Timeline: what it is, how to do it, examples

What is a timeline?

A timeline is a graphic representation that allows you to see and understand time sequences between events.

Timelines are a visual tool for chronologically ordering and explaining processes or events that have occurred over a period, which is why they are very useful as a pedagogical resource.

In the organizational world, a timeline can help to see the evolution or involution of a process, department, product or the company itself.

How to make a timeline

To make a timeline correctly it is essential to follow some steps:

  • Select a topic.
  • Select the period you want to represent: The period to study can be a specific day, a year, a decade, a century, the important thing is that the start and end of the event to be analyzed appear clearly in the timeline.
  • Choose the most relevant aspects or facts: The timeline is a resource to visualize and synthesize information. Therefore, the most useful is to choose only that information that is relevant to the subject.
  • Use a time measure: in a timeline the sections that divide each period must have the same measure. For example, if a representation of the most important events of the year is to be made, the timeline can be divided into months. If it is a historical period, it can be divided into decades or centuries.
  • The information that gives context to the timeline must be brief and concrete: for example, year and title of the event.
  • If the timeline is horizontal, the milestones or events begin to be drawn from left to right. If it is a vertical line, from top to bottom.

Examples of timelines

While timelines must make a chronology visible and understandable, there are no rules about the creative use of the elements. You can use lines, arrows, geometric shapes, icons, images, interactive resources, etc. The important thing is that they are relevant with respect to the topic to be treated and should not overshadow the central idea that one wishes to convey.