What Is a Timeline and Top 3 Timeline Creators

November 10, 2022Ashley Mae

A timeline is a list of important events arranged in chronological order in which they happened. It is a type of graphic design that is mainly used for visualizing projects and processes and telling stories. This guide will tell you what a timeline is, give you some timeline examples, and share three timeline makers to help you make your timeline on different devices.

Timeline Maker

Part 1. What Is a Timeline

A timeline is a way to visually display events in chronological order. Typically, it is a graphic design sequencing a long bar labeled with dates. A timeline uses a line representing the passage of the times and events being placed along the line in the order of when they happened. It shows how events in history are related clearly.

What is A Timeline

Timeline items - What should a timeline have

A timeline usually includes a series of events and activities. It represents an alignment in time and makes a chronological statement. It displays events or activities and the related dates. Some timelines are illustrated in infographics that combine texts and graphic images to give a better presentation.

Beyond that, a timeline can take many different forms, like a diagram, video, interactive, or illustration. It will regularly have a focus and follow the history of something specific, such as the history of a country, place, person, practice, or idea.

Why use a timeline

Because a timeline can cover events and dates to show a list of events, readers can get a more general overview of a long period of time. It can highlight the most important events, the stages of a person's life, and the events leading up to and during a natural disaster. A timeline can help to organize content for sharing. Compared to textbook content, it is much more interactive and attractive. It can also help enterprises to track the progress of a project or plan.

It uses all included dates to show when each event happened. Moreover, through a timeline, readers can better understand temporal relationships and how much time has passed between events quickly.

When to use a timeline

A timeline is mainly used for studies, event planning, and research. It is often used in historical studies, natural sciences, and project management. It gives a clear way to illustrate the chronology of events or activities. A timeline can help students to know the historical events related to any subject in an orderly manner. Also, timelines are widely used in biographies and history textbooks. Through a timeline, you can start with the earliest event and move forward through time to learn what happened to a particular person or place.

Timeline types and examples

There are many different types of timelines. In general, they can be sorted into text timelines, number timelines, and video timelines. In another way, these types can be horizontal timelines, vertical timelines, event timelines, historical timelines, biographical timelines, Gantt chart timelines, roadmap timelines, interactive timelines, company background timelines, project timelines, and more. You can use various types of timelines for different projects.

Timeline Types

You can easily access lots of associated timeline types and examples on the internet. To quickly find them, you can open a web browser like Chrome or Safari and search for the timeline types or examples.

What should you do before making a timeline

Before you create a timeline, you should gather all related data, list out the main stages or steps of your graphic, and place or set clear dates related to them. After that, you need to figure out the temporal relationships among these data and put them in a logical order. When you collect all content a timeline should include, you can make a timeline start from scratch or a ready-made timeline template.

Part 2. Get the 3 Best Timeline Makers to Create Your Timeline

Timelines rely heavily on graphic design and the ability to visualize data. They were drawn or printed on paper in the past. But now, you can easily find many timeline makers on the market to help you create various timelines. If you don't know which one you should use, you can try using the three free and easy-to-use timeline creator tools below.

Free online timeline maker - MindOnMap

MindOnMap is a popular online diagramming tool that can help you make timelines, mind maps, tree diagrams, fishbone diagrams, organizational charts, and more. You can use this free timeline maker on a web browser like Chrome, Safari, Yahoo, Firefox, or Edge. It offers ready-made timeline templates, examples, and themes for you to quickly start your timeline creation. Also, you can start from scratch and use its offered shapes, lines, icons, and other tools to create a timeline with ease.

Online Genogram Maker MindOnMap

When you want to make a timeline online, you can navigate to the official MindOnMap website and then click the Create Your Mind Map button. Here you are required to log in with an email or Google account. After that, you can select your preferred timeline type or template to start making a timeline.

