How to Make a Timeline on PowerPoint

Written by amy dombrower
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How to Make a Timeline on PowerPoint
Use Microsoft PowerPoint to create a timeline. (laptop 9 image by Harvey Hudson from

Microsoft PowerPoint is part of the Office suite and is used to make complex presentations. Using PowerPoint, you can present information on different slides and add multimedia aspects, such as graphics, charts, images, video and audio. Create a timeline in PowerPoint to display a sequence of events. You can quickly create and customise a timeline by making a SmartArt graphic. SmartArt can be used in PowerPoint, as well as Word and Excel, to make different graphics, such as Venn diagrams, pie charts and cycle charts.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Click the "Insert" tab in PowerPoint. In the "Illustrations" group, click "SmartArt."

  2. 2

    Choose a graphic category. To view timeline layouts, click "Process." Double-click a timeline layout of your choosing, depending on the content you have. For instance, select "Basic Timeline" or "Accent Process" for a basic sequence. To make a timeline in which you can include pertinent images, select "Continuous Picture List." The timeline will appear in PowerPoint with a box surrounding it.

  3. 3

    Click the control arrows on the left side of the box to view the text pane. Click "[Text]" in the text pane to begin entering your timeline content. Alternatively, select an entry in the timeline and begin typing.

  4. 4

    Add more entries to the timeline. Select the graphic and click an entry. Click the "Design" tab. In the "Create Graphic" group, click "Add Shape." Either select "Add Shape Before" or "Add Shape After" to add an entry before or after the selected entry.

  5. 5

    Use the "Design" tab to change your timeline to a different layout if you want. Select the timeline and click a new layout in the "Layouts" group. In the "SmartArt Styles" group, click "Change Colors" to customise the colour theme of the timeline. Click one of the styles to add a special effect to the timeline.

  6. 6

    Continue adding entries and editing content until you've completed the timeline.

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