The result is a simple graphic fit for presentations to clients or executives, but not quite flexible enough for those who need to show more accurate details or update the timeline regularly.
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- 1. Create your basic template.
- How to make a timeline in PowerPoint automatically.
For those who need to regularly create and update timeline slides for high-level presentations, a simple and fast solution would be to use a PowerPoint add-in that automates the process. On this page, you will see both the manual and the automatic way to make a timeline in PowerPoint.
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- 2. Export your designs as PNG files;
Creating PowerPoint timelines automatically takes: 2 mins. Creating PowerPoint timelines manually takes: 30 mins. Create a new presentation or open an existing one and add a new blank slide. In the window that pops up, select the Process category, where you will find a variety of graphic options to choose from for your PowerPoint timeline.
You can change the style at any time from the SmartArt Tools Design tab on the ribbon if you want to try out different layouts for your graphic. The initial graphic generated by PowerPoint will have placeholder text and only 3 milestones.
You can insert your own data directly on the graphic by typing inside the [Text] boxes on the slide, but adding new milestones or events besides the 3 default ones can become a little tricky this way. If the Text Pane is not already visible, click on the small icon right on the left of your timeline arrow to open it.
Here, type in your milestone dates and descriptions, and PowerPoint will automatically update the graphic. Note: As you will notice, PowerPoint places your milestones equidistant on the timeline, regardless of the relative distance between their dates. To add more milestones, simply press Enter after an existing item in the Text Pane and insert your data.
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To ensure your data remains easy to read, it would be safe to keep to maximum 5 or 7 milestones. Instead, you can expand the size of the graphic box as I did above, and PowerPoint will automatically make the milestone descriptions larger too. Now you can apply some styling choices if you want to make your PowerPoint timeline look more unique. To customize the overall look of your timeline, you can change the SmartArt Styles and color palettes from the SmartArt Tools Design tab on the ribbon.
In my example, I chose a darker color scheme from the Change Colors dropdown and selected the Intense Effect option from the Styles menu to make the milestone circles stand out a bit better.
While the SmartArt functions apply to the whole graphic, you can also customize individual items on the timeline. To do this quickly, right-click on any item and use the formatting options that pop up to restyle it. To do so, select the objects you wish to customize and, using the options in SmartArt Tools Format tab, you can resize them quickly or switch to other shapes.
After testing more shapes and sizes using the Format tab, my timeline now looks like this:. Manually creating and managing a timeline in PowerPoint not only is time-consuming, but can also get quite frustrating if you want to make custom changes or updates to the visual. Here are three key tips for optimizing your design for use in PowerPoint: Make sure to select a font for the content in your PowerPoint slides that your client is likely to have already, for example one of the fonts that come with Microsoft Office or Adobe Font Folio. Your client has no use for raster images of text, the point is for them to be able to edit the text boxes themselves.
You can add the editable text box in PowerPoint later. Create your content slide masters Again, open up your Slide Master. Create your final slide Return to the Slide Master window and click New Layout , which will give you a simple default Master Slide with one title text box and some footer text boxes. Mix and match your Master Slides 8.
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Now your client can mix and match and edit their branded PowerPoint Template however they want to: Need a custom PowerPoint template? Our global community of professional graphic designers can do that! Show me. You're in! You proved us right again. Our newsletter is only for the coolest kids. Get ready for amazing stuff in your inbox. Looks like something went wrong. Sign me up! Join the community. Current design contests Designers, check out these contests so you can start building your career.
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