How to Create a Timeline in PowerPoint

Microsoft PowerPoint supports users to make a basic timeline and customize it to fit users’ requirements. In this tutorial, you will know how to create a timeline manually and automatically in PowerPoint with step-by-step instructions.

How would you like to create your timeline?

How to Create a Timeline in PowerPoint

Using a SmartArt Graphic of Timeline

Step 1 Select a Blank Layout

Enable PowerPoint, click Layout button on the Slides group of the Home tab, and then select Blank on the drop-down menu. The slide will be blank and ready for making a timeline.

select blank layout

Step 2 Insert a Favorite Timeline Graphic

Go to the Insert tab, click SmartArt button on the Illustrations group to open the Choose a SmartArt Graphic window.

Then select “Process” in the category list and there are two kind of timeline layouts in the SmartArt graphics window, which are Basic Timeline and Circle Accent Timeline.

smartart graphic window

Click here to find more free Timeline templates > >

Step 3 Edit Text

Here I select Basic Timeline and click OK on the dialog box. The basic timeline is inserted on the slide. Click [Text] on the graphic or click the arrow icon to open Text Pane, and then type or paste the text in the SmartArt graphic.

edit text in the timeline graphic

Step 4 Add or Delete Shapes

To add a new shape after Test2, you need to

  1. Select the circle that represents Test2;
  2. Click Add Shape button under the Design tab of SmartArt Tools;
  3. Select Add Shape After on the drop-down menu.

Therefore, a new circle will be added after the circle of Test2. You can also repeat these steps and choose Add Shape Before to add a new shape.

To delete Test2, open Text Pane and delete the text line of Test2, thus the circle and the textbox of Test2 will disappear from the graphic.

delete Test2 in the timeline graphic

Step 5 Move a Shape on the Timeline

To move a shape on the timeline, you can

  1. Click the textbox that you want to move;
  2. Go to the Design tab of the SmartArt Tools, click Move Up or Move Down button on the Create Graphic gruop
    • To move the selected test sooner than another test (like Test1), click Move Up;
    • To move the selected test later than another test (like Test3), click Move Down.
    move buttons

Here I choose to move Test2 sooner than Test1 and click Move Up. When you move the selected shape with a date to another place, don’t forget to modify the date and make it in accordance with your plan.

move test2 up

Step 6 Customize the Timeline

To change the layout of the timeline, you can select the graphic, go to Design tab of SmartArt Tools, find Layouts group and open the drop-down menu of the layout style.

layout of timeline

Then, you can pick one of the timeline or process-related SmartArt graphics that you like, click the thumbnail and the graphic on the slide will be changed instantly. In this example, I choose to transform Basic Timeline into Basic Bending Process.

To change the colors of the timeline, you can select the graphic, find Change Colors button on the Design tab and choose the desired color combination in the menu.

Using an inbuilt Timeline Template

The other way to make a timeline in PowerPoint is to use the inbuilt timeline template and customize the selected template to create your own timeline.

Enable PowerPoint, click File tab on the ribbon, click New on the left side pane and type “Timeline” in the search box. Then, you can double-click on the thumbnail and select one of the pre-made timeline templates in PowerPoint as the basic structure of your own timeline.

When you select and add a timeline template on the slide, you can change its style and customize it to make your own timeline.

search timeline template

How to Create a Timeline in Edraw Max

Step 1: Select a Timeline Template

Enable Edraw Max, select Timeline under the category of “Business”, then you will see many delicate and wonderful timeline templates. You can choose one of these templates to make your own timeline.

Abundant Edrawmax timeline template

If you want to see more free timeline templates, you can visit Edraw Template and find your favorite template.

timeline templates on Edraw Template

Click here to find more free Timeline templates > >

Step 2: Make Your Own Timeline

Double-click on the thumbnail of the timeline template in the Home page of Edraw Max, then you can enter into the main interface and start to make your own timeline on the basis of the selected template.

Here is the template that I selected and I decide to make a timeline in the cartoon style.

open the timeline template on Edraw Max

When you open the template, the symbols and shapes of timelines will show up on the left Library pane. So, you can use them to make new timelines or modify the current one.

Double-click on the textboxes and type text in them.

Step 3: Format Your Timeline

To make timeline look more vivid and specific, I need to add some icons and callout shapes on it.

Click the icon next to Symbol Library to open Library window. Then select Icons and Callouts shapes under General category and click OK. You will see the shapes and symbols of Icons and Callouts appear on the Library pane. A

add the symbols of Icons and Callouts on the library

Step 4: Change Colors of the Timeline

To change the color of the whole timeline, click the Theme icon the Theme icon in Edraw Max to open the Theme pane, select the desired theme style, theme color, connector style (if you have drawn) and font style. Once you choose one of the inbuilt theme, the style of the whole timeline will be changed.

change the theme of the timeline

Besides, when you have picked the theme style, theme color, connector style and font style in the pane, you can click the Save Theme button to make a custom theme. So, you can apply this theme to other diagrams whenever you want.

To change the fill colors, you can select the shape and click the Style icon the Style icon in Edraw Max to open Fill/Line/Shadow pane. In this case, I select the icon of the heart. Then click the color bar to open the drop-down color menu and pick the desired color.

You can change the line colors and shadow effects in the Line and Shadow pane in the same way.

the fill pane

How to Save an Edraw Max Timeline as PowerPoint File

When you have created your own timeline in Edraw Max, you can save the document by pressing Ctrl + S or clicking the Save button on the upper right corner of the main interface.

the Save button on Edraw Max

Moreover, you are able to export the timeline as a PowerPoint file (.pptx) or other files of common formats. Go to File tab, click Export > Export to PowerPoint, and then Edraw Max will automatically export and save your timeline in your computer as a PowerPoint file.

Therefore, it will be much easier and more convenient for you to share and transfer your timelines with anyone else, even if he or she hasn’t used Edraw Max before. Besides, Edraw Max supports users to insert watermarks on their diagrams or charts, which will protect their creation and designs made by Edraw Max.

export the timeline in Edraw Max

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