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 a dateless timeline that presents a project without defining a specific start or finish date, please see this blog on dateless timelines.)

1. Open your timeline slide in PowerPoint and select your graphic's timeband.

Timeband Scale in Months

2. With the timeband selected, go to the Timeline Scale section in the Office Timeline Style Pane on the right (pictured below). Here, pick a new timescale from the options available (Hours/Minutes, Days, Weeks, Weeks (ISO), Quarters or Years). The add-in will automatically update your timeline. You will also find the language control for the timeband here. Use it to change the language of your timeband’s scale if you have an international audience.

Change Timeband Scale

In the example below, we have switched the timescale from months to weeks.

Timescale in Weeks

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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

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.


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. ”

Download Office Timeline Free Edition

Suggested Reading

Steps for making a timeline
Tutorial for making a Gantt chart with Excel
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.


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.


Building Historical Timelines

To build a historical timeline slide in PowerPoint with Office Timeline Free or Plus Edition  use the historical date feature.  It enables you to enter AD dates that precede January, 1, 1753 in the Gregorian calendar. You can enable the historical date feature by right clicking in any date cell in the Milestone or Task Wizard (see  below).  From there you can enter historical dates back to year January 1, 0001.

If you are using the Plus version for building historical timeline where the year is relevant and the month and day may not be (as shown below), use the Milestone or Task Date Format button on the ribbon and set the date format to YYYY.   Also to vertically re-position your Milestones higher and create connectors, so their text does not overlap (4 examples below), please see How To Re-position Crowded Milestones

History template

Browse the free timeline template collection for more examples or free downloadable templates.

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.