Ultimate Guide to Making a Google Sheets Timeline in 2023

The new timeline Google Sheets view is handy for sharing project timelines both internally and externally for a business. If you happen to already use Google Workspace, you can easily use this feature. If not, we can show you a few different ways to make a timeline in Google Sheets. Read on to learn more.

Quick Look: How to Use Google Sheets Timeline View

To use the timeline view in Google Sheets, you simply have to use a Google Workspace activated account to open the spreadsheet, then navigate to Insert > Timeline and select the range you wish to build a timeline from.

An example timeline Google Sheets view

The New Google Sheets Timeline View

Google Sheets introduced the interactive timeline Google Sheets feature in 2022. This is a new visual layer that displays the project information from the spreadsheet. This includes information like the project starting and ending date, the description, and the owner’s information.

Details

The new timeline view in Google Sheets allows you to interact with the presented project information with ease and aids in managing things like project timelines, marketing campaigns, team collaboration, schedules, and more. You can click on the card in the timeline and view information about the ongoing project in a sidebar. You can format the timeline by various time intervals such as year, quarter, month, week, and day.

This feature does not have admin control. End users can make a timeline by heading to Insert and clicking on Timeline. There, they can click on select a data range and then you can use the Configure attributes option. Once the timeline is created, you can view the project timeline in various time intervals and change the visual appearance by changing colors, spacing, and various other options.

Availability

The new interactive timeline feature in Google Sheets is available for use to users of:

  • Workspace Essentials
  • Business Plus
  • Business Standard
  • Enterprise Standard
  • Enterprise Essentials
  • Enterprise Plus
  • Education Standard
  • Education Fundamentals
  • Education Plus
  • Teaching and Learning

The interactive timeline view is not available for customers using the Nonprofit, G-Suite Basic, and Business, as well as users using a personal Google account.

Related Reading: Build a Schedule Template in Google Sheets [Free Downloads]

Building a Timeline Without a Google Workspace Account

Unfortunately, unless you run a Google Workspace business account, you cannot use the new Google Sheets Timeline view. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still build a timeline in Google Sheets. Let’s look at how you would do it.

What Are Project Management Timelines?

A timeline for managing projects is a timetable for the entire project, from planning through execution. The project will be divided into small goals and milestones, each with a due date. Thanks to your timeline, your team and you can see the project’s completion date and the due dates for specific components.

Why Use a Project Timeline Google Sheets?

Here are a few reasons why you should use a project timeline in Google Sheets:

Allows a Complete View of the Project

Your timeline provides your team with a broader perspective, allowing them to zoom out and observe when specific actions are taking place. It enables team members to understand the context of their individual elements and how everything fits together. Before the project begins, you can also actively identify any potential obstacles or requirements.

Manage Resources More Efficiently

Resources for your project will include money, tools, and team members’ time. Projects should be a breeze if everything is there when you want it, but you’re not executing this strategy alone. You could more efficiently assign and manage the resources for your projects if you know when particular tasks are taking place. Therefore, you can prepare appropriately if you know that a graphic designer employed by your company won’t be able to assist with the makeover of your website until the end of the month.

Keep Project on Track

A project timeline has many advantages, one of which is that it keeps you on track. Your entire project runs the danger of running behind schedule if even one component is late. Identifying gaps or discrepancies and tracking progress by splitting things down is simpler. Due to everyone’s insight into who is accountable for a task and when it is due, the timeline will also promote accountability within your team.

Makes Overwhelming Projects Manageable

Massive undertakings feel more manageable thanks to project timeframes. You must divide your project into manageable steps before creating your timeline. That provides you and your crew with a strategic plan that you can utilize to move forward without feeling overwhelmed.

Related Reading: 5 Useful Google Sheets Project Management Templates [Free]

How to Create a Timeline Google Sheets

You can use a Google Sheet timeline template or create a project timeline from scratch. First, let’s look at how you can use the template provided by Google.

Creating a Timeline Using Template Gallery

Here is how to use a premade template to create a project timeline:

  1. Head over to Google Sheets.
  2. On the main screen, click on the Template gallery option towards the top right side of the screen.
Open the product timeline spreadsheet
  1. Scroll down to find the Project timeline by Smartsheet option. Click on it, and the template will be loaded onto a new spreadsheet.
Enter details for the project
  1. The timeline template allows you to add the Project Title, Project Manager, Company Name, and Date.
Merge the cells
  1. The template has multiple columns that represent the dates allowing you to add a project and change the width of the box to represent the duration of that specific task. Let’s assume that the Project Charter phase will start from the first week of January until the end of February. To show this, select all the cells and click on Format in the top bar. Then, click on Merge cells and then click on Merge all.
  2. Although the project titles are color-coded, you can also add your own titles and change the color of the existing ones. To do this, select the cell and choose the Fill color or the Text color option from the main toolbar.

Although this template can be suitable for students or smaller teams, its static nature means that you will have to do everything manually, which can be extremely time-consuming. Let’s look at how you can make your project timeline chart in Google Sheets.

Creating Your Own Timeline Template

Here is how to create a timeline in Google Sheets:

  1. Go to sheets.new to open a new spreadsheet.
Sample data for a bubble chart timeline
  1. The first thing to do is to add the milestones and their dates to the spreadsheet. Ensure that the milestones are short and easy to read. In this example, the first column contains the milestone name, the second one has the date, and the third one has its position.
Position for the bubble chart timeline
  1. Once you’re done adding the data, click and drag to select the data cells and create a chart. You can do this by clicking on Insert and then on Chart.
  2. Now, to create a timeline in Google Sheets, click on the option under Chart type and scroll down to the Scatter option. Here, select Bubble chart.
  3. Now, let’s format the chart to ensure legibility. The first thing we need to do is to remove any overlapping. To do this, go into the chart editor’s Customize settings. There, click on the Vertical axis option.
stop overlap
  1. Here, subtract 1 from the lowest position and write it in the Min text box. Now, add 1 to the highest position and write it in the Max text box.
Add a series to change colors
  1. Let’s say you wish to track the progress of your project. You can indicate the status using colors. To do this, head to the Chart editor and click Add Series.
Define the data range to change colors
  1. Click on the small boxes beside the search textbox, which will open the Select a data range window. Add the cell range there and click on the green OK button. Google Sheets will select the colors automatically. You can change them by going to the Customize section in the Chart editor.

Related Reading: Detailed Gantt Chart Google Sheets Guide + 2 Free Templates

Wrapping Up

The timeline Google Sheets function is the easiest way to create a timeline in Google Sheets. Unfortunately, it’s only available for Google Workspace users. But there are other ways to make timelines in Google Sheets. Check them out above and use the one that suits your business best. If you still haven’t signed up for Google Workspace, all you need is a business email. So, we’d recommend signing up if you have one.

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Chris Daniel

Chris Daniel

Chris is a spreadsheet expert and content writer. He has a double Bachelor's Degree in Teaching and has been working in the education industry for over 11 years. His experience makes him adept at breaking down complex topics so that everyone is able to understand.
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