A feature image preview for the blog Effectively Use Timeline Graphics in Microsoft PowerPoint.

How to effectively use timeline graphics in Microsoft PowerPoint

Posted on: Feb, 2022 By: Judd Albrecht


A preview of four timeline slides horizontally across.

PowerPoint timelines may seem like simple graphical representations of past events or future milestones, but they are a surprisingly versatile tool in the PowerPoint presenter's arsenal. 

There is virtually no limit to how you can use timelines in PowerPoint to drive your point home, inspire investor confidence, or educate your students in a more engaging way. 

Adding a PowerPoint timeline to your presentation helps to communicate information that is a straightforward way that is easily absorbed by your audience. They provide a memorable snapshot of the past or a crystal ball showing your audience their path to a successful future. They give your audience the where, why, how, and when in a visually exciting and engaging format.

Here's a little more information about how timelines present an excellent opportunity for project managers, entrepreneurs, business managers, and educators to get more mileage out of their PowerPoint presentations. 



What are Timeline Presentation Slides?

A timeline graphic showing a circle arrow going around a question mark.

Timeline presentation slides are PowerPoint slides that display a series of key events in chronological order over a particular period. A PowerPoint timeline graphic is a handy tool to create timelines in PowerPoint that are eye-catching and easily understood by the audience. 

PowerPoint delivers a range of templates inside the application, but many more timeline templates are available, so there is sure to be a design appropriate for your audience. Depending on who views the presentation, you can choose the route of a formal corporate look or go with an informal and playful timeline in PowerPoint. 


Whatever point you need to get across to your audience with Powerpoint timeline examples, there is sure to be a design that will make an impression. 

A preview of four timeline slides horizontally across.

Timelines in PowerPoint most often use a linear scale, charting the progression of one event to another. Still, some situations will call for a numerical timeline, which could be helpful when displaying financial projections for compounding investments or the spread of a pandemic. 

Here are a few Powerpoint timeline examples that can be particularly useful in getting detailed information across in a simple to understand format.


● Educational Purposes ● Financial forecasting
A PowerPoint slide showing graphic themed around a board game. A PowerPoint slide shows flower graphics along a timeline.
● Research ●Scientific Processes
A Gnatt timeline PowerPoint slide preview A timeline showing scientific graphics.
● Project Management
A preview a project management timeline.

Timelines are the most effective way to display past, present, and future events using engaging graphics to ensure the audience leaves with a firmer grasp of the topic. 



Who Can Benefit from Using Timelines in Presentations?

A business woman celebrating victory at the end of a flag timeline.

All types of business professionals can benefit from using timelines in PowerPoint presentations. 

Human Resource Managers 

Use timelines in PowerPoint to create an engaging graphical representation of key events in the company's history or summarize the organization's growth from its humble beginnings to the globe-spanning success it is today. 

Business Managers

Business managers can take advantage of a PowerPoint timeline to quickly highlight critical successes and milestones a business has experienced over a period. A timeline is also an excellent tool for understanding the organization's past and planning for the future. 

Project Managers 

Timelines are particularly suited to project managers. All projects consist of milestones, deliverables, schedules, and critical events that need to be completed at specific points along the project's timeline. These features of a project are easily represented by adding a timeline slide in PowerPoint. 

Entrepreneurs and Start-Ups

Timelines are a fantastic resource for outlining the goals set by an entrepreneur or a start-up company. They can be pretty helpful at convincing investors to jump on board when the timeline forecasts future events and the new organization's expected growth. 

Teachers and Academics

All types of academics could use Powerpoint timeline examples to create engaging educational material that presents historical events in chronological order, perhaps showing how cause and effect can lead from one thing to another. Furthermore, use timelines to display significant periods in the earth's geological history, evolutionary time scales, the birth of the universe, chart the discovery of electricity to the digital revolution, and the list goes on. 



When is the Best Time to Use Them?

A timeline graphic showing a questions mark and a time watch.


As we mentioned previously, timelines can visually represent significant events or milestones over a specific period using just a few PowerPoint timeline graphics. 

Anytime you need to simplify complex information down into its major points is an excellent opportunity for using a PowerPoint timeline. A well-designed timeline can tie everything together and make it easier for the audience to absorb and retain the information.

PowerPoint timelines are also an excellent tool for brainstorming sessions to help get complex ideas over as quickly as possible. For example, an entrepreneur who has gone to great lengths to inspire potential investors with confidence does not want to miss their window by explaining the finer points of their plan in difficult-to-understand prose. 

A timeline can quickly show investors where the company is now versus where it will be in five years after completing all the developmental stages. Here are a few PowerPoint timeline examples that illustrate this. 

A preview of four PowerPoint timeline slides horizontally across.

Simplified visuals of significant milestones are the key to keeping the momentum going and building motivation.



How Timelines Make Presentations More Effective?

A infographic showing what events look like without a nice timeline design and with.

When creating a visual presentation, PowerPoint timeline graphics can effectively help transform complex information into easily digestible snippets of knowledge. They are an excellent way to simplify topics by ensuring the audience only gets the relevant and most important points. In short, timelines in PowerPoint can be very useful in making a presentation simple enough to understand quickly.

Events and complex issues can be tied together in a timeline for deeper understanding. Slides with wordy paragraphs will put your audience to sleep. However, when you arrange your ideas and events over a timeline, the audience can gain a heightened sense of a project in as little as a few seconds, with a minimal explanation required from the presenter.

A business presentation designed to attract new investors often requires the presenter to explain complex topics as quickly and simply as possible. However, the nature of the material can create a challenge for keeping a meeting short yet memorable, but PowerPoint timelines can help. 

Whether you are presenting to someone new or you wish to explain something to your boss, knowing how to create a timeline can make your presentation much more engaging.


The final timeline take away

There's no doubt that when you have cumbersome, complex information to deliver, a timeline will be one of your most effective tools for bringing life to your presentation and keeping your audience engaged in your material. Make sure you check out our comprehensive range of PowerPoint timelines, where you will find graphic materials to suit a wide range of demographics. Timeline slides usually don't exist in a presentation alone; for that, check out our vast library of animated PowerPoint templates to give you a big jump start on the design of your next presentation.

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By: Judd Albrecht
Judd enjoys anything creative. As a content designer at PresenterMedia, he gets to put that creative desire to use everyday. "Every day I'm excited to come into work and start creating great content for our subscribers". He has degree in computer animation with over 15 years of graphic design experience, which has given him the skills to design quality graphic content. When he's not at work, he finds time enjoying the great outdoors, jamming on the bass guitar and playing with his kids.

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