How to Use a Timeline in Excel? – A Visual Presentation

A timeline is a representation of events in chronological order.

Overview image of Timeline in Excel

Download Practice Workbook

How to Create a Timeline in Excel?

In the following dataset the plan of company to develop a website is showcased.

Dataset to illustrate methods of creating timeline in Excel

1. How to Create a Timeline Using a Template

  • Click File.

Go to File tab at the toolbar

  • Go to New.
  • In Search for online templates, choose Timeline, and press Enter.

Searching for online timeline templates


  • The Detailed project timeline template was selected here.

Selecting Detailed project timeline


  • Click Create.

Clicking on create to create timeline

  • The template will be displayed in a new workbook.

Project timeline appeared on worksheet

  • Modify the Project details.
  • The Start Date was inserted in the DATE column and the Tasks in the MILESTONE column.

Modifying project details table

  • The timeline is created.

Timeline created with template

Method 2 – How to Use a Scatter Chart to Create a Timeline

  • Add a Position column.

Modifying dataset to create timeline using scatter chart

  • Select C4:D10.
  • Go to Insert >> Insert Scatter (X, Y) or Bubble Chart >> Scatter.

Inserting Scatter Chart

  • A chart will be created.

Scatter chart created

  • At the top-rightmost of the chart, click the Plus (+) icon.
  • Check Error Bars.

Marking error bars in created scatter chart

  • Right-click the dates along the horizontal axis.
  • Select Format Axis.

Going to format axis menu

  • The Format Axis sidebar will be displayed.
  • Click Axis Options.
  • Select Series “Position” X Error Bars.

Selecting Series “position” x error bars option

  • Go to Fill & Line.
  • Select No line.

Selecting No line

  • Click Error Bar Options.
  • Select Series “Position” Y Errors Bars.

Going to Series “position” y error bars menu

  • Go to Error Bars Options.
  • Check Minus.
  • In Error Amount, check Percentage and set the percentage to 100.

Selecting minus and setting percentage as 100

  • Your chart will be displayed.
  • Click the Plus (+) icon again.
  • Check Data Labels.

Marking Data Labels

  • Go to the Format Axis sidebar.
  • Click Axis Options.
  • Select Series “Position” Data Labels.

Selecting Series “position” data labels from Axis Options

  • Go to the Label Options.
  • Uncheck Y Value.
  • Check Value From Cells.

Marking Value from cells and unmarking Y value


  • Select range B5:B10.
  • Click OK.

Selecting range for data label range

  • The timeline using the scatter chart feature will be displayed.

Timeline created with scatter chart

Method 3 – How to Use the Excel SmartArt Feature to Create a Timeline.

  • Go to the Insert tab.
  • Click SmartArt.

Go to insert tab and select Smartart

  • The Choose a SmartArt Graphic dialog box will be displayed.
  • Go to Process.
  • Select Basic Timeline and click OK.

Selecting Basic Timeline Smartart

  • This is the output.
  • Enter your data in Type your text here.

Basic timeline Smartart appeared on worksheet

  • This is the output.

Timeline created with smartart graphics tool

  • You can customize your timeline.
  • Right-click your timeline and you will see customize options.

Customization options for Smartart

  • This is the customized timeline.

Customized timeline using SmartArt feature

Method 4 – How to Utilize the PivotChart Feature to create a Timeline

The PivotChart allows us to sum values based on dates.

  • Select B4:D10.
  • Go to the Insert tab.
  • Click PivotChart.

Go to Insert tab and select PivotChart

  • In the Create PivotChart dialog-box, select Existing Worksheet.
  • Select any cell, here F4, as the location and click OK.

Modification in the Create PivotChart dialog-box

  • The  PivotChart Field will be displayed.

PivotChart Fields sidebar appeared on worksheet

  • Drag Tasks to the Axis (Categories).
  • Drag Start Date and End Date to Values.
  • Drag Days (Start Date), Months (Start Date), Days (End Date) & Months (End Date) to Legend (Series).

Dragging options to relevant fields in the PivotChart Fields sidebar

  • In Values, click Count of Start Date.
  • Select Value Field Settings.

Going to Value Field Settings option

  • In Summarize values By, select Sum.
  • Click Number Format.

Selecting Sum then go to Number Format

  • In the Format Cells dialog box, go to Date.
  • Select a date format.
  • Click OK.

Go to Date menu then select Date format

  • Click OK in Value Field Settings.

Clicking on OK

  • Click Count of End Date in Values.

Going to Value Field Settings

  • Your timeline will be displayed.

Timeline created with no data labels

  • To add labels:
  • Click the Plus (+) icon.
  • Check Data Labels.

Marking data labels

  • This is the final output.

Timeline created with data labels

Method 5 – How to Use the Excel Command to Create a Timeline Chart

  • Select B4:D10.
  • Go to Home >> Orientation >> Angle Counterclockwise.

Select Angle Counterclockwise

  • This is the output.

Dataset with no proper modification

  • Select B4:D10.
  • Go to: Home >> Cells >> Format >> Row Height.

Adjust row height from the format menu

  • Set Row Height to 60.
  • Click OK.

Setting row height and clicking on OK

  • Go to Home >> Alignment >> Wrap Text.

Go to home tab then select wrap text

  • This is the output.

Timeline created with simple Excel Command

  • Add color to your timeline.

Adding Colors to the created timeline

What Are the Built-in Timeline Templates Available in Excel?

Project Timeline

Project timeline template in Excel

Work Plan Timeline

Work plan timeline template in excel

Milestone Infographic Timeline

Milestone infographic timeline template in excel

Wedding Planning Timeline


Wedding planning timeline template

Event Planner Timeline

Event planner and timeline template

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the difference between a slicer and a timeline in Excel?

A slicer is an Excel visual control element that enables users to filter data in a pivot table or pivot chart by choosing values from a predefined list.

A timeline is a visual control element in Excel that enables users to filter data in a PivotTable or PivotChart based on a specified date or time range.

2. What is a project timeline?

A project timeline is a diagram that gives a comprehensive overview of the project’s schedule, including start and finish dates, significant outcomes, and project dependencies.

3. What is a timeline spreadsheet?

A timeline spreadsheet gives you an organized visual representation to arrange and present data systematically.

Timeline in Excel: Knowledge Hub

<< Go Back to Learn Excel

Get FREE Advanced Excel Exercises with Solutions!


Raiyan Zaman Adrey
Raiyan Zaman Adrey

Raiyan Zaman Adrey, armed with a BSc in Civil Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, efficiently combines engineering skills with a passion for Excel. In his role as an Excel & VBA Content Developer at ExcelDemy, he not only tackles complex issues but also demonstrates an enthusiastic mindset, efficiently managing critical situations with patience, showcasing his commitment to excellence. He is interested in C, C++, C#, JavaScript, Python, Microsoft Office, AutoCAD, Adobe Illustrator, Data Entry, and... Read Full Bio

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Advanced Excel Exercises with Solutions PDF