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

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

Information backs up this commonsense assertion: Research discovered that individuals 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.

Probably the most compelling makes use of for this practical format? Timeline graphics. These date and knowledge supply autos supply a technique to rapidly talk vital info — from key dates in your organization’s historical past to imminent undertaking milestones or predicted market traits.

After all, 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 ways 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 commonest composition makes use of 4 components:

  • Information
  • Visible
  • Header
  • Description

Every timeline component accommodates all 4 components, and components are then organized in left-to-right order of oldest-to-newest occasions. This format presents simplicity of type and performance — components are simple to learn and establish, and the “movement” 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 under. Some timelines will embrace each a header — reminiscent of merger — with an extended description under. How a lot info is price together with relies on the complexity of the subject at hand, who’s going to be utilizing the chart, and its general function. On this case, our graphic component is the road itself however you too can insert related pictures of individuals or locations related to the occasion to extend person engagement.

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

Learn how 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 deliver 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 facet — should you solely see one line, it’s stage. For those who see multiple, it’s at an angle.

3. Enter your textual content.

Click on on the Textual content Field instrument — represented as a T surrounded by a field — and create a field above or under 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, large textual content field. Whereas the latter choice 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.

If you’ve entered all your timeline knowledge, click on “Save and Shut” and the picture will probably be routinely added to your Google Doc.

Learn how to Make a Timeline in Phrase

Possibly you don’t like Google Docs, possibly your organization makes use of Microsoft Workplace completely, or possibly you don’t like the thought of probably shared timelines. Regardless of the case, it’s additionally attainable 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 deliver up a number of potential timeline graphic choices, all the things from single, giant arrows to linked textual content bins to linked circles. The only choice is the “Fundamental Timeline” which accommodates dots embedded in a big, clear arrow.

3. Enter your knowledge.

Use the textual content pane positioned on the left-hand facet to enter your timeline knowledge. Urgent “Enter” creates a brand new timeline entry — if it’s good to 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 routinely calculate time between occasions; consequently, all gadgets in your timeline will probably be equidistant from each other. If it’s good to talk a bigger span of time, you possibly can drag occasions additional aside manually, however this can ultimately distort the graphic.

Learn how to Make a Timeline in Excel

For those who take pleasure in utilizing Microsoft Workplace for creating timelines however need to make issues harder for your self, strive constructing an Excel timeline. Whereas the completed product presents easily-accessible knowledge in a well-recognized format, the hassle required is considerably extra substantial.

1. Create an information desk.

Create a three-column desk in Excel that accommodates 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 peak with the identical quantity or completely 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 Information Supply.” Choose the “Add” button within the “Legend Entries (Collection)” menu that seems. Click on on the small spreadsheet picture that seems subsequent to the “Collection X values” field, then select the column of dates you created.

Then, choose the small spreadsheet subsequent to the “Collection Y values” field and select the info in your timeline peak 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 deliver up the Chart Parts menu. Uncheck “Chart Title” and “Gridlines”, then examine “Information Labels” and “Error Bars”

5. Join the dots.

Head to the “Error Bars” menu choice and choose “No Line” to your Collection X Error Bars — this can take away the horizontal strains on both sides of your knowledge factors. On your Collection 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 “Collection 1 Information 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 peak, every with a small description above. If desired, you possibly can add further formatting and shade choices from the Format Information Collection menu.

Learn how to Make a Timeline in Google Sheets

The polar reverse of Excel, Google Sheets makes it simple to create undertaking timeline.

1. Create a brand new timeline.

Open Google Sheets and choose the “Undertaking Timeline” choice.

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 presents one of many best methods to create and share a timeline.

Learn how to Make a Timeline in PowerPoint

Making a timeline in PowerPoint is sort of similar 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 is going to be created with three components. Add textual content to the weather immediately, and use “Add Bullets” so as to add bullet factors under. Choose “Add Form” to further timeline sections.

Timing is Every little thing

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 undertaking milestone markers, visible timelines in Google Docs or Sheets, or Microsoft Phrase, Excel, or PowerPoint supply a technique to seize important knowledge whereas concurrently boosting viewer curiosity and bolstering info retention.

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