- Track the work to be done
- Highlight the key tasks of a project
- Visualize the time required to deliver each of the tasks
- As the project evolves, you mark important achievements and remaining ones.
- Share the upcoming work with the team members or stakeholders to be engaged in a particular work.
Download the PowerPoint timeline template
When you don't have the time to start crafting a new design for your timeline from scratch, we offer you a professional timeline template that you can download and use free of charge. Moreover, the template is fully editable and crafted in Microsoft PowerPoint. Download the PowerPoint timeline template
How to create a timeline in PowerPoint?
Microsoft PowerPoint is a presentation software that helps you create slideshows and presentations. It's part of the Microsoft Office suite of productivity tools and one of the most popular software professionals, and students use. PowerPoint can help you make beautiful, engaging presentations using images, charts, and multimedia elements.
It can also help you make interactive and dynamic presentations using features like animations and transitions. In general, PowerPoint is a powerful tool that can facilitate your interest in designing pleasing and visually appealing presentations.
Making a timeline template in PowerPoint is pretty easy, allowing you to update it on the go based on the feedback provided by the stakeholders and the team. Once new tasks or deadlines change, you can make the desired edits. They are easy to use, versatile, and address key needs without too much effort, expert skills, or additional plugins or software.
1. Start by creating a new blank presentation
Open your favorite presentation software, then go to File > New presentation.
Tip: You might use the existing templates from File > New from template.
2. Add your timeline title
In the same way, you write a letter or an essay. You should start your slide with a title. It can be a Project timeline, Project roadmap, Ongoing activities and tasks, Milestone update, or simply Timeline.
3. Add the calendar timeline
Most probably, you have seen a few designs of timelines just by searching on Google for images of PowerPoint templates, and you know what type of format or layout will fit most for your purpose.
In our design, we have added a rectangular shape, then the year and the calendar months, within a text box.
Alternative: If you work on a smaller project or one that you can accomplish, let's say in a quarter or a month, you might split the timeline into months, weeks, or even days.
Optional: If you want to go with something fundamental from Smart Art, select the Timeline element, and personalize it according to your needs.
We're not keen on recommending this path, as the result is quite ugly and unflexible.
4. Add the tasks and duration for each task
Each project is different, it can have different phases, with different responsibilities, with tasks that require more workforce or time than others to accomplish, and you need to know the deadlines for each task. Similarly to a Gantt chart, it's important to clarify these elements visually.
If you believe the team will achieve a task in 7 months, you might break it up into a few subtasks that are easier to handle and manage.
When looking at our template, we initially created a table with 2 columns and 6 rows, one column for the task name and the other for the schedule.
From the shapes menu, we have inserted the pentagon shape, changed the color to fit the size needed according to the start-end date of the tasks, and then added the schedule as text.
For the remaining tasks, we copy-pasted the first task schedule model, pasted 5 more times, and then adjusted it per each task with the correct timing and desired colors.
5. Add the milestones
A milestone is a significant event or accomplishment in a project or business. Milestones are used to track the progress of a project and can be used to measure success. They are often used in conjunction with a timeline or schedule to help keep a project on track.
Milestones can be both big and small, depending on the nature of the project. For example, a milestone in a construction project might be the completion of the foundation. In contrast, a milestone in a software development project might be the release of a new feature.
In our template, we have created 4 milestones. They are easy to distinguish between themselves. Note that you might want to change the colors, or if, let's say, you have a conference launch or an update release, you might change the size or draw a bigger circle, or why not a line with the specific tasks.
Visual tip: The template is already quite heavy regarding the information on one slide. We don't recommend adding 20 tasks or milestones on a single slide as this might create confusion and be difficult to follow.
6. Adjust your design and elements to fit the needs.
Your brand might have a set of colors that you need to use on all your visual assets. This doesn't stop you from personalizing this template according to the expected style. If you have a designer in-house, you might ask him to provide some insights on how to update your slide to be more impactful or highlight details of your timeline.
In the image below, you can discover some alternative designs and styles to present your timeline for inspiration.
Important: if you will have a live presentation of your timeline, you might add transitions and split the final timeline into 3-5 separate slides, where you:
- Introduce the topic that you will discuss,
- Clarify the format of the timeline, then,
- Add the tasks and the start and end dates one-by-one
- Insert the key milestones
- Make the final remarks.
7. Save your template
After you're happy with the overall design, save it, share it with the team, and gain feedback so that when your client or when you present it at an event, all timings, tasks, and other important details will be accurate.
Once you have your basic design set up, you can save the presentation as a template by going to the File menu and selecting Save As; give your template a name and save it in the location of your choice.
Tip: If the timeline is just one slide of the overall project presentation, pitch deck, business plan, or meeting agenda, you will need the other slides that address the additional elements.