Creating a timeline for your project can be extremely helpful in terms of organization and communication.
Not only does it help to keep everyone on track, but it also makes the visualization of your project much easier. This allows for better collaboration between team members, as they will be able to see exactly who is responsible for each task and when it needs to be completed. 🙋♀️ ✔️
Additionally, by having a clear visual representation of the project, you and your team can prevent overlap or missed deadlines and better anticipate any potential problems and solve them before they become an issue.
In this article, we’ll show you a step-by-step guide to making a timeline in Google Docs along with other tips and tools for creating project timelines. 🙌
Making a Timeline in Google Docs
To keep your team in sync, your timeline needs to live in an app where everyone can view it throughout the project lifecycle.
Like Google Docs!
Here are the steps on how to make a timeline in Google Docs:
Step 1: Open a Google document
Your Google Drive contains every Google Sheet, Doc, and Slide you’ve created.
Go to the Google Docs home page and click on 👉 Go to Google Docs.
You’ll be redirected to a new page that shows a template gallery.
👉 Click on blank to start creating a timeline.
It’ll be untitled; you can name the document accordingly.
For now, let’s name it Project Timeline. 😊
Step 2: Set the page orientation
You need as much space as possible for timeline creation.
And since Google Docs are set to portrait by default, you can switch the orientation to landscape.
To do so, 👉 click on the File menu on the upper left-hand side of your Google document, then select Page setup.
Do you spot the Landscape option in the Page Setup dialogue box?
👉 Select it and click OK.
Your doc shall now be in landscape orientation. 🙌
Step 3: Open the drawing tool
We’re now going to create your timeline using the Google Docs drawing tool.
It’s a built-in tool that lets you draw lines, form text, create shapes, and add color to what looks like a boring white document.
To access the drawing tool, 👉 click on the Insert menu on the upper left-hand side of your document > Drawing > + New.
You’ll see a blank canvas sitting on top of your document.
📌 Quick note: Instead of drawing directly in a Google Doc, you can also use Google Drawing to create a timeline. Save it to Google Drive, and later insert it into your Google Doc once ready.
Step 4: Create the timeline
Now that your canvas is ready, let’s bring out the artist in you and make a timeline. 👩🎨
👉 From the toolbar of the drawing canvas, click the drop-down button beside the Line tool. Then select the option Arrow from the drop-down.
👉 Now, click and drag a line horizontally to create your timeline, starting at one end of your canvas. The line will always come out straight if you follow the white and grey grid.
Both the ends of your horizontal line should have arrows.
👉 To do this, click on Line start on the toolbar.
👉 Then choose an arrow type from the drop-down.
You can also change the line’s thickness by choosing a larger pixel weight from the Line weight option.
Follow similar steps to make a flowchart in Google Docs.
Step 5: Add events or tasks in the timeline
Now we’re ready to add some tasks or events to the project management timeline.
To do that, you’ll need text boxes.
Spot a boxed T? 👀
👉 Select it and click on an area above or below the horizontal line.
Now follow these steps to add tasks, events, and any other timeline graphic or element:
- Drag any corner or side of the text box to resize and reposition it as needed
- Place it where you want it
- Type in the data you want inside the box (event, date, task, etc.)
Here, we’ll number the days.
To make any other format changes, you can highlight the text box and click on the three dots on the toolbar.
You’ll find all the options starting from bold, italic, alignment, bullets, etc.
To save time, copy and paste the first text box to duplicate the format and style.
Then edit the text accordingly.
When you’re done formatting and adding necessary text boxes, your timeline may look something like this:
👉 Now, connect the event tasks to their respective day number with vertical lines. To do that, select the same Line tool that you used in step four.
👉 Then select ‘Line‘ from the drop-down and start connecting the events/tasks to the timeline arrow.
Step 6: Add images
📌 Quick Note: This step is entirely optional. You may add images to your event planning timeline if you’d like to jazz it up and add fun or important visuals.
You can insert an image by:
- Performing a Google search
- Uploading images from your computer
- Selecting an image from your albums or Google Drive
- Pasting an image URL
You’ll find the options in the Image tool in the toolbar.
After inserting the image, resize and position it as needed.
Here we’ve added this Harley Quinn image that reads ‘I have the best idea’ right above goals and objectives for some motivation. 👩🎤 ✨
Drag and drop your timeline elements as needed to make room for the images.
Step 7: Save the timeline
When you’re done, spot a big blue Save and Close button to click on. The timeline will be saved to your Google document.
Missed adding something?
