What Is a Timeline (with Examples and Templates)


10 timeline examples

What Is a Timeline?

A timeline is a type of graphic that arranges a chain of events in chronological order. Perfect for telling stories and visualizing projects and processes, timelines are generally used to:

  • Give an overview of events;
  • Detail an agenda;
  • Highlight critical points in time;
  • Depict different temporal relations;
  • Track progress over time of multiple events happening simultaneously;
  • Identify specific patterns within a course of procedure in a streamlined format.

What Should a Timeline Include?

Representing an alignment in time and making a chronological statement, a timeline should include the series of events and activities (milestones and tasks) that you want to display on your graphic, along with their dates to mark their occurrence over a particular phase.

Whether you employ this type of visual content for knowledge sharing or tracking the progress of a plan, here are the two main things you need to consider in order to outline the structure of a basic timeline:

  • Listing out the main steps/stages of your plan and setting clear deadlines/time reference points – break up your work into tasks with start and due dates to estimate how much time each of them will take;
  • Figuring out the logical order in which your tasks will occur – determine which of your tasks need to be completed first and whether there are any that can’t start until others are completed.

How to Create a Timeline

Now that we’ve covered what a timeline is and should include, you can create one from scratch or starting from a template. There are a variety of purpose-built tools to help you achieve this goal, and one of most accessible ones is our online timeline maker, that you can try for free right from your browser.

If drafting a timeline from start to finish is too time-consuming, opting for a template might be the better alternative. Below, we’ve put together a varied collection of 10 timeline examples that you can customize depending on your needs to effectively convey project plans, team schedules or workflows, and other similar chronologies. These are:



All of them have been designed natively in PowerPoint so that you and any team member who uses the presentation platform can contribute, edit and share them with ease.

Each of the templates can be customized in PowerPoint either:

  • by manually replacing the placeholder texts with your own data and restyling any colors, shapes, and positions;
  • or automatically, by using a PowerPoint add-in called Office Timeline.

If you opt for the second option, you need to install Office Timeline, which will add a new tab to the PowerPoint ribbon.

Office Timeline menu

Once the plugin is installed, follow these steps to quickly build, customize and update any of the timeline examples presented below:

  1. Click on the Download button under the template of your choice.
  2. Once downloaded, double-click to open it in PowerPoint.
  3. Select the Office Timeline tab on the PowerPoint ribbon, and then Click the Data Edit button.
  4. Edit the data with your own milestones and tasks.
  5. Click Save to instantly update the template.

Timeline Examples to Bring Your Plans into Action


1. Project Implementation Plan Timeline


Project Implementation Plan Timeline Example

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Designed to help project managers and team leaders create clear tactical plans effortlessly, the project implementation plan template provides the much needed bird’s eye view of an entire project. By turning strategic goals into actionable steps, it enables all team members to quickly see what they are expected to deliver, when, and what tasks they need to complete. The easy-to-follow format makes this graphic a good tool not only for internal communication, but also for presenting the overall picture to management, clients and other non-project audiences.

Since effective planning lies at the heart of successful project management and delivery, this template can also be used to show relationships between activities, track individual task progress as the project moves forward, or identify at-risk tasks.


2. Gantt Chart Template


Gantt Chart Template Example

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Including a timeline with editable milestones to highlight key events, this free Gantt chart template outlines a project schedule at a high level in a simple and user-friendly manner. Unlike most Gantt charts that are complicated and difficult for other people to read and understand, this timeline template maps out the essential and can be easily included in communications such as project reviews, proposals, plans, scorecards and status meetings.


3. Marketing Plan Timeline


Marketing Plan Timeline Example

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Any good business initiative relies on a solid marketing plan which usually takes pages of documents to be detailed. This timeline example offers an effective reference point to support the delivery of your marketing plan and assess its progress. Use this free marketing timeline template to present important marketing strategies and communicate with clients, management and other high level audiences that need to be briefed in a clear, easy-to-understand way.


