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Tutorial for

Timing 008

Timeline for Few Items

Using Timelines

This is a simple, but unique, layout for a timeline consisting of only a few events. Too many events on this type of layout looks cluttered and is difficult to read. More events/specific times generally are best laid out with a gantt chart.

The little gray lines on the thumbnails are the leader lines that you can use to attach the event description to the point on the timeline. Delete those you don't need. Remember, when using leader lines, line up the horizontal part of the leader line with the text and then reposition of the end point with the desired point on the timeline. Refer to best practice "Using leader lines effectively" for a more detailed description of working with leader lines.

Customizing the Timelines

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.

Color variations

Select color from your document's color palette or a complimentary color so that the timelines reflect the color scheme of the rest of your document. Make sure that the leader lines are dark enough to see but not so dark that they draw the eye too much. The text and the associated place on the timeline should be more prominent than the leader lines.

3D variations

Use shallow 3D depths with these frameworks.


Use shadows conservatively, particularly with the dots. This shadow was done in PowerPoint 2007, which produces a soft gradient shadow that is realistic and lifts the fields off the page. The shadows in pre-PowerPoint 2007 are less snazzy, but they also can lift the fields off the page.

Gradients, patterns, and pictures

Gradients can be used to create an appearance of volume, particularly with the dots. The dots are transformed into spheres with the addition of a gradient.


What makes this chart so engaging is the animation that can be applied. Download the example animation example to see an eye-catching animation scheme. The dots that have an associated event blink until the next click.

In this animation example, the animation helps focus the attention of the audience. This type of animation is a hard-working tool and not an embellishment.

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