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Tutorial for

Timing 009

Diagonal Arrow Trend Timeline

Using Diagonal Arrows

These diagonal arrow frameworks show start and end points for a task or effort. Use these arrows when specific activity dates are not necessary or unimportant, although tick marks and measurement increments can be added (combine with series TO006 axes). These frameworks can also be used in place of a list of numbered/sequential items (or lists if you use the split arrows as in the example to the right).

This type of timing arrow isn't used very often because it takes a bit of effort to draw the starting point of the diagonal arrows so that they meet the axes correctly and don't hang over (as they do when using the arrow tool in PowerPoint).

Customizing the Diagonal Arrows

Adjust size

If you want to change the size/shape of the PowerFramework, be sure to group it and resize the entire group. Once resized, ungroup to proceed with other customizations. Adjusting the size of the leader lines can be different story. The example for the series (above) uses leader lines drawn in PowerPoint (not those in TI009_v1a or v1b). These angles are not consistent and they look okay. But if you want to have a very polished look, keep the leader line angles consistent. The graphic below shows you how to do this. You need to start with TI009_v1a or v1b and then proceed with the edits as explained below.

Color variations

Select color from your document's color palette or a complimentary color so that the arrows will reflect the color scheme of the rest of your document. It's not necessary to use lines with these frameworks. Two framework versions in this series include leader lines. The series example shows leader lines with a "ball" at the end (which can be created by formatting the line in PowerPoint). The example above uses the leader lines in included in frameworks v1a and v1b. This type of chart requires leader lines. Be sure to decide on the look you want and stay with it for the sake of consistency. Also, choose a color for the leader lines that is prominent enough to do the job but does not compete with the primary information on the chart.

Coloring text backgrounds may also be in order. The graphic below tells you how and why to do this.

3D variations

Don't use 3D on the arrows. The starting points of the arrows will cease to fit up against the axes if you do.

PowerPoint 2007 effect

There are so many great design effects that can be applied in PowerPoint 2007. This in only one example of many.


You can use shadows, but use them conservatively or they will tend to distort the arrow starting point like the 3D effects. You want to be sure that the arrow starting point fits perfectly against the two axes.

Gradients, patterns, and pictures

Gradients can be used to create an appearance of movement. The more concentrated color is on the right-hand side of the segment. The example used in the color section above also shows how to use a gradient. A diagonal gradient works best, going from light to dark, as you choose.


Animations should be selected that will enhance the meaning of the message, not merely to add interest to the slide. Wipes from left to right can be effective with these types of frameworks. Since the text associated with the arrow is the primary focus of these types of charts, animating the text and leader lines on reveals or wipes might be the best choice. Download the animation example for this series to see how this would work.

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