How to Create a Timeline in Excel (Free Templates Included)


2024-04-16 19:00 project manager


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Excel is a versatile spreadsheet tool that can create a variety of graphs, charts and forms, including timelines for projects. In this blog, we’ll go through each step needed to create a timeline in Excel and explain the advantages and disadvantages of doing so. Why Should You Create a Project Timeline in Excel? Learn how to create a timeline that can be used to visualize how tasks or projects will be executed over time, identify who will be responsible for completing them and identify milestones and deliverables. The best part is that it’s helpful for any type of team or organization that’s executing a plan regardless of its industry. Once you create this Excel project timeline, you can use this template to estimate future project timelines using project tasks and due dates. Templates are extremely helpful in creating and executing a successful project, so we encourage you to download our free Excel timeline template below. Even though Excel can be helpful in some scenarios, the platform can only do so much. Static timelines are only a weaker version of a collaborative Gantt chart which is an integral project management tool. If you’re looking for best-in-class timelines, ProjectManager has award-winning Gantt charts that populate data in real time. Use ProjectManager’s Gantt chart to plan projects, define phases, link tasks, build a WBS, set a baseline and link all four types of task dependencies. Since everything is online, it’s easy to collaborate with your team as the project progresses. You can import an Excel file and get started in a matter of minutes. Get started with ProjectManager today for free and build a better timeline. How to Create a Project Timeline in Excel Creating a timeline in Excel using this method takes only five simple formatting steps and doesn’t require any formulas or complicated Excel features. This Excel timeline was created using Excel for Microsoft 365. 1. Define the Length of the Timeline First, think about the best scale for the timeline. For this example, we’ll make a timeline that spans over one year. To start, list all the months of the year horizontally as shown below. Then merge all the cells above them and write the year for your timeline. Then select all the cells that were just edited and add a border to them. 2. Create Rows for Assigning Work to the Team Now, edit the column on the left side of the monthly timeline, which will be used to list tasks or projects and indicate who will execute them. In this case, we’re creating a timeline for a business that needs to map the projects that each of its business departments will execute over a year, but instead of business departments, one can write the names of their team members, too. Next, format all the cells on the right side of the column that was just created. To do so, start by merging the columns next to the first row and then merge them by clicking the “Merge & Center” button at the top of the screen. Now, select the merged cell, click the format painter button and then select all the cells as directed below. This automatically formats the cells as the one above. Edit the borders and after completing those steps, the timeline should look like this. 3. Add a Row for Tracking Milestones and Deliverables Now create a row for tracking milestones and deliverables by right-clicking the top cell in the work assignment column, clicking insert and selecting “Entire row.” Once you insert this new row, adjust its height. We suggest using a cell height of at least 100 pixels so you can add a marker for each milestone and deliverable and write a description. 4. Make a Task List and Add Task Bars Once done formatting the timeline, it’s time to start mapping tasks or project plans. In the example below, we’ll use the Excel timeline to visualize a project that the product team will execute, which is to develop the new product called “XYZ.” That project is intended to start at the beginning of January and should be completed in mid-May. So, we’ll need to create a bar that shows the project duration in the Excel timeline by inserting a shape and then adjusting its size by holding the left-click button. Repeat this process to add all the projects or tasks to the timeline. Then, identify milestones and deliverables to get a summarized view of all the key events from all the projects or tasks in the timeline. 