How to Create a Timeline in PowerPoint with SmartArt

Our clients frequently use PowerPoint presentations to update team members on the status of projects. To make this task easier, you’ll be pleased to know that PowerPoint contains all of the tools you’ll need to make a timeline.

Are you intrigued? Do you want to know how to create a timeline in PowerPoint? Read on!

Create a Timeline in PowerPoint with SmartArt Tools

Participants in our Microsoft PowerPoint training sessions are blown away when I show them how to create a timeline using SmartArt graphics.

Here’s how you do it!

  1. Click the SmartArt button in the Insert > Illustrations group.
  2. In the Choose a SmartArt Graphic dialog box, select the Process category, choose Basic Timeline, then click OK.
Choose a SmartArt Graphic dialog box
Basic Timeline is in the Process category

The timeline graphic is added to your slide with the Text Pane displayed on the left. Each bullet point you enter in the Text Pane appears as a milestone on your timeline.

Timeline with Text Pane
Timeline with Text Pane

You can resize and move the timeline as needed.

Format Your Timeline Graphic – Change Colors and Styles

When you create a new timeline in PowerPoint, the formatting is pretty basic. You can customize the appearance of your timeline by changing the colors and selecting a different SmartArt style.

These settings can be found in the SmartArt Design > SmartArt Styles group on PowerPoint’s ribbon.

SmartArt Styles
SmartArt Styles

Creating a Timeline is Easy!

Now that you know how easy it is to create a timeline in Microsoft PowerPoint, you’ll be able to utilize this feature in your presentations.

Showing a project timeline to stakeholders makes it so much easier for everyone to understand your schedule and the work required to get everything done.

If you found this article useful, you might want to check out how to add a countdown timer to PowerPoint.

By Michael Belfry

Working as a full-time training consultant, Michael provides Microsoft Office courses to government and private sector clients across Canada.