Timeline Chart in Excel

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.

TimeLine-Chart-in-Excel.png

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How to Create a Timeline (Milestone) Chart in Excel?

Below is an example of a timeline (milestone) chart in excelChart In ExcelIn Excel, a graph or chart lets us visualize information we've gathered from our data. It allows us to visualize data in easy-to-understand pictorial ways. The following components are required to create charts or graphs in Excel: 1 - Numerical Data, 2 - Data Headings, and 3 - Data in Proper Order.read more.

You can download this Milestone Chart Excel template here – Milestone Chart Excel template

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.

Timeline Chart Example 1.1

Let’s create a timeline chart in excel by following the below steps.

  1. First thing we need to do is to create a modified data tableData TableA data table in excel is a type of what-if analysis tool that allows you to compare variables and see how they impact the result and overall data. It can be found under the data tab in the what-if analysis section.read more. Insert a helper column and insert the number 10 with one positive number and one negative number.

    Milestone Chart Example 1.2

  2. Select the data and go to the INSERT tab and insert excel Line ChartExcel Line ChartLine Graphs/Charts in Excels are visuals to track trends or show changes over a given period & they are pretty helpful for forecasting data. They may include 1 line for a single data set or multiple lines to compare different data sets. read more with Markers.

    Insert Line Chart with Markers

  3. Now, Right-click on the chart and choose the “Select Data” option.

    Select Data Option

  4. In the below window, remove the legend entries.

    Remove Legend Entries

  5. Now, click on the “Add” button.

    Milestone Chart Example Step 5

  6. In the below window for “Series Name,” enter “Date,” and for “Series Values,” select task list.

    Milestone Chart Example Step 6

  7. Now click on “OK.” In the same window, click on the “Edit” option on the right-hand side, i.e., “Horizontal Axis Labels.”

    Milestone Chart Example Step 7

  8. In the below selection window, choose date values.

    Milestone Chart Example Step 8

  9. Click on, OK. Now in the same window again, click on the “Add” button.

    Milestone Chart Example Step 9

  10. Now, in the next window, enter “Helper” for Series Name, and for “Series Values,” choose helper column values.

    Milestone Chart Example Step 10

  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.

    Format Data Series

  12. Go to the “Fill & Line” option, and under the “Line” option, select the “No Line” option.

    No line Option

  13. Now, with the same selection, click on the Design tab. Under the Design tab, go to Add Chart Elements.

    Add Chart Element

  14. Under Add Chart Elements, go to Error Bars in excel and choose “More Error Bars Options.”

    Error Bars Option

  15. As soon as you click on “More Error Bars Options,” it will open up a formatting option to the right side again.

    More Error Bar Options

  16. Click on “Error Bar Options,” select direction as “Minus,” and Error amount percentage as 100%.

    Milestone Chart Example Step 16

  17. Now we have a chart like this.

    Milestone Chart Example Step 16.1

  18. Now select the horizontal flat line chart and make this as “Secondary Axis.”

    Secondary Axis

  19. Now delete the Secondary AxisSecondary AxisThe secondary axis is the other axis that is used to denote different data sets that cannot be displayed on a single axis. The primary axis, for example, depicts time, whereas the secondary axis displays production.read more vertical values.

    Delete Secondary Axis Values

  20. Next, “Add Data Labels” to the chart.

    Data Labels

  21. By selecting data labels to press Ctrl + 1 to open the formatting window. From the formatting window, select “Category Name.”

    Category Name

  22. Select the chart and click on the “Select Data” option. In the below window, choose “Helper” and click on the “Edit” option.

    Milestone Chart Example Step 21

  23. For “Axis Labels,” choose an Estimated Date.

    Choose Estimated Date

  24. Select “Dot” data labels and make this data label as Values from cells choose values from A2 to A9.

    Milestone Chart Example Step 23

  25. Now select the “Dot” and choose “Marker Option” to make this as delta shapes marker with black color.

    Milestone Chart Example Step 24

Now our Mile Stone chart is ready to rock.

Milestone Chart

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.

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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 –

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