Make dateless timelines in PowerPoint

We get a lot of requests for guidance on creating dateless timelines in PowerPoint. These are usually project charts or event timelines that do not yet have specific dates determined (e.g. start date, milestone dates), and they are most often used to illustrate a project in concept phase or to provide a project template. For example pitching an idea to sponsors where the start date will be determined once the project charter has been funded, or – as shown in the illustration below - modeling a possible itinerary out. To build a dateless timeline in PowerPoint, open the Office Timeline Plus add-in and:

1.  Set up a project schedule entering fictitious but relative dates for your project. For example, I used 9/1/2018 – 9/5/2018 for the 5-day task called Ezulwini. I did this schedule in Excel and then pasted it into Office Timeline. You can also do this without Excel, right from the Data Entry Wizard in Office Timeline.

Project schedule sample

2.  Once the add-in has generated your graphic, select your timeband and then go to the Timeline Scale section of the Style Pane on the right. Here you need to change the timeline’s interval to Days or Weeks, which are dateless.

Make Timeband dateless

3.  Now select any milestone date on your timeline and, from the Style Pane, click on the green toggle button visible on the right to make that date invisible. Then, to apply this change to all milestones, click on the down arrow next to Apply to All and select Visibility from the menu.

Hide Milestone Date

Repeat these same steps for your task dates to make them invisible too. Finally, you can also use the Style Pane to turn on Task Duration, which will display a count (days or weeks) for each of your project's tasks. The timeline ends up looking like this:

Final Timeline Sample

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