Timelines are perfect for telling stories and visualizing projects and processes. You can use a timeline to give an overview of events, detail an agenda or itinerary, highlight important points in time, and distill important information that people might otherwise miss.
If you start with a creative and visually-engaging timeline template, you can make a timeline that people will want to stop and take the time to read.
This is especially important when your readers are dealing with information overload; a new hire going through an extensive onboarding process, for example, or a manager who’s knee-deep in a massive project would both likely benefit from visual timeline to simplify information.
That said, the timeline template you use will depend on your specific goals.
WATCH: How to make a timeline infographic
Here’s a list of some of the best timeline templates, arranged by categories:
- Project timeline template
- Wedding day timeline template
- Onboarding timeline template
- Vertical timeline template
- Event timeline template
- Simple timeline template
- Free timeline template
Follow these steps to use a timeline template:
- Pick a timeline template that fits the story you want to tell or information you’re going to convey.
- Add, remove, or rearrange points in time using the drag and drop canvas.
- Insert your own dates and events using the text boxes.
- Customize the colors, fonts and icons to make the design your own.
It’s that easy!
Here are 36 timeline templates and examples for how you can use them:
1. Color code points in time to make your timeline easy to read
Color coding data in your timeline is one of the easiest and most effective ways to make your design readable. Use distinct colors for each year, important dates, or specific events that you want to stand out from the timeline.
Take a look at how color is used to differentiate between year in this simple social media timeline:
In this timeline template, weeks are color coded. So, step one and two should happen in week one (green), for example.
This timeline template uses color to highlight different years.
2. Onboard new hires with a sprint timeline template
Visual template are an effective way to plan your business goals or detail a new process. You can lay it all out, summarize steps, and use visuals to emphasize points.
New hires at any company, for example, will understandably have a lot of information to process. A sprint timeline detailing the first day on the job would be a welcomed addition to the usual onboarding documents.
Pro Tip: Timeline templates can help simplify the onboarding process. You don’t need to limit your timeline to a new hire’s first day at the company either! Consider providing a timeline for their first week, month, or even the entire probationary period. Chart important information, like the dates of their reviews, or when their benefits kick in. This will be much appreciated by your new hire, who likely has a lot to keep track of!
Alternatively, you can organize your timeline by steps and the number of days you need to complete each, like in this construction timeline template:
Zoom out even further and plan your entire year. Organize critical milestones by month:
This timeline template takes the same approach, but it color codes the months and text for even more impact:
Pro Tip: Consultants and freelancers will especially benefit from using timeline templates. They’re an easy way to show the client what steps are required to complete a project and how each step impacts the next. The client will love having a visual guide to refer to again and again when they can’t remember what’s supposed to happen when. And this means less emails and phone calls to you–we hope!
3. Engage your audience with a timeline presentation slide
Text-only presentation slides are boring. Timeline infographics are perfect for making information visually engaging. Optimize your timeline for PowerPoint, Google Slides or SlideDeck by using landscape orientation and big, bold text.
Use a gradient color scheme to create a flow from the beginning of your timeline to the end.
4. Keep event attendees on track with a schedule timeline
Want your event to go off without a hitch? Give your attendees a timeline of what the day will look like. That way, they’ll know what to expect ahead of time.
Don’t forget to include information about where each part of the day will take place. Including photos or illustrations of what to expect can also help get your attendees excited about the day’s events.
Pro Tip: Special event consultants and event planners of all stripes can add their branding and format the template to their liking. Then, save it as a template to use again and again. Meaning: less administrative work for you.
5. Show your weekly progress with a professional timeline template
Keep track of your team’s progress week over week with a simple and organized timeline template. Use symbols and icons to categorize different types of tasks so that readers will be able to skim the timeline and find the information quickly.
Alternate between two neutral background colors to increase the readability of your design.
Pro Tip: A timeline template can be a fresh way for consultants to make progress reports for stakeholders. The client can see at a glance what you’ve been up and how the project’s progressing. No wading through walls of text–a timeline is easy to scan and understand.
6. Map your customers’ journey with a simple timeline infographic
Understanding your customers’ journey is a core component of a solid customer experience. Create an infographic that visualizes your various customer profiles. Use icons to emphasize key steps in their journey.
Take a look at how this timeline example uses icons to make each customer journey easy to understand:
Click the template above to enter our online customer journey map maker. Customize the template to your liking–no design experience required.
7. Use an illustration as the backdrop for your timeline
The beauty of a timeline infographic is that you can create a design that really reflects the theme of your information.
Pick a flat icon that reflects the theme of your information and stretch it to fit the background of your page. Then, pick a color that stands out to create your timeline, text and smaller illustrations.
8. Plan out your day with a timeline template planner
Do you want to keep your team–and yourself–on track? A simple day plan timeline is a great way to sum up the events and tasks for an important day.
Include specific times and any important details people should know. For example, take a look at this wedding day timeline template:
This weekly timeline template can be customized to make it hourly:
Click “Week 1” and change it to “9 a.m.”, for example. Consultants can also add this timeline template to their marketing plan to help clients change up their workflow. A more efficient workflow will help the client’s team effectively carry out your recommendations.
9. Use icons to help readers scan your timeline for specific information
Icons visualize information in one small graphic. That’s why they’re perfect for including in visual timelines. Pick an icon with a widely recognizable meaning (for example, social media platform logos) so people can scan your timeline for information about a specific topic.
