A horizontal timeline is one that fills in all of the information from left to right. Dates are filled in this way and the rest of the information is filled in from there. In fact, horizontal timelines are some of the most commonly used because they are simple, efficient and versatile for just about any purpose. Gantt charts and chronological timelines fit into this category and provide you with a few more options (though there are plenty of others out there as well).
Gantt Charts – These charts are great because they allow you to create a vertical line with each of your tasks or milestones and a horizontal line with each of your dates. You then fill in the rest of the information across the chart so that each project or task has a specific start date and end date. Because of the way the chart is created it’s easy to see everything at a glance. All you have to do is find the milestone you’re trying to track and you can immediately see all of the information that you need in one place. Chronological
Timelines – These are the ones that you probably remember from school. They’re the kind that were always in your history books and they’re generally quite simple. They have a single line across with different dates and there are specific markings that show when something has (or will) happen according to that chart. These can be simple to create, but they’re not as good for laying out more complex projects or ideas. The information has to be presented in a very small amount of space. In general, this type of chart is best for giving an overview of the information for your project to meet the deadline but not the details.
Vertical timelines can be great because they give you more space to see what’s on the list. You’re creating a chart that stands up and down, and you can easily scroll through the entire timeline more easily. These charts are available in a few different ways but primarily you’ll see the chronological timelines here. These charts are relatively flexible and many people enjoy them and prefer them to a horizontal style, though they do have some drawbacks of their own as well. It’s important to note that these charts don’t let you display as much information.
Chronological Timelines – These are just like what you would find in the horizontal list, but you put all of the information into them going up and down instead. You’ve likely seen these in your history books as well, though they’re not quite as common as the horizontal version. They give you the base information that you need and mark off specific dates on a line. You’re not going to have the room you need to describe more advanced or in-depth information about the project or the specific tasks that are present on the timeline either.
Vertical Bar Chart – Bar charts can be a great way of keeping track of specific information, but you’re not going to be able to keep track of things like tasks. You could record financial information or different opinions. You can keep track of an X and Y axis as well as different items on each of those because you can add different colors into the chart to stack things on top of each other. But this type of chart is still going to be limited in just what you’re able to record or how you’re able to present it to the rest of the team.PowerPoint Timelines
Next up are the timelines that you can create in PowerPoint. Now, PowerPoint has a lot of great features and it’s been used in several different ways. You can create timelines here too, and you can do them in any style or format that you might want. So, if you want a vertical or a horizontal timeline you can do it with PowerPoint. You also have options for chronological timelines and just about any other kind under the sun. That includes static and dynamic timelines as well, so you’re getting a little of everything here.
Keep in mind that all of the different types of timelines we’ve mentioned above can be customized and adjusted to get just the look you want. You can create something that’s a combination of several different timelines or that is completely new and unique. The main thing, and the most important part, is to make sure that the timeline you’re using is going to work for your team. It’s possible you need something more specific or more customized to match your specific needs. After all, a timeline is only going to be good if it helps you get things done.
Now that you know several of the different types of timelines you can start to customize the one that you have. These tips and tricks can help you create a high quality timeline that will let everyone know exactly what’s going on in your project and what you need next. They’re designed to help everyone stay on top of their role in the project and make sure that each project is completed the way it should be. If you take a few of these tips and put them into practice in your team you should see an improvement in the quality of your project output.
Color Code – Color coding can be a whole lot of fun and it can make it easier to see specific things in your timeline when you need them. You can assign different colors for specific people who are in charge of an assignment or for specific types of tasks. You get to choose how it’s done.
Update Weekly: If you want you can even pass out weekly timelines that will give people the information they need for a shorter set of time. This helps keep everyone updated and makes sure that each member of your team knows how well the tasks are progressing.
Create an Infographic: These can be great for your client or for explaining to people who the process works. These infographics are more interesting to look at and they let you focus on some of the most important steps in the process of working with your team.
Use Images: You can always put images in the background of your timelines as well. Making these softer so they don’t take away from the information is the best way to go, but go ahead and show a little of your style while you’re at it.
Create Icons: Along the lines of an infographic you can create specific icons that relate to different aspects of the project. For example, a specific icon that relates to documents that are needed and one related to physical items or prototypes that are needed.
Brand Your Timeline: Create your form of branding and then put it into place in your timeline. You could use logos, colors, designs or any number of different things and put all of it together to get a truly branded look. This is going to give you a more professional outcome as well.
Create Emphasis: The most important thing is that your timeline looks like it all goes together, but that doesn’t mean it has to be the same all the way across. Rather, you can create slightly larger or smaller aspects that allow you to emphasize some aspects over others.
Create a Ranking: You don’t have to use a timeline just for times and dates. You can also use it for ranking different things. So, create a countdown or rank something that people enjoy or want to know more about. It will help you create an easier way to understand that topic.
Add More Information: While traditional horizontal and vertical timelines don’t have a lot of information on them you can add a little more. If you keep your main points a little more broad you can use the rest of the space on your timeline to give a bit more in-depth information.
Choose a Layout You Like: There are several different layout options when it comes to timelines, so look for something that you like or that will be easy for you to use and then customize it. You don’t have to use the layout exactly the way it comes.
Finally, pay attention to the different aspects that your timeline can accomplish. After all, whether you’re creating a project timeline or something else, you want to achieve a few important objectives. So, what are you going to do with your timeline? Well, there are a few things you could do.
Outline Your Agenda: Creating an agenda either for the project or for a specific meeting or any other event will help everyone stay on the same page and makes sure that all of the tasks are being completed properly.
Overview Everything: Create a general overview of what’s going to be done and what still needs to be done. Make a timeline of each of the different tasks that are going to be completed and when they need to be completed by to stay on task more effectively.
Point Out the Important Things: You can create a timeline that only highlights the most important factors. This will help you to draw attention to what needs to be done and avoid some of the less important things in the meantime. This will help your team to get their tasks completed.
Relay Important Concepts: If there is any important information this is where you’re going to get it across to your team. They’ll be able to see when things need to be done, how they need to be done and who is responsible for them as well. All of this information is relayed more clearly through a timeline.
Assign Tasks: You can assign different tasks to the people who are on your team and responsible for the different things that need to be done. You can make sure that each person in your group knows what they’re supposed to be doing and how to get the tasks completed.
If you’re ready to create a timeline for your next project you want to make sure that you have something you can count on. You want something that’s going to help you keep track of all of your tasks and show everything your team needs to know. Well, it’s a whole lot easier than you might think if you’re taking the time to customize a look. Each of these tips and different styles of charts and timelines is going to help you create something that you and your team can use every time.