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Creating a PowerPoint Timeline Using SmartArt

May 14, 2014 / Features, PowerPoint Tips, PowerPoint Tutorial, Presentation PowerPoint slide, shapes, SmartArt, Timeline slide

Last time, we created a basic timeline using shapes and tables. Today, we’re going to create another one but only this time, we’ll take advantage of the SmartArt feature in Microsoft PowerPoint 2010.

SmartArt is useful for creating representations of a sequence of events in PowerPoint. This sequence of events can be a project milestone or an event timeline (which we’ll get back to in a bit).

The SmartArt Advantage

Basically, what SmartArt does is take the power and functionality of PowerPoint Shape on a different level.

It allows you to mix and match shapes and text in order to create diagrams and other custom graphics. Using it strategically lets you create slides that both communicate your message and capture your audience’s attention.

Getting Started

Now let’s create a basic timeline with the help of SmartArt. You can start by opening a blank PowerPoint slide. Point the cursor to the Insert tab and click on SmartArt. Then select Basic Timeline.

This is under the Process folder or the Circle Accent Timeline. As you hit OK, you will have to enter the necessary elements. (“Level 1 text appears next to larger circular shapes. Level 2 text appears next to smaller circular shapes.”)

PowerPoint timeline

Enhancing the Look

You may change the color of the graphic by clicking on the Design tag and picking the colors and effects that you want for your timeline.


The different shape effects that you may choose include shadow, cartoon, 3D effect and more.


Adding your content and doing a bit of tweaking completes the process. With some practice, you will soon be able to create a more complex PowerPoint timeline design.

SmartArt is an excellent functionality in PowerPoint that provides you with a wide range of visual options. Keep in mind, though, that it is still up to you to determine the appropriate graphic that matches your content. Because at the end of the day, SmartArt is simply a PowerPoint tool at your disposal that you can wield to your advantage.


Learn More about SmartArt Graphics.” Office Support. Accessed May 14, 2014.
“Basic PowerPoint Timeline Creation: Shapes and Tables.” SlideGenius, Inc. May 09, 2014. Accessed May 14, 2014.

About SlideGenius is your PPT presentation design guru for your business. Based in San Diego, California, SlideGenius has helped more than 500 international clients enhance their presentations, including those of J.P. Morgan, Harley-Davidson, Pfizer, Verizon, and Reebok. Call us at 1.858.217.5144 and let SlideGenius help you with your presentation today!