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Quick and Easy Visual PowerPoint Timelines

In this video, learn how to use three time saving strategies for creating a visual timeline in PowerPoint. Strategy One: Use a Process SmartArt Graphic,
Strategy Two: Use PowerPoint Designer, and Strategy Three: Use a Timeline from a Template

Timelines are common element of presentations and making it visual helps your audience absorb that information quickly and easily. In this post, I will show you three time saving strategies for providing a visual timeline in PowerPoint.

Use a Process Smart Graphic (Strategy One)

Click the Insert tab and choose Process from the options. Pick a style that fits the type of information you need to convey For this example, I will choose the Increasing Arrows Process

In each bullet point, I will add my content. The month for the top level and specific content for the sub-levels To add color contrast, I will select each arrow, click the Format Shape tab and choose a different shape fill color. And with just a few click you have a visual timeline.

Use PowerPoint Designer (Strategy Two)

First, add your content as a bulleted list to a typical Title and Content slide layout. On the Home tab, click the Design Ideas button. Scroll through the options to select the style you like

Click the More Designs button at the bottom of the suggestions to see more options. A quick tip is to use the word timeline as your title this way the AI algorithm will give you more specific timeline suggestions

For this example, I will choose this one (line with text boxes above and below). I will make adjustments like making the font bigger and changing the box fill colors If there are certain elements you don’t like about the suggestions, open the Selection Pane and click the small eye icon to hide an element.

Use a Timeline from a Template (Strategy Three)

Most template sites like Slidesgo and Slide Carnival include timelines in their template options By using a template, generally, you are saving yourself time with the prebuilt design Sometimes I just want the timeline and not the entire template.

After downloading the template, I select the timeline slide in the thumbnails pane. Copy the slide by right clicking and choosing copy. In my other slide deck, I click in between the two slides on the Thumbnail Pane

You should see a blinking line. Then I right-click and choose Paste and Match Formatting to apply all Theme elements to the slide. You can also choose, Use Destination Theme from the Paste button, but sometimes the color scheme doesn’t always apply.

If it doesn’t apply completely, Use the Format Shape tab to modify shape fills and text color. I don’t recommend copying the timeline and pasting on to a blank slide This will sometimes alter the overall graphical elements and you might end up spending more time fixing the timeline.

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About the author 

Jennifer

Jennifer has 15+ years of public speaking experience - ranging from groups of 5 to 5000. She draws from her experience as an instructor, academic, and librarian to help others with their presentation skills. When not presenting she loves creating and designing online courses, video, images, slide decks, handouts, conference posters, and infographics.

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