4. Sales Plan Timeline


Sales Plan Timeline Example

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Having a good sales plan is essential to achieving sales and marketing goals. This timeline template enables sales leaders, marketers and account executives to illustrate theirs with clear objectives laid out monthly, quarterly or annually and present it to staff, sales teams and management. Used as a visual aid in important meetings, it helps align organizations and management behind the key targets and deadlines of sales campaigns. Alternatively, it can serve as a scorecard to present a plan’s progress against its objectives.


5. Year Timeline


12-Month Timeline Example

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Since many business initiatives, campaigns, marketing programs, and personal projects are created over a 12-month term, the year timeline example is ideal to plan and outline your objectives before embarking on the actual venture. It gives you the visual aid to share and present your plan to stakeholders in a familiar graphical way to obtain the buy-in, state your intentions or update others on the progress that has been made.


6. Event Planning Timeline


Event Planning Timeline Example

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Illustrating all the major deadlines on a single summary slide, the event planning timeline was designed to give planners, their teams and partners the ability to keep track of what items need to be done and when. Easily accessible and shareable, this template helps you never lose sight of pending milestones and is a resourceful tool to manage teams and vendors.


7. Crime Timeline


Crime Timeline Example

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Providing a linear outline for events, this timeline template will help attorneys lay out the key facts and circumstances of their case in a way that is simple for any audience to understand. Use this timeline example to better structure arguments, analyze events, and prepare for trial with a chronological, visual exhibit that increases the jury’s understanding of your oral discourse.


8. Daily Schedule Timeline


Daily Schedule Timeline

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Graphically displayed as an hourly Gantt chart rather than as a spreadsheet, this downloadable timeline template can be easily be printed in full color, shared in emails or included in presentations. Unlike most list-based daily schedules which don’t accommodate schedule overlapping, this graphic comes with a simpler, easy-to-read layout that lets viewers check the calendar at a glance.


9. Pharmaceutical Product Discovery Timeline


Pharmaceutical Product Discovery Timeline

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This timeline template was designed to help pharma professionals involved in the development of a new drug to stay on track in this complex, multi-staged process. Covering the key phases of the discovery of pharmaceutical products, along with major milestones such as drug selection or approval, it documents the journey from research to commercialization and lays out a clear roadmap for a project of this magnitude.


10. Generic Timeline


Generic Timeline Example

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With a basic structure that displays a series of milestones and an elapsed time indicator on the timeband, this visual is suitable for historical presentations, project reviews, status reports, plan presentations, scorecards, or for any other effort that requires a simple project schedule or the illustration of a plan.


Check out more templates

For more examples to get inspired in building stylish timelines, visit our timeline gallery or explore the free, simple-to-use built-in-app templates offered by our online timeline maker.



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Top free timeline templates for your business continuity planning

When a crisis or disaster threatens to flip your whole world upside down, it’s hard to know how to respond. Luckily, more and more organizations across the globe are discovering just how important it really is to have a business continuity management system that helps you adapt quickly and keep your business running in times of uncertainty.

If your organization doesn’t have any risk management or contingency plan, the good news is that it’s never too late to start. “Failing to plan is planning to fail,” Benjamin Franklin reportedly said, so any time is a good time to start planning your crisis response. On this page you’ll find guidelines, basic information, but also some useful resources and templates to help you build your organization’s resilience in the face of stress.

What is a business continuity plan and why you should have one

A business continuity plan is a document (or collection of documents) that explains what the organization and the employees are supposed to do in case of disruption. It identifies the major risks that can affect day-to-day operation and establishes clear procedures on how to keep the business running during an emergency – which can range from a global pandemic to more common incidents like flooding after a storm or an internet outage.

After being presented to upper management and other stakeholders to get their agreement, the business continuity plan is communicated to all the employees, but also regularly tested and improved. This continuous review process is part of what is called business continuity management system and, in case of emergency, it’s what makes the difference between a company’s survival and sudden death.

