What Is a Timeline Chart?

A timeline chart is a kind of table that displays a series of events (past or future) or milestones in a sequential form. This table is usually in landscape form with weeks, days, year, months (or any other measurement of time) as the identifier. It is mostly used in businesses to meet deadlines or projects.

The most effective timeline chart is the Gantt Chart (termed after Henry Laurence Gantt, an engineer). Unlike the ordinary timeline chart, this chart includes parallel lines to indicate the duration of an event/project. Its visual presentation makes it easy for the reader to absorb the information presented. The said chart is proven to abolish skepticism.

Timeline charts are responsive to time. If you are making the timeline chart for future events or projects, make sure you stay within the designated period of its completion. Otherwise, it can affect the whole progression. It can also be a determiner if the management is on track when it comes to reaching the company's goals.

Various software such as MS Powerpoint and MS Excel are appropriate for making Timeline Charts.

How to Create a Timeline Chart?

When creating a timeline chart, one must keep in mind that it's meant to uncomplicate what is complicated. Below, we will give you tips on how to create a timeline chart.

1. Provide a Title

Before creating your diagram, provide a title (of a particular project or event) first. This will be the basis of your timeline's content. Place the title at the topmost part of the diagram.

2. Provide Units of Time

This unit may relate to days, months, years, etc. Place this at the top of the chart as an indicator of the event/project. Double-check the time to make sure they have not been interchanged.

3. Provide a Short Description

Provide a short description of the event/project that took place/is about to take place. Keep it short to avoid making the whole diagram look cluttered. Your summary should not exceed 30 words. To adequately accommodate a prolonged text, choose an appropriate orientation for your chart.

4. Add a Symbol

Be creative! Provide at least an infographic or symbol depicting the event/project. This will make your diagram easily comprehensible for your readers (and it also makes it engaging, too!).

5. Decide on the Diagram's Orientation

We often see timeline charts in a horizontal/landscape form. This is because the said orientation provides ample space than the vertical one. The horizontal format is ideal when you have multiple events in your timeline but with minimal text. The latter, however, is perfect when you have fewer events in your diagram but with a lengthy description.

6. Print and Use

After having observed the tips above, review your chart for any typos or missing information. You can ask someone to proofread the document for you. A fresh set of eyes can deliver coherence. Once it's finalized, you may proceed to print your diagram. Conduct a trial printing first to see any ink smudges.

Afterward, you may now use your polished timeline chart.

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