A timeline is great for putting ideas, events, and facts in order. They are widely used in helpful tutorials, product design, customer service, case studies, etc. Digital timelines are easy to create – you only need to have a proper timeline software at hand. However, your purposes for making a timeline may vary, and so does the software. Want to make an interactive timeline to engage learners? Or looking for a particular template? Or maybe you need a tool with greater export and embedding capabilities?
In this article, we’ve compiled a list of the best timeline makers in five categories:
- Tools for interactive timelines in education
- Project planning tools
- One-stop-shop timeline makers
- Free timeline makers
- Timeline apps for smartphones
Check them all out and find the one that suits you best.
What Is a Timeline?
A timeline is a linear organizer that illustrates the passage of large blocks of time. It can take various forms and look different depending on its intended purpose. These are the most common types:
- A horizontal timeline
- A vertical timeline
- A historical (chronological) timeline
- A roadmaps
- A linear graph
- A Gantt chart
It’s best to have some idea of what type of timeline you’re going to make. This will help you identify which tool can match your needs.
3 Best Interactive Timeline Software for Teachers
These timeline makers can help you make not only a timeline, but an entire presentation out of it. Such a timeline brings interactivity and engagement to education and training: learners can click on the nodes and open up a slide with additional information. Here are three timeline software makers for students and teachers.
iSpring Suite is a full-fledged authoring toolkit to scale eLearning content development. With the single toolkit, you can create slide-based courses, quizzes, dialog simulations, screencasts, video lectures, and other interactive learning materials fast.
Creating interactions is made simple with 14 ready-made templates for making glossaries, catalogs, references, and timelines. You can create a perfect timeline with just a few clicks and upload it to a website or an LMS. The resulting timelines come out clean and pretty, and can be easily viewed on mobile devices.
- Creates interactions in HTML5.
- Creates a mobile-ready timeline.
- It’s possible to add unlimited events and group them in periods.
- Users can insert images, audio, video, and hyperlinks.
- Built-in audio recorder.
- The interactions support SCORM format and can be used in your LMS.
- Content protection options.
- Supports 9 more languages besides English
- Compatible with Windows only.
- Can’t create a vertical timeline, however you can use another interaction instead.
Specifically designed for the education sector, Sutori‘s web-based timeline maker helps teachers and students create interactive, professional timelines for assignments or presenting historical events and view them in a web browser.
- You can download your timeline in PDF.
- Free plan with no watermarks or ads.
- You can enrich your timeline with text, multiple-choice questions, images, video, forums, audio, and “Did you know?”
- Timelines can be embedded onto a WordPress site and other platforms without Sutori branding.
- A timeline can include paragraphs and hyperlinks.
- Your timeline can be printed.
- Multiple users can edit a timeline at the same time.
- In Sutori, a timeline is a series of web pages linked together. Each event is a separate webpage. If you have quite a few of them, managing this type of project may be difficult.
- When you create a new event, you have to manually link it to the events already created on the website.
- Because Sutori’s software is specifically designed for educators and students, it may not be the best choice for personal, home use, or use in the business sector.
Tiki-Toki is a timeline software with a drag-and-drop interface that is highly regarded in education. It’s designed to make professional-looking creations online. Unlike its alternatives, Tiki-Toki makes history come alive by displaying timelines in 3D.
- Quality graphics.
- 3D display of a timeline.
- Supports date ranges: you can categorize events and highlight them with color codes.
- You can choose a background picture.
- Each timeline generates a unique URL for easy sharing with others.
- A custom plan for teachers and their students.
- The free plan only allows the creation of one customized timeline.
- The interface is very textual and may overwhelm.
These tools are usually utilized by project managers and incorporate planning features, allowing team collaboration on visual data. With them, users get more options to use timelines in business (to demonstrate a project timeline, for example) and improve the way they present ideas to coworkers.
Lucidchart is a tool for visualizing data in flowcharts, Venn diagrams, mind maps, and timelines. It works on the principle that you drag and drop content pieces, so creating a timeline is completely intuitive. Lucidchart is integrated with tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, Excel, Jira, and with diagramming applications like OmniGraffle for macOS and Visio from Microsoft (timeline maker pro plan).