Every organization, big or small, public or private, should have at least a basic contingency plan. No company is completely safe from a disaster, so make sure you are always prepared. Business continuity planning is not a nice-to-have, it’s a must.

Benefits of including a timeline in your contingency plan

When it comes to presenting your business continuity plan to your executives, clients or team, efficiency is key. Nobody wants to be stuck in an endless meeting where you read off a bullet-heavy PowerPoint slide or browse dozens of pages. Time is essential, both in meetings and in disaster recovery. And when plans change, as they often do, you need a quick and easy way to update them.

That is why we recommend creating a timeline or Gantt chart for your presentation, to better illustrate the series of events and your planned response by minute, day or month. Here are three clear benefits of including a timeline when you present your business continuity plan to your stakeholders:

  1. Timelines – especially the ones that feature swimlanes – can effectively portray the different phases, tasks or milestones that make up a process. In the case of business continuity, it can show, on one slide, a snapshot of your plan, with just the right amount of detail.
  2. When you represent it visually, the information included on the timeline is better absorbed by the brain. You need all your stakeholders to understand and agree on the business continuity plan, and a timeline or Gantt chart can help you make your point clear.
  3. You can save hours of work preparing for your meeting, since you only need to create one good slide to present your plan. And if you use a timeline or Gantt chart template like the ones we’re about to show you, it will make your work significantly easier.

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Best PowerPoint timeline templates for business continuity management

Whether you want to create a timeline for your business continuity meeting or to review an incident with the upper management, using templates can give you a head start. So, we’ve made a list of the best PowerPoint templates for roadmaps and timelines to get your business continuity management system in shape:

  1. Business Continuity Plan
  2. Crisis Management Timeline
  3. Incident Response Timeline

1. Business Continuity Plan


  • Designed as a swimlane diagram that outlines the major components of a business continuity plan, from business impact analysis to disaster recovery.
  • It’s useful when you present your contingency plans to your stakeholders so they gain a better view of your risk management strategy.
  • This business continuity plan example is a PowerPoint file, so you easily include it as a slide in your presentation or save it as an image on your company portal.
  • You can download it for free and use the Office Timeline add-in to adjust the generic categories or include data that is specific to your organization.

Business Continuity Plan

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2. Crisis Management Timeline


  • Created to help you get over the initial panic (which is natural) and guide you on your road to resuming your business activity.
  • Covers the entire crisis management process, from when the crisis occurs to response, business continuity process, recovery, and review.
  • It’s an effective, free PowerPoint tool to help you prepare for any crisis, regardless of nature, industry, or duration.
  • The crisis management timeline was made with the Office Timeline PowerPoint add-in and it’s easy to customize it to suit your business, industry or include your branding styles.

Crisis Management Timeline

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3. Incident Response Timeline


  • Built on a shorter timeframe (hours and minutes) to give you an example of how to react fast when an incident occurs so you can limit outage.
  • It’s suitable for IT security incidents as both a planning and review tool, but also for other industries as well.
  • This is a free PowerPoint file, which means you can download and modify the data right away – either by moving the shapes on your slide or automatically with the Office Timeline add-in with just a few clicks.

Incident Response Timeline

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To sum up

Disruptions, disasters and emergencies are the type of challenges every organization needs to prepare for; it’s not a matter of “if” they’re going to happened, but more like “when”. And when they do, the companies that stand most chances of survival are the ones than quickly respond to rapidly-changing conditions.

These templates can help you face the unknown with a plan and support you in building up resilience. They were created with the Office Timeline PowerPoint add-in, a professional timeline maker that turns complicated data into clear, crisp visuals with just a few clicks.

You can download them for free and customize them using either the add-in’s free version (with certain limitations) or the more advanced Pro Edition, which gives you all the power you need to take your planning to the next level. If you’re looking for more templates, you can find dozens of other models in the template gallery, so you’ve got plenty of ideas to explore.



