Have you ever needed to add a timeline to your documents but found it too difficult? The quickest way to add one is to use a premade timeline template for Google Docs. Luckily, we have three available for you to try out straight away.
However, if you’re the type of person that likes to do the work, we’ll also teach you how to make a timeline in Google Docs from scratch using the drawing tool through Insert > Drawing > New. Although, the best way to use a timeline in your documents may be to import a timeline from Google Sheets (we’ll cover that too). If all that interests you, read on to learn more.
Table of Contents
In Short: How to Make a Timeline in Google Docs
- In a new or existing Doc, navigate to file File > Drawing > Insert.
- Select an arrow line and drag it across the drawing.
- Add text boxes across the appropriate points on the line.
- Draw connecting lines to the text boxes from the initial arrow line.
Types of Timelines
Various types of timelines can be used in various scenarios. Let’s take a look at some of them.
This is one of the most commonly viewed timelines. It represents the events according to chronology. The historical timeline template Google Docs is usually ordered from the left side to the right on the X-axis, beginning with the oldest date and ending with the most recent date. Chronology timelines are frequently found in history texts, and using this style of timeline chart to describe an event in history is quite effective as it is effortless to understand.
These charts help manage projects by combining all project-related aspects, such as the client, project schedule, workflow, and progress report, into a single spreadsheet-like template. This document is intended to be distributed to all team members to clarify everyone’s objectives and strategies.
These charts often appear complex, given the aspects included and the project size. These are often produced on horizontal bar charts with a progress indicator and the most recent updates at the bottom of the page. We have an article with some free Google Sheets Gantt chart templates if you’d like a more detailed explanation.
The horizontal timeline template can visually represent events that occur horizontally during a particular date or time. Like a chronology timeline, the horizontal timeline uses a line from left to right to show the time. These are great for managing projects as well as showing previously occurring events. Pointers can be used to add text and relate the activity to a specific point. This timeline format is usually used in presentations as it is eye-catching and perfect for landscape viewing.
The vertical timeline template Google Docs are often used in written documents like reports and research documents. The vertical timeline template is the best option when adding a lot of text. This is also great for use as the text can be used to provide more detail about a specific event occurring in the timeline.
The 2 categories of timeframes described above are part of a fixed chronology. On the other hand, the interactive timeline is a dynamically constructed one in which you can scroll, zoom out, zoom in, or update the information as it changes. If there is a lot of data or the event will last for a long time, a scrollable and interactive timeline is the ideal option. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to make this kind of timeline on Google Docs. You’d be better off using software line Time.Graphics.
Roadmap timeline templates are usually used in project management as it divides the timeline into smaller sections that show the project tasks in order. This can be used to divide the different tasks for smaller teams in a company. When using this timeline template, the general idea is to give a general idea of the time spent completing every task. Again, these would be almost impossible to make in Google Docs, and you’d be better off using other software.
Whichever type you choose to create, you should make sure all the accompanying text has correct spelling and Grammar, to help with this, we recommend Grammarly.
How to Create a Timeline Using Google Docs
Creating a timeline in Google Docs can be beneficial when multiple people are working on the same document. They can easily view the timeline throughout the project’s lifecycle.
Here is how to create a timeline in Google Docs:
- Create a new document or open an existing one where you wish to make a timeline in Google Docs. In this example, we create a document from scratch by clicking the Blank button under Start a new document.
- Making a timeline in Google Docs can take up a considerable amount of space, so selecting a page orientation that suits your needs is important. By default, Google Docs uses a portrait page layout. Feel free to skip this step if you wish to make the timeline Google Docs template in portrait orientation. To change page orientation, click on the File button in the main toolbar and then click on Page setup. Here, select the Landscape orientation.
- The Google Docs timeline template can be created using the Google Drawings service, which is integrated into Google Docs. To access the tool, click the Insert button in the top options bar and then click on Drawing. In the small pop-out menu, click on New. This will open a canvas window in the middle of the screen.
- In the Google Drawings canvas, the first thing you must do for the timeline template for Google Docs is adding the timeline base. This can be done by adding an arrow line. To do this, click the Select line arrow and select the Arrow option.
- After adding the line, you can use the options in the toolbar to adjust the Line weight, Line dash, Line start, and Line end. We suggest using a higher value for the Line weight parameter. We are using the 3px option in our example.
- Now, we can use the Text box tool to add the task names or dates to the timeline. After selecting the option, click and drag your cursor across the canvas to add the textbox. With the textbox added, use the text formatting options in the main toolbar to change the colors and font styles.
- After making the changes, copy and paste the textbox and edit the text to add the task names and dates. Then, click and drag them to arrange them.
- You can use the Line tool to add the connections for the task titles and the main timeline. Click on the Line option and add the lines.
- Click Save and Close to save the changes, and add the timeline template to the main document.
Related: Build a Schedule Template in Google Sheets [Free Downloads]
Free Timeline Templates for Google Docs and Sheets
Creating your own timeline template can be time-consuming, so here are a few premade templates you can use to create a timeline.
Google Docs Timeline Template
This timeline template was created using the built-in drawings tool. A horizontal line represents the time flow. The project tasks are shown using connected lines above the line, whereas the days or dates are written under the line. Make a copy of the template and click the Edit button under the image and add your project details.
Vertical Timeline Template for Google Docs
This template is very similar to the previous template but allows you to add more information about the task objectives. This template can also be added to documents and reports. To use it, Make a copy of the template and click on the Edit button under the image. Now you can click on the specific objectives and write your own.
Using a Google Sheets Timeline Template
There are a few different ways to make timelines in Google Sheets, although the best way requires you to have one of the premium versions of Google workspace. You can still use a free type of timeline, like the one we’ve provided here, instead.
To use it, you simply have to:
- Fill in the cells with your data
- Highlight the section you’d like to include in your Google Doc
- Press Ctrl+C to copy
- Open the Google Doc and press Ctrl+V to paste it
This timeline template is loosely based on the Gantt chart, where the project is divided into phases, and the phases are divided into smaller tasks. The column beside the name of the phase or task shows the number of weeks it will take for the task completion. Feel free to change the names of the phases and tasks and add more if you need to. To add the timeline colors, click on the cell and then click on the Fill color option in the main toolbar.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Google Have a Timeline Template?
Google Docs do not have a built-in timeline template. However, you can easily create a timeline using the Drawing tool built into Docs. Alternatively, you can use a third-party timeline template, or you can use a tool like Diagrams.net, where you can create a timeline and import it directly into Docs.
How Do You Get a Timeline on Google Docs?
You can create a timeline in Google Docs using the Drawings tool built into sheets. This can be accessed by clicking on Insert in the main toolbar in Google Docs and then clicking on Drawing. Click on New which will open the drawing canvas in a new window. Here, you can add a main line for the timeline, and then you can add text labels that represent the different tasks in the project.
Although you can use a timeline template for Google Docs or create you own from scratch using the above instructions, it’s not necessarily the best thing to do. Short and simple timelines are daily easy to put in, but anything more complex would be better off created in a specialized program and simply inserted as an image.