How-To

How to Create a Microsoft PowerPoint Timeline to Show Dates

With a Microsoft PowerPoint timeline, you can create a graphical representation that shows a sequence of events using SmartArt graphics.

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With a Microsoft PowerPoint timeline, you can create a graphical representation that shows a sequence of events. By doing so, milestones for projects, for example, are shown using SmartArt graphics.

Microsoft PowerPoint Timeline – Add/Adjust Dates

By design, Microsoft PowerPoint makes it possible to extend storytelling beyond words. Instead, you can create slides containing images, charts, and other objects to highlight a new product, project, person, or whatever else you want to promote. With a timeline, you can add dates to tell your story across points in time. After doing so, you can add more dates and move them as needed. You can also change layouts and colors and apply different styles to the SmartArt graphic timeline.

Creating a Microsoft PowerPoint Timeline

To develop a Timeline in Microsoft PowerPoint:

  1. Open your presentation or create a new one.
  2. Click SmartArt from the Insert tab.
  3. Choose Process. 
  4. Double-click one of two timeline SmartArt graphics: Basic timeline and Circle Accent Timeline. Understand, any process graphic would work.

Microsoft PowerPoint layout

Next, choose [Text] in the box, then type or paste your text in the SmartArt graphic. Repeat as necessary to highlight additional points in time.

You can also open the Text Pane and type your text there. If you do not see the Text Pane, click Text Pane on the SmartArt ToolsDesign tab.

Create PowerPoint timeline

Add More Dates to Timeline

You can extend the timeline to add additional dates by following only a few steps:

  1. Right-click on a shape in the timeline. To add an earlier date, click Add Shape, then click Add Shape Before. To add a later date, click Add Shape, and then click Add Shape After.
  2. Add text to the new date.
  3. Repeat step 1 and step 2 to add additional dates.

PowerPoint add timeline

Move a Date

You can always move dates on a Microsoft PowerPoint timeline. To do so:

  1. Click the date you want to move.
  2. Choose to Move Up on the SmartArt ToolsDesign tab to move the date sooner. Otherwise,  select Move Down to move the date later.

Change timeline date

Microsoft PowerPoint Timeline – Change Style

You can alter the look of a timeline anytime you want. This includes changing the layout, colors, and style.

Change the Layout

To change the layout for the timeline, go into the Microsoft PowerPoint slide that contains the timeline, then:

  1. Click on the timeline.
  2. Choose another layout from the SmartArt ToolsDesign.

PowerPoint change layout

Change Color

To change the color of the timeline, go into the Microsoft PowerPoint slide that contains the timeline, then:

  1. Click on the timeline.
  2. Choose Change Color from the SmartArt ToolsDesign.
  3. Select a new color set.

PowerPoint change color

Change Style

Finally, let’s change the timeline style by going into the Microsoft PowerPoint slide that contains the timeline, then:

  1. Click on the timeline.
  2. Choose SmartArt styles from the SmartArt ToolsDesign.
  3. Select a new style.

PowerPoint change style

Microsoft PowerPoint timelines are a great way to show dates in graphical form. Better still, you can change them to match your style. There’s much you can do with PowerPoint you might have never considered. For example, did you know you can make a PowerPoint presentation read-only or that you can convert a Word document to a PowerPoint presentation? Also, don’t forget you can get all office apps as part of a software suite with a Microsoft 365 subscription.

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