how to make a timeline in Google Docs

How to make a timeline in Google Docs

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Posted by: Lucid Content Team

Think back to memorizing major events in your history class (we apologize in advance for any painful memories this exercise might resurface). Rather than stare at a jumble of dates in your textbook, you likely found or created a timeline clearly spelling out what happened when.

While you may not have a pressing need to memorize WWII dates anymore, timelines make it easy to visualize any event or project, including major milestones, due dates, and dependent tasks. And to keep your team on the same page, the timeline needs to live in an application where everyone can easily access it throughout the project lifecycle—an application like Google Docs. 

Learn how to make a timeline in Google Docs in two ways: with Google Drawings or using the Lucidchart add-on.

Use Lucidchart to automatically add a timeline
Use Google Drawings to manually build a timeline

Option #1: Use Lucidchart to make a timeline in Google Docs

Because Lucidchart integrates with G Suite, you can use our visual workspace to easily add professional timelines to any document. 

How to install the Lucidchart add-on for Google Docs

Before you begin, you’ll need to install the Lucidchart add-on. Follow these steps so you can add and start brand-new documents without leaving Google Docs.

  1. Open a Google Doc.
  2. Select Add-ons > Get add-ons. 
  3. Find and select Lucidchart.
  4. Give Lucidchart permission to access Google Docs.
  5. Log in to Lucidchart and give Google Docs permission to access your documents. Once you’ve completed this process, you’ll see it appear as an option in the Add-ons menu.

How to insert a timeline using the Lucidchart add-on

Now that you have installed the add-on, it will be a breeze to insert a timeline into your document. (If you haven’t created a timeline yet, skip to the next section to start one.)

  1. Open a Google Doc and click where you want to add your timeline.
  2. Go to Add-ons > Lucidchart Diagrams > Insert Diagram.
  3. A sidebar will appear. Choose the timeline you want from your list of documents, and press “+.”
  4. Preview your document, and click “Insert.”

If you need to go back and make changes to your timeline, go to Add-ons > Lucidchart Diagrams > Update Inserted Diagrams. This action will ensure that your timeline is accurate and up to date.

How to create a new timeline using the Lucidchart add-on

If you still need to create a timeline, the Lucidchart add-on can help you with that, too. It will give you access to the Lucidchart editor, where you can find templates and drag-and-drop shapes to quickly build out your timeline.

  1. From your Google Doc, select Add-ons > Lucidchart Diagrams > Insert Diagram to open the sidebar.
  2. Click “+” in the bottom-right corner.
  3. Select a blank document or a timeline template to customize. (We have included some of those templates at the end of this article.)
  4. Modify the template or drag and drop shapes to create a timeline of events. 
  5. Once your document is complete, return to your Google Doc. Select the timeline you’ve just created from the sidebar, and press “+” to preview and insert it into the document.

Have more questions about installing or using the Lucidchart add-on? Take a look at our Help Center or watch a brief video tutorial below.

Option #2: Use Google Drawings to make a timeline in Google Docs

If you would prefer to create your timeline directly in Google Docs, you can use Google Drawings. Just keep in mind that, with no templates and a limited number of shapes, it could be more difficult or time-consuming to put together your timeline.

Follow these steps to get started:

  1. Open a Google Doc.
  2. Select Insert > Drawing > New.
  3. Click the shape icon to add the shapes you need. Once you select a shape, additional formatting options will appear, and you can double-click on any shape to add text.
  4. When you’re done, click “Save and Close.”

Timeline examples and templates

Get started on the right foot and save time by using one of our customizable templates. Just click on the template you want to use to open it in your Lucidchart account and start editing. It’s easy!

project planning timeline example
Project planning timeline example (click on image to modify online)
gradient timeline
Gradient timeline (Click on image to modify online)

Start tracking important dates and milestones now

You don’t have to painstakingly arranging shapes, lines, and text to create a timeline in Google Docs. Lucidchart gives you access to dozens of timeline templates that allow to quickly update changes, hit milestones in real time, and collaborate with others. 

Start diagramming with Lucidchart today—try it for free!

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About Lucidchart

Lucidchart is the intelligent diagramming application that empowers teams to clarify complexity, align their insights, and build the future—faster. With this intuitive, cloud-based solution, everyone can work visually and collaborate in real time while building flowcharts, mockups, UML diagrams, and more.

The most popular online Visio alternative, Lucidchart is utilized in over 180 countries by millions of users, from sales managers mapping out target organizations to IT directors visualizing their network infrastructure.

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