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How to create timeline (milestone) chart template in Excel?

Have you tried to create a timeline chart or milestone chart to mark the milestones or important time of a project? This article will show you the detailed steps about creating timeline chart or milestone chart and save it as a chart template in Excel.

Part 1: Prepare your data for creating timeline chart

Part 2: Create a timeline chart in Excel

Part 3: Save the timeline chart as a template in Excel

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arrow blue right bubblePart 1: Prepare your data for creating timeline/milestone chart

The first section will guide you to prepare data for a timeline/milestone chart creating in Excel.

Step 1: Prepare a table and enter your original data as the following screen shot shown:

Step 2: Add height values for each event in the Column E. You’d better mix the negative numbers and positive numbers in the column.

Step 3: Specify the Axis values for each event. In Cell F2 enter =A2+(DATE(1900,IF(B2="",1,B2),0)+C2)/365.25, and drag the Fill Handle down to apply this formula to the range you want.

Step 4: Specify the Label values for each event. In Cell G2 enter =OFFSET(D2,ROW()-ROW(G2),0,1,1), and drag the Fill handle down to apply this formula to the range you want.

Then you will get a table similar as the following screen shot shown:

arrow blue right bubblePart 2: Create a timeline/milestone chart in Excel

With the first part we have prepared a table (see screen shot above) for timeline/milestone chart creating. And this part will walk you through creating a timeline/milestone chart in Excel.

Step 1: Don’t select any content in the table, and click the Insert > Scatter (or Insert Scatter(X, Y) or Bubble Chart button in Excel 2013)> Scatter. See screen shot below:

Step2: Right click the blank chart, and select the Select Data from the right-clicking menu.

Step 3: In the opening Select Data Source dialog box, click the Add button. Then in the Edit Series dialog box,

(1) In the Series name box enter a name for this series, such as Timeline;

(2) Specify the Range F2:F14 in Axis column as the X values in the Series X values box;

(3) Specify the Range E2:E14 in Height column as the Y values in the Series Y values box;

(4) Click both OK buttons to close two dialog boxes.

Step 4: Add error bars for the scatter chart:

  1. In Excel 2013, select the scatter chart, and click the Design > Add Chart Element > Error Bars > More Error Bars Options;
  2. In Excel 2007 and 2010, select the scatter chat, and click the Layout > Error Bars > More Error Bars Options.

Step 5: In the coming Format Error Bars dialog box/pane, click the Vertical error bar tab, and check the Minus option, No Cap option, and Percentage option, and specify 100% in the percentage box. Then close the dialog box or pane.

Excel 2013 and higher versions:
Excel 2007 and 2010:

Step 6: Go to the scatter chart, click any horizontal line at the top of error bars, and press the Delete key.

Step 7: Right click any data point, and select the Add Data Labels from the right-clicking menu.

Next click one data label twice, and in the formula bar enter =, select the corresponding label in the Label column, and press the Enter key. And repeat this step to change each data point’s label one by one.

Step 8: Click one data point twice, right click and select the Format Data Point from the right-clicking menu.

Step 9: Add a picture or photo for selected data point:

  1. In Excel 2013’s Format Data Point pane, click the Fill & Line tab > Marker > Marker Options > Built-in, then click the Type box and specify the image icon from the drop down list;
  2. In Excel 2010/2007’s Format Data Point dialog box, click the Marker Options tab > Built-in, then click the Type box and specify the image icon from the drop down list.

Excel 2013 and higher versions:

Excel 2007 and 2010:

Step 10: In the opening Insert Picture dialog box, find out the image or photo you will add for selected data point, and click the Insert button.


(1) We can’t adjust the image size after inserting into chart, as a result, we have to prepare the images in proper size before the step 9.

(2) We can also insert an image by this way: select the scatter chart, click Insert > Picture and find out a corresponding image, and then resize and move this image in the chart.

Step 11: Repeat the Step 8 – Step 10 to add images for each data point one by one, and then close the Format Data Point dialog box/pane.

arrow blue right bubblePart 3: Save the timeline/milestone chart as a template in Excel

This part will show you how to save the timeline chart as a chart template in Excel easily.

Step 1: Save the timeline/milestone chart as a chart template:

  1. In Excel 2013, right click the timeline chart, and select the Save as Template from the right-clicking menu.
  2. In Excel 2007 and 2010, click the timeline chart to activate the Chart Tools, and then click the Design > Save As Template.

Step 2: In the popping up Save Chart Template dialog box, enter a name for your template in the File name box, and click the Save button.

arrow blue right bubbleRelated articles:

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De Formule werkt niet om de aswaarden te berekenen hoe kan dat.
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