For example, this timeline showing the history of social media platforms uses icons to identify which point is about each individual platform:
This project timeline uses line icons to emphasize each step.:
Social media icons are instantly recognizable and help organize the information in this timeline template:
Pro Tip: Timeline infographics are great for consultants looking to become thought leaders. Pick a topic that shows the development of an idea or product in your industry. Plot it into a timeline template and insert it into your blog posts or guest posts or share it on social media. Add it to a white paper, too.
10. Use comparison photos to show how something has changed over the years
It’s fun to see how things have changed over the years–tech, fashion, event foods. Create a visual timeline that shows photos of a thing, to highlight how it has changed over the years. You can use a comparison infographic template to do this.
For example, this timeline shows how cameras have changed over the years, uses images and brief descriptions to inform readers:
Icons, instead of photos, help show how email has changed over time in this timeline template:
11. Use time blocks to section of your days, weeks and months
Scheduling your days in time blocks can be an effective way to organize and prioritize your tasks. Try using different colored blocks for different types of tasks or appointments. This is another opportunity where icons can help you code information, to make it easier to scan your timeline.
The next two timeline templates block off their projects in monthly milestones, using a contrasting color for the font (green) to help organize the information:
This construction timeline template uses color text boxes to neatly organize its project milestones by month:
Pro Tip: Consultants can use timeline templates to keep a project on track, especially if there are multiple people involves (subcontractors, multiple stakeholders etc.). Assign a task to a different person and color code these people/companies i.e. green for you, red for the client.
PS: If you’re looking for a free scheduling app to help you book meetings without the back-and-forth, check out HubSpot’s Meetings tool.
12. Indicate how much time should be spent on each task in your timeline
If you’re a busy person who needs to budget their time, indicate how long should be spent on each activity in your timeline. One way to do this is to use bars of different lengths to visualize lengths of time.
For example, look at how this timeline template segments lengths of time in one person’s day:
13. Show the history of a popular topic using a timeline with a thematic design
People often like to learn about the history of people, places, and things that they’re interested in. For example, this timeline template highlights the major product announcement at each Google I/O event since the first year it was put on.
This timeline uses Google’s iconic color palette to reflect the story. Icons and logos make it easy for readers to skim the timeline and find their favorite products.
This timeline template uses a similar strategy–using icons and colors to section off Apple’s WWDC by year:
14. Visualize a process using a branded timeline template
Sometime, processes can be confusing, especially if there are a lot of steps to follow. It’s easy for people to forget steps in a process. A process timeline visualizes a process, organizes the steps, and shows the connections between steps. Numbering each step on the timeline will make the information especially easy to follow.
Use your brand guidelines to spread brand awareness and make your content recognizable across multiple channels.
Pro Tip: Design newbie consultants and freelancers can use our “My Brand Kit” tool to import brand colors and logos from a website. Or enter them manually. Use your branding, or the client’s, as you like. It’s an easy way to impress the client, without any design work on your part!
15. Highlight important dates in history with an infographic timeline
Educate and remind readers about important dates in history using a timeline. Emphasize certain dates by using big, colorful fonts. Offer brief, concise explanations for why the dates are important.
If you are pulling your information from other sources, be sure to cite your sources at the bottom of the infographic.
This timeline template uses text bubbles and cute arrow graphics to create a natural flow of information:
Pro Tip: Use a timeline template to show the history of your business. Put it on your website’s About page to grab the reader’s attention. You can also add it to proposals or pitch decks. We have plenty of business proposal templates to help you get started.
16. Enhance a calendar by using colorful icons
Take a classic calendar and make it more effective by using icons. Pick icons to represent different types of events…and don’t be afraid to mix up the colors! Simple visuals make information easier to remember, so pick icons that will stick in your memory.
Choose icons to fit your events using Venngage’s library of over 40,000 icons.
17. Group years together in your timeline to shows periods throughout history
While most timeline typically use one connecting line down the middle to show progress over time, you can group years together using horizontal lines. Group periods according to different technological breakthroughs, political movements, artistic and fashion trends, or any other broad theme.
Don’t be afraid to stray away from the classic branch timeline design. Get creative by moving events around the page and playing with different layouts.
18. Emphasize different points in your timeline by using non-uniform design elements
If certain date or events are particularly important, emphasize them on your timeline by making them bigger than other dates. You can do this by using bigger icons, bigger font sizes, or using a contrasting color.
Not only will using non-uniform design elements make certain points stand out, they will also make your timeline more interesting to look at.
19. Rank facts using a numbered timeline template
A timeline doesn’t necessarily have to chronicle years. It can also be used to count down information. Take this timeline template that counts down New Year’s Eve facts. The line down the middle of the infographic creates a flow from fact to fact.
You could use a template like this to rank products, websites, movies…anything!
20. Summarize complex histories with a simple timeline template
While you can’t cover everything that has happened in history in one timeline, you can highlight the important, defining events. Summarize the history of a person, place or thing by showing key moments in history and offering concise explanations of why those moments are significant.
Use colorful icons to enforce and illustrate the information. If you have a resource where readers can go to get more information, cite it at the bottom of the infographic.
These political infographic templates are a good place to start.
Colorful text boxes use icons and punchy descriptions to keep the reader engaged in this timeline template:
PS: Looking for a different kind of infographic? Venngage can even help you with:
- Explaining a complex process with process infographics
- Comparing and contrasting multiple options with comparison infographics
- Raising awareness about an issue or cause with nonprofit infographics