- Drag-and-drop feature.
- Flat learning curve.
- Integrations with project management and business communication tools.
- Smooth real-time collaboration.
- No PDF exportation.
- Amount of pre-made templates can be insufficient.
Office Timeline is a timeline software for business communications. It offers two options: an online timeline maker and an offline PowerPoint add-in. The web tool is more advanced: it has more templates and export options, and the interface is much more user-friendly. However, in the PowerPoint add-in version of Office Timeline, you can automatically create a Gantt chart by inserting your timeline data from MS Excel.
- You can download a timeline as PPT, XLS or PDF documents, or send them via email.
- Integrates with Microsoft Project, Wrike, and Smartsheet project management tools.
- Free timeline maker version without watermarks or ads.
- Has offline (perfect for a Gantt chart) and web-based tools — pick whichever suits your workstyle.
- Web-based tool has 39 templates to choose from.
- Both tools allow you to add corporate branding.
- The free offline timeline maker version only has 3 templates, you have to upgrade to use the full library.
- Can’t share timelines with a URL, only email sharing is available.
- Timeline templates are good for executive summaries, but not for complex projects.
- Web-based and offline tools have to be purchased separately.
TimelineMakerPro is an offline timeline software. The tool is easy to use because of its Microsoft Office-like interface and drag-and-drop feature. This will allow you to create a timeline to track project progress, for example, quickly and efficiently. What makes it stand out is the variety of timeline styles (e.g. vertical, horizontal, Gantt charts, etc.), and there’s a plethora of themes to make your projects stand out.
- You can save your timeline in TXT, CSV, MS Project, or TLM.
- You can import data and images from Microsoft Project and other Microsoft Office products
- 14-day trial that lets you try all the options for free.
- 5 timeline styles to choose from: Vertical, Chronological, Bar, Flag, and Gantt chart.
- Has 12 background themes to make your projects look beautiful and unique.
- It’s easy to work with the timeline itself. You can expand or compress it, and change timescale options (e.g. years, months).
- The trial version puts a huge watermark across your timeline.
- Rather costly lifetime license, starting at $149 for one user.
- Sharing options are only limited to email.
These are the top timeline software with great visual superpowers for any kind of project. Since they are multipurpose, they can be rather costly. However, they allow for professional diagram creation with extensive customization and export options.
Preceden is an online timeline maker with a drag-and-drop interface. Users can enter a title, date, and description for each event, which is added with a dot on the timeline. Full text for events is displayed when the user mouses over the dot on the timeline.
The free option of this timeline software allows you to add 10 events or date ranges to your timeline. Preceden’s premium plans cost between $29 USD and $149 USD based on whether you need to create one timeline or several, and on whether you’re creating historical timelines or project planning timelines.
- You can download your timeline in PNG, CSV, XML, or PDF.
- Free timeline maker version with no watermarks or ads.
- You can customize the appearance with ease.
- You can make your timelines private.
- Unlimited events with a Premium plan.
- Priority technical support with the Premium plan.
- Free upgrades and add-ons with the Premium Plan.
- Supports date ranges.
- You can make only 1 timeline with up to 10 events with the free version.
- Many chart functions are locked in the free version.
- You can’t embed timelines into a WordPress website due to security restrictions.
Used to create infographics, presentations, social media posts, and other visual designs, Venngage has a number of interactive web-based tools, and the Timeline Maker is one of them. It lets you create beautiful timelines in a matter of minutes – even if you don’t have any design experience. You simply need to choose an appropriate timeline template from hundreds of ready-to-go designs, add timeline data and images, and export it as a file or share it with your clients and team members via a link.
- Offers hundreds of ready-made templates: project timelines, company timelines, historical timelines, and more.
- The drag-and-drop interface makes the timeline easy to create and navigate.
- Has a vast library of images with over 40,000 icons, stock photos, and fonts.
- Lets you download timelines in HD, PNG, PDF, or Interactive PDF, or share them with a private link.
- Allows you to create and save your own templates.
- Lets you collaborate on the timelines with your team.
- The free plan allows you to create only 5 timelines and lacks an export option.
- Quite expensive – the Business plan costs $49/month.