Just double-click on the timeline, and you’ll be back at the drawing canvas.
Make the changes and click Save and Close again.
And there you go.
You’ve made your very own timeline in Google Docs! 👏👏 👏
Here are 3 timeline template options for Google Docs
The manual effort may be fun once or twice but doing this for every project sounds like a bad plan.
The smarter option is to save time by using a Google Docs template. ⚡️
1. Event planning timeline template
Try this free event planning template to organize decorations, caterers, and anything you want as an event project manager.
Download this event planning timeline template from Template.Net.
2. Project timeline
This project timeline template works in both Google Docs and Google Sheets files (spreadsheet template).
Download this visual timeline template from Designmodo.
3. Google Slides timeline template
Use this template in case Google Docs seems restrictive when it comes to timeline visualization.
In this Google slide, you’ll find high-quality vector graphics.
Download this Google Slides timeline template from Slidesmash.com.
Take a look at the 3 limitations of creating a timeline in Google Docs
Creating timelines in Google Docs is doable, but it may not be the best long-term solution.
Here’s why 👇
1. Not designed for timelines
Let’s start with the basics.
You can manipulate a Google document to display a basic timeline, but this Google app is actually designed for creating and sharing documents just like Microsoft Word.
We wouldn’t have minded if Google Docs had built-in timeline templates or if using the drawing tool was easy.
2. Offline work is inconvenient
Google Docs operates in a web browser. This means you can work on any device with an internet connection.
However, this presents a limitation as well.
No internet connection=No timelines. 🙆♀️
Google also offers a Drive app for Chrome and a Drive desktop program, which provides offline access to all Drive files, including files in Docs.
It sounds great, but there are a few things you need to know. 👀
To work offline, you need to plan. You have to set up Drive for offline use and choose the files you want to access offline beforehand.
If you don’t, you can’t use Docs offline urgently.
In other words, if your wifi is down suddenly, you won’t be able to access your files. 😅
3. No workflow capabilities
Let’s say you create a project timeline on Google Docs because you’re up for a challenge.
But can you create tasks? Nope.
What about scheduling or assigning them? Nope.
Because guess what?
We have the perfect Google Docs alternative for you!
It’s ClickUp—one of the highest-rated productivity tools used by solopreneurs to enterprise teams across different industries.
Learn how to create effortless timelines with ClickUp
ClickUp is the only timeline tool you’ll ever need.
Just try our Timeline view.
You won’t need a guide to create a professional timeline.
All you need is three simple steps to build a timeline:
- Click on + new view. You’ll find it in any List, Folder, or Space
- Select timeline
- Name it
That’s it. Your timeline is ready. 😊 🙌
Use it to:
- View days, weeks, or a month full of tasks and events
- Group items based on assignees, priorities, tags, Custom Fields, etc.
- Customize your timeline
- Assign tasks to multiple people
- Schedule tasks
- And more!
Once your interactive timeline is ready, you can share it with people in your Workspace as well as people outside, like clients and external stakeholders, with Public Sharing.
Because no matter where you, your teammates, or clients are…
But a Timeline view isn’t all ClickUp has to offer. 👀
Here are some other ClickUp views you can utilize too:
- Board view: For Kanban fans who like to move tasks from to-do to done
- Calendar view: Plan, manage, and schedule tasks on a calendar
- ClickUp’s Gantt chart view: Manage dependencies using drag and drop
- Table view: View and manage tasks in a spreadsheet format
- Activity view: Vew your team’s activity in specific areas like Lists, Space, Folders, etc.
Here’s a glimpse at some of the other ClickUp features to give you an idea:
- Work offline from anywhere with offline mode
- Track time for all your tasks with the native time tracking
- Add custom widgets to visualize data in the form of a bar chart, portfolio, line chart, battery chart, etc.
- Add content from other websites such a Google spreadsheet or Twitter with the Embed view
- Create knowledge bases with ClickUp Docs and download them into as an HTML, markdown, or PDF file
- Integrate ClickUp with your favorite apps, including Slack, Trello, Zoom, etc.
- Set a start date and end date for all your tasks
- Work on the go with ClickUp’s mobile apps for Android and iOS
It’s time to try something new ✨
Making a timeline in Google Docs doesn’t cost a penny but is time-consuming.
It’s a good thing there are better and easier alternatives available—like ClickUp.✨
It’s a powerful timeline maker, project and resource manager, note-taker, time tracker, and so. much. more!
Best of all, it’s free—that’s your cue to get started today. 😉