Best daily deals

Links on Android Authority may earn us a commission. Learn more.

How to create a timeline in PowerPoint

It can make a sequence of events very clear.
February 1, 2023

When giving a PowerPoint presentation, a timeline is one of the most impactful and widely useful forms of graphics you can employ. It can convey history, such as of your company or of the technology you sell. Or it can make a sequence of events very clear, such as for a sales campaign or a manufacturing process. You can use the timeline templates provided by PowerPoint, or create a custom timeline manually. If you want to incorporate a timeline into your next PowerPoint, read on. We’ll go through the procedure for both methods below.

Read more: How to add audio to a PowerPoint presentation


To make a timeline in PowerPoint, click on SmartArt in the Insert menu. Choose one of the various timeline graphics and click on OK to insert it into your presentation. Fill in the text boxes for each waypoint on the timeline. You may want to insert a text box, also from the Insert menu, to give the timeline a title.


How to make a timeline in PowerPoint

Open your presentation and add a new slide to put your timeline on. Click on the Insert menu.

PowerPoint Timeline Click on Insert Nenu
Kevin Convery / Android Authority

Click on the new slide and then on SmartArt.

PowerPoint Timeline Click on SmartArt
Kevin Convery / Android Authority

From the dialogue box that comes up, select Process on the left. There will be a variety of appropriate choices here for a timeline. We’ll choose Basic Timeline for this example. Click on OK to add it to the slide.

PowerPoint Timeline Click on Basic Timeline
Kevin Convery / Android Authority

The timeline is there, but it is blank. Click on each text box and paste or type the appropriate text.

PowerPoint Timeline New Timeline in Slide
Kevin Convery / Android Authority

Here we see the timeline completed. We added a text box at the top of the slide to give the timeline a title.

PowerPoint Timeline New Timeline Completed
Kevin Convery / Android Authority

If we wanted to add a step to the process, PowerPoint makes this easy. Just click on the graphic and text box for the step before the spot where you want to add a step, and type Ctrl + C and then Ctrl + V.

PowerPoint Timeline Add Step to Timeline Copy
Kevin Convery / Android Authority

PowerPoint takes care of the spacing for us, and adds the extra graphic element and text box in the right place for us to refine the process we are delineating more precisely. It is a copy of the previous step on the timeline, though, so we need to modify the text boxes to reflect the step we are adding.

PowerPoint Timeline Step Added to Timeline
Kevin Convery / Android Authority

How to add a timeline in PowerPoint by using templates

First, go to the File menu in PowerPoint and click on New. You will see a choice of templates with a search box above them.

From Template
Kevin Convery / Android Authority

Type the word timeline into the search box and hit Enter. You will see many choices for timelines, with different structures and looks. We’ll double-click on the Product Roadmap Timeline from the results.

From Template Search for Timelines
Kevin Convery / Android Authority

The timeline is now inserted into the first slide of a new presentation. Amend the text boxes to match your presentation. You can now either build a PowerPoint presentation around this timeline, or save it as its own presentation. Saving it as its own .ppt file allows you to import the timeline into any other PowerPoint as an Object.

From Template Timeline Inserted Into Slide
Kevin Convery / Android Authority


Yes, there is a thriving market for third-party templates. A Google search for PowerPoint templates is all it takes.

Yes, you can make it larger or smaller by clicking on the timeline and using the corner handles to resize it.

Each timeline or other graphical element in PowerPoint is separate. There is no limit to how many timelines you can use.

Yes, you can. You can also resize the image, and have it appear behind or in front of the timeline.