Timeline Charts are charts or graphs that depict the chronological execution of partial events of a much bigger event. For numerous reasons, users need to create a timeline chart in Excel. There are multiple ways to create a timeline chart depending on event types.
Let’s say we have tasks of a Project Timeline divided into weeks, required Working Hours as well as ongoing Progress. We want to create a timeline chart using the following data.
In this article, we demonstrate 2D Line, Scatter Chart, Pivot Chart, SmartArt, and Alignment Command features to create a timeline chart in Excel.
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5 Easy Ways to Create a Timeline Chart in Excel
Method 1: Using 2D Line to Create a Timeline Chart in Excel
Excel provides multiple options to create charts within the Charts section. Insert Line is one of them. Follow the below steps to create a timeline chart in Excel.
Step 1: Add a helper column to the dataset.
Step 2: Go to Insert > Choose 2D LINE (Inside the Charts section).
Step 3: Excel inserts a 2D Line chart. Right-click on it. Click on Select Data from the Context Menu options.
Step 4: The Select Data Source window opens. Click on Add under Legend Entries (Series). You can Remove the Helper Column loaded data or keep it.
Step 5: 1stEdit Series dialog box appears. Assign Series Name (i.e., Scheduled Hours) and Series Values (i.e., D5:D13).
Step 6: Repeat Step 5 for Worked Hours column.
Step 7: Excel loads the data and displays them in a 2D Line chart as shown below. Right-click on the chart and select the Change Chart Type option from the Context Menu options.
Step 8: The Change Chart Type window appears. From the window, select any preferred chart type (i.e., Combo) afterward click OK.
🔼 You can choose a secondary axis to plot the data, modify Chart Elements such as Error Bars, and other options. The final raw timeline chart can be depicted as:
Method 2: Creating a Timeline Chart Using Excel Insert Scatter
Similar to the previous method, Excel Insert Scatter inputs data points upon lines to create a depiction.
Step 1: Move to the Insert tab > Click on preferred Insert Scatter options (inside the Charts section).
Step 2: In a moment, Excel inserts points resulting in a Scatter Chart as shown in the below picture.
Step 3: Edit and modify the Chart Elements to best fit your desired view. The Plus (+) icon is referred to as Chart Elements. Tick any of the elements to enable and click on the arrow on right to further positioned the Chart Elements.
Method 3: Using Pivot Chart Feature to Create a Timeline Chart
Step 1: Highlight the entire range then go to Insert > Pivot Table > From Table/Range.
Step 2: The PivotTable from table or range window appears. Mark the New Worksheet option as choose where you want the PivotTable to be placed. Then click OK.
Step 3: Place the cursor in cells within the Pivot Table to display the PivotTable Fields window.
Step 4: Tick all the Fields. Afterward, drag the Weeks field to place it under the Rows area. Other areas should be automatically filled. Unless use the Field Settings (click on any Field under different areas) to do so.
Step 5: You see an additional PivotTable Analyze and Design options along with the tabs. Click on PivotTable Analyze > Click on PivotChart (inside the Tools section).
Step 6: Instantly, Excel brings out the Insert Chart window. Choose any of the chart types (i.e., Column) to depict the data then click OK.
🔼 Furnish the chart according to your needs. You can add multiple Chart Elements and whatnot. The final depiction of the timeline chart may look like the latter screenshot.
Method 4: Excel Command to Create Timeline Chart
Excel offers multiple alignments for data representations. Therefore, selecting one of those representations may result in creating a timeline chart. At first, we modify our dataset to fit within the screen as shown in the below image.
Step 1: Select the entire dataset then hover to Home > Click Orientation (within the Alignment section) > Select Angle Counterclockwise.
Step 2: Excel creates a chart alike presentation of the data. Apply background and font color for better comprehension of the data.
You can edit each portion of this depiction. It’s a super quick way to create a timeline chart in Excel.
Method 5: Creating a Timeline Chart Using SmartArt Feature
Not so generic compared to the previous methods but the Excel SmartArt feature can arrange inputted data in a chart-like depiction.
Step 1: Go through Home > Illustrations > Click SmartArt.
Step 2: The Choose a SmartArt Graphic window appears. Choose Process (on the right side of the window) > Click on any desired graphics (i.e., Vertical Chevron List). Afterward, click OK.
Step 3: Excel inserts the graphics. You can edit or insert more rows using the Type your text here dialog box. Use the arrow sign to show or hide the dialog box.
Step 4: Remove unnecessary text (using Backspace) or add more text items (using Enter or Copy-Paste). Provide your data text and in the end, the graphics may look like the below picture.
🔼 Hide the Type your text here dialog box and you see a clear depiction of a timeline. However, here there is no time period or any of such. You can add time period-related texts to create a more proper timeline.
In this article, we demonstrate some of the basic methods to create a timeline chart in Excel. Insert Line, Insert Scatter, and Pivot Chart are the main go-to to create timeline charts. Hope you find your desired one among the mentioned ones. Comment, if you have further inquiries or have anything to add.