Create a timeline in Project

A timeline can really help you out when you need to report “big picture” project information. It’s a professional-looking snapshot of key tasks and milestones that’s good to go in any status meeting — just drop it into a PowerPoint slide or Word doc, print it, or email it to your boss.

Tip: The timeline is on by default most of the time. It appears above the current view.

These instructions are specific to Microsoft Project 2016.

  1. Click View, and then select Timeline.

    Timeline check box in Project

  2. Right-click a task, and then click Add to Timeline. Repeat this for each task or milestone you want to add.

If you're using Project 2016, you can create a second timeline bar, to show multiple timelines, and then you can change the start and end dates for each timeline.

Multiple timelines with custom start and finish dates

To add another timeline bar

  1. Click the Timeline view, and then click Format > Timeline Bar.

    Timeline Bar

  2. Right-click a timeline and choose Date Range to choose custom start and finish dates.

    Date Range

You can use the timeline as-is, or you can rearrange the tasks any way you want, add text, and even change their colors to make them stand out.

Before:

Basic timeline in Project

After:

Formatted timeline in Project

Here's how! Click anywhere in the timeline, and then click Format to see all your options for making the timeline look better.

Format tab for the Timeline view

Make some tasks callouts

  1. Click a task in the timeline.

  2. Click Format > Display as Callout. The task now points to the timeline from above or below.

  3. Drag the task to where you want it.

  4. Click a callout and then click Display as Bar to turn it back into a bar.

Display as Callout button in Project

Move tasks to separate rows

Drag tasks up or down within the timeline to show them on different rows, or drag tasks between different timelines.

Drag tasks between rows and timelines

Change bar, background, and font colors

Click the task you want to change in the timeline. To pick a bunch of tasks at the same time, hold down Ctrl and click each one.

  1. Click Background Color (the little paint bucket) and pick the color you want.

  2. Use the other options in the Font group to change the look of the task. This works the same as in other Office programs.

Timeline Font group in Project

Change the date format

Click anywhere on the timeline, click Format > Date Format, and pick the format you want. This list is also where you go to get rid of dates on the timeline altogether.

Timeline Date Format button and menu in Project

Tip:  When you paste a timeline into Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, Excel, or Visio, you get even more advanced formatting options. You can add reflections, 3D effects, gradients, and more to your timeline.

Project timeline formatted in PowerPoint

These instructions are specific to Microsoft Project 2013 and 2010.

  1. Click View, and then select Timeline.

    Timeline check box in Project

  2. Right-click a task, and then click Add to Timeline. Repeat this for each task or milestone you want to add.

Rearrange tasks, change colors, and more

You can use the timeline as-is, or you can rearrange the tasks any way you want, add text, and even change their colors to make them stand out.

Here's how! Click anywhere in the timeline, and then click Format to see all your options for making the timeline look better.

Format tab for the Timeline view

  1. Click a task in the timeline.

  2. Click Format > Display as Callout. The task now points to the timeline from above or below.

  3. Drag the task to where you want it.

  4. Click a callout and then click Display as Bar to turn it back into a bar.

Display as Callout button in Project

Drag tasks up or down within the timeline to show them on different rows.

Drag tasks between rows and timelines

Click the task you want to change in the timeline. To pick a bunch of tasks at the same time, hold down Ctrl and click each one.

  1. Click Background Color (the little paint bucket) and pick the color you want.

  2. Use the other options in the Font group to change the look of the task. This works the same as in other Office programs.

Timeline Font group in Project

Click anywhere on the timeline, click Format > Date Format, and pick the format you want. This list is also where you go to get rid of dates on the timeline altogether.

Timeline Date Format button and menu in Project

Tip:  When you paste a timeline into Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, Excel, or Visio, you get even more advanced formatting options. You can add reflections, 3D effects, gradients, and more to your timeline.

Project timeline formatted in PowerPoint

See Also

Share the timeline in Project

Print the timeline in Project

Share Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Email Email

Was this information helpful?

Great! Any other feedback?

How can we improve it?

Thank you for your feedback!

×