Create Timeline Template in Google Sheets

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Timeline Templates are very useful for Project Management, Event Planning or simply to generate great timeseries view.

Timeline View - Google Sheet

While there are freely available quality templates already provided by Google Sheets, you can also create one yourself.

In this tutorial we will go through a step by step process of creating a timeline chart from scratch.

So let’s dive in.

Creating a Horizontal Timeline Chart

Below is a sample horizontal timeline chart which we will be creating. We’ll be using basic tools like Scatter Chart combined with a bit of improvisation to get this output.

Follow the below steps to create a timeline template in Google Sheets:

  1. Create a base table of Event Dates, Event Label and Position
  2. Select the Base Data and insert a Scatter Plot
  3. Format the Scatter plot to :
    1. Add Labels
    2. Adjust Margins
    3. Remove Gridlines
    4. Add Leaderlines
  4. Finally, apply the necessary color/font formatting as required.

Now let’s have a look at these steps in more detail.

Creating a Base Table

List down the timeseries event data in the following format.

Data Table in Google Sheet
  • Date is the Event Date
  • Event Name is the Event Description
  • Vertical position is the height of the event from the x-axis. Position is a randomly allocated number which will eventually help us in formatting our timeline view.
  • Leaderline is simply the negative conversion of Vertical Position. This too will play an essential role in chart formatting.

Add A Scatter Plot

1. Select the Base Table

Select Table in Google Sheet

2. Goto Menu Options -> Insert -> Chart.

Insert Chart in Google Sheet

3. As you would notice Default Chart Type is Column Chart. Time to change this.

Column Chart in Google Sheet

4. Double click on the chart to open Chart Editor Panel on the right. Select Chart Type Dropdown and Select Scatter Plot.

Change Chart Type in Google Sheet

Editing the Scatter Plot

1. Add Event Labels: Goto Customize – > Series -> Select Vertical Position -> Check Mark Data Label -> Type Dropdown -> Custom

2. Add Error bars to Leaderline: Customize – > Series -> Select Leaderline -> Check Error Bars -> Type Dropdown -> Percentage & Value = 200

Editing Scatter Plot

3. Resetting Vertical Axis to Start at 0:

Editing Scatter Plot

4. Removing Vertical and Horizontal Gridlines (& Retaining Major Tick)

Removing Gridlines in Scatter Plot

5. Hiding Vertical Axis Units by Coloring then White.

Editing Scatter Plot

6.Removing Legend from the top.

Removing Legend in Chart - Google Sheet

7. Adding Chart Title and Making it Center Aligned

Adding Chart Title Google Sheet

This completes our Timeline Chart View Creation.

Formatting the Chart

You can further customize upon Font Size, Font Color etc to create a more formal looking chart. Like Below.

Not listing down the steps for this as it’s more of a personal choice.

Free Resources

Before we leave, feel free to grab a copy of the templates discussed in this tutorial in your personal Google Drive.

  1. Free Timeline View Template

*Create a copy instead of requesting access

That’s it on this topic. If you still have any questions, then drop a comment below. Keep browsing SheetsInfo for more such useful information 🙂

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I love Google Sheets and heavily rely upon it on a day to day basis. SheetsInfo is my attempt to share my learning with all of you. Hope you find the articles easy to read and simple to understand.

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