Visme is not only a timeline software. It’s a multipurpose online tool for creating presentations, graphics, and timelines. Timelines made with Visme come out clean and unique, and you can make really good ones even with the free version. If you want more templates and storage and privacy control options, there are 9 plans, including special offers for business professionals and education centers.
- You can create HTML timelines and share them with a URL.
- You can upload timelines on your website.
- Free version without watermarks or ads.
- A vast library of timeline templates, styles, shapes, and graphs.
- Each template offers a unique design that makes your template look fresh and professional.
- Free version is limited to 5 projects.
- Rather costly compared to other solutions. The cheapest plan is 14$ a month in a yearly plan.
Sometimes you may need timeline makers just for personal or occasional use. For these purposes, you’ll be probably looking for timeline tools that can be free but won’t leave a watermark on your creation. Also, they should provide decent quality. Below, we’ve collected three best timeline software that offer free versions. These free web timeline makers require registration, but enable you making timelines with no watermark for sure.
If you’re looking for a free online timeline maker, Google Sheets can be of service. However, it takes time to create one from scratch, so it’s better to use one of the available templates. Here’s how you get them:
- Log in to Google Drive and click New.
- Hover over More and select Connect more apps.
- Type in Drive Template Gallery and connect it. Click Yes when the prompt window appears.
- Now you have access to the additional templates. Click New again, hover over Google Sheets, and select From a template.
- Scroll down to the Project Management section — there are 4 new chart templates available, so just pick one!
- The timeline creator is completely free.
- You only need a Google account, no need to register anywhere else.
- Not suitable for big projects as the interface is clunky.
- Only 4 templates are available in the timeline creator. However, you can create custom chart templates if you have some time.
- The customization is limited. You can’t add events or videos, and there are no premade themes.
- Can’t create interactive events.
TimeGraphics is a free web-based timeline creator. The tool allows you to clip in events, tables, and time periods. You can embed various interactables from another website, like statistics or graphs. It’s a neat tool that lets you start creating without registering, and you can log in with your Google account.
- You can download timelines in a variety of formats like PDF, PNG, PPT, DOC, etc.
- Free version without watermarks or ads.
- You can publish timelines as private or public, and they support SEO indexing.
- You can embed timelines on your website.
- Integrated with Google Services: you can add data from Google Analytics and Google Spreadsheets to your timeline.
- You can create only one project with the free version.
- A free timeline supports up to 18 events and 7 media links.
- The timelinne creator includes only one template.
TimeToast allows users to create timelines quickly. Users can upload pictures to embed on their websites, which is handier than when you have to embed pictures via URL. You also can create date ranges to link events on the timeline into smaller groups.
- You can download timelines in JPG, GIF or PDF
- Free timeline creator without watermarks or ads.
- Users can upload pictures onto their websites.
- Each event can contain text, an image, and a link.
- You can collaborate with other content creators under the paid subscription plans.
- Paid plans allow you to hide comments left under your timeline.
- Few customization options (color, font, etc. can’t be customized), so resulting timelines are rather plain and lacking in creativity.
- The dates in the timeline can’t be edited; you can only delete an event and add a new one.
- The timeline creator doesn’t provide technical support.
If you’re on the go, using a smartphone to make timelines is totally acceptable. You may need to sketch some ideas and share this chart with others ASAP. Both Android and iOS have timeline generators that let you make them in a jiffy. Such apps tend to have project planning features too, but we’ve put them into a separate category. So, here are four more timeline tools for you to create timelines on a mobile device.
SimpleMind is one of the first mind mapping tools that appeared on the market, and it remains current. It provides multiple style sheets and templates for various types of diagrams. The basic features, including 15+ style sheets, are available in the free version. It comes with no registration or ads. The timeline maker pro and trial versions presuppose synchronization with iCloud Drive, Google Drive, and Dropbox, adding images and sharing the timeline in various formats.
Wondershare’s EdrawMind is a tool that allows everyone to make professional-looking data layouts. It lets you create scalable timelines, change connection styles, add summaries, and insert pictures into them. You can save your creations as images or PDFs, share them via links, or export to Dropbox. If needed, it also lets you switch the timeline into other formats of diagrams like fishbone charts or circular maps.
