A timeline tells a story. It may be the story of events that have already occurred – a sort of historical chart. It may also be the story of events that are yet to occur – or at least, events someone hopes will occur, or plans to bring about. The timeline format allows events to be shown in sequence. This makes it a great tool for learning (or teaching) the relationship of events to one another.
If the events depicted took place in the past, their relationships in time can be visualized – and this can often spark new understandings and insights into the ways in which an event or series of events caused or influenced other, later events.
If the events depicted are planned or postulated for the future, necessary sequences and cause-and-effect relationships can be visualized and better understood. For example, when a timeline is used to brief a group or team on upcoming plans, the teams leaders and members can see not just what they’ll need to accomplish, but also when, and in many cases why. A person or team can also see how their own actions may depend on others completing tasks or steps in a timely fashion, as well as how others will depend on their own assigned actions.
Not sure how to go about designing and building a presentable timeline? The good news is, you don’t have to. There are timeline templates included with Microsoft PowerPoint software – it’s just a matter of digging them up and filling in the information you want to display.
As with most slide and presentation design, though, the templates packaged with PowerPoint are likely to be all too familiar to your audiences. Fortunately, you have another convenient option that will wind you up with a great looking presentation, without your having to be a slide design and creation genius: downloadable timeline templates from online suppliers such as Slideshop.com. Not only will you get a fresh look (making your presentation pleasantly different from all the others your viewers will have seen), you’ll also get advanced options for customization.
Once you’ve decided on a source for your timeline slide or template, it’s time to get more specific.
- Start by choosing the type of timeline best suited to the information or planning you want to display.
- Then select the basic design you’re after. You’ll want one that integrates well with other slides you’ve already worked out for inclusion in your presentation.
- When you’ve downloaded your selected templates, you’re all set to start customizing them in terms of look – adjust colors, add your company logo and so on.
- Now it’s time to plug in your information: the events you want to display, in their correct time sequence. Many PowerPoint timeline templates will even let you add your own photos or other media, wherever you’d like to position them in your timeline slide or slides.
There you have it – the basics of incorporating timelines into your PowerPoint presentations. They’re a great tool and a tremendous aid to audience understanding. For even more about how to use them, you might want to check out this video on YouTube.