Free Project Timeline Templates (Excel | Word) + Tips

Most projects follow a strict timeline, which means that the project deliverables must be produced within a specific timeframe. Since they are multifaceted (they have multiple tasks or activities), each task must be assigned an individual deadline to ensure that it progresses without interruptions. Coordinating the various activities thus becomes an essential part of its success, particularly in terms of its completion time.

A timeline is used to document the activities to be completed during the project as well as their duration. The document is distributed to team members and stakeholders to ensure coordination and agreement.

What is a Project Timeline? 

A timeline is a visual representation of a project’s tasks, activities, and milestones listed in the chronological order in which they are to be completed. The start and end dates, duration, and dependencies on other tasks, activities, and milestones are all defined for each task in the timeline.   


Important elements are tasks, dates of commencement, duration of each task, due date, dependencies, and names of team members.   

Timeline Templates

Great Project Timeline Sheet Template 01 for Word Format

Great Project Timeline Sheet Template 02 for Word Format

Printable Project Timeline Sheet Template 03 as Excel Format

Printable Project Timeline Sheet Template 04 as Excel Format

Printable Project Timeline Sheet Template 05 as Excel Format

Printable Project Timeline Sheet Template 06 as Excel Format

Printable Project Timeline Sheet Template 07 as Excel Format

Printable Project Timeline Sheet Template 08 as Excel Format

Printable Project Timeline Sheet Template 09 as Excel Format

Printable Project Timeline Sheet Template 10 as Excel Format

Fillable Project Timeline Chart Template 01 as Excel Format

Fillable Project Timeline Chart Template 02 as Excel Format

Fillable Project Timeline Chart Template 03 as Excel Format

Fillable Project Timeline Chart Template 04 as Excel Format

Fillable Project Timeline Chart Template 05 as Excel Format

Fillable Project Timeline Chart Template 06 as Excel Format

Fillable Project Timeline Chart Template 07 as Excel Format

Fillable Project Timeline Chart Template 08 as Excel Format

Fillable Project Timeline Chart Template 09 as Excel Format

Fillable Project Timeline Chart Template 10 as Excel Format

    Benefits of Using Timeline

    The advantages of using a timeline for the management will extend to various stages and aspects of the project. Managers can organize their teams, schedule when to start the activities and see how each task is connected to the other tasks. They can plan how various tasks are to be assigned to the team members and create effective time management schedules.

    This section will discuss some important benefits below.

    Improves communication

    A timeline facilitates effective communication among management, team leadership, and team members. This is because it can indicate management’s expectations of the team. A timeline can also show investors and clients the tasks that will be done to produce their desired deliverables. It is also simple to add new members to it.

    It helps with monitoring and evaluation

    The progress and requirements can be determined by outlining all of the different tasks that need to be completed, making it simple to monitor and manage its progress at each stage. This ensures progress is monitored, and any deviations can be corrected instantly. 

    It follows the plan

    A timeline shows how progress will be made from task A to task B and thus represents how well the executors are organized. Being structured helps the managers feel more motivated and makes task completion effortless.

    Monitors tasks and their deadlines

    Delays can be avoided by being aware of what needs to be done and when during the project’s progress. A timeline indicates the exact task that has to be completed before a specific date when another task is expected to begin, thus ensuring that the dependencies between tasks, milestones, and phases are mutually beneficial and play their roles toward the overall objective.  

    Visual tool

    A timeline is a visual tool that is easy to interpret. It shows how different tasks are interconnected, which is essential in prioritizing tasks that best meet the objectives within an optimal timeframe. 

    Specifies the workload

    Teams can see the workload they are expected to receive within specific durations. The timeline can be used by managers to allocate responsibility equitably in order to prevent overwhelming one team with duties that could otherwise be distributed to other less strained teams. 

    Gives a broad overview

    A timeline makes it simple to demonstrate all of the variables involved. Moreover, it can also show tasks that signify key phases or periods of a project. 

    Surety of the same goal

    For it to be successful, you must have your entire team involved in it. Timelines assist everyone in understanding what role they have in the overall success. By highlighting the overall goal, a timeline ensures that all involved parties, investors, managers, supervisors, workers, technicians, etc., are aware of their role and commited to achieving it. 

    Keep everyone informed

    A timeline simplifies monitoring because even shareholders and third parties can monitor it using the timeline. In addition, this promotes trust and effective communication among shareholders. Everyone is in possession of the project’s road map, and as a result, they all have some level of control over all the activities during that time.

    It facilitates changes

    Uncertainties are common, and as a result, changes may be necessary to deal with unexpected events. Since dependencies have already been established, changes can be easily incorporated into the timeline without compromising other tasks. 

    Eliminates bottlenecks

    Transitions from one step, milestone, or phase to another can be made without delays by prioritizing tasks and establishing dependencies between them. This will make it easier to complete the project. 

    Free Templates

    Downloadable Project Timeline Chart Template 11 for Powerpoint Format

    Downloadable Project Timeline Chart Template 12 for Powerpoint Format

      Types of Timeline

      A timeline for one may differ from another depending on the design and arrangement of information in the document. 

      Below are the common types of timelines that can be used for different projects. 

      Chronology type timeline

      A chronological timeline shows tasks in chronological order, as the name suggests. It is also referred to as a historical timeline. 

      The tasks are arranged from left to right in ascending order, from the early (beginning) tasks to the last (final) tasks. The information can also be arranged from top to bottom. A chronological timeline cannot be used to indicate parallel tasks. 

      Gantt chart timeline

      A Gantt chart is a comprehensive timeline that shows all of the tasks, due dates, dependencies, assigned members, and milestones. Consequently, it has higher adaptability and can be used in most projects to show parallel tasks as well.    

