How to Create a Timeline Chart in Excel (5 Simple Ways)

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.

Dataset-Create a Timeline Chart in Excel

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.

2D Line-Create a Timeline Chart in Excel

Step 2: Go to Insert > Choose 2D LINE (Inside the Charts section).

Insert Line

Step 3: Excel inserts a 2D Line chart. Right-click on it. Click on Select Data from the Context Menu options.

Select data

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.

Data Source window

Step 5: 1stEdit Series dialog box appears. Assign Series Name (i.e., Scheduled Hours) and Series Values (i.e., D5:D13).

Data source-Create a Timeline Chart in Excel

Step 6: Repeat Step 5 for Worked Hours column.

Data source

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.

Line ChartStep 8: The Change Chart Type window appears. From the window, select any preferred chart type (i.e., Combo) afterward click OK.

Change Chart Type

🔼 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:

Timeline Chart-Create a Timeline Chart in Excel


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).

Scatter Chart-How to Create a Timeline Chart in Excel

Step 2: In a moment, Excel inserts points resulting in a Scatter Chart as shown in the below picture.

Chart

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.

Chart Elements


Method 3: Using Pivot Chart Feature to Create a Timeline Chart

Pivot Table is a strong tool to rearrange data. Also, Pivot Tables can be used to insert Pivot Charts in Excel. For simpler representation er simplify our dataset.

Step 1: Highlight the entire range then go to Insert > Pivot Table > From Table/Range.

Pivot Chart-Create a Timeline Chart in Excel

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.

Table creation

Step 3: Place the cursor in cells within the Pivot Table to display the PivotTable Fields window.

Fields

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.

Field Selection

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).

Inserting Pivot chart-Create a Timeline Chart in Excel

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.

Chart selection

🔼 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.

Pivot Table Chart-Create a Timeline Chart in Excel


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.

Modified Data

Step 1: Select the entire dataset then hover to Home > Click Orientation (within the Alignment section) > Select Angle Counterclockwise.

Excel Feature-Create a Timeline Chart in Excel

Step 2: Excel creates a chart alike presentation of the data. Apply background and font color for better comprehension of the data.

Timeline Chart

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.

SmartArt-Create a Timeline Chart in Excel

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.

Graphics Selection

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.

Inserted Graphics-Create a Timeline Chart in Excel

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.

Text edition🔼 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.

Timeline Chart-Create a Timeline Chart in Excel


Conclusion

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.

Maruf Islam

Maruf Islam

My self, Maruf Islam, an engineer and Excel & VBA Content developer on Exceldemy. I enjoy solving problems, finding workable solutions, and most of the part I really like to take on challenges. On Exceldemy I write articles discussing various way outs of Microsoft Excel's stuck ons.

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