Office hacks: Make personalized PPT timeline in place

The concept of expressing time series in PPT, such as enterprise development history, software evolution process, etc., is often presented in the way of timeline. With the functions and materials provided by PowerPoint 2016 itself, we can easily create timeline graphics, and the following are two personalized ways to create timeline graphics.

SmartSmartArt makes timeline easily

SmartArt is a smart charting component that comes with PowerPoint, which has a lot of flow charting materials built-in, and you can quickly make a timeline graphic with these materials. The following author wants to create a timeline to express the growing business of the company, through which the “arrow shape” can be achieved.

Click “Insert → SmartArt”, in the window that opens switch to the “process”, select the right “up arrow”, insert this shape in the slide, a A simple timeline will take shape (Figure 1).


Figure 1 Insert arrow shape

Next, according to the actual situation for more personalized settings, if there are more points in time, then right-click the graph and select “Add Shape → Add Shape Behind”, you can add new nodes. Click on the word “text” prompt, enter the name of the time point you set, a complete timeline graphics will be made successfully. Finally, you can make more detailed adjustments, such as rotating the direction of the arrow, adding light to the shape, 3D effects, etc., to make the timeline effect more prominent (Figure 2).


Figure 2 Adding effects to the timeline

In addition, we can also change the shape of the SmartArt timeline, for example, the sales shown in the above example are undulating, so you can right-click on the above figure and select “Change Shape”, select “Lower Arc Arrow”, and then adjust the actual value according to the Then adjust the position of the text box according to the actual value, so that you can complete the timeline “dress up”.


Figure 3 Changing shapes for the timeline

Custom Shape Combination Timeline

Although SmartArt is easy and fast to use, to create a more personalized timeline, we still need to do it manually and make full use of the various shapes that come with PowerPoint to combine new graphics.

Here we try to quickly create a timeline that is not available in the SmartArt template by using a simple arrow line and dot graphic. Click “Insert→Shape→Select Arrow”, hold down the Shift key, insert a horizontal arrow, and then adjust its color and thickness. Then “Insert→Shape→Select Ellipse”, hold down the Shift key, insert a circle, and then hold down the Ctrl key on the small ball to drag the horizontal several times, and finally insert a text box to enter text, a simple timeline is complete (Figure 4).


Figure 4 Creating a simple timeline

Complex graphical combination of perspective timeline

The above timeline is relatively simple, let’s try a more complex graphic combination.

First insert a trapezoid, then rotate its shape and adjust the size and length, then right-click the trapezoid and select “Edit Vertex Shape”, adjust it to a suitable shape and fill with gray, set the shape effect, shadow, three-dimensional parameters, etc., to complete a sense of perspective timeline (Figure 5).


Figure 5 Trapezoidal Timeline with Perspective Effect

Continue to insert a “teardrop”, rotate and resize it to make a shape similar to a map orientation. Right-click on the shape and select “Paste as Image” to convert it into a picture (this makes it easier to arrange and resize it subsequently, and the shape will not change), hold down the Ctrl key to copy it in order and place it above the trapezoid to arrange it, resize each teardrop shape (based on the “large near, small far (based on the principle of “large near and small far” perspective), so that the top of each shape is horizontally aligned, and the alignment operation can be carried out with the help of PowerPoint reference lines (Figure 6).


Figure 6 Aligning the picture

Insert the text box in the picture in turn and enter the appropriate text description, also based on the “near large and far small” principle of perspective to set the text size, as well as based on the “near bright and far dark” principle to modify the color of the shape, the more forward the text shape is larger and brighter. Finally, adjust the background color of the entire slide, a perspective effect of the timeline is complete (Figure 7).


Figure 7 Perspective effect timeline

Personalized Curve Timeline

If the development of the company’s history is more winding, or need to show more years of development in a slide, then we can insert a curve, and then the teardrop images in turn arranged in the appropriate position on the curve, and the shape of different years filled with different colors (select the picture and click “Format → Color” settings (that is), and finally enter the corresponding text description, you can complete a zigzag development of the timeline graphics (Figure 8)).


Figure 8 Curve Timeline

In short, using PowerPoint’s various shapes, including various combinations of shape size, color, effect, etc., as well as overlaying pictures and people according to the actual situation, you can create more personalized timeline graphics (Figure 9 and Figure 10).


Figure 9 Interlaced Timeline


Figure 10 Linked Timeline

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