Office Timeline Quick Start

This guide shows you how to create beautiful PowerPoint timelines slides in 5 easy steps. Before you get started you will need to have Office Timeline Free edition or Office Timeline Plus Edition installed and activated.  When this is done the Office Timeline ribbon will become available in PowerPoint.  The asterisks throughout this guide indicate functionality available in Office Timeline Plus edition .

STEP 1 – Click New

Start creating your project timeline by clicking the New button.  This launches the Office Timeline wizards which guide you through a couple easy set-up and design steps before creating your customized timeline slide.

STEP 2 – Select a timeline

Choose between a Metro, Gantt, Phases or Intervals style of timeline or use the Template* tab to browse through pre-designed, industry specific, fast-start templates. Click the Next arrow to begin entering your project data.   

STEP 3 – Add Milestones

  • Milestones are reference points that mark the significant events of your project on the timeline, for example “Project Kick-Off” or “Final Release.”

Add the Date for each of your project milestones and type in their Title or use the clipboard button* to paste complete data tables from Excel.  Next, select what Styleyou want your milestone marker to be and choose the color of each marker by clicking on the Color box, for example a red triangle marker or blue flag marker.  You can pick which milestones will be positioned above or Below the Timeband, or use the up/down button to automatically alternate them.  When you are done hit the Next arrow to enter your task information.

STEP 4 – Add tasks

  • Tasks are your project activities which have a start date and which need to be accomplished by a finish date, for example “Design and Develop Phase” or “Sourcing and Procurement”

Enter the Start Date and End Date for your tasks or use the clipboard button* to paste task data from Excel.  Sort and re-position the order of your tasks with the Order* drop down menu.  Choose a Color you would like for each of your task bands.  Click on theShape drop-down and pick the shape you would like for your task bands.  Click the Nextarrow to customize your timeline.

STEP 5 – Style it

Make style and design enhancements on the 4 Style Wizard tabs.

The General Tab is focused on the Timeband. Change the Band’s color and the color of the Text* on the timeband.  You can also enable and choose a color for  Elapsed Timedisplay which graphically displays how much time has passed.  The Today Makerfunction will show today’s date, which can be positioned above or below your timeband. The End Caps function will place the start year on the left of your timeband and the finish year on the right of your time band.   

The Milestone Tab is for formatting for the color, font style and size of your milestoneTextDates and Flag Connectors.  You can also change the color of your flag connectors.

The Task Tab is for formatting Text and Dates and adding extras.  You can turn on the Task Duration count for each task, choose to show it in weeks or days, and place it inside or below the task band. The Auto adjust long titles function will automatically place long task text titles above the task band when they are too long to fit inside the task band. You can also, turn on/off task Connectors here and pick their colors.

On the Scale Tab you can use the slider to change your timeline’s Intervals from months to days, weeks, quarters, or years.  You can also adjust the way the dates are shown on the time band, and you can specify an exact Time Scale rather than using the automatic time span.

Now you are done, click the green Check box and Office Timeline will build the presentation you have created.  To edit your timeline in the future, open it, click on it and the Office Timeline ribbon will become active.  You can now use the functions on the ribbon to make changes or to access the MilestoneTask and Style Wizards for updating your data and design preferences.

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.


Importing and Exporting Excel Data with Office Timeline

In both Office Timeline Plus and in Office Timeline Free edition you can export your project timelines or Gantt templates from PowerPoint into Excel data tables.  Also, in Office Timeline Plus Edition you can quickly create a PowerPoint timeline or Gantt chart by importing your project schedule from Excel.


Exporting project schedules back to Excel is an easy two-step process that uses the Chronology Template which is built into the product.  Here’s how:

  1. From your timeline click on the Change button on the Office Timeline ribbon and select the Chronology Table. This will insert a new PowerPoint slide with Milestone and Task data in table format. From there cut and paste the tables into Excel.
  2. From there cut and paste the tables from PowerPoint to Excel.

Importing (requires Office Timeline Plus edition)

If you built your project in Excel or have exported from Office Timeline to Excel, it is simple to paste your project schedule into Office Timeline Plus Edition. Make sure your Excel table columns are formatted to:

  • Milestone Table = Date, Milestone Title
  • Task Table = Start Date, End Date, Task Description

If you need to create space between your milestones after pasting your table please see Re-position Project Milestones To Create Space.