5. Mark Milestones and Deliverables We’ll use shapes again to identify when milestones and deliverables will be delivered, but instead of bars, we’ll need a marker like an arrow. For our example, we’ve used the pentagon arrow. Then add some text to explain what the deliverable or milestone is. In this case, the milestone is that the new product has gone through all the stages of product development and testing and is ready to be launched into the market. Continue to edit the timeline in Excel by color coding projects or tasks, such as assigning a different color for each team or individual who will be executing the work. Excel Timeline Template As stated above, you can also download a free Excel timeline template. It was created using the same process we’ve just gone through. On top of that, this template offers six-month, one-year, three-year and five-year Excel timelines that can be used for planning short, medium and long-term projects for a team or organization. Advantages of Making a Timeline in Excel As we’ve explained, the main reasons for using Excel to make a timeline are that it only takes a few steps and Excel is a software that most people are familiar with. But there are some other advantages of learning how to make a timeline in Excel using our method. Create a timeline that works similarly to a Gantt chart or a milestone chart Make a timeline in Excel from scratch and it can be customized to fit the particular characteristics of a project Excel timelines are simple to understand, which makes them a good addition to project documentation such as project plans or project proposals However, while Excel templates can be helpful for project and business management, they have their limitations, too. Disadvantages of Making a Timeline in Excel The main disadvantage of making a timeline in Excel is that Excel isn’t a project planning or time management tool and therefore lacks the features needed to create and track a timeline for professional purposes such as managing your business operations or managing a project. Excel files don’t allow for online collaboration with team members When changes are made to the timeline an updated copy of that timeline must be sent to all team members, which makes them hard to share Lacks features that Gantt chart software like ProjectManager offer, such as task dependency mapping, critical path analysis or cost tracking Any changes to the project timeline require a labor-intensive process More Free Project Scheduling Templates for Excel Other tools can be used to create a timeline, which is why we’ve created dozens of free project scheduling templates for Excel and Word to help with the process of creating a timeline. Gantt Chart Template This free Gantt chart template for Excel automatically generates a visual timeline with a stacked bar chart based on a list of project tasks, their estimated duration and due dates. Project Calendar Template Project calendars are familiar to most people and offer another popular way of making a timeline. Our free project calendar template helps visualize how tasks and projects span over time and can be color-coded. Resource Plan Template Creating a timeline for a project or business requires estimating the time it will take to complete tasks and achieve objectives. In addition, knowing resources, such as raw materials, people and equipment, is necessary to execute that work. This free resource plan template can list all project resources and specify when they’re needed. Using ProjectManager Is Better Than Creating a Timeline in Excel ProjectManager is award-winning project management software equipped with all the tools needed to create a project timeline. These features include Gantt charts, kanban boards, project calendars, dashboards and much more. Here are some reasons why ProjectManager is better than making timelines in Excel. Plan, Schedule and Track Timelines With Powerful Gantt Charts Gantt charts are the most important project management tool because they can be used for planning, scheduling and tracking the timeline of any type of project or process. They map tasks in a visually stacked bar chart that shows the whole project on one screen. However, not all Gantt chart makers offer the same features as ProjectManager, which combines a user-friendly interface with advanced project planning features such as critical path analysis, task dependency mapping, resource monitoring, cost tracking and timesheet management. Manage All Key Areas of Projects The main advantage of using ProjectManager over a simple Excel timeline is that it allows organizations to manage other areas of plans besides timelines. For example, use ProjectManager to estimate the progress of projects, identify risks, estimate the costs of project resources and then use online project dashboards to compare those estimates against the actual cost of your project in real time. In addition, it’s easy to make a variety of project management reports and timesheets in minutes. Related Content Making a timeline is very important for the success of a project, no matter how big or small. For this reason, we’ve created dozens of blogs, templates and guides to help anyone master this process. Here are some of them. Project Timeline Software – Create a Project Timeline Online Gantt Chart vs. PERT Chart vs. Network Diagram How to Make a Gantt Chart In Excel Step-By-Step ProjectManager is online project management software that delivers real-time data to help you better monitor and track your project timelines. Choose between a variety of tools to schedule your projects such as Gantt charts, kanban boards, task lists and project calendars and then use live dashboards and dynamic reporting to keep stakeholders informed. If you want to streamline your processes and work more efficiently, try ProjectManager for free today.
