Make IT Project Timelines in PowerPoint

I chatted with an IT Pro about his use of our PowerPoint timeline maker for presenting project timelines and IT plans to his team and clients.  He said that creating and presenting timelines of his IT projects was critical in how he communicates his work.

IT Pros want an easier way to make project timelines, implementation plans and project proposals in PowerPoint.  Additionally, since IT projects change often IT Pros also want an easy way to update and quickly  share their project timelines with their team customers and management.

IT Projects Gantt Chart made with timeline maker in PowerPoint

Click to see a larger image of this PowerPoint slide

Office Timeline is a free timeline maker add-in for Microsoft PowerPoint 2007, 2010, 2013 that quickly makes slides and gantt charts of IT projects. Using it to create, manage and share IT projects as PowerPoint slides is simple.  From within PowerPoint the timeline maker uses a intuitive wizard (shown below) for entering the key tasks and milestones of your IT Projects, or you can paste those directly from Excel (requires Plus edition). Data is automatically turned into a beautifully laid out timeline slide, which is easy to edit so IT Pros can quickly update teams on changes to their project plans.

Here’s how to make PowerPoint slides of your IT Project.

Download and try the free version of Office Timeline for PowerPoint.  Once installed it will add an Office Timeline tab (see image below) to your PowerPoint ribbon. To create a slide of your IT Project, follow these steps below.

1 – Click New to launch the Office Timeline wizard which will guide you through a couple easy set-up and design steps.Quickly make IT project plans and timelines in PowerPoint

2 – Select the type of slide you want to build from pre-designed templates, then click the Next arrow to begin entering the data. Or browse the free template collection for additional Project templates.

Free PowerPoint timeline maker add-In for making IT project slides

3 – Enter the key Milestones and Tasks of your IT projects.  Make some optional style choices such as the color and shape for each item then click on the Next arrow.Free timeline maker add-in for PowerPoint

Finished.  Click the green Check Box and Office Timeline will build your IT project timeline slide or Gantt chart.  Since the timeline maker builds project plans as native PowerPoint slides IT Pros can easily update and share them.  To do that just return to the slide and open Office Timeline’s wizard from the tab in PowerPoint to change or redesign your IT project plan.  See

Communicating Project Status with PowerPoint 

The IT Pro I met with said his management and customers prefer to do IT project cycle management reviews in PowerPoint rather than trying to follow detailed project schedules from MS Project and other project cycle management tools.  He complained that heavy-weight project tools produce visualizations which are often too complicated for client and executive presentations (see Gantt Charts in PowerPoint).   He said Office Timeline was light-weight and easy for him to use.

The video below shows how to easily update your project slide instantly.

Using a PowerPoint timeline maker is a good option for IT Pros who need a quick project cycle management tool to present their IT projects, plans, proposals and status reports to their teams, customers and managers.  Learn more or download from here:

Download Office Timeline Free Edition

Suggested Reading
Tutorial for making a Gantt chart with Excel
Simplifying Gantts for important presentations
Exceptional PowerPoint Add-Ons


Quickly turn project data into professional timelines

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

GET FREE TRIAL

Timeline Templates for Teachers

I got an email from an industrious kid.  He was a high school student preparing a history project (building a historical timeline) and he wrote to us asking if we would give him and his classmates the premium edition of our timeline maker software.  Good for him.  He said they were struggling to build timeline templates because his school’s Gantt chart tool was “complicated and ugly.”  I wrote to him and he responded that they needed something that was more graphical, template driven, easier to use and something that could be presented in a simple way.  It got me thinking of the value of timeline makers and timeline templates as education tools.Timeline Template History

I was interested because I had just recently done bit of family history homework on a timeline.  My family seems to have moved around over the past couple centuries, and there were some diligent family historians recording this along the way.  So I had a pretty good log of when and where my ancestors were.  I turned this information into a timeline and found it to be a really cool visual tool for understanding my origins.  Plotting my ancestor’s history in timeline maker had me simultaneously thinking about the events and circumstances of their day.  So then I plotted the significant historical events of the time on top of my family’s timeline template, and that was very educational.

Correlating the major historical events with my ancestor’s timeline made learning history personal.  I spent time researching each event as I was entering it into the timeline maker.  The tool rendered all of this into a beautiful, visual PowerPoint slide, which I shared with my siblings, cousins and parents.  They loved it because it was very visual, therefore easy for them to consume and digest.  I think the high school kid got this (smart kid) and that is why he wanted our timeline maker.

