Creating a Timeline Chart in Excel 2016

Error Bars plus a new feature

Timeline charts are an effective way to display events over time. You can use a new Excel 2016 feature to easily create a timeline chart.

We will create a timeline based on the table below. The Values in column B don’t represent anything, they determine the location of the Event text on the chart.

I have used the 15th of the month to centre the date in the month on the chart. You can download the example file at the bottom of this post.

  1. Select the range A1:B8 and click the Insert ribbon and chose the first Scatter chart as per image below.
  2. Delete the Gridlines and the Chart Title. Add Error Bars and Data Labels
  3. Delete the left Axis.
  4. Delete the horizontal Error Bars (click one of them and press Delete on keyboard)
  5. Click a vertical Error Bar and press Ctrl + 1. In the Task Pane on the right select Minus, No Cap and select Percent and change it to 100% – see below.
  6. Click a Data label and on the Task Pane on the right. In the Label Position choose Right. Then click the Value From Cells option. This is a new feature in Excel 2016.
  7. A range selection dialog will open – select the range C2:C8 and click OK.
  8. Lastly change the format of A2:A8 to mmm-yy – see Format Cells dialog below.
  9. Chart complete
  1. You can move the text vertically by changing the values – see below.

Download example file




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