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 in the illustration below modeling a possible itinerary out. To build a dateless timeline in PowerPoint, open the Office Timeline Plus add-in and:
- Set up a project schedule entering fictitious but relative dates for your project. For example I used 9/1/2013 – 9/5/2013 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 Task and Milestone Wizards in Office Timeline.
- From the ribbon click the Style button and go to the Scale tab. Change the timeline’s interval from Months and set it to DAYS which are dateless (you can also do this for weeks). Then from the ribbon click on the Date Format button for Milestones and then Tasks and select the HIDE DATE setting for each. Finally from the Style button on the Task tab you can turn-on the setting for TASK DURATION which will display a count (day or weeks) of each of your project’s tasks. It ends up looking like this.