5 Creative PowerPoint Timeline Ideas

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Discover 5 simple ways to represent timeline in PowerPoint slides. Get inspired to create a number of variations of your own.

Usefulness of PowerPoint timeline:

A timeline is probably one of the most used diagrams in a business presentation. Whether you want to represent milestones of your organization’s growth or year wise progress of your project, you can’t do without a timeline chart.

Why create a ready to use template for timeline?

The answer is simple: to leverage your effort multiple times. Since every other presentation has timeline represented in some form or the other, it makes sense to create a set of good templates to show timeline. You can pick and stick the chart instantly to give a professional look to your slides.

Here are some basic ways you can create a timeline template:

1. Using repeat elements to represent milestones

Take a look at the following timeline template:

 PowerPoint Timeline Chevrons

A common way to represent timeline is to use a series of repeat elements like chevrons or arrows. They are easy to create and easy to understand. You can enhance your message effectiveness with the following:

  • Group each chevron with its corresponding explanation.Use custom animation to let each groupappear on click. This gives you time to take your audience through each phase in detail.

  • Differentiate the point of discussion using a different color while keeping the rest of the colors constant. See the following example:

Highlighted Timeline in PowerPoint

You can use any tool from auto shape to serve as repeat element, as long as the shape indicates forward movement.

Related: Tutorial to Create PowerPoint Roadmap

2. Using a continuous element with separators

Take a look at the following slide:

Pipe Style Timeline in PowerPoint

This is a classic example of using a continuous element with separators. Pipe represents continuity while the beads represent milestones.

While separate chevrons used in the previous example give an indication of distinct phases in the lifecycle of a project, a connecting element in the above example indicates continuity.

Learn to create Glossy ball in PowerPoint and view more timelines here.

The power of this idea can be taken forward to engage your audience.

Here is…

A Creative Alternative with Demo:

I’ve seen a presenter use a knotted rope to demonstrate the hardships faced during new product development. As she moved from one knot to another she explained the different issues faced during the specific phases. She then untied each knot as she explained the way the team overcame the issue.

demo for timeline


She finished her talk by inviting everyone from the audience to hold a part of the rope and form a circle to signify successful project completion

She translated the slide into a simple demonstration with a great result.

Read more creative presentation ideas here.

3. Using call outs along the PowerPoint timeline

Here is a variation of the previous idea:

 PowerPoint Timeline with Call outs

Here we used a callout along the various points of the timeline. This gives an informal feel to the events instead of the usual ‘corporate’ or ‘official’ feel.

We’ve seen people use photos and captions inside the call outs to add variety.

A Creative Alternative to PowerPoint:

Video alternative to PowerPoint


A marketing agency explained the history of a product brand by playing ‘Ad jingles’ over the years. Each milestone had an attached audio file.

The presenter darkened the room and invited the audience to close their eyes and listen to the audio Ads. The experience transported the audience to the past and made them feel the way the brand transformed over the years with changing culture and technology.


4.    Using a calendar to mark the events

A simple way to represent a PowerPoint timeline is to use a calendar. This is especially useful when you want to showcase a schedule. For example, the following slide shows ‘booked’ and ‘available’dates in a month:

PowerPoint Calendar showing time 

Creative Alternative to PowerPoint:

creative PowerPoint calendarI’ve seen a project manager using a large calendar to get time commitments from the team for various key deliverables.

The signatures of team members and the list of deliverables on a large page with dates not only hold them accountable, but also show that the success of the project depends on teamwork and commitment. 


Find 29 More Creative Ideas for Presentations with our 5-Day free ecourse .

5. Use a symbolic representation of time

If a calendar looks too formal, you can use a symbolic representation of timeline. For example, take a look at the following slide:

PowerPoint Clock

Various months in a year are represented as hours in the clock. You can animate the segments to take the audience through the timeline in stages.

Conclusion about PowerPoint Timeline:

Sometimes, the tools you use to present your ideas are as critical as the ideas you represent. It is especially true in the case of representing a timeline.

We have created a stunning array of PowerPoint timeline templates as part of our PowerPoint Charts and Diagrams CEO Pack for your high stakes business presentations. There are a number of design variations included in the pack to suit your specific needs.  The pack has 750+ fully editable, high quality PowerPoint diagram templates you can copy to your slides and create stunning presentations in minutes.

If you are a business presenter, the pack is an essential investment to create a lasting impression on your audience and win business. Comprehensiveness Guaranteed.

Related: Creative SmartArt Timeline Ideas

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