How to Make a Timeline in Microsoft Word?

Last Updated: Feb 6, 2024 by

Timelines are a great way to visually represent a series of events or milestones in a chronological order. They are commonly used in presentations, reports, and project plans to provide a clear overview of the progress and history of a project or event.

Microsoft Word, one of the most widely used word processing software, offers a simple and easy way to create timelines. In this article, we will guide you through the steps of making a timeline in Microsoft Word.

Why Use Microsoft Word for Timelines?

Microsoft Word is a popular choice for creating timelines because it is easily accessible and most people are familiar with its interface. It also offers a variety of customization options, making it suitable for creating timelines for different purposes.

Microsoft Word Timeline Templates

One of the main advantages of using Microsoft Word for timelines is the availability of pre-designed templates. These templates provide a basic structure for your timeline and can save you time and effort in creating one from scratch.

To access the timeline templates in Microsoft Word, go to the “File” tab and select “New”. In the search bar, type “timeline” and press enter. This will bring up a variety of timeline templates to choose from.

Customization Options

Microsoft Word also offers a range of customization options to make your timeline unique and visually appealing. You can change the colors, fonts, and styles of your timeline to match your branding or personal preferences.

Additionally, you can add images, shapes, and other design elements to make your timeline more visually engaging. This can be especially useful when presenting your timeline to a larger audience.

How to Make a Timeline in Microsoft Word?

Now that we have discussed the benefits of using Microsoft Word for timelines, let’s dive into the steps of creating one.

Step 1: Open a New Document

To start, open Microsoft Word and create a new document. You can do this by clicking on the “File” tab and selecting “New” or by using the shortcut “Ctrl + N” on your keyboard.

Step 2: Insert a Basic Timeline

To insert a basic timeline, go to the “Insert” tab and click on “SmartArt”. In the “Choose a SmartArt Graphic” window, select the “Process” category and choose the “Basic Timeline” option.

This will insert a basic timeline with a series of boxes and arrows. You can click on the boxes to add text and adjust the length of the timeline by dragging the arrow handles.

Step 3: Customize Your Timeline

To customize your timeline, you can use the “Design” and “Format” tabs that appear when you click on the timeline. These tabs offer a range of options to change the colors, styles, and layout of your timeline.

You can also add additional shapes, images, and text boxes to your timeline by going to the “Insert” tab and selecting the desired element.

Step 4: Add Events or Milestones

To add events or milestones to your timeline, click on the box where you want to add the event and type in the text. You can also change the color or style of the box to make it stand out.

If you want to add more events or milestones, you can duplicate the existing boxes by right-clicking on them and selecting “Copy” and then “Paste”. This will create a duplicate box that you can edit with the new event or milestone.

Step 5: Adjust the Timeline Layout

If you want to change the layout of your timeline, you can do so by clicking on the timeline and then going to the “Design” tab. Here, you can choose from a variety of layout options such as vertical, horizontal, or circular.

You can also change the direction of the timeline by clicking on the arrow handles and dragging them in the desired direction.

Step 6: Save and Share Your Timeline

Once you have completed your timeline, it is important to save it so you can access it later or share it with others. To save your timeline, click on the “File” tab and select “Save As”. Choose a location to save your file and give it a name.

If you want to share your timeline with others, you can do so by clicking on the “File” tab and selecting “Share”. This will give you options to share your timeline via email, OneDrive, or other platforms.

Tips for Creating Effective Timelines in Microsoft Word

Here are some tips to keep in mind when creating timelines in Microsoft Word:

Keep It Simple

While Microsoft Word offers a range of customization options, it is important to keep your timeline simple and easy to understand. Avoid using too many colors, fonts, or design elements that can make your timeline cluttered and confusing.

Use Consistent Formatting

To make your timeline look professional and polished, use consistent formatting throughout. This includes using the same font, font size, and colors for all the text in your timeline.

Use Images and Icons

Adding images and icons to your timeline can make it more visually appealing and help break up the text. You can use icons to represent different events or milestones, or add images to provide more context or information.

Keep It Relevant

When creating a timeline, it is important to only include events or milestones that are relevant to the topic or project. This will help keep your timeline focused and avoid overwhelming your audience with unnecessary information.


Creating a timeline in Microsoft Word is a simple and effective way to visually represent a series of events or milestones. With its range of customization options and pre-designed templates, Microsoft Word offers a user-friendly platform for creating timelines for various purposes.

By following the steps outlined in this article and keeping these tips in mind, you can create a professional and visually appealing timeline in Microsoft Word. So go ahead and give it a try for your next project or presentation!

Gulrukh Ch

About the Author: Gulrukh Ch

Gulrukh Chaudhary, an accomplished digital marketer and technology writer with a passion for exploring the frontiers of innovation. Armed with a Master's degree in Information Technology, Gulrukh seamlessly blends her technical prowess with her creative flair, resulting in captivating insights into the world of emerging technologies. Discover more about her on her LinkedIn profile.