What is the Timeline Chart in Excel?
Excel Timeline Chart is also called a Milestone chart in project management terms. This is the chart used to track all the stages of a project in a visual way. As a project manager deliver the project to the end-user as committed before the start of the project.
So in order to help out a project manager to visualize things in excel, we can create a Timeline Chart.
How to Create Timeline (Milestone) Chart in Excel?
Below is the example of a timeline (milestone) chart in excel.
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The first thing to create a timeline chart is to get the data ready. You need a task list with an estimated time of the task. Below is the data I have prepared for this example of a timeline chart.
Let’s create a timeline chart in excel by following the below steps.
- Step 1: First thing we need to do is to create a modified data table. Insert a helper column and insert the number 10 with one positive number and one negative number.
- Step 2: Select the data and go to the INSERT tab and insert excel Line Chart with Markers.
Now we will have a chart like below one.
- Step 3: Now, Right-click on the chart and choose the “Select Data” option.
- Step 4: In the below window remove the legend entries.
- Step 5: Now click on the “Add” button.
- Step 6: In the below window for “Series Name” enter “Date” and for “Series Values” select task list.
- Step 7: Now click on “OK”. In the same window click on “Edit” option on the right-hand side i.e. “Horizontal Axis Labels”
- Step 8: In the below selection window choose date values.
- Step 9: Click on OK. Now in the same window again click on the “Add” button.
- Step 10: Now in the next window enter “Helper” for Series Name and for “Series Values” choose helper column values.
Now the chart looks like the below one.
- Step 11: After all this, we need to do some formatting touches. Now click on the line chart and press the shortcut key “Ctrl + 1” to open the “Format Data Series” option to the right of the chart.
- Step 12: Go to the “Fill & Line” option and under the “Line” option select “No Line” option.
- Step 13: Now with the same selection click on the Design tab. Under the Design tab, go to Add Chart Elements.
- Step 14: Under Add Chart Elements go to Error Bars in excel and choose “More Error Bars Options”.
- Step 15: As soon as you click on “More Error Bars Options” it will open up a formatting option to the right side again.
- Step 16: Click on “Error Bar Options”, select direction as “Minus” and Error amount percentage as 100%.
Now we have a chart like this.
- Step 17: Now select the horizontal flat line chart and make this as “Secondary Axis”.
- Step 18: Now delete the Secondary Axis vertical values.
- Step 19: Next “Add Data Labels” to the chart.
- Step 20: By selecting data labels to press Ctrl + 1 to open formatting window. From the formatting window select “Category Name”.
- Step 21: Select the chart and click on the “Select Data” option. In the below window choose “Helper” and click on the “Edit” option.
- Step 22: For “Axis Labels” choose an Estimated Date.
- Step 23: Select “Dot” data labels and make this data label as Values from cells choose values from A2 to A9.
- Step 24: Now select the “Dot” and choose “Marker Option” to make this as delta shapes marker with black color.
Now our Mile Stone chart is ready to rock.
Things to Remember
- Timeline chart (Milestone) isn’t the built-in excel chart, so we need to follow all the above steps to create our own chart.
- This is the simple visualization technique to track all your project schedules.
- It seems difficult because of formatting techniques but the more time you spend on this the more comfortable you will be.
This has been a guide to Timeline Chart in excel. Here we discuss how to create a Timeline (Milestone) Chart in Excel with the help of an example and downloadable excel template. You can learn more from the following articles –