How to Create a Timeline in Microsoft Word Processor

Written by nick davis
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How to Create a Timeline in Microsoft Word Processor
Use the drawing tool in Microsoft Word to create a timeline. (Lineal chart image by Carina Rubin from

Timelines, graphical representations of events that happened in history, come in two types: linear and comparative. Linear timelines show a graphic of events as they occurred in a certain period of time. Comparative timelines show two or more events which occurred at the same time. Microsoft Word includes an array of drawing tools for creating both linear and comparative timelines. Once created, your timeline is ready for printing or sharing with others via e-mail or the internet.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


    Drawing the timeline

  1. 1

    Open Microsoft Word. Click "File," "New," "Blank Document." Click "OK."

  2. 2

    Click "File," "Page Setup." Select "Landscape" under the heading "Orientation" to create a horizontal timeline (linear). Select "Portrait" to create a vertical timeline (comparative). Click "OK."

  3. 3

    Click "View," "Toolbars," "Drawing." The Drawing toolbar will open your computer's screen.

  4. 4

    Click on the "Rectangle" icon on the Drawing toolbar. Drag the pointer to draw a long rectangle to form the timeline bar.

  5. 5

    Click on the arrow on the "Fill Color" icon to change the colour of the rectangle. Select the colour you want from the colour palette.

  6. 6

    Click on the "Line Tool" to draw the vertical markers for dividing your timeline into sections. Place the lines according to how long a period on the timeline is suppose to represent.

  7. 7

    Click on the "Text Box" icon to draw a text box under the timeline bar. Click on the text box and drag it to the size you want under the timeline bar.

  8. 8

    Enter the information you in the text box. Click on any blank space outside of the text box to finalise the text.

    Click on the "Line colour" icon and select "No Line" to hide the lines around the text box.

    Entering a headline

  1. 1

    Click on the "WordArt" icon on the Drawing toolbar.

  2. 2

    Select the style you want for the headline. Click "OK."

  3. 3

    Enter your headline in the box under the heading "Edit WordArt Text." Click "OK."

  4. 4

    Click and drag the WordArt box to the position you want above your timeline.

    Importing pictures

  1. 1

    Navigate to the directory containing a picture or graphic you want to place on your timeline. Double click the file's name to open the picture or graphic.

  2. 2

    Click "Edit," "Copy" to copy the picture/graphic or click on the picture/graphic to select it. Press the "CTRL" key and "C" key together to copy the image.

  3. 3

    Switch to Microsoft Word.

  4. 4

    Click on the location on your timeline where you want to place the picture or graphic. Right click in the location. Select "Paste."

  5. 5

    Click on the picture or graphic to select it. Drag the resizing handles on the edges of the image to enlarge or decrease the image.

  6. 6

    Right click on the picture or graphic. Select "Format Picture." Click on the "Layout" tab. Click on "In Front of Text," if there is a text box underneath the image. This option associates the text with the image.

    Click "OK."

Tips and warnings

  • Once you are done creating your timeline, click "File," "Save As" to save the timeline. Enter a name for the file in the "File name:" box. Click "Save." To print the timeline, click "File," "Print." Click "Properties" to select the paper size you want. Click "OK" to print the timeline.

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