How to Create a timeline Chart in Excel

In this Excel tutorial, you will learn how to insert a timeline chart. A timeline chart in Excel is a type of chart that can be used to represent events or milestones along a timescale. Here's how to create a timeline chart in Excel:

Data preparation

Prepare your data: Create a table with the dates or milestones you want to represent in the timeline chart and any other relevant information, such as the description of the event.

Timeline Chart data

Inserting the timeline chart

Without marking anything, click insert tab (1), click on 2D chart (2), and choose 2-D bar (3).

ribbon insert 2d bar chart

Click on Design (1), and then on Select Data (2).

Timeline Chart design select data

Press Add.

Timeline Chart select data source add

Name the series (1), and click on the red arrow beside values (2).

Timeline Chart edit series red arrow

Select all the cells under that series name (1), and close it (2).

Timeline Chart select cells close it

Repeat on the Duration, and then press ok.

Timeline Chart repeat duration

Right click on the x axis, and choose select data.

Timeline Chart right click axis

Click Edit.

Timeline Chart select data source edit

Choose all the Task/Action (1), and press ok (2).

Timeline Chart axis labels ok

Press ok again.

Timeline Chart press ok again

Right click on the x axis, and choose format axis.

Timeline Chart right click axis

Click on the chart symbol (1), axis options (2), and Categories in reverse order (3).

Timeline Chart categories in reverse order

Right click on the starts series in the chart, and click on format data series.

Timeline Chart format data series

Choose the bucket (1), and then no fill (2).

Timeline Chart no fill

The Timeline Chart is ready and looking like this:

timeline chart example

Inserting the timeline SmartArt chart

Instead of regulart chart you can also insert a SmartArt.

  1. To insert SmartArt go to the Insert tab in the ribbon and click the SmartArt button.
  2. In the Choose a SmartArt Graphic dialog box, select the process category and choose a timeline layout.
  3. Click OK. A timeline will be inserted into the spreadsheet and you can add the events by typing them into the text boxes.
  4. To change the format of the timeline, right-click the timeline and select Format Shape. In the Format Shape dialog box, you can change the color, line style, and other attributes of the timeline.

Note that the SmartArt feature in Excel provides a quick and easy way to create a timeline chart, but it has some limitations. If you need more customization or advanced features, you can create a timeline chart using a combination of shapes, lines, and text boxes, or you can use a charting tool that specializes in creating timeline charts.