How to Create a Timeline with Dates in Excel (4 Easy Ways)

A timeline shows tasks or projects with dates in chronological order. It allows the audience to view all tasks or projects in a single spot. Today, we will learn to create a timeline with dates in Excel. In this article, we will demonstrate 4 easy methods. These methods are easy and save you time. So, without further ado, let’s start the discussion.


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4 Ways to Create Timeline with Dates in Excel

To explain the methods, we will use a dataset that contains information about the Projects of a company. It contains the Starting Date and the Finishing Date of each project. We will try to create a timeline using this dataset throughout the whole article.


1. Generate a Timeline with Dates Using SmartArt in Excel

In the first method, we will use the SmartArt option to create a timeline with dates in Excel. It is the easiest method. The steps are simple. So, let’s follow the steps below to learn the process.

STEPS:

  • First of all, select Insert and then, select Illustrations. A drop-down menu will occur.
  • Select SmartArt from the drop-down menu. It will open the SmartArt Graphic window.

Generate a Timeline with Dates Using SmartArt in Excel

  • Secondly, select Process and then, select the Basic Timeline icon.

Generate a Timeline with Dates Using SmartArt in Excel

  • Click OK to proceed. You can choose other timeline arts too.

Generate a Timeline with Dates Using SmartArt in Excel

  • After clicking OK, the timeline will appear on the worksheet.
  • Now, select the less than (<) symbol.

Generate a Timeline with Dates Using SmartArt in Excel

  • After selecting the less than (<) symbol, a new box will appear.
  • Next, press Enter to add more solid circles to the timeline. We need a total of 6 solid circles to complete the timeline.

Generate a Timeline with Dates Using SmartArt in Excel

  • After adding the solid circles, the timeline will look like the picture below.

Generate a Timeline with Dates Using SmartArt in Excel

  • In the following step, write your text in the ‘Type your text here’ in order.

Generate a Timeline with Dates Using SmartArt in Excel

  • Finally, click anywhere in the sheet to see a timeline with dates like the picture below.

Generate a Timeline with Dates Using SmartArt in Excel


2. Insert Scatter Chart to Create a Timeline with Dates in Excel

Another way to create a timeline with dates in Excel is to use the Scatter Chart. Here, we will use the previous dataset. You can also use other types of charts to create your timeline. Let’s pay attention to the steps below to learn the method.

STEPS:

  • In the first place, select any cell of the dataset and press Ctrl + A to select all the used cells.

Insert Scatter Chart to Create a Timeline with Dates in Excel

  • Secondly, go to the Insert tab and select the Scatter Chart icon. A drop-down menu will occur.
  • Select the first icon from the drop-down menu.

Insert Scatter Chart to Create a Timeline with Dates in Excel

  • After that, you will see a plot on your worksheet like the picture below.

Insert Scatter Chart to Create a Timeline with Dates in Excel

  • In the following step, click on the plus (+) sign.
  • Select Axis and then, deselect Primary Vertical.

Insert Scatter Chart to Create a Timeline with Dates in Excel

  • Again, click on the plus (+) sign.
  • Select Axis Titles and deselect Gridlines.
  • Then, select Legend >> Right.

Insert Scatter Chart to Create a Timeline with Dates in Excel

  • Next, change the titles and make the graph more understandable.

Insert Scatter Chart to Create a Timeline with Dates in Excel

  • One more time, click on the plus (+) icon and select Data Labels > Left.

Insert Scatter Chart to Create a Timeline with Dates in Excel

  • Now, click on a starting date point and right-click on it. A menu will occur.
  • Select Format Data Labels from there.

Insert Scatter Chart to Create a Timeline with Dates in Excel

  • Instantly, the Format Data Labels option will appear on the right side of the screen.
  • Select Right in the Label Position category.

Insert Scatter Chart to Create a Timeline with Dates in Excel

  • In the end, you will see a timeline with dates like the screenshot below.

Insert Scatter Chart to Create a Timeline with Dates in Excel

  • You can also use the Pie Charts to create a timeline like below.

Insert Scatter Chart to Create a Timeline with Dates in Excel


3. Apply Excel Pivot Table Analysis to Make Timeline with Dates

Excel Pivot Table offers a lot of useful features. You can use the pivot table analysis to make a timeline with dates. This process is tricky. So, let’s observe the steps below to learn it.

STEPS:

  • In the beginning, select a cell in your dataset and then, select Insert >> Table.
  • Alternatively, you can press Ctrl + T.

Apply Excel Pivot Table Analysis to Make Timeline with Dates

  • In the second step, click OK in the Create Table dialog box. Make sure you select the ‘My table has headers’ box.

Apply Excel Pivot Table Analysis to Make Timeline with Dates

  • Your table will like the picture below.

Apply Excel Pivot Table Analysis to Make Timeline with Dates

  • Thirdly, select Insert >> PivotTable.

Apply Excel Pivot Table Analysis to Make Timeline with Dates

  • A dialog box will pop up. Just click OK to proceed.

Apply Excel Pivot Table Analysis to Make Timeline with Dates

  • After that, the PivotTable Fields will occur on the right side of a new sheet.

Apply Excel Pivot Table Analysis to Make Timeline with Dates

  • Select Projects, Starting Date, Finishing Date, Months, & Months2.
  • Drag the Months, Months2, Starting Date, and Finishing Date fields in the Legend (Series) box.
  • Also, drag the Starting Date and Finishing Date fields in the Values box.
  • One more thing, make sure the Projects field is in the Axis (Categories) box.

Apply Excel Pivot Table Analysis to Make Timeline with Dates

  • In the following step, right-click on the Count of Starting Date and select Value Field Settings.

Apply Excel Pivot Table Analysis to Make Timeline with Dates

  • In the Value Field Settings window, select Sum and then, select Number Format. It will open the Format Cells window.

  • In the Format Cells window, select Date and then, select the 14-Mar-12 format.

  • Now, click OK to see results like the picture below.

  • As a result, click on the plus (+) icon and select Data Labels.

  • In the end, change the position of the Data Labels to make them more readable.

  • To save the timeline as a picture, right-click on the graph and select Save as Picture.


4. Create Timeline with Dates Manually in Excel

You can also create a timeline with dates manually in Excel. It is a super easy process. Here, we will use the same dataset again. So, without any delay, let’s follow the steps below.

STEPS:

  • Firstly, select a cell in the dataset and press Ctrl + A to select all the used cells.

  • Secondly, go to the Home tab and select the Orientation icon. A drop-down menu will occur.
  • Select Angle Counterclockwise from there.

  • After that, the dataset will look like the picture below.

  • Now, autofit the rows.

  • Finally, add some colors to make the timeline more presentable.


Things to Remember

There are some things you need to remember when you are trying to create a timeline with dates in Excel.

  • In Method-1, choose the SmartArt Graphic according to your need.
  • You can use different types of charts instead of ‘Scatter Charts’ in Method-2.
  • In Method-3, you may not get the timeline in chronological order sometimes.

Conclusion

In this article, we have demonstrated 4 easy methods to Create a Timeline with Dates in Excel. Here, we have used practical datasets to explain the process. I hope these methods will help you to perform your tasks easily. Furthermore, we have also added the practice book at the beginning of the article. To test your skills, you can download it to exercise. Last of all, if you have any suggestions or queries, feel free to ask in the comment section below.

Mursalin

Mursalin

Hi there! This is Mursalin. I am an Excel and VBA content developer as well as an electrical and electronics engineer. I am always motivated to gather knowledge from different sources and find solutions to problems in easier ways. I am currently working and doing research on Microsoft Excel. Here I will be posting articles related to Microsoft Excel.

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