Since my experience of learning was richer with a graphical timeline maker, I assumed I would see plenty of educators in our database.   I ran some queries to check this and can confirm there has been considerable use of Office Timeline by educators, academics and historians.  Much like my experience and the high school kid’s, these folks also understand that engaging their audiences in a visual way creates a more effective learning environment. (Side note: We get frequent comments on the historical date feature in our timeline maker – see the Building Historical Timelines post).

There also has been significant usage by students.  I corresponded with a few of them and it turns out they are using it to make timeline templates across every subject imaginable.  For example political science timelines, historical timelines, science project timelines, one on the history of manuscripts, one on reducing lighting consumption of a corridor, financial forecasting timelines, and even a timeline template that plotted the important milestones of a multi-national corporation.

The net is that graphical timeline slides can be an interesting way to supplement learning and a timeline maker or timeline templates can be powerful teaching tools.

Office Timeline is a free timeline maker add-in for PowerPoint.

Once installed, students and teachers use intuitive wizards to easily create timelines or curriculum plans in a few simple steps.  First select the type of timeline style or template you want to build.

PowerPoint template tool from timeline maker Office Timline

Next enter data, make a few style choices on shapes and colors and then click the Green Check button when done.  Your timeline is instantly built in PowerPoint and it can be shared with and edited by any PowerPoint user or pasted as a image in documents, on websites or other materials.  Also your timeline can easily be changed, updated, or edited automatically at any time.

Free PowerPoint add-in for teaching history and curriculum planning

The short video below shows how it works and you can download Office Timeline Free edition from www.OfficeTimeline.com


Quickly turn project data into professional timelines

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

GET FREE TRIAL

Gantt Chart Presentations


A customer recently said something that really stuck with me.  He said that “teams and leadership are all bored to death of looking at complex Gantt charts and project schedules.” This was a senior Project Manager in a global aeronautics company.  My sense was that he has probably worked on some pretty big projects and that he had seen his fair share of Gantt diagrams.   His comment resonated because I have made this mistake in my career.

Over my tenure at a global enterprise, my early Gantt chart presentations must have bored audiences out of their chairs. The type of Gantt chart template my project software produced was too complicated for customer presentations and reviews with management.  Since these presentations were always done in PowerPoint, the Gantt diagrams that my project software produced just didn’t work well.  They were really difficult to present and hard for my audiences to get excited about.  Net, my presentations were not inspiring them.  I needed to build something simple and beautiful like this.Gantt Chart Made in PowerPoint with Office Timeline

Keep in mind these were not deep project reviews, rather they were important high level presentations.  I can categorize these audiences into three groups; my staff, my management and my customers.   Although they were gracious enough to never yawn loudly when I presented a slide with a Gantt diagram pasted on it, I did lose their attention.  These folks needed a different type of project presentation, much lighter, much more graphical and something produced natively in PowerPoint which was their preferred platform for communication.

As I look back the mistake was trying to use my project software or Visio for Gantt chart presentation work.  It was difficult to paste their images into PowerPoint and really hard to finesse them so they looked ok.  Despite best effort and lots of time trying to get these slides into a presentable state the result was never really that good.  They had too much data squished onto each image and the aesthetics were awful.  This is what made it difficult for audiences to follow.    I needed a Gantt chart maker that was native to PowerPoint so the slide could be manipulated, updated, edited and changed in PowerPoint as my project evolved.

Now there is only so much you can fit on a PowerPoint slide, so I also needed to learn which parts of my project schedule were “presentation worthy,” and which parts could be left out of the presentation.   Early on I thought presenting as much Gantt chart detail was the right thing to do.  But overtime I learned to summarize the key milestones and tasks, particularly for presentations to my leadership and to my clients.  When I was able to condense project schedules it was easier to build more engaging slides.  This made it much easier to communicate them and I felt like I could win the management and customer support I needed.

Gantt chart template by Office TimelineThe images above illustrate the difference between the complexity of a Gantt chart that my project management software produces and the summarized view of a PowerPoint Gantt template.  My lesson was to not “shoehorn” complicated project schedules from my project software onto a PowerPoint slide, but rather to summarize them and build them with a native PowerPoint timeline maker.  (see post How to make a PowerPoint Timelineor Gantt Chart quickly.)

Of course there are many scenarios where clients and executives required more than a simple summary level PowerPoint Gantt chart.   For example including a Gantt diagram in project proposals or scoping work.  Presenting richer detail in a clear and easy to read graphical Gantt diagram, like the one below, seemed to make a lot of sense since I would not have to talk through each item in high level presentation.  Rather I would be including them in the project plan documentation.Gantt Diagram made with PowerPoint Timeline MakerThe video below shows how to quickly build and manage Gantt chart presentations in PowerPoint and how to easily expand them into a Gantt diagram that includes another level of detail.

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Quickly turn project data into professional timelines

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

GET FREE TRIAL