Timeline Template

Everything You Need to Know About Timeline Templates and Their Benefits
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American Revolution History Timeline Template

About the Timeline Template

Any project, task, or operation in a company requires a considerable amount of planning and strategizing. These plans have numerous milestones aligned with the date and time at which the milestone needs to be accomplished.
In fact, the same can be applied to events that have already taken place; be it understanding the sales trends in the past year or the history of a movement, all of these have timelines in common.
  • But what exactly are timelines?
  • Can timeline templates help one understand them and map them?
  • What are their benefits?
Well, if you have these questions and a few more in mind, hold that thought. We're here to give you a simple understanding of what a timeline is, its various types, how to map them using timeline templates, and their benefits. So, let's dive right in.

What is a Timeline?

In simple terms, a timeline is a chronological sequence of events occurring over a period of time. Most tasks and operations can be contextualized as timelines. For instance, the performance of a data server over throughout a day can be a timeline. Another example can be the different stages of a project, right from its inception to its completion.
Timelines are essential because they enable us to understand how any task can be carried out. The temporal relationship with the job can help one derive insights into the actual events while getting the job done.
There are different kinds of timelines, and each of these has its own purpose.

Types of Timelines

The various types of timelines are classified based on how they're represented visually. However, they all can be used for different purposes and in different scenarios.
  • Horizontal Timeline: In a horizontal timeline, a horizontal line passes from left to right, sequentially explaining the different milestones. These milestones can be for a project, to track the evolution of a species and more.
  • Vertical Timeline: Here, the events are represented in a top-to-bottom manner where a vertical line is marked with different milestones, with each one citing a specific event.
  • Roadmap Timeline: As the name suggests, this helps one chalk out and represent their plan of action in any scenario. For instance, one can represent a product launch or the vision of a company for the next couple of years with this.
  • Biographical/Historical Timeline: This is usually used to look at events or movements in retrospect. A simple example could be the history of the American Revolution.
  • Gantt Chart Timeline: The Gantt chart is used to execute projects in companies. It helps set goals on what stages should be finished by what date/time and map the ongoing progress. This way, the gap between the goals and the current scenario can be visible to everyone involved.

Components of a Timeline

While these are the different kinds of timelines, they all follow a common framework. This framework has a few components that any timeline you pick will definitely have. So let's have a look at them.
  • Events: This includes a brief description and is used to represent what exactly happened in a matter of a few words.
  • Dates: This accompanies the events to help people understand when a specific event occurred.
  • Images: These are visuals that would add more context to the event description and help people understand them better.
  • Titles/Headers: This is the title of the timeline. It needs to be short, crisp, and give the viewer a clear-cut idea of what they'll be looking at within the timeline chart.

Benefits of Timelines

Here are a few simple yet significant benefits amongst many others when leveraging timelines.
  • They help you visualize exactly how much time a particular job/task in a project will take you. This also aids you in setting realistic goals while completing assignments.
  • Once you've set the goals, the constant presence of timelines can also help you plan, strategize, and manage your work accordingly. You'll always have the cognizance of how much the project has progressed, how much behind the timeline you are, and more.
  • With historical timelines, one can easily skim through all the events in a limited time instead of using text-based materials, which in certain scenarios might be unnecessary.
  • With retrospective timelines (say, sales trends of the past year), you can observe where there are anomalies, or problems, which is the first step toward solving any problem.

How to Create a Timeline

Creating a timeline becomes simple when using timeline templates and tools such as EdrawMind. This tool can create a timeline in a simple three-step process. Here's how it works:
Choose a Suitable Timeline
When you want to create a timeline, you must first understand its purpose and the audience who will be seeing it. Based on this, you will know what you want to achieve and accordingly choose a theme from various preset timeline templates.
Sketch Out the Overall Timeline
In this step, you'll need to have clarity on the different events you want to portray and what the chronology would look like. Based on this, you can add the main title, the way the timeline will look (horizontal, vertical, etc.), the text boxes for event descriptions, and more.
Add Details and Visuals
Once you have your skeleton structure/framework ready, you can fill in the details, including the date, event name, description, and more. Besides this, you can also add images or visuals to aid the content you're providing.
With this, your timeline is done, and all you'll need to do is export the timeline and present it.

Examples of Timeline Templates

Now that you have a brief overview of timelines and how they work, let me take you through with a few simple examples. This way, you'll get an understanding of how they work better.
1. American Revolution History Timeline Template
This is the timeline of the American Revolution. Looking at the basic structure, you'll see that all the significant events are mapped out along with their year and month. There are two simple benefits of this depiction:
  1. Anyone who wants to get an overview of everything that happened during the revolution can do so in minutes. They wouldn't have to go through everything in detail since that would be unnecessary.?
  2. The second benefit is presenting the timeline to an audience. Usually, peoples attention span is so low that they wouldn't read everything that's before them. Here's where your timeline can help. It can act as a cue for you to explain each event in detail while letting the audience use the timeline as a way to stay with you during your entire explanation.
2. Project Timeline Template
This is a project timeline where a company has divided its project into two phases. Each phase has three tasks within them.
The timeline is depicted with the help of a Gantt Chart. It helps you look at two things:
  1. What the deadlines for each task are, and by what date/month should that task be completed. This is represented by the complete bar.
  2. How much of the task is completed? The green part of the bar represents this. The blue part of the bar is essentially the difference between the goal set and the actual work accomplished.
Once again, the benefits are rather obvious. All the people working on the project can have eyes on this Gantt chart at any time to measure their progress and how in sync it is with the goal.
Due to this, managing deadlines becomes much easier. Teams can design time-efficient processes to get the task done and even take specific measures to increase productivity. This way, the project gets completed on time.
3. Research Timeline Template
This timeline is similar to the project timeline. However, in a research project, the qualitative aspect takes precedence over timelines, and hence this is more suitable. It lists down all the stages involved and also briefly describes what each stage will entail.
The most significant advantage of this is that it enables people to understand what exactly the research project entails.
Without a proper timeline charted out, minor things might get missed and wouldn't be considered. But with proper timeline and timeline templates, one can jot down every little task they will be performing.

Conclusion

Now that you have an immaculate understanding of timelines, you can start creating your own for tasks, projects, and operations within your company. You can reach out to the EdrawMind website to get the tool.
The complete process is simple and hassle-free, with multiple timeline templates available for you to choose from. In addition, the UI/UX is designed in such a way that you'll find the tool easily navigable.
Furthermore, there are numerous examples of different kinds of maps created by people within the EdrawMind Gallery, which you can import and use on your system as a template. So, download the EdrawMind tool and get started.