How To Make A Timeline In Google Sheets

Last Updated on November 1, 2023 by Jake Sheridan

In this tutorial, you will learn how to make a timeline in Google Sheets.

Timelines are a powerful tool for keeping track of project deadlines or visualizing the order of events. While Google Sheets doesn’t have a specific tool for creating timelines, charts can be used to make customizable timelines

Preparing Timeline Data

Here’s how to prepare timeline data:

Step 1

Add the headers. You’ll need 4 columns: Date, Event Label, Vertical Position, and Display Lines

Step 2

Under the Date and Event Label columns, enter the dates of each event, along with a label. Keep the text short as it won’t wrap

Step 3

The Vertical Position column specifies how high off the horizontal axis each event displays. Using numbers between 2 and 9 will work well for readability

Step 4

The Display Lines column will be used to display lines between the horizontal axis and events. Values in this column should be the negative of the Vertical Position values. Use the formula “=-C2”, then drag the formula down to calculate all Display Line values

Step 5

Your data is now ready to chart

Charting the Timeline

Step 1

Select the entire data range, including headers, and open the Insert menu, then choose Chart

Step 2

In the Chart Editor, choose the Scatter Chart chart type

Step 3

Scroll down to the Series List, click on the 3 dots beside Vertical Position, and choose Add Labels then select the Event Label Series

Step 4

Above the Series section in the X-Axis section, click on the X beside Event Label to remove the X-axis label

Step 5

Open the Customize Tab and click on the Vertical Axis section to expand it

Step 6

Select white as the text color to hide the labels

Step 7

Set the Min and Max values to 0 and 10 respectively to hide the lower portion of the graph that we don’t want to see

Step 8

Expand the Gridlines and Ticks section and set the vertical gridline color to white to hide the gridlines

Step 9

Hide the gridlines for the Horizontal Axis in the same way

Step 10

Next, remove the legend from the top of the chart by clicking on it and then hitting the delete key

Step 11

The last step is to add lines connecting the events to the X-axis. To do this, expand the Series section and choose Display Lines from the dropdown at the top

Step 12

Check the Error Bars box at the bottom of the Series section, set the Type to Percent and the Value to 200 to display vertical bars for each event

Step 13

Format the chart as desired by changing the color for the Display Lines Series and the Point Shape and Color or the Vertical Position Series

Step 14

You can change point shapes and colors individually by clicking the Add button and selecting a data point from the dropdown

Step 15

Your timeline should look something like this


Example Spreadsheet: Make a copy of the example spreadsheet

In this tutorial, I covered how to make a timeline in Google Sheets. Want more? Check out all the Google Sheets Tutorials.