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3 Best Free Templates for Pharmaceutical Timelines

Medical treatments have evolved a great deal since the time of Hippocrates and Paracelsus. Leeches, bloodletting and potions have given way to an industry strictly controlled by regulatory bodies where only the safest and most effective solutions are accepted.

Breaking ground on a new drug or device takes years of testing and collating immense quantities of data from numerous sources. Not only is planning ahead more important than ever, but the manner of presenting the data to your stakeholders can help you secure that critical funding necessary to keep your projects on track.

Why is a Pharmaceutical timeline useful?

One of the best ways you can organize ideas, measure progress and ensure compliance with regulations is by creating a roadmap. Managed correctly, a timeline for your Pharma project can help you:

  • Evaluate the recruitment of patients for the clinical trials to ensure the proper amount of testing meets the prerequisites of regulatory bodies or if efforts in this direction must be intensified.
  • Determine if the results are on track according to the originally planned research phases of the project.
  • Check deadlines for industry-mandated certifications and patent renewals that allow the legal manufacturing and distribution of medical devices and drugs.

Therefore, given the benefits of using visual representations in the lab and the boardroom, it’s definitely a planning solution worth considering. Start organizing your development process with these powerful and easy to use visuals and you’ll soon see all the pieces of the puzzle falling into place.


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Top 3 Free Templates to make Pharma Timelines

In this post, we have assembled three free templates that can really make a difference for anyone conducting clinical research or managing development of pharmaceutical drugs or medical devices:

  1. Clinical Trial Roadmap
  2. Medical Devices Timeline
  3. Pharmaceutical Product Discovery Timeline

1. Clinical Trial Roadmap


  • Created for professionals who need to observe and present the three stages of clinical trials and important milestones associated with them in a clear and concise manner.
  • Using this diagram, project managers can more easily evaluate the progress of the trials and estimate the best time to apply for an NDA, as well as the date when the drug could become available for production and distribution.
  • The clinical trial roadmap was made in PowerPoint, which makes it easy to integrate in the next boardroom meeting with your stakeholders.
  • Download it free of charge and update the default information manually with data relevant to your specific product or use the Office Timeline PowerPoint add-in to considerably simplify this task.

Clinical Trial Roadmap

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2. Medical Devices Timeline


  • Made for pharmaceutical companies developing MDR and IVDR technologies that must respect the deadlines imposed by the EU Parliament.
  • Using the template allows keeping track of upcoming dates when changes to the business practices or the documentation of medical diagnostic and in-vitro diagnostic devices become mandatory.
  • The timeline was created in PowerPoint and supports the customization of dates formats and elements using the native controls.
  • You can download it free of charge and modify it with Office Timeline, and you can save it as a slide or an image format that can be shared in other documentation or meetings.

Medical Devices Timeline

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3. Pharmaceutical Product Discovery Timeline


  • Designed for manufacturing companies that handle end-to-end discovery, development, licensing and production of pharmaceutical drugs.
  • This template helps project managers in the Pharma industry to optimize the selection process for the most promising substances and to improve the rate at which brand new treatments hit the markets.
  • It is a free native PowerPoint template which means you can customize it easily and replace the default data with your own, either manually or with the Office Timeline add-in.

Pharmaceutical Product Discovery Timeline

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Summary

A graphical representation of your progress not only helps you figure out how efficient your current practices are, but also confers you a powerful tool to convey complex data in a simple and comprehensible manner to stakeholders without a technical background. In a highly competitive line of work, it is an edge to help fast-track your projects, so you can focus on making the world a healthier, safer place. These templates are built in Office Timeline, a powerful tool that integrates with the PowerPoint environment to generate stunning visuals at the touch of a button.

Download any of these templates now and edit them with the free version or take advantage of the Pro Edition’s extra features to really make your next project planning and presentation come to life. There are also numerous other templates we offer free of charge in our template gallery so the possibilities are endless.


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How to update your project plan with Office Timeline

We know that even the most carefully laid out plans can change in the blink of an eye. Business dealings can fall through the roof, instrumental partners can drop out at the worst possible moment, and let’s not even talk about natural disasters or health crises.

