How to Make a Timeline in Microsoft Word

By Chad Buleen

Even though programs like Adobe InDesign or Quark Xpress are among the best programs to use to create timelines, there is no reason why a person should need to buy these programs in order to create an attractive and effective timeline. The fact is, you can create a timeline with Microsoft Word that will look clean and professional by following a few short steps.

Step 1

Open Microsoft Word by clicking on the icon on the desktop or by navigating to the icon on the "Start" menu. After the program is opened, navigate to the "File" menu on the Microsoft Word toolbar at the top left corner of the screen. Click on "Page Setup" and change the page to a "landscape" layout. This will flip the page 90 degrees and allow more horizontal space for the items on the timeline.

Step 2

Navigate to the "View" menu, which is located toward the end of the toolbar. When the drop-down menu opens, click on "Toolbars" and then "Drawing." This will open the "Drawing" toolbar in a separate pane on the page.

Step 3

Create the bar for the timeline by clicking the "Rectangle Tool" on the Drawing toolbar. Move the pointer toward the left side of the page, somewhere about halfway down. Click and drag the pointer from one side of the screen to the next. Keep the rectangle thin.

Step 4

Make the rectangle the proper color by clicking the "Fill Color" icon on the toolbar. A selection of colors will appear in a new window pane. Select the color you want the timeline to be by clicking on it.

Step 5

Draw markers on the timeline by clicking on the "Line Tool" on the toolbar. Consider how many events will be listed on the timeline and draw that number of vertical lines coming from the rectangle box on the screen. Alternate the vertical lines by placing every other line underneath the timeline.

Step 6

Add text to the timeline by clicking on the "Text Box" tool on the toolbar. Click and drag a small box at the end of the vertical line that is furthest from the rectangle in the middle of the page.

Step 7

Type the year and event into the text box that was created. For best results to differentiate the year from the other text, highlight the year and select "Ctrl+B" to make this text bold.

Step 8

Continue to add boxes to each subsequent vertical line protruding from the timeline.

Tips & Warnings

  • Insert images in the timeline by navigating to the "Insert" menu and selecting "Image." After selecting an image, you can move it and re-size it on the page.
  • Do not leave the lines around the text boxes visible. You can make sure the lines are not visible on the text box by clicking "No Line" on the "Line Color" tool.