Timelines are useful
for project teams or just for informational purposes. A timeline provides an
effective visual representation of past or planned events.
If you need to include
a timeline in your presentation, then you may want to know how to make a timeline with
Of course, you could
use Google Slides drawing tools to draw your own timeline. But, unless you’re
a professional designer, your timeline might come out looking sloppy and
unpolished. Even if you are a design professional, creating an attractive
timeline takes quite a bit of time.
It makes a lot more
sense to base your Google Slides timeline on a professional template. You’ll
save time and be assured of an attractive outcome.
In this tutorial, learn how to select and modify a professional template to create your
own Google Slides timeline. We provide step-by-step details in the written
instructions. Or, you can jump right into the quick-start video with more condensed
How to Quickly Make a Timeline on Google Slides (Video)
For a quick look at how to make a timeline with Google Slides using professional templates, watch the screencast below:
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For more detailed instructions, review the written steps in this tutorial:
Step 1. Download
Your Presentation Template
Your first step is to
download a professional template that includes a timeline slide that you like. GraphicRiver offers a wide variety of professional
templates for Google Slides, including some that have pre-designed
detailed instructions on how to download a presentation template or theme, study this helpful Envato Tuts+ tutorial:
instructions, I’ll be using the popular Marketofy Google Slides template. The Marketofy template includes an impressive number of graphics,
including various charts and maps. It also includes several timelines, making
it perfect for this project.
Note: If you need to insert a timeline into
an existing presentation, you can still use a professional template. The helpful tutorial 14+
(Quick) Professional Tips to Using Google Slides Better explains how to quickly copy a slide from one presentation to another.
Step 2. Rename Your Presentation
Once you’ve downloaded
your template, copy and rename it. That way, you can return to your
original template if you need to.
To copy your template, right-click on it in Google Drive to bring up the drop-down
Click the Make a
copy option. You’ll see a new file called Copy of [Template Name].
Right-click on the new file to bring up the drop-down menu again. Click the Rename
option. The Rename dialog box appears:
At the prompt, type
the name of the presentation you’re creating. Click the OK button when
you are done.
Step 3. Remove
Double-click on the presentation name in Google Drive to
open the presentation file. Since you’re opening it for the first time, you’ll be prompted to open it with Google Slides. Click the Open with Google Slides button in the center of the screen.
Your presentation displays:
The title slide displays on the right. On the left you see a
panel containing thumbnails of all the various slides available in this
template. The Marketofy template contains over 190 different slide layouts.
Of course, you probably don’t need all these slide layouts.
So, you’ll delete the ones you don’t need.
Deleting a slide is easy. Simply click the thumbnail of the
slide you don’t need to select it. Then right-click on the selected slide to
display the drop-down menu:
Choose the Delete
slide option to remove that slide from your presentation.
Tip: Save time by deleting multiple slides
at once. Hold down the Shift key to select multiple slides at the same
time. When you bring up the drop-down menu, the menu option reads Delete
slides. Click on it to remove all the selected slides from your
In the illustration
below, I’ve removed all the slides in the presentation except for the cover
slide, three timeline template slides, and a closing slide:
It’s time to choose
one of the template slides to base my timeline on.
Step 4. Choose a
To choose the right slide to use as a basis for
my timeline, look at each slide template separately. Here’s the first timeline slide:
As you can see, it’s an attractive layout with text above
and below the timeline. There are years to mark each milestone. And the icons
in the center of the milestone can be replaced if needed.
Let’s look at the second timeline:
This is another attractive layout that also makes use of
icons. This timeline also includes text on the timeline itself.
Here is the final timeline layout we are considering:
This is another attractive timeline option from the
Marketofy template. Although it does not include years, it makes good use of
icons and color.
After some consideration, I decide to use the second
timeline for this project. When you’ve selected the right timeline layout for
you, use the instructions in Step 3 to remove the timeline template slides you
won’t be using.
Now, let’s modify the template for this project.
Step 5. Modify the Timeline Template
Once you select a presentation template and chose the slide layouts
you want to use, it’s now time to make the presentation your own. In this section,
you’ll learn how to:
- Add/Change Text. Replace
the template text with your own information.
- Change Colors. Change
the default template colors to reflect your own corporate color palette.
Icons. Replace the default icons with icons more suited to your needs.
- Delete Timeline
Segments. Add or delete timeline segments, as needed.
Note: If the template contains layers with
instructions (or other special features), remove those elements before starting.
go through each step separately:
1. Add or Change
To add or change text, click on the text box
containing the text you want to change. You should see a blue outline. Click in
the text box and drag the cursor over the text you want to replace, highlighting
it. Here’s what text looks like when it’s selected:
Once you’ve selected the text to be replaced, type over it
with your new text:
Continue selecting and replacing text on the slide, as
needed. You can also delete text you don’t need. If you need to resize a text
box, drag one of the blue handles on the text box to make it larger or
Here is what my timeline looks like with all the text replaced to reflect my new timeline:
Now, let’s make some adjustments to the colors:
2. Change Colors
This color palette uses yellow as an accent theme. Let’s say
I wanted to change that to red instead. In Google Slides, it’s not difficult to
To change the color of the text, click on a text
box. Highlight the text you want to change in the timeline. Then, click the A option under More on the Tools menu:
When you click on the A,
the color palette displays:
Click on the color you wish to apply to the selected text.
