined format, concisely depicting different temporal relations. It is simple to look at, handy to work with and easier to manage and remember. You can also find more timeline examples here.

what is timeline
Image Source:EdrawMax Online


Purposes of Using a Timeline

Time is a pivotal record. But it is also hard to keep track of when multiple things are happening simultaneously and in the long run. So the purpose of a Timeline is to put it all in order with a figurative visualization of the process, highlighting key elements without much elaboration.

Scholars and teachers widely use this sort of content, for knowledge sharing, since these are much more interactive and attractive than textbook content. As for enterprises, they mainly use such data to track the progress of a project or plan based on it. Let us explore the variations of timelines.


Different Types of Timelines

There are various types of timelines that you can use for many things. You can plan your wedding ceremony or describe some specific event at the given point in time. You can also use it to understand someone's history or create a new marketing plan. Each timeline follows a different format, and if you want to create a timeline, you have to check out its various examples down here and find a suitable design.

Chronology Timeline

The chronology timeline is considered as the most common-seen timeline. It visualizes events in chronological order. Normally, the timeline starts with the earliest date and ends up with the latest date arranged on the X-axis from left to right. You can easily find chronology timelines in history books and it is very effective to use this type of diagram to tell a historical event.

Gantt Chart

Gantt Charts are used for managing projects, putting all aligning factors like project schedule, progress report, workflow, and client into a singular spreadsheet-like template. This document is meant to be shared with all team members, making the plans and goals clear for everyone. These charts can be complex-looking, given the factors it covers and how big the project is. They are usually created on horizontal bar charts with some kind of progress indicator, together with the latest update at the bottom of the page.

Interactive Timeline
Interactive Timeline

Source: www.bbvaopenmind.com

The two types of times that are introduced above belong to a static timeline. On the contrary, the interactive timeline is a dynamic timeline, which you can feel free to scroll, zoom in, zoom out or change the data in real-time. If you have large amounts of data or this event lasts for a long period, a scrollable, interactive timeline will be your best choice.

Horizontal Timeline

A horizontal timeline or a line plot visually represents the events that occurred horizontally in the given date and time. A line moving from left to right represents the time period. We use pointers to add text to relate the given activity to a specific point in time. This timeline is best for presentations as it makes your report eye-catching. It is sometimes hard to understand a horizontal timeline as you can't add much text due to a lack of available space.

Vertical Timeline

A vertical timeline is the most used timeline for reports and research. Using this one is your best option when you have lots of text to add to the timeline. A straight vertical line represents the given time period. You can label the timeline by adding text on both left and right sides. You can even write long sentences to explain your research better. It makes everything easy to understand if you are working with a complicated timeline.

Roadmap Timeline

A roadmap timeline is beneficial in project management. It divides the timeline into various sections to represent the project's tasks in an orderly manner based on when the team will start working and which job takes priority. It gives the general idea of time spent on completing each task to finalize the project in time. The reader can easily understand it and work accordingly to do the project quickly.

Biographical Timeline

A biographical timeline is the best tool to illustrate the history of a person and represent various events based on the given time period. We use this timeline to improve our understanding of a person. Students can quickly learn the history of someone and the critical events in that person's life with the biographical timeline. Human resources also use it to find the right person for the job. These timelines help a lot if you are preparing someone’s biography.

Biological Timeline

The biological timeline describes the important events related to the science subject in history from 1600 to the current year. It is mainly used in the study field where students can learn about the biological history of the earth and all science-related events efficiently and creatively. It is hard to create a biological timeline covering the entire history for several hundred years. That is why most of these timelines only contain a specific time interval or classification of events based on the subject.

Company Background Timeline

A company background timeline is a helpful chart that illustrates the eventful history of a company or a business in a creative way. Making a timeline gets complicated and sometimes dull, but with a company background timeline, you can use creative ways to represent the company's history. It is also used for the start-up of any business when it is essential to complete each task in the given time and plan the next step.

Event Timeline

An event timeline helps you out with event planning. It lists all the tasks and activities to complete before the event, and it tells you when the event takes place and the aftermath of the event. If you are planning an event and are stuck because you can't figure out the perfect order for completing all tasks, then having an event timeline will save you a lot of trouble. It makes your job easy by helping you keep track of what you have already done and what remains.

Career Timeline

A career timeline is an excellent tool to plan out each step of your career. If you like future planning and to have a successful career, then make sure to create a career timeline that describes the six phases of your life as a professional. You can start by listing your college studies and list your graduation and various training programs for the job you want. Make a roadmap and list your promotions and various events till you retire. Having a plan is always better than making random choices and taking risks.

Wedding Timeline

When planning out a wedding, making a wedding timeline will make it easy for you to organize all the small events and tasks and help you go over your wedding plan. A wedding timeline usually starts with picking the weekend for the wedding, and each event is part of the timeline, from finding the venue to starting the rehearsal dinner. Mark the wedding ceremony the next day and the brunch. It also helps you figure out what the guests will be doing and when the dance will begin.