XMind is a slick mobile app that claims to provide quality equal to a desktop. Most of its helpful features are free. Making timelines and other schemes in XMind is convenient, thanks to ready-made resources like 16 mind map diagrams, 10 aesthetic themes, and a minimalist interface. You can embed your creations from there in KeyPoints, Google Slides, or MS PowerPoint. In the free version, you can export materials in various formats, but they will be watermarked.
MindMeister is another tool for organizing information in beautifully crafted mind maps. Its free ‘Basic’ plan has strong collaboration features like commenting and voting. It also allows for style changing and provides a presenting mode to demonstrate your ideas smoothly. In the timeline maker pro version, MindMeister lets you add images and files to the schemes you create and export them in Microsoft Word and MS PowerPoint. To use the MindMeister app, a free registration is required.
4 Tips on How to Create A Timeline
When you decide on the tool to make timelines, it’s time to think about their structures and how you will present the information.
Whatever type of timeline you make, working on it starts from a clear conceptualization. You need to complete these four steps from idea to realization:
- Define what you’ll cover with your timeline. Set timeframes for it and come up with a clear eye-catching title.
- Consider how detailed it will be. Research the data and prepare it carefully.
- Plan the layout of information ahead of time. Arrange the facts or notions in sequence. Ensure that you follow a logical order.
- Make your timeline look neat. Texts included should be short and concise.
Following is the technical side of timeline creation. We’ll show how to make it in iSpring Suite and use a historical timeline as an example. Check it out!
How to Make a Timeline in iSpring Suite
In iSpring Suite, timelines are interactive and slide-based. This implies that learners will click on the appropriate node (period or event) and pass to the relevant slide to read more. As a creator, you can enrich every slide with multimedia: images, videos, characters, backgrounds, and even narration.
So, here’s how to create your own timeline:
- Install a fully functional free trial version of iSpring Suite.
- Open iSpring Suite and then click on the Interaction tab on the panel.
- Here you can see the iSpring Visuals menu, which contains 14 types of interaction for your courses.
- Select Timeline from the list of interactions, as shown in the screenshot.
- To add a new period or event, click on the Add Period/ Add Event buttons on the toolbar.
- Add an introduction/summary to your timeline. To do that, select the Introduction and/or Summary boxes
- Choose a slide and click Insert on the upper panel. Select the desired multimedia type to add it.
- To change fonts and text size, click Format text near the Insert tab.
- Customize the slide in Properties. Here you can adjust the color scheme as you wish.
- Once your historical timeline is ready, click the Publish button.
- Choose a destination to allocate your timeline. You can save it on your computer in HTML5 format and then send it via email, upload it to FTP, or download it as a Zip archive for further sharing.
Note: iSpring Suite enables you to share interactions on any LMS. Just select the format you need from the drop-down list of available formats.
FAQ on Timeline Software
How can I create a project timeline using Gantt charts in the timeline tools?
Most interactive timeline makers, such as Office Timeline, GanttPRO, Instagantt, Lucidchart, and Venngage offer features that allow the creation of a project timeline using Gantt charts. These tools allow you to plot tasks, durations, and dependencies on a timeline, providing a clear visual representation of your project.
With the drag-and-drop interfaces that many of these tools provide, you can quickly adjust and organize your tasks. This makes it easy to update your project timeline as needed.
Is there any timeline software that supports date ranges for long-lasting events?
Yes, this is a fundamental feature for creating detailed and accurate timelines. Any interactive timeline maker (at least Tiki-Toki, Timeline JS, Office Timeline, and Preceden for sure) typically supports date ranges for events.
Timelines are an easy and effective way to illustrate a series of facts, events, or ideas, and understand how things changed over time. There are several types of timeline software that enable its smooth creation and sharing. Some of these tools are free timeline makers, accessible online (a web tool), or as mobile apps, but might be just in time for rapid timeline making. Others are perfect for interactive timelines in education and training. Some timeline makers focus on project management and take data visualization to the next level. We hope our research will help you choose the best timeline software for your needs.
Which timeline program would you like to add to this list? Feel free to share in the comment section below!