It may sound difficult to emerge unscathed from such challenges, but it’s definitely not impossible; the key is adaptability. In the words of Charles Darwin, “It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change”.

Thankfully, Office Timeline has got you covered. Instead of spending hours every week on your visuals only to redo them again when the plans change, these features help you update your project timeline in minutes. We have compiled a list of the best ones for you below.



1. Importing data from other project management software

Do you normally use a PM tool like Excel, MS Project, Smartsheet or Wrike for tracking your project? The import feature allows you to bring in all the data and turn it into a smart and stylish visual with just a couple of clicks.

Transform even the most complex Microsoft Project plans into eloquent graphics that paint a comprehensive picture of the situation by importing directly into timeline templates. Here’s an example:

Import from MS Project

Perhaps you’re partial to Excel instead? No worries, this handy data table-making software from Microsoft is also on the list of supported integrations, as you can see here:

Import from Excel

The good news for Excel users is that you don’t even need to follow the import route. You can simply copy and paste the cells directly into Office Timeline and let our add-in do the work for you:

Copy and paste from Excel


Download the Office Timeline Pro free trial today and see for yourself just how easy it is to import data from PM tools like Excel, Project, Smartsheet or Wrike in a jiffy.

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2. Sync your data file to bring in your latest changes

Are you already taking advantage of the import features? Then allow us to show you how to go one step further: you can now sync Office Timeline graphs with any changes made to the source file. Basically, there’s no need to reimport the data for every little modification made.

Simply hit the Sync button afterwards and the interface will allow you to tick which ones to mirror on your Gantt chart or timeline. Here's how to update timelines in PowerPoint faster than you can say 'impending deadlines':

Sync with Excel


3. Use templates to get started quickly

When designing your own graphic, your first impulse would be to start from scratch: you’d have full control over the colors, style or size of the elements. However, this approach can take hours of work and unless you’re a designer, the results will probably not be exactly what you expected. So why not check out the custom-built templates we’ve created for almost any occasion?

Select new template

Once you have a starting point, you can continue to improve upon it as much as you like, with no limit but your imagination. You can even change the template if the original one doesn’t cut it, or in case you decide to go in a different direction.

Change template

Worked hard to tailor it with your company’s branding and color scheme? Then why not save this as a customized template and reuse it for further presentations down the line, instead of starting fresh every time? There’s really nothing to it!

Save timeline as a template


Try Office Timeline Pro for free for 14 days and check out the many templates that are built-in to make your work easier.

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Conclusion

As stressful as it can be, change also an integral part of the world around and the best thing we can do is be ready for it. With these features you don’t need to stress out about preparing for your next project update meeting.

See how much time you can save by taking advantage of a wide range of Office Timeline’s fully automated features designed to simplify your work without skimping on quality or aesthetics. Check out the free version of the tool or discover the Pro Edition to translate sophisticated project data into a visual form that comes to life before your eyes.



Quickly turn project data into professional timelines

Build stunning timelines, roadmaps and Gantt charts that are easy to make and simple to communicate. Get the advanced features of Office Timeline Pro free for 14 days.

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4 Best Free Timeline Templates for Legal Professionals

Why Legal Timelines Are Important

Being an attorney is hardly as glamorous as in the movies – you probably spend 99% of your time carefully documenting your case to make sure you get your point across when you finally go to court. So here’s a tip: one of the most effective ways for legal professionals to present the sequence of events in court is through the use of legal timelines.

When done properly, such a graphic can prove crucial to organizing your ideas and obtaining a successful outcome at trial because:

  • It unifies the critical elements of the case (evidence, issues, times, dates, facts and witnesses) within a single compelling visual that captures the audience’s attention.
  • It allows litigators, lawyers and attorneys to prepare more persuasive court presentations, and particularly improve their opening/closing statements.
  • It provides judges, jurors and mediators with a logical sequence and clearly outlined overview of the events, thus enabling a better understanding of the case.
  • It helps the parties involved to process information and remember the key facts that have been laid out for them more easily.

