How to Make a Timeline on Google Slides

Here are the two ways to get your timeline working

What to Know

  • To create a timeline from a template, select Insert > Diagram > Timeline.
  • To create a timeline from scratch, select Line and Shape from the Google toolbar to plot the diagram.

This article will show you how to make a timeline on Google Slides. You can use the timeline diagrams as templates to save time or create a timeline from scratch with the design tools in Google Slides.

How to Use a Timeline Template

A timeline is a special diagram. So, you can use one of the diagram types as a template to quickly insert a timeline in a Google Slide.


The default timeline template designs in Google Slides can only show four to six events. You must make a timeline from scratch to present more events on a timeline.

  1. In the slide where you want to place the timeline, select Insert > Diagram from the Google Slides toolbar.

    Google Slide with Diagram highlighted in the Insert menu
  2. On the right sidebar, choose the Timeline template to open a gallery with different timeline designs.

    Timeline template highlighted in Google Slides
  3. Use the Dates and the Colour dropdowns to set up the timeline. The different timeline template designs update to reflect your chosen dates and colors.

    Timeline template options in Google Slides with Dates and Colour dropdowns highlighted
  4. Select the template design you want to insert into the slide. Base the choice of the template on the data you want to preset, as each template has its variation of the date and text placeholder used for the milestones.

    Selected timeline template in Google Slides with templates highlighted
  5. The timeline template has placeholders for different timeline events (the milestones). Click any of them to edit the event within the textbox with your data. You can customize each textbox by changing the size or the location. You can also place the main timeline anywhere on the slide.

  6. The elements on the timeline are shapes. Select any element or text and format it from the options available on the toolbar. For instance, use Fill color for different shades for each event.

    Editable timeline template in Google Slides with Fill Color highlighted


You can customize the presentation's appearance by changing the theme and the background color in Google Slides.

How to Create a Timeline From Scratch

The default timeline designs in Google Slides are limited to four, five, or six milestones. So, creating a timeline from scratch would be best when you need to present more data points. You can make simple or complicated timelines with the help of the Shape, Line, and Text box options on the Slides toolbar.

Let's make a simple timeline with a straight central axis and simple shapes to represent the different events.

  1. Open the Google Slides presentation and select the slide for the timeline.

  2. For a simple central axis for the timeline, draw a straight line. Select Line > Line on the toolbar. Draw the line on the slide (press Shift while drawing for a horizontal or vertical line).

    Simple straight line in Google Slides with Line highlighted from the Line menu
  3. Select Line weight and Line color to customize the thickness and color for the central axis of the timeline.

    Line options in Google Slides to change color and thickness with Line Weight and Color icons highlighted
  4. You can also choose Format options from the toolbar to add a drop shadow or reflection to the line. Alternatively, select Format options from the context menu with a right-click on the line.

    Formatting a line in Google Slides with a drop shadow with Format Options highlighted
  5. To add the events, select Shape. The dropdown has Shapes, Arrows, Call outs and Equation as possible selections. For this example, select the Rounded Rectangle shape.

    Google Slide timeline with Shapes and Rounded rectangle highlighted
  6. Add the first shape (Oval). Then, resize it and use the Fill color, Border color, Border weight, and Border dash menus to customize the look of the shape.

  7. Select the shape and press Ctrl + D (on Windows, Command + D on Macs) to copy and align the shapes along the line. Create as many shapes as the number of events on the timeline.

    Shape highlighted showing how to create more shapes in Google Slides for each milestone


    Use the visual guides in blue to align the shape precisely at equal distances on the line or drag them further away to mimic the difference in the time between events. Google Slides provides Snap to Guides and Snap to Grid to help align objects on a slide automatically.

  8. You can insert text boxes with these shapes or create callouts for describing the events.

  9. Select Shape > Callouts. The default callout has its tip to one side. Drag the orange anchor point to change the position of the callout tip and the blue anchor points to resize the shape.

    A callout shape in Google Slides with Call Outs and orange anchor point highlighted
  10. Select the Fill color, Border color, Border weight, and Border dash menus to customize the look of the callout.

    Formatting a callout in Google Slides with Fill Color and Border Color highlighted
  11. To customize all the callouts or move them as a group, select them all. Then, choose Arrange > Group.

    Group Callouts with Group highlighted
  12. Double-click a callout and enter the text to describe the milestone event. Highlight the text and go to the Align options on the toolbar to position the text within the callout. Resize and style your text with the different text options in the toolbar.

    Text align menu and "Event Four" highlighted in Google Slides Timeline

This is a basic timeline created from scratch. Like any other graphic, your style choices and visual skills will decide the look of the timeline. Google Slides has all the options to help you create aesthetic timelines that look consistent for your presentation.

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