In this case, dark red 2.
You can also change the color of a graphic.
Start by clicking on it. Then, click the Fill
Color tool in the Tools menu to
show the color palette:
Click a color on the color palette to apply it to the
selected graphic. Be careful. The arrow shaped pointers on this timeline are a
separate graphic from the timeline segment. You’ll need to change their color
Here’s a look at the slide with all the yellow
elements changed to red:
3. Change the Icons
Now that we’ve modified the text and changed the color, it’s
time to take a look at the icons. Most of the icons match my timeline segments
pretty well, but the people icon under funding doesn’t fit.
Fortunately, the Marketofy presentation template includes a
set of icons. To find them, look for a subfolder in the Marketofy Google Slides Template folder called Icon Set Library:
Double-click on the Icon
Set Library folder to open it. Inside you’ll find a slideshow file
containing hundreds of icons. Once you’ve open the slideshow file, click on an
icon you like to select it. Use CTRL + C
to copy the selected icon to your clipboard.
Note: If the template you selected doesn’t include icons, you can copy
an icon you created or already own to the clipboard from the location where you
Now, return to your timeline presentation and
use CTRL + V to copy the selected
icon from your clipboard into your presentation. Use the method described earlier
to change the color of the icon if needed. Here’s a look at the timeline with
the new and old icon:
I’ll be replacing the people icon with a dollar sign icon.
Now, we need to delete the old icon.
Select the old icon by clicking on it. With the icon selected, right-click to
see the drop-down menu:
Click the Cut
menu option to remove the old icon.
Click on the new icon to select it. Use the cursor to drag the new icon
to the proper location (the cursor should look like a crosshair). Be careful
not to change the size or shape of the new icon as you drag it.
Here’s what our slide looks like so far:
4. Delete a
We have one final change to make. The timeline template had
a segment that we’re not using for this timeline. As you can see in the
illustration above, the segment on the right end is blank.
We could delete the blank end segment, but that would leave
the timeline looking unfinished. Instead, we’ll use the skills we learned above
- Delete the segment to the left of the end
- Add the text to the end segment.
- Move the end segment to the left.
- Change the color of the end segment.
Let’s take a look at each step in the process.
Here I’ve deleted the segment to the left of the current end segment:
As you select the
timeline segment graphic to delete it, remember to also select the arrow
Now let’s add text to
the end segment. We already removed the previous text in the earlier step. Click in the end segment text box and type the new text. Here’s
what the timeline looks like now:
move the end segment, make sure that all the parts of it are selected. In this
case the parts are: the arrow graphic, the segment graphic, and the textbox.
Once the entire segment is selected, drag it to the left with your cursor. Be
careful not to stretch or distort it.
You’ll also want to delete the icon that
was beneath the end segment since we no longer need it. Take a look at the
The timeline is
looking pretty good, but the last two segments are the same color. We’ll want
to change that. Select the last segment and click the Fill color icon to
change the color to the darker gray used in the timeline.
Since the arrow
graphic is at the top of the segment, I delete it. I copy the down arrow graphic element from the
Manufacturing segment and paste it beneath this segment.
Here’s our finished
You can also add segments to a timeline.
To add a segment to a
timeline template, select a segment and use your cursor to move it
over to make space for a new segment. Then copy one of the existing
segments to clipboard and paste it into the empty space. Finally, adjust the text and color of the new segment and make any other necessary
Now that you’ve made
the timeline slide your own, you’re ready to present it.
Step 5. Presenting
By their very nature,
timelines are complex. That’s why it’s important to have good speaker notes
available during your presentation.
add speaker notes to your timeline slide, click in the Speaker Note area of the
screen and type your note. The Speaker Note area appears below your slide:
The speaker notes are
not visible to your audience when you give your presentation, but as a
presenter you can access them.
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You’ve heard the
saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Well, when it comes to
describing a sequence of events, the saying is especially relevant. It’s much
easier and more effective to show your audience a sequence of events using a
timeline than it is to try and describe it using only words.
In this tutorial,
we’ve taken you through the process of modifying a Google Slides presentation template timeline to make it
your own. You’ve learned how to change the text, colors, and icons. You’ve even
learned how to add or delete timeline segments.
The next step is
yours. You’re now ready to take your new timeline and use it in your presentation.
Also, take your Google Slides learning further with our multi-part How to Use Google Slides (Ultimate Tutorial Guide).