Welcome and thank you for choosing Office Timeline Add-in Basic – we're glad you're here! Office Timeline Basic is a PowerPoint add-in that lets you quickly make and manage beautiful timelines and Gantt charts straight in your favorite presentation tool. The following guide provides instructions and tips to get you started quickly.
Read the full guide to learn how to make the most out of Office Timeline Basic Edition or use the links above to jump straight to the section you're most interested in.
A) Start a new timeline
With the Basic Add-in, there are 3 ways to start a new timeline or Gantt chart (to create Swimlanes, you will need Pro Edition):
Make it from scratch: From the Office Timeline ribbon in PowerPoint, click New and choose Timeline from scratch.
Use a timeline template: Again from New, select one of the pre-designed timeline and Gantt templates available and update it with your project's data.
Import data from other sources: Go to Import on the Office Timeline Ribbon to load existing data from Excel, Microsoft Project, Jira, Smartsheet or Wrike and instantly turn it into a timeline. The steps are quite similar whichever tool you choose to import your data from.
In our example, we will start a new Timeline from scratch, so you can see how easy it is to make a professional-looking visual from head to toes.
B) Add or edit your data
Once you click on the Timeline from Scratch (+) thumbnail in the New wizard, you will automatically be directed to the Data tab, which allows you to add or edit milestones (M) or tasks (T).
Note: Once you've created your slide, you can also access the Data view by clicking the Edit Data button on the ribbon.
For each item you wish to add to your visual, type in its Title, choose whether it will be a Task or Milestone (T/M) and how it will look like, and enter its Start date and End date (milestones will have the exact same Start and End dates). You can also add % Complete to your tasks here for easy project tracking.
The Data wizard is a very a good place to start playing with colors and shapes too, because all updates you make here are instantly displayed in a real-time thumbnail view of your timeline.
- To move even faster, you can copy & paste data from Excel into your Data list in Office Timeline.
- Office Timeline Basic also lets you create timelines scaled down to hours or minutes. Just toggle on the Hours and minutes column in your data table to add start and end times to your tasks and milestones.
- You can Drag & drop items in the Data tab to rearrange them, or quickly reorder them by their Start Date, End Date or any other criteria by clicking on the desired column header in your data list.
C) Easily rearrange or update by Drag & Drop on the visual
After you've finished adding your milestones and tasks in the Edit Data tab, it's time to move to the Timeline view. To access it, simply click on the Timeline tab from your data list. (Note: Once you've created your slide, you can also access the Timeline view by clicking the Edit Timeline button on the ribbon).
The Timeline view is one of our favorite places inside the app – it provides a visual Drag & Drop editor that lets you rearrange, edit and update your timelines almost instantly!
Here are just a few things you can do in this visual Drag & Drop editor:
Easily reorder your tasks and milestones.
Drag milestones and tasks horizontally to instantly update their dates.
Drag task bars by their corners to change their duration.
Split tasks above and below the timescale.
Group tasks in one row or even place milestones on tasks.
Change the position of any text or date.
Resize text boxes and task bars for a better fit.
Quickly reposition the timeline on the slide.
Drag the timescale horizontally to adjust its width.
Double-click to edit any text or date right on the visual.
Add, duplicate, hide or delete items using the simple controls at the top of the Timeline view.
Once you're happy with your layout or updates, don't forget to save the changes.
D) Quickly customize your timeline
After you've created your timeline slide, you can customize every detail on it using the Office Timeline Style Pane on the right side of the screen. Simply select the desired object on the visual to open its styling options in the pane.
The Style Pane lets you customize your timeline in multiple ways - from shapes, sizes, colors, and positions to texts, date formats, or the timeline scale (from days to weeks, months etc.). You can even add extras such as task duration, elapsed time, connectors or percent complete, or hide dates and other details. Every item on the timeline can be customized from the Style Pane, so you can get your visual exactly how you want it.
E) Jumpstart your projects with templates
Office Timeline has stylish pre-designed templates to help you get started even faster and save time on customizations.
From the New wizard, scroll to the Timeline Templates and choose the one you'd like to use to open its preview.
On its preview, you can select Use Template to manually edit it with your own data, or click on Import to load your plan from Excel or other sources straight into the template.
That's it! The template will be updated with your data and you'll get a presentation-ready timeline in minutes.
- You can save your timelines as custom templates so you can reuse their design for future projects.
- Use the Template button on the Office Timeline ribbon to instantly change the look of an existing timeline by applying a different template or style to it.
The steps and tips above should get you started quickly. If you have any questions or need further assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We're always happy to help.