As Office Timeline iterates quickly, expect to see significant data integration enhancements with Excel and other project tools.

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

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.


The do’s and don’ts of creating a great Gantt chart for your PowerPoint presentation

updated on 11 June 2021

Gantt chart for PowerPoint presentations

A beautifully designed and easy-to-understand Gantt chart is not only an essential element of high-level PowerPoint presentations but also one of the main joys in a project manager's life—like short Zoom meetings and the first coffee of the day.

As a former project manager, I know how it feels to be rushing to get that Gantt chart you created from scratch finished before the meeting starts, only to realize that the end result is not as professional-looking and engaging as you hoped it would be (especially if you try to paste your complicated Excel chart into a PowerPoint slide).

More often than not, the charts I used to create in the past ended up making it difficult for my audience to follow project progress and had ‘guaranteed boredom’ spelled all over them. Plus, keeping those Gantt charts updated proved to be a true nightmare.

That’s when I realized that I needed a timeline maker that would seamlessly plug into PowerPoint, the most popular medium for business presentations, and allow me to easily design, update, share and keep track of all my Gantt charts and timelines.

In this article, I want to show you how you can create beautiful Gantt chart visuals for your project schedule in an intuitive way, directly in Microsoft PowerPoint.

7 tips and tricks for making a great Gantt chart in PowerPoint

Gantt chart for Product Development Roadmap


First of all, if you want to know more about how to make Gantt charts in PowerPoint, you can check the helpful step-by-step tutorial that teaches you not only how to create one manually from scratch but also how to generate it automatically.

With that out of the way, we can now focus on these 7 key tips that will help you create the most compelling Gantt chart presentations whenever your clients and executives ask for them.

  1. Choose relevant task names
  2. Use descriptive task names when building your chart so that your audience can understand exactly what work each task involves. So instead of "Development Stage 1", you could rather say "Brainstorming and planning."

  3. Organize project tasks into groups or stages
  4. If you’re dealing with a more complex project, you should consider grouping your project tasks together. This will make your Gantt chart easier to scan and digest and efficiently communicate to your team and other stakeholders what activities are included in a deliverable or project stage.

  5. Use color coding to enrich your chart
  6. If there’s a way to keep complex project data interesting and easy to follow, that’s color coding. You can use various colors such as green, red, orange, and blue to illustrate completed tasks, in-progress work, and delays or highlight priorities and task dependencies.

  7. Illustrate dependencies from the start
  8. Project activities are interrelated, which means that preceding tasks directly influence the completion of succeeding ones. The most common type of dependency is finish-to-start, where the predecessor must be finished before the successor can begin. If you don’t show such a dependency in your Gantt chart, you risk having the whole flow of work interrupted, which often results in unwanted delays.

  9. Set milestones to track progress
  10. Adding milestones to your Gantt charts helps keep your team motivated and your project going as planned. Also, clients and executives find it easier to understand progress when they can see what milestones have been achieved and which ones follow next.

  11. Keep your Gantt chart updated
  12. Since change is a constant in project life cycles, it’s only normal that you should make sure that those changes get recorded into your Gantt chart. That’s why it’s important to choose the right tool that facilitates team collaboration when it comes to creating project visuals that reflect real-time progress.

  13. Customize a ready-made Gantt chart template
  14. As it happens with most management tools, there’s a learning curve involved that you have to go through in order to make impressive Gantt charts. However, you can flatten that curve and get the results you want while also saving time and effort by simply using pre-designed Gantt chart templates.

Get started with Gantt charts today

There’s no time to waste when you’re a project manager, especially when you have to make sure that there are no bottlenecks along the way and projects get delivered on time and on budget.

Office Timeline’s free PowerPoint Add-in allows you to create outstanding Gantt charts that your clients and executives will love in no time. Stay on top of things by communicating deadlines and tracking progress across projects with a user-friendly Gantt chart software that does all the hard work for you.

Download the free add-in for PowerPoint now and start creating stunning project visuals within minutes.

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 Pro+ free for 14 days.