How to Create a Timeline Using Word

If you want to teach a history lesson in a fun and interesting way, help a young child become more self-sufficient, or add some flair to a book report, a timeline is a great tool. Timelines use graphics and brief information to show the chronological order of an event, a schedule or a story. You can use shapes or Smart Art graphics in Microsoft Word to create an appealing and functional timeline without undue effort.

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Create a Timeline in Word 2003

Step

Open the Word document on which you want to create a timeline. Go to the "File" menu, click on "Page Setup" and go to the "Margins" tab. Select the "Landscape" orientation option and click "OK."

Step

Go to the "View" menu, point to "Toolbars" and select "Drawing" if it is not already selected. Click the rectangle auto shape in the drawing toolbar and draw a long, narrow rectangle horizontally onto the Word document, leaving room above and below it for text.

Step

Right-click the shape and select "Format AutoShape." The "Format Shape" dialog box will open. Go to the "Colors and Lines" tab of the dialog box. Select a color from the "Fill Color" drop-down menu.

Step

Click "AutoShapes" on the "Drawing" toolbar. Point to "Lines" and select a straight line. Draw the line coming up from the rectangle in the first position you want at the beginning of the timeline. Repeat, drawing the next line downward from the rectangle. Alternate each mark on the timeline.

Step

Go to the "Insert" menu and select "Text Box." Draw a text box above the first line coming out of the rectangle. Type a date or time and other pertinent information in the box. Repeat for the remaining points on the timeline.

Step

Go to the "Insert" menu, point to "Picture" and select "From File" or "Clip Art" to add graphics to points on the timeline. Save and print it as desired.

Create a Timeline in Word 2007 or 2010

Step

Open the Word document on which you want to create a timeline. Go to the "Insert" menu and select "SmartArt." The "SmartArt Gallery" will open.

Step

Click "Process" in the list of "SmartArt Types." Hover your mouse over the gallery options or click on an option to see its name and description. Select "Basic Timeline" and click "OK." A timeline graphic will appear along with a corresponding text pane.

Step

Click on the first text entry in the text pane. Enter the date or time and other pertinent information in the box. Repeat for the remaining points on the timeline.

Step

Add an entry to the timeline by selecting the entry before or after the desired new entry. Right-click that entry, point to "Add Shape" and select "Add Shape After" or "Add Shape Before."

Step

Click on the timeline and go to the "Design" tab in "SmartArt Tools." Click "Change Colors" to select a different color scheme. Select an option in the "SmartArt Styles" gallery to change the appearance of the timeline.

Step

Go to the "Insert" tab and select "Picture" or "Clip Art" to add graphics to points on the timeline. Save and print it as desired.