A Complete Guide To Timelines

Berry Mathew

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A Complete Guide to Timelines

What is a timeline

Timeline diagrams present events during specific intervals shown chronologically along a line. These events may be historical, related to a specific criminal case, business development, or important milestones in a project.

Timelines are designed to provide a broad overview of a sequence of events in time. They don’t go into detail, but links to events, information, and images may be added as needed.

A timeline diagram consists of a horizontal bar or line representing time progressing from left to right. This bar is marked with events or steps to indicate when they should or did happen.

In project management, timelines are most useful for showing important milestones and deadlines.

When to use a timeline

 You can use a timeline if you need to convey a set of facts that is chronological in sequence, a continual process, or interrelated in nature. The options for timelines are limitless. It has applications in every sector imaginable. Here are a few instances of when you might want to use a timeline:

  • To provide historical reports with key years and dates
  • Before a meeting, an agenda or schedule is presented.
  • To present ongoing work reports with dates and deadlines.

To commemorate significant dates in a person’s life or to demonstrate the process of photosynthesis in plants.

Tips for creating a timeline

Creating a timeline can be difficult as it takes a lot of time and effort to design it. But you can download ready-to-use PowerPoint timeline templates that can be easily edited to your needs.

  • What does your timeline show? Every timeline should include a title describing the project or historical events. Put a suitable name at the beginning of the page. 
  • Determine the timeline’s scale. Divide the timeline into equal, sensible pieces using short vertical line segments or dashes, then label each properly based on the total duration of the time represented. For instance, if the timeline spans a year, you should divide it into months, a day into hours, and a century into decades. If there is a time gap with no activity, you can skip a portion of the timeline or add a zigzag line to indicate it.
  • Include events. Place little circles or spots along the line to represent events or tasks that must be done. Then, depending on how packed the page is, attach a continuous line, stretch it from the markup or down, and enter the event in a box at the end of the line. If the timeline is overcrowded, use angled arrows or lines of varying lengths instead. An overloaded timeline suggests that the timeline is too tiny in scale.
  • Include images. On the timeline, use images to help illustrate an incident or task. This might improve the clarity and visual value of your timeline.

Types of timeline

  •  Horizontal timeline

A horizontal timeline that tracks activities from left to right is one of the most frequent types of timelines. Typically, these display information in chronological order, with the oldest occurrence on the left and the most recent on the right. One type of lateral timeline is the chronological timeline.

  • Vertical timeline

Vertical timelines follow data from bottom to top. This type of timeline can track time and numbers, such as funds earned for an organization’s fundraising. These often begin at the bottom and go upward to demonstrate development or growth toward an objective. The upward movement represents an organization’s gains or losses visually.

  • Roadmap timeline

Roadmap timelines depict a company’s life cycle of business and the processes required to achieve a specific goal. Businesses use roadmaps to track their progress in marketing strategy, product development, and business sales. They also use them to explain how long a project is expected to take and when it will be completed. This timeline can take several forms, typically looping around corners and having a beginning and an endpoint. 

  • Gantt chart timeline

Gantt chart timelines organize project components such as the project timeline, workflow, and status report using a spreadsheet-like framework. The Gantt chart, like a bar graph, has an X-axis and a Y-axis. The X-axis shows the task duration, while the Y-axis indicates the task.

  • Interactive timeline

An interactive timeline is a dynamic internet application that allows you to scroll and zoom in and out to observe real-time data. This is useful for organizations with a lot of information because it condenses it. Individuals can learn more about a certain point in time by tapping on it on an interactive timeline. These may be extra sections of text or videos that explain the incident in further depth.

  • Biological timeline

Biological timelines aid in the description of a physiological sequence, such as photosynthesis. You can detail the many steps during the process here, often using visuals to assist people in understanding it better. This also demonstrates the links between specific actions and how they cause other reactions.

  • Project Timeline

A project timeline outlines the project’s various stages to keep team members on track. This timeline is focused on the future, setting goals for others to meet. Project managers use these to visualize their operations. Project timelines describe tasks in time order so that team members understand what has to be done and may plan ahead of time.

  • Event Timeline

Event timelines concentrate on the components of a single event, such as a wedding. To show attendees the order of events, you can underline key elements of the event, like the reception and ceremony, here. In addition, this application allows you to block off hours, days, or weeks to see what must be accomplished and by when.


Timeline is a great tool to represent events in chronological order. Ensure you use the right type of timeline for your purpose. Also identify the scale you require before you start. Use images and descriptions to add details and to make your timeline interesting and engaging.