Genogram Examples MindOnMap

Some basic timeline-creating options are designed on the top part. You can add nodes, relations, and summaries and insert images, links, comments, and more. It also offers specific buttons for you to undo or redo your operation. On the right side of this online timeline creator, you can freely customize the timeline type, theme, icons, outlines, and others based on your need.

Make A Genogram Online MindOnMap

This online timeline maker gives you a convenient way to share or export your created timeline. You can choose to save it as a JPG/PNG/SVG image, Word file, or PDF file. You can also generate a link to the timeline for sharing it with others. You can click the specific Export or Share button in the top-right corner.

Online timeline maker - Adobe Express

Adobe Express is an all-featured online image, GIF, diagram, and video editor. It has an individual Online timeline maker for you to quickly make a timeline. This online timeline creator collects thousands of images and icons for you to add to your design. You can add events to your timeline and then customize it as you like. Adobe Express allows you to create a timeline for sharing, printing or importing into another project. This free timeline maker is compatible with both computers and mobile phones.

Online Timeline Maker Adobe Express

When you get to the Adobe Express Online timeline maker page, you can click on the Create a timeline now button to raise its timeline maker. Under the Content tab, you can enter the timeline title and add new events. You can select a suitable timeline template under the Design tab. This online timeline maker offers some basic tools for you to create a timeline. After you make a timeline, you need to sign in to an account to download it. Adobe Express also gives mobile apps for you to create timelines on your iPhone, iPad, and Android phone.

Make A Timeline Online Adobe Express

Canva Free Online Timeline Maker

Canva Free Online Timeline Maker is a specially-designed infographics tool that can help you create timelines. It offers a simple way to present how things change in a period. It enables you to make a timeline to customize a visually engaging infographic on different events, processes, and routines. With this online timeline creator, you can display a list of data and see the passage of time with ease. You can go to the official Canva website and search for Timeline Infographics in its search bar to quickly locate the timeline maker.

Canva Free Online Timeline Maker

When you want to make a timeline directly on a web browser, you can click on the Create a timeline for free button to start. On the left part of the timeline maker, you can scroll down to select a suitable template. When the timeline template is loaded, you can edit various elements and texts to create your own timeline. After creating a timeline, you can click on the Share button in the upper-right corner to download, share, or print it based on your need.

Create A Timeline Online Canva

You should know that many premium templates are only limited to Canva Pro. You can use all its Pro features and templates for 30 days. When you are prompted that the template is in Canva Pro, you can click on the Start my free trial button to use it.

Part 3. FAQs of Timeline Maker

Can you make a timeline in Word?

Yes. Microsoft Word allows you to create a basic timeline in it. You can open Word and start with a new document. Change the page orientation from Portrait to Landscape for the timeline creation. To make a timeline, you can go to the Insert tab and then click the SmartArt button in the Illustrations section. You can scroll down its offered graphic types and pick a suitable one to start your timeline. After that, you need to manually place shapes and enter texts to edit your timeline in Word.

How do you make a timeline in PowerPoint?

Open PowerPoint and go to the Office Timeline tab on the top part. Click New to check a variety of styles and templates that you can use for a timeline. Click to choose the specific timeline template and then choose Use Template in the preview window to move on. You can input or paste data into the timeline. Click the Create button to generate a new timeline slide in PowerPoint. After that, you can freely change color, position, data format, and other settings to customize your timeline.

Can I create a timeline in Google Slides?

Yes. Google Slides allows you to make timelines with ease. When you open the Google Slides, you can go to the Insert menu and then choose the Diagram option. You are offered many ready-made timeline templates on the right sidebar. You can start with the right template and fill it with various data. When you change color, enter dates, or do other operations to optimize the timeline, Google Slides will adjust the previews for you.


A timeline can present history in an accessible and visual way. Through it, you can better understand the order that events happened in and the temporal relationships. This post explains what a timeline is, timeline benefits, and timeline examples. Moreover, you can learn how to make a timeline with three recommended tools. For more questions about the timeline or timeline maker, you can leave us a message in the comment section below.

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