The best timeline examples by type

Timelines tell us how things happened, how things are going, and how we want them to go. Expedite your own design timeline with examples and templates from Adobe Express.

Timelines exist to help us, so understanding what they are and how to construct them is an essential part of project management. Below, we break down a variety of timeline types and their uses, with free Adobe Express templates for you to try out until you find the perfect timeline for your team needs.

Understanding timelines

At their root, timelines exist to help us not only organize our time and tasks but also understand what’s expected of us and how best to proceed. As they’re used to visualize processes and projects, timelines can meet any manner of need, including breaking down a team’s agenda into explicit parts, laying out an overview of events, boiling down important information for relevant stakeholders, and presenting notable moments in time that can inform future events.

When structuring a timeline, consider adding a title or details about the subject that indicates what you’ll be covering, events, milestones, significant dates, and the individuals involved. This is a prime context in which specificity can only help you in your goals.

Importance of timelines in visual storytelling

Every team member learns differently, which is why visual tools are so important in expanding how your team grows together. Timelines are essential to telling the story of what your team is doing and how collaboration and completion can be prioritized with grace for ever-changing timelines and resources. The visual aspect of timelines is also helpful for showing stakeholders what you’re accomplishing with their needs in mind.

Benefits of timelines and their applications

Each type of timeline highlights a specific need and projected goal, which is why so many exist for a myriad of purposes based on your brand or business. For example, infographic timelines help convey a series of historical events using visual elements and text. For a business, infographic timelines help teams visualize goals for each quarter and beyond. So you can better select a timeline for you and your team’s project needs, examine the timeline types below to find out what can assist you in minimizing that task list.

Timeline examples by type

There are many kinds of timelines to assist in completing your tasks and moving your project forward. Read on to find out which timeline will improve your workstream and level up your time and task management.

Sequential timelines

Sequential timelines, also called linear timelines, are the ABC’s of timelines, as they simply show the chronological order and progression of your tasks. If you need to get down to the essence of your project needs, it can be helpful to start with a sequential timeline before you bring in other timeline types to expand your scope.

Project timelines

Project timelines are timelines that essentially keep the ball rolling for a team, enabling the project manager to show what needs to be done when, what should be prioritized, and how the team can streamline their tasks through collaborative usage of these timelines.

Gantt charts timelines

Gantt charts are simply layouts of project timelines, with the top of the chart representing specific time windows, and the left side of the chart representing the project tasks or activities that will take place within that timeline. A Gantt chart shows what needs to be done, and when, highlighting each item with a differently colored bar to prioritize visual organization as well.

Historical timelines

Historical timelines showcase the history of a certain time period, and what occurred within that period. There typically is a continuous line or thread throughout this timeline to denote what connects each specific event or change mentioned.

Strategic timelines

Strategic timelines are timelines that cover a time period outlined by a company’s strategic plan. Depending on the overall goal or directive that you and your team are working toward, the timeline can be organized in the direction of that goal, with tasks and time windows stacked advantageously with this overall plan in mind.

How to create your own timeline with templates from Adobe Express

Whether you’re creating a historical infographic or setting goals for your business, Adobe Express has all the tools you need to craft a timeline that’s as engaging as it is informative.

If you have an idea in mind, you can begin from scratch or choose from our wide array of timeline examples to fast-track the design process. Select the template that best suits your needs, then easily customize the visuals to match your theme. Personalize your timeline by uploading your own photos or videos, adding your messaging, and choosing from thousands of fonts.

Just launch Adobe Express from your browser and search “timeline” to find a stunning free timeline template. Drag-and-drop icons, pie charts, lines, and more to your design, and leave a stunning visual impression on your viewers of your timeline with one-click animated effects. No design experience needed.