Given the potential impact that compelling trial graphics can have in the courtroom, it is worth investing the time and effort to create such visuals. A great way to fast-track the whole process is to start organizing your case for court on the pre-designed framework that a legal timeline template provides.


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Top 4 Templates for Legal Timelines

In this post, we’ve gathered four of the most common types of such templates which you can use to build court presentations with strong impact on judges, jurors and arbitrators. These are:

  1. Crime Timeline Template
  2. Court Timeline Template
  3. Lawyer Timeline Template
  4. Legal Timeline Template

1. Crime Timeline Template


Crime Timeline Template


  • Made for attorneys who need to present a clear overview of events and their circumstances, the crime timeline template will help lay out all the critical facts in an easy-to-follow manner.
  • Using this template to build a chronological, facts-based visual exhibit, attorneys can better analyze evidence, structure their arguments and support them more convincingly in court.
  • The crime template was built natively in PowerPoint, which makes it simple to update and present to your legal team or your client.
  • You can download it for free and manually enter your case information, or you can use the Office Timeline add-in to do this automatically.

2. Court Timeline Template


Court Timeline Template


  • Ideal for lawyers and other legal professionals who need to present evidence in a clear and simple way so that they can easily capture a jury’s attention, the court timeline template can be used at any point throughout a trial (whether during the opening arguments, witness examination or closing statements).
  • Presenting a case’s vital facts chronologically, it turns numerous details into a streamlined PowerPoint timeline which is also useful in depositions, client meetings or in briefings with your legal team.
  • The free court case timeline template is natively designed in PowerPoint, so it can be downloaded and edited manually or automatically using the Office Timeline add-in for PowerPoint.

3. Lawyer Timeline Template


Lawyer Timeline Template


  • Chronologically illustrating the events of a legal case and the timing relationships between those events, this template helps lawyers to better support their oral arguments and make an impactful opening statement in any litigation or defense case. It can be used beyond the court instance, during any lawyering presentation that requires impactful visuals.
  • Using different colors and shapes to highlight the logic behind the elements on the graphic, the lawyer timeline template clearly communicates the essential in a way that is easy for audiences to understand.
  • Made in PowerPoint, it can be updated and further customized using the wide set of formatting controls that come within the presentation platform.
  • Download it for free so you can either manually enter your case information or automatically edit it with Office Timeline’s PowerPoint add-in. Once finished, it can be shared as a static slide or embedded in other Microsoft Office documents, or printed as an image to be handed out.

4. Legal Timeline Template


Legal Timeline Template


  • Presenting the events of a trial case in a chronological sequence that is easy-to-understand, the legal timeline template can be useful in a variety of litigation cases (including business, construction or personal injury, intellectual property and liability litigation).
  • It is a free native PowerPoint template, which enables you to easily update, share and present it. After you download the template, you can edit it manually in PowerPoint or automatically with the Office Timeline PowerPoint plug-in.
  • It serves as an effective alternative to outsourcing the creation of legal timelines, as litigators can leverage all of PowerPoint’s formatting features to customize this template to suit their particular case and theme.

Conclusion

Bringing together the building blocks of your case through a compelling visual can significantly increase the chances of success in court. With jurors and judges being very visual, these legal timeline templates help you deliver vital facts in a format that captures your audience’s attention and better supports your arguments. They were all created with Office Timeline, a user-friendly yet powerful timeline maker which generates professional-looking visuals in PowerPoint with only a few clicks.

Download any of the four templates above and start editing them with the add-in’s free version, or further customize the visuals by adding more items on your timeline using the Pro version of the tool.

For many other free timeline templates, go to our gallery and choose your favorites.



Quickly turn project data into professional timelines

Build stunning timelines, roadmaps and Gantt charts that are easy to make and simple to communicate. Get the advanced features of Office Timeline Pro free for 14 days.

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