      Vertical timeline

      Vertical timelines track information from bottom to top. This kind of timeline can be used to calculate durations and sums. These typically begin at the bottom and rise in order to demonstrate growth or progress toward a target.

      Vertical timelines are used to show the growth or increments of a specific item over a predetermined time period, such as sales, revenue, traffic leads, or production units. Vertical timelines are used with statistical data to identify patterns and make related projections.  They are popular in organizations’ finance and marketing departments.  

      Timeline on a bar chart

      This kind of timeline makes use of bar charts to show results at specific times and points in a timeline. The resources are displayed on the vertical (y) axis, while the time progression is shown on the horizontal (x) axis. Bar chart timelines make it easy to monitor trends or changes in the outcomes of deliverables over time. 

      Steps to Create a Timeline

      Before beginning, a project management timeline should be created to inform the team and other stakeholders of how much time they have to finish it and the tasks between start and finish.  A timeline becomes a vital part of the planning process for its success. Now, how is a timeline created?

      Below are the steps to creating a feasible and effective timeline for any project.  

      Define goals

      Firstly, it must be clear what it is trying to accomplish. This can be done by writing a scope statement that outlines all the goals or deliverables accurately and the resources that are available to accomplish them. 

      Identify all stakeholders

      Second, identify and make a list of all the stakeholders and the people, departments, or organizations involved. This can be interpreted as the “CC” section of an email, which indicates all the parties that have to see the timeline once it is completed.

      Determine the final deadline

      Thirdly, mention the expected time of completion. Most projects will have an expected completion date that includes contingencies for unplanned events. This deadline is anticipated to serve as a guide for the timeline and the amount of time allotted to the teams. 

      Make a work breakdown structure 

      Create a WBS (work breakdown structure), a visual tool that divides the deliverables into smaller segments, after mentioning the final deadline in the timeline. To achieve the overall goal, these smaller segments must be finished first and in a specific order. The tasks associated with each deliverable should then be outlined. 

      Identify task dependencies

      Next, determine which tasks are dependent on each other. For example, some tasks cannot begin or end without others being completed first. This dependency is crucial in preventing delays in progress. Finding the dependencies enables the project to proceed without interruptions. 

      Determine the tasks’ duration

      Calculate the estimated completion time for each task and record it once the relationships and dependencies between tasks have been established. It may be necessary to consult with experts, specialists, and team leaders to make an accurate estimation of the required time. 

      Identify the resources

      Each task identified in the template requires different resources. You should assess the resources available. Take into consideration the expertise, time, individual abilities, and preferences of team members and consumables within the project. Determine the availability of each task’s resource requirements and ways to utilize them effectively.   

      Assign tasks to your team

      Next, with all resources considered, assign the tasks to the respective teams and record this information in the timeline. Tasks should be allocated based on feasibility, the team’s capability, accessibility, and adaptability.


      Tasks with high uncertainties should be allocated to the most adaptable team to mitigate the risks and delays of any unprecedented events. Also, allocate tasks based on expertise and capabilities so they are completed on time.  

      Set milestones

      Now that the tasks have been distributed to the teams, break it down into milestones. Cite important results or deadlines to describe the milestones. One phase’s completion


      Could be a quarterly milestone; similarly, progress could be measured on a biannual or annual basis.

      Each milestone should have specific deliverables that mark its success. Setting milestones is crucial for monitoring development as the project moves forward.  

      Organize your schedule using a timeline tool

      Lastly, compile your timeline information into a final timeline. Timelines can be created using templates or software by outlining the tasks, deliverables, milestones, and other information required. It is recommended that a timeline that is easy to share with stakeholders be used to make changes without having to rewrite the entire document whenever necessary. 

      Professional Tips

      The following are some suggestions for making a timeline more effective and comprehensive:

      Revise your timeline regularly

      It is an excellent practice to review your timeline on a regular basis so that any changes in the progress can be adjusted and aligned with the overall deadline. Using a readily adjustable template or application is an excellent way to ensure this is possible. 

      Communicate with your team and stakeholders

      Always communicate with the teams and stakeholders regarding any changes to the timeline. This can be accomplished by holding meetings on a regular basis. Meetings with team leaders who can communicate information to their respective teams are also important for large projects.

      Follow critical path

      Determine the key tasks that have a significant impact on the project’s success when developing a timeline. Knowing the critical path makes it easier to prioritize tasks so that, even in the event of changes, it will still finish on schedule.  

      Final Remarks

      An essential tool for starting any project is a timeline. It provides a visual summary of what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, and who is responsible for doing it. Therefore, the timelines need to be created in the planning stage. The timeline will typically be shared with all stakeholders to keep them informed of all the details. Besides being a scheduling tool, a timeline is a communication tool between management and workers, as it clarifies what is expected of the team who are assigned tasks.
      It is recommended that the timelines be created using templates or software, as they are easy to use and update to accommodate any changes. Always choose a template that best suits your specific project. There are several types of templates available, including bar charts, Gantt charts, and chronological/historical timelines.

      About This Article

      Melissa King
      Authored by:
      Excel, Google Sheets, Automation Templates, Business Analysis, Business Operation Documents
      Melissa King stands as a leading expert in streamlining business processes through advanced tools and analytical prowers. With a deep mastery of Excel and Google Sheets, she specializes in crafting automation templates that enhance operational efficiency. Beyond her technical skills, Melissa's expertise extends to detailed business analysis, aiding organizations in making informed decisions. Additionally, her proficiency in creating comprehensive business operation documents ensures that businesses have clarity and structure in their workflows. With a keen eye for optimization and a passion for precision, Melissa King is a go-to professional for businesses aiming to elevate their operational standards.

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