Pasting your timeline image into other documents

Office Timeline makes beautiful graphics which can be easily copied from PowerPoint and saved as an image which can be used in documents, emails or on your website.  Here’s how.

  1. From your timeline click the Email (or Share) button on the Office Timeline ribbon in PowerPoint and to drop down the menu. To copy your timeline select Copy Timeline to Clipboard. From here you can paste it anywhere using the regular paste function of your application.   Timeline Image
  2. To insert your timeline into email (Outlook) select Email Timeline as a Picture (image of timeline only) or Email Timeline Slide as a Picture (image of the entire slide).  These will launch a new Outlook message with the image inserted.  (you can copy this image from Outlook and save it or paste it elsewhere).Timeline Graphics

Are you running the latest version?  Check our Release Update site here.

Use Alternate Milestone button to avoid milestone overlapping

Use the Alternate Milestone button to automatically re-position and alternate the placement of milestones on your PowerPoint slide. This can help manage space and avoid Milestone’s overlapping each other.  (For tips on how to move and reposition overlapping milestones away from each other please see Re-position Project Milestones To Create Space.)

  1. Enter your Milestone data in to Office Timeline’s Milestone Wizard.
  2. Click the Alternate Milestone button in the Milestone Wizard to automatically place milestones above and below your timeband. 
  3. Click the Green button to accept changes.

Are you running the latest version?  Check our Release Update site here.

Change the timescale of your project’s timeband.

If the duration of your project spans multiple years or just a few days you can change the date intervals on your timeband to match by setting it to Days, Weeks, Months, Quarters or Years.  (To make dateless timeline that presents a project without defining a specific start or finish date please see this blog on dateless timelines.)

  1. Set up your timeline in Office Timeline which sets the time band’s interval to months by default.
  2. From the Office Timeline ribbon in PowerPoint click on the Style Button and go to theScale Tab.  Pick a new timescale of Days, Weeks, Weeks (ISO), Quarters or Years, and then click the Green Accept button to update your timeline.  You will also find the language control for the timeband here (although not show in image). Use the language control to change the language of your time band’s scale if you have an international audience.








In the example below we have switched the time scale from months to weeks.


Are you running the latest version?  Check our Release Update site here.

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 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 9/1/2013 – 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.
  2. 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.

travel itinerary timeline template

Project Timelines Communicate for Instructional Designers

A friend of mine is an instructional designer at an international financial institution. When new or updated courses for their 50,000 employees are conceived, the rollout date becomes one of the most important items to be managed.  Due to financial legislation, each course must be scrutinized and signed-off by each department’s project manager. I often heard tales of trying to coordinate the various sign-offs using an analogy involving kittens.

A delayed roll-out date would have an impact on employee training schedules worldwide. A delay of one day on receiving expected reviews and validations can cause havoc with the schedule.  Beyond emails, instant messages, and frantic phone calls, there has been no easy or effective way to effectively communicate the need to meet expectations to the department project managers.  All-hands-on-deck fire drills were not infrequent. Their project management system will not interface with PowerPoint and so there has not been a good way to illustrate the project timeline during status meetings.

PowerPoint is the standard for creating powerful, effective, and memorable presentations. The challenge for instructional designers is that PowerPoint is a blank slate and there is no simple way to create insightful timeline or Gantt chart presentations. I recently mentioned Office Timeline to my friend and it has solved the problem.

Office Timeline is a plug-in embedded into the PowerPoint ribbon, so using it to create, manage and present compelling project timelines or Gantt charts is intuitive and quick.  It starts with a simple wizard for entering importing tasks and milestones directly from an Excel spreadsheet. At a touch, these tables are turned into a beautifully laid out timeline slide in PowerPoint. PowerPoint Templates and Themes provide the powerful tools to control and format the timeline or Gantt chart so presenters can test various ways to emphasize key events.  With Office Timeline, instructional designers who are managing projects can develop presentations on project proposals or status reports in just minutes – making updates a minor task – not a major interruption.

As an Instructional Designer for over 20 years, she mentioned that it is always difficult to communicate the critical need for prompt validation responses to ensure an on-time roll-out. Further, it used to be difficult just to create a single timeline slide or Gantt chart illustrating these few vital steps in the months-long development cycle.

“There’s no better way than a picture to show the project managers how important this is. They’re the ones who need to ensure the deadlines are met.”  After trying Office Timeline, I asked what she thought; “It took just a minute to look it over. I watched the tutorial. Then I used the spreadsheets from our last project. Copy, paste, and voila’ – I had an effective management-level slide. What’s better is that I didn’t have to take up valuable Instructional Designer time to get this great slide. That particular timeline was really effective for displaying the critical project steps. I think our project managers understand this timing issue now. Office Timeline has helped remove a major tension point. ”

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Suggested Reading

Steps for making a timeline
Tutorial for making a Gantt chart with Excel
Exceptional PowerPoint Add-ons