Excel是一个多功能的电子表格工具,可以创建各种图形,图表和表格,包括项目的时间表。在本博客中,我们将介绍在Excel中创建时间轴所需的每个步骤,并解释这样做的优点和缺点。 为什么要在Excel中创建项目时间轴? 了解如何创建一个时间轴,可用于可视化任务或项目将如何随着时间的推移执行,确定谁将负责完成它们,并确定里程碑和可交付成果。最好的部分是,它对任何类型的团队或组织都有帮助,无论其行业如何。 创建此Excel项目时间轴后,您可以使用此模板通过项目任务和到期日来估计未来的项目时间轴。模板对于创建和执行成功的项目非常有帮助,因此我们鼓励您下载下面的免费Excel时间轴模板。 尽管Excel在某些情况下可以提供帮助,但该平台只能做这么多。静态时间表只是一个较弱的版本的协作流程图,这是一个完整的项目管理工具。如果您正在寻找一流的时间表,ProjectManager拥有屡获殊荣的实时填充数据的图表。 使用ProjectManager的图表来计划项目,定义阶段,链接任务,构建WBS,设置基线并链接所有四种类型的任务依赖关系。由于一切都在线,因此随着项目的进展,您可以轻松地与团队协作。您可以导入Excel文件并在几分钟内开始使用。立即免费开始使用ProjectManager,并构建更好的时间轴。 如何在Excel中创建项目时间轴 使用此方法在Excel中创建时间轴只需要五个简单的格式化步骤,并且不需要任何公式或复杂的Excel功能。此Excel时间轴是使用Excel for Microsoft 365创建的。 1.定义时间轴的长度 首先,考虑时间轴的最佳比例。对于本例,我们将创建一个跨越一年的时间轴。首先,水平列出一年中的所有月份,如下所示。然后合并它们上面的所有单元格,并为你的时间轴写上年份。然后选择所有刚编辑过的单元格并为其添加边框。 2.为团队的工作创造机会 现在,编辑每月时间轴左侧的列,该列将用于列出任务或项目,并指出谁将执行它们。 在本例中,我们正在为一个企业创建一个时间轴,该企业需要映射其每个业务部门将在一年内执行的项目,但可以写入其团队成员的姓名,而不是业务部门。 接下来,设置刚刚创建的列右侧的所有单元格的格式。要执行此操作,首先合并第一行旁边的列,然后通过单击屏幕顶部的“合并&居中”按钮合并它们。 现在,选择合并的单元格,单击格式刷按钮,然后按如下所示选择所有单元格。这会自动将单元格的格式设置为上面的格式。 编辑边界,完成这些步骤后,时间轴应如下所示。 3.添加一行用于跟踪里程碑和可追溯里程碑 现在创建一个行来跟踪里程碑和可交付成果,方法是右键单击工作分配列中的顶部单元格,单击插入并选择“Entire row”。 插入此新行后,请调整其高度。我们建议使用至少100像素的单元格高度,这样您就可以为每个里程碑和可交付成果添加标记并编写描述。 4.创建任务列表和添加任务栏 一旦完成了时间轴的格式化,就可以开始绘制任务或项目计划了。在下面的示例中,我们将使用Excel时间轴来可视化产品团队将执行的项目,即开发名为“XYZ”的新产品。 该项目打算在1月初开始,应在5月中旬完成。因此,我们需要通过插入一个形状,然后按住左键单击按钮调整其大小,来创建一个在Excel时间轴中显示项目工期的条形图。 重复此过程,将所有项目或任务添加到时间轴。然后,确定里程碑和可交付成果,以获得时间轴中所有项目或任务的所有关键事件的摘要视图。 5.马克·米勒和麦克拉伦 我们将再次使用形状来标识何时交付里程碑和可交付成果,但我们需要像箭头一样的标记,而不是条形图。在我们的例子中,我们使用了五边形箭头。 然后添加一些文本来解释可交付成果或里程碑是什么。在这种情况下,里程碑是新产品已经经历了产品开发和测试的所有阶段,并准备投入市场。 继续在Excel中编辑时间轴,方法是对项目或任务进行颜色编码,例如为将要执行工作的每个团队或个人分配不同的颜色。 Excel时间轴模板 如上所述,您还可以下载免费的Excel时间轴模板。