Reception Timeline
Reception Timeline
Source:Venngage

A reception timeline describes each event that will be part of a wedding reception. At the start of the timeline, you can mark the arrival of guests and the cocktail hour. After the cocktail hour ends, you can mark the dinner invitation. After a few minutes, the couple enters, and the welcome toast starts. You can list the time for parent’s dances and the end of the reception at the end.

Marketing Timeline

A marketing timeline helps you create a perfect marketing plan and keep track of the strategies you have already used and your completed goals. With marketing time, you can plan each step and element of your marketing strategy. It gives you a precise schedule to follow and describe your objectives in chronological order. You can even mark the successful marketing plans and the ones that gave you the least output. You can use a roadmap or a Gantt chart to create a marketing timeline.

Ceremony Timeline
Ceremony Timeline
Source:wedbox

A ceremony timeline helps you figure out each step of your wedding day in a chronology. You can use the traditional wedding ceremony format if you don't have anything special planned for the big day. You can start with preparing the processional and the arrival of the groom and bride. The next is to welcome all the guests and begin reading the vows. The ceremony ends with the couple being pronounced husband and wife.

Family Timeline

A family timeline visually represents the important events related to your closely related family members. You can create a family timeline by listing all of your family members or using a family tree. Add some details about the history of your family members, such as their jobs and their achievements. Start adding your info, like the big moments in your life and your career. You can also use photos in the family timeline to mark the event you want to remember forever.

Movie Timeline

There are many movies with sequels and prequels taking place at different times compared to the original story. With a movie timeline, you can list each part of the movie based on the actual chronology or the release of each piece. It will help the reader better understand the movie's main plot and storyline. Movie timelines are essential when the production makes the prequels after the main story.

Construction Timeline

Being a construction manager, you have to make lots of important decisions and figure out the ideal chronology to plan each step of construction. The best way to plan a remodelling or construction of a house or a building is to divide tasks and give each task a deadline. This way, the workers will know when to complete each task, and the construction will carry out as planned and finish in the given time.

Graphical Timeline

A graphical timeline illustrates the chronological order of events or tasks over a given period in time. You can do lots of things with a timeline. It helps you figure out the ideal time period for an event. You can use it to depict historical events and explain the biography of historical figures. A graphical timeline uses the format of a Gantt chart or a bar chart. Each bar separates into a smaller section of various colours to represent different tasks and elements.

Website Timeline

A website timeline come in handy when creating a website. It describes each step and task part of the website project management. It gives the developer a general idea of the amount of time needed to complete each task based on its complexity. There is various small task in each listed task of the timeline. When everything is complete, the website enters the testing phase before it goes to the user.


How do Timelines Visualize Data: Learn from Timeline Examples

Need some inspiration for your visualization project? Take a cue from some of our selected templates and examples!

Historical Timeline

Historical timelines, like the one above, revolve around events and their dates. They can be about war records, ancient civilizations, royal families, biographies and so on. Sometimes, you can add citations, notes, and other associated information according to your needs. Usually, these charts look simplistic, like an orderly list. While students find it difficult to remember the dates of historical events on history books, they can turn to a timeline like this for help, because it creates a greater impact on dates and events. These are widely used by teachers as study material or be a project of actual historians. In many ways, this type of template is highly speculated at various stages of academia, whether junior school level or higher studies.

Software Version Timeline

The software goes through the constant integration process, and the different versions are tracked in a versions timeline. This content generally uses a vertical, cascading layout, with colored bars used to indicate the status and other details about particular versions concisely. However, it can also be done on an interactive template. The latest update may be at the top of the page or bottom, as per the creator’s choice.

Chinese Festival Timeline

This is a custom template, which has been made into a timeline about Chinese Festivals, public holidays and occasions, including Women’s Day. This can be ideal for putting up on Office Bulletin Board or shared in an open platform. Take a pointer, if you have a cluster of dates to showcase, either festival or showtimes, or time tables, a minimalistic and pastel color-coded visualization like this is a grand idea.

A Word of Growth, a Work in Progress

A new project. A non-profit venture. Or just a startup business. If you are aiming for growth, Make A Statement! You don’t need too much content, don’t need too many graphical elements. Keep it simple and powerful.

A Big Project

Track the multifaceted courses of your project. Take a cue from this old project version history of EdrawMax. Start from scratch and work your way to the top by consistently adding new data. Keep it as clean as possible.


How to Create an Eye-catching Timeline with EdrawMax?

Are you ready to start working on your project? Let us read about this simple step-by-step guide.

  • Select one template that is tailored to your topic.
  • Drag and drop the symbols and shapes that you need and add your own contents.
  • If you want to make custom timeline, feel free to customize every detail of your timeline.
  • Moreover, you can add images from your local disk if you need.
  • Once you are done, you can choose to export your work to many common files, share it on social media or print out a high-quality timeline.

Here you can find detailed steps of how to create a timeline.


Timeline Maker

You can create a timeline using plain text, which is hard to understand, or you can create a timeline using Gantt charts and bar charts or following any other timeline layout with the help of a timeline maker such as EdrawMax Online. It makes your timeline easy to understand and presentable. With EdrawMax, you can use professional templates to create your timeline, and it also gives you many customization tools and a comprehensive symbols library to make your timeline from scratch.


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