How To Make a Timeline in Microsoft Word (With Tips)

Maybe you want to include a timeline with proposals to show a prospective customer how long it will take to implement and roll out your solution. Maybe you want to point out when each team will begin their tasks as part of project documentation. Or perhaps you are writing a report on the American Revolution, and you want to highlight important dates, such as the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the Battle of Yorktown.

Create a timeline
  1. On the Insert tab, in the Illustrations group, click SmartArt.
  2. In the Choose a SmartArt Graphic gallery, click Process, and then double-click a timeline layout (such as Basic Timeline).
  3. To enter your text, do one of the following: Click [Text] in the Text pane, and then type your text.

How to make a TIMELINE in Word | MS WORD Tutorials

How to make a timeline in Word

If you want to add a timeline to an existing document or customize your timeline to fit the specifics of your project, follow these steps:

1. Open a Word document

Find the Microsoft Word program or application on your computer and run it. When it opens, a dialog box appears that requests if you want to use a template or open a new blank document. Choose the new blank document option. Once the document opens, change the orientation to landscape to provide more room for your timeline. To do this, click the “Layout” tab in the toolbar at the top, click the “Orientation” drop-down, and select “Landscape.”

2. Select your timeline style

To insert a timeline graphic into your Word document, you can click the “Insert” tab in the top toolbar, select the “SmartArt” drop-down and click “Process.” This brings up a group of illustrations that represent different processes to the right of the drop-down menu. Within these selections, two process graphics are timelines. The styles are Basic Timeline and Circle Accent Timeline. Select the style you want to use and click “OK.”

3. Add your entries

After selecting a style, the “SmartArt Text” dialog box appears, which controls the design of your entries. You can click the green plus sign to add a new entry, and the red minus sign to remove the selected entry. The blue arrows pointing left and right move the entries in either direction on the timeline, and the green arrows pointing up and down control whether the entry is on the top or bottom. You can also adjust the entries using the” Add Shape” drop-down menu in the “SmartArt Design” tab in the toolbar.

4. Customize the contents

After adding all the entries, you can organize the contents of your timeline. Click into the text boxes to type the names of each event or task in your timeline. Change the colors of your timeline by clicking on the “SmartArt Design” tab on the top toolbar. You can select from a group of pre-designed color themes. You can also change some of the formatting rules by selecting the “Format” tab next to the “SmartArt Design” tab.

If you make changes you dont like, revert to the original design by selecting the “Reset Graphic” button on the right-hand side of the “SmartArt Design” toolbar.

5. Save your work

Once youve formatted your timeline to show all the deadlines and tasks that you want to present, be sure to save your document. Click on the “File” drop-down at the top of your screen, and select “Save As.” In the “Save As” dialog box, provide a name for your timeline and a file location so you can find it later. Save the document as .docx.

Benefits of making a timeline in Word

Here are some benefits of creating a timeline in Word:

Visualizes your project

Creating a graphic can help you understand your project and how long you have to complete each task. A timelines linear structure can also help you interpret the relationship between your tasks. If one task comes before another on the timeline, it means you should focus on that first task before moving on to the next one. Visualizing your project this way can help you better understand the project and the parts you need to continue progressing through the project.

Makes it easier to share your plans with others

Once youve planned your project by organizing a timeline, you can present this graphic to others to help communicate the details of your project. Because the graphic organizes the details of your project by deadline, it makes it easier for clients or team members to understand. Presenting your timeline can also reassure clients that you can meet the project deadline. It shows how you plan to accomplish each step over the projects duration.

Provides a reference

Once you begin your project, you can use your timeline to monitor your projects progress. As you complete tasks and pass deadlines, regularly check your timeline to see what tasks come next and when theyre due. If you fall behind on tasks or need to confirm deadlines with a team member or the client, you can refer to the plan outlined in the timeline you created. You can also edit it throughout your project to showcase updated deadlines and tasks.

How to create a timeline in Word using a template

You can also create a timeline in Word using a pre-made document template. While this can limit your customizable options, you may prefer the way it looks. To use the pre-made template, you can follow these steps:

1. Open Word

Find Microsoft Word on your computer as a program or application. Double-click the icon to open the program. As it opens, a dialog box appears that requests if you want to use a template or open a new blank document. Choose to open a new template. In the screen that appears, there are a variety of pre-made templates with assigned uses. If you see a timeline template you want to use, you can select it here.

2. Search for a timeline template

If you dont see a template you want to use right away, you can search for one in the search bar at the top of the right-hand side of the “Program” window. Type “timeline” into the search bar, and hit the “Enter” key. When timeline templates appear, and choose one that best fits how you want to present your project. These templates may have specific purposes, like “Science fair timeline,” but you can customize them to appear and contain any information you want.

3. Customize the contents

Once you click into the template you want to use, you can begin customizing your timeline. The templates may be complex, with multiple pages and various forms of text and imagery. You can maintain this format by replacing the text with information that relates to your project timeline. You can also replace the pictures by inserting your own images. If the template is too complex, delete elements by selecting them with your mouse and pressing the “Delete” key. Keep in mind that this may change the formatting of other parts of the timeline.

3 tips for making a timeline

You can follow these tips to create an impressive timeline:

1. Consider your scope

Before you choose your template and begin designing your timeline, consider the scope of your project. Plot out how many entries your timeline needs so you can choose a template that has room for the entire scope of your project. Planning your entries and how you want them to appear before creating your timeline can save you time because you wont have as many corrections.

2. Update your timeline

As you progress through your project, consider updating your timeline. You can keep an original copy for reference, but you can use the updated graphic to communicate updates to your teammates. If the client or your teammates have any initial changes, add them to your timeline and save your progress. This way, you always have access to the most recent version. Making these changes can help you stay on top of your progress.

3. Be descriptive

When creating a timeline for the use of an entire team, include as many details as possible with your tasks and the deadlines you set. This can help your team avoid confusion. In the SmartArt timelines, you can use bullet points beneath each entry to provide additional information. This can be a good place to assign tasks to your team members, break the task down into phases or add a deadline. The more descriptive your timeline is, the more valuable its to your team.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

FAQ

How do I make a vertical timeline in Word?

Word does not have a default timeline template, but you can insert a basic timeline in your document going to the Insert tab and selecting SmartArt. Then, in the Choose a SmartArt Graphic gallery, click Process and select one of the two timeline formats there – Basic Timeline or Circle Accent Timeline.

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