它是用我们刚刚经历的同样的过程创建的。最重要的是,该模板提供了六个月,一年,三年和五年的Excel时间表,可用于规划团队或组织的短期,中期和长期项目。 在Excel中制作时间轴的优点 正如我们所解释的,使用Excel制作时间轴的主要原因是它只需要几个步骤,Excel是大多数人都熟悉的软件。但是学习如何使用我们的方法在Excel中制作时间轴还有其他一些好处。 创建一个工作方式类似于日历图或里程碑图的时间轴 在Excel中从头开始制作一个时间轴,它可以自定义以适应项目的特定特征 Excel时间表易于理解,这使其成为项目计划或项目提案等项目文档的良好补充 尽管Excel模板对项目和业务管理很有帮助,但它们也有其局限性。 在Excel中制作时间轴的缺点 在Excel中制作时间轴的主要缺点是Excel不是项目规划或时间管理工具,因此缺乏创建和跟踪时间轴所需的功能,用于管理业务运营或管理项目等专业目的。 Excel文件不允许与团队成员进行在线协作 当对时间轴进行更改时,必须将该时间轴的更新副本发送给所有团队成员,这使得它们难以共享 缺乏ProjectManager等软件提供的功能,如任务依赖关系映射、关键路径分析或成本跟踪 对项目时间轴的任何更改都需要一个劳动密集型的过程 更多免费的Excel项目进度模板 其他工具可以用来创建一个时间轴,这就是为什么我们已经创建了几十个免费的Excel和Word项目调度模板,以帮助创建一个时间轴的过程。 图表模板 这个免费的Excel图表模板自动生成一个可视化的时间轴与堆叠条形图的基础上的项目任务列表,其估计的持续时间和到期日。 项目日历模板 项目日历是大多数人所熟悉的,它提供了另一种制作时间轴的流行方法。我们的免费项目日历模板有助于可视化任务和项目如何随着时间的推移而变化,并且可以进行颜色编码。 资源计划模板 为项目或业务创建时间轴需要估计完成任务和实现目标所需的时间。此外,了解资源,如原材料,人员和设备,是执行这项工作所必需的。此免费资源计划模板可以列出所有项目资源并指定何时需要它们。 使用ProjectManager优于在Excel中创建时间轴 ProjectManager是屡获殊荣的项目管理软件,配备了创建项目时间轴所需的所有工具。这些功能包括图表、看板、项目日历、仪表板等等。以下是ProjectManager比Excel更好的一些原因。 使用强大的图表计划、安排和跟踪时间表 图表是最重要的项目管理工具,因为它们可以用于计划,安排和跟踪任何类型的项目或过程的时间轴。它们将任务映射到一个可视化的堆叠条形图中,在一个屏幕上显示整个项目。然而,并非所有的工程图制作者都提供与ProjectManager相同的功能,ProjectManager将用户友好的界面与高级项目规划功能相结合,如关键路径分析、任务依赖关系映射、资源监控、成本跟踪和时间表管理。 管理项目的所有关键领域 与简单的Excel时间轴相比,使用ProjectManager的主要优势在于,它允许组织管理时间轴之外的其他计划领域。例如,使用ProjectManager估算项目进度、识别风险、估算项目资源成本,然后使用在线项目仪表板将这些估算与项目的实际成本进行实时比较。此外,您还可以在几分钟内轻松制作各种项目管理报告和时间表。 相关内容 制定一个时间轴对于一个项目的成功是非常重要的,无论它是大是小。出于这个原因,我们已经创建了几十个博客,模板和指南,以帮助任何人掌握这一过程。以下是其中的一些。 项目时间轴软件-在线创建项目时间轴 网络图与PERT图 如何在Excel中创建一个图表一步一步 ProjectManager是一款在线项目管理软件,可提供实时数据,帮助您更好地监控和跟踪项目时间表。选择各种工具来安排项目,如图表、看板、任务列表和项目日历,然后使用实时仪表板和动态报告,让利益相关者随时了解情况。如果您想简化流程并提高工作效率,请立即免费试用ProjectManager。