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How to create a timeline in Google Slides?

With so many ways to customize and design a Google Slides project, the options can be overwhelming. You want to ensure your design is cohesive, eye-catching, with the ability to get your desired point across. Different projects will require you to utilize specific skills, while other Google Slides skills will be rendered useless.

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to create a timeline on Google Slides. What does a timeline do to help your presentation? There are so many types of projects that would benefit from a timeline outlined, such as describing a timeline, explaining a length of history, or even laying out a project step-by-step. A timeline is great for condensing information that might seem overwhelmingly spread out and in greater detail, ensuring the data is easier for the viewer to absorb.

The line

The first step to creating your Google Slides timeline is creating the line that is the timeline’s foundation. It’s relatively simple to achieve, utilizing your Google Slides shape skills to get the base of your timeline completed.

To create your initial line, follow these steps:

  1. Before you insert your line, you’ll need to select (or add) the slide you need to add the timeline.
  2. Then you’ll go to the toolbar at the top of your screen and click “Insert.”
  3. In the dropdown menu that appears under insert, you’ll go down to “Line.”
  4. Finally, you’ll go over to the regular “Line” option and click.
  5. To create the line, you’ll click and drag it to your desired length, and then click once more to finalize the line. 
Add shape line in Google slides

Once you have your line within your slide, you’ll be able to customize it to fit the design template of your project. There are several different ways you can design the line, including:

  • Altering the color
  • Adjusting thickness
Change line options

When altering the color, you want to stay within the theme colors to ensure cohesiveness. The thickness may look fine; however, you decide to adjust it, but specific designs may make a thinner or heavier line look flattering.

To find these customization options, look to the lower toolbar. Make sure your line is still selected when you customize it.

Note: You’ll want to avoid the third customization option that comes with lines, which is “Line dash.” Dashing the lines would chop up your timeline and remove the continuous feel that most projects with a timeline require.

The milestones

With your line established, you can now add the milestones to complete the points on the timeline. To create the points on the timeline, you’ll create multiples of the same shape. Usually, timelines are created with circles, so we’ll stay with the tutorial’s traditional circle milestones.

  1. You’ll once more go up to the “Insert” tab within your top toolbar.
  2. Then you’ll go down to the “Shape” option.
  3. Then you’ll go over to the “Shape” option under the initial shape.
  4. Within the shape option, you’ll choose the “Oval” to create your circular milestones.
  5. Once you’ve selected your shape, you’ll click and drag to create your first milestone. 
Add “Start”step shape form
Change colour options “Start” point
Type “Start” point text

You DO NOT have to redo these four steps for as many milestones as you wish for your timeline. However, you’ll want to customize the first point to your liking before you duplicate it, or you’ll have to customize each one. 

There are a few options for customizing your shape, including:

  • Color, which you’ll use the “Fill icon” to color the shape
  • Border Color
  • Border Weight
  • Border Dash

You’ll find these four customization options with the circle selected in the lower toolbar at the top of the screen.

Create number points and do copies
Select all milestones and align them

Once your milestone point matches your design image, you’ll select the model point, click Ctrl + C to copy the original, and then click Ctrl + V to paste a duplicate. You’ll repeat the necessary process until you have the desired number of points for your timeline. When you click and drag the duplicate circles onto your line, it will show you where to drop them to ensure they’re aligned with the base line. 

Change numbers milestones

The callouts

With your timeline complete, the next step is to create the callouts you’ll use to label the milestones. To add your callouts, you’ll follow nearly the same steps as you do to add your milestone points.

  1. You’ll first go up to the “Insert” tab in the toolbar.
  2. Then you’ll go down the dropdown menu to the “Shape” option.
  3. Once under “Shape,” you’ll move down to the “Callouts” option.
  4. Though there are various shaped callouts, your design will generally look best with one of the four bottom callout options, unless your design is incredibly quirky and obscure. 
Create Callout form

To customize your callouts, you’ll have the same customization options when inserting your milestone ovals. 

Add and setup style text
Do some copies

If you want to inter-change whether the callout’s position around the timeline is above or beneath the line, you’ll need to follow a few steps.

  1. First, you’ll select the callout you wish to flip to the bottom of the timeline.
  2. Then you’ll go up to the “Arrange” tab within the toolbar.
  3. Once under “Arrange,” go down to the “Rotate” option.
  4. Under “Rotate,” you’ll choose “Flip vertically.” 
Use format tools for setup text forms

Essentially, this will flip the callout upside-down so that the triangular point is directed towards the point above. 

Make the required number of copies of the text block and arrange them

The text

A few necessary steps with your callouts in their proper place will be either above or below the timeline. First, you’ll click the text box tab on the bottom toolbar.

After selecting this tab, you can drag and drop as you did with the shapes and lines to create text boxes within the callouts.

There are several options for customizing text, including:

  • Font
  • Font Size
  • Bold
  • Italic 
  • Underline
  • Color
  • Highlight


By the end of this tutorial, not only will you have a few new skills to add to your Google Slides toolbelt, but you’ll understand how to make a timeline for any project.

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