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How to Quickly Make a Timeline in Keynote With Templates

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Read Time: 11 min
This post is part of a series called How to Use Apple Keynote (Ultimate Tutorial Guide).
Keynote Magic Move: How to Use Slide Transition Effects
How to Add Video & Music Files in Keynote Presentations

Presentations are often built to tell a story. They might showcase how the past connects to the present or the delivery stages of a project. Keynote timelines are the perfect way to show essential sequence milestones.

How to Quickly Make a Timeline in Keynote With TemplatesHow to Quickly Make a Timeline in Keynote With TemplatesHow to Quickly Make a Timeline in Keynote With Templates
In this tutorial, you'll learn how to make a visual timeline with Keynote roadmap templates. (Icon source: Envato Elements.)

You need visuals and charts to help you tell the story and drive a message to the audience. And it might be easier than you think to build timeline designs in Keynote, thanks to pre-built Keynote timeline templates that you can download and use rapidly.

In this tutorial, you're going to learn how to build out excellent Keynote timelines. These timelines can help you link events together in sequential order to tell a story. ...

How to Create Timelines in Mac Keynote (Watch & Learn)

In this screencast, I'll show you how to build out a timeline using Keynote templates. With a pre-designed Keynote timeline template, you'll save a lot of time. You can drop in your details much faster than it takes to create one from scratch.

One of the things that you'll learn in this screencast is the variety of timelines that you can build. Timelines can take on many different shapes, and the template that we use shows off that wide variety.

Want to learn more about using templates for the best possible Keynote timelines? Keep reading the tutorial to see more examples. 

How to Customize Timeline Infographic Slides in Keynote

In this tutorial, we'll use the Timeline 2.0 for Keynote template from Envato Elements. This template is all about building out timelines efficiently in Keynote. The slides have fully developed slides that you can use for a Keynote timeline! All you need to do is add your details to make them successful. 

With Timeline 2.0, there are ten different color schemes to choose from. Each of those color schemes has 50 different slides with unique timeline designs. Furthermore, there's an animated and non-animated version of each slide. These give you vast creative flexibility to create designs of your own. 

Keynote roadmap templateKeynote roadmap templateKeynote roadmap template
The Timeline 2.0 template includes many stylish Keynote timeline designs like this.

You don't have to use this slide deck on its own. It's easy to design a timeline slide and paste it into an existing slide deck.

The key idea is to start with pre-built slides that already have a timeline structure in place. Let's learn how to use these to customize your timelines. 

The tips in this section were written using macOS Ventura 13.1 and Keynote 12.2.1. If you’ve got a different macOS version or a different version of Keynote, your steps may be slightly different.

5 Excellent Keynote Timeline Slides (Customize Quickly)

Our slide template has a wide variety of slide designs. But that means that it can be challenging to select the right one for the timeline that you're designing! The trick is to embrace the flexibility that so many options afford you.

Let's take a look at five great Keynote timeline slides in Timeline 2.0. As we explore, we'll imagine some ways that you could use each of them. 

1. Keynote Timeline Slide 48 - "Key" Date Slides

This slide puts critical dates front and center with a slick graphic. The key graphic can be used to show those pivotal dates on a project that are crucial to its success.

Throughout these slides, the method is the same. Start with one of these slide designs, add your details, and remove anything that you don't want to use.

Timeline template KeynoteTimeline template KeynoteTimeline template Keynote
Showcase the “key” dates using slide #48 in the deck.

In this example, I've updated the starter slide with details of the three key parts of my project. Just double click in the text boxes and add your details to show a timeline for your work.

2. Keynote Timeline Slide 2 - Project Completion Slides

This Keynote timeline template slide is incredibly versatile! Of course, it shows the major dates for timelines. But it also illustrates the percent completion of each stage.

For projects that run many objectives in parallel, slide 2 is an ideal choice. Just fill in the circles with the appropriate completion percentage and status description! When you do, you'll show the project's status to your audience in real time. 

Visual Keynote timelineVisual Keynote timelineVisual Keynote timeline
Add key dates and completion statuses for each stage to complete slide #2.

3. Keynote Timeline Slide 29 - Cube Date Slides

This cube date slide (slide 29 in the deck) can work for a litany of timeline purposes. In this design, the descriptions that you add will take more priority than the shapes or graphics. It's a compelling way to make a visual timeline. 

As always, it's easy to take a slide with this starting design and drop your details into. Update the dates, add the milestone details, and voila! You've made an incredible Keynote timeline of your own. 

Cube Keynote timelineCube Keynote timelineCube Keynote timeline
These cubes are abstract enough that they can work for practically any timeline.

4. Keynote Timeline Slide 36 - Photo-Driven Timeline Slide

Here's a slide that can shine with the addition of several photos. A timeline can be used to show the progress of a project, and this slide might be the perfect design for it.

When you open slide 36, you'll see five photo placeholders that you can add your photos to. Just update the text and add in your photos to see the lifespan of a project, illustrated with real images.

Keynote timeline image addedKeynote timeline image addedKeynote timeline image added
The photo placeholders on this slide are easy to substitute with your own photo choices that show the progression of a project over time. (Image source: Envato Elements.)

5. Keynote Timeline Slide 33 - Month-by-Month Slide

This slide design is perfect for setting the course of a project. You need to link together the milestones in a project with key dates.

Monthly timeline template KeynoteMonthly timeline template KeynoteMonthly timeline template Keynote
These half-ring circles are ideal for showcasing the key milestones in a project with descriptions.
The half rings in this slide are ideal for this. A quick description for each milestone helps you show the project on a timeline. And of course, you can update the months as needed. Consider using this in a project pitch to gain buy-in.  

5 Practical Uses for Timelines

There's almost no limit to the situations that you can use a timeline for. Whenever you need to connect events together, consider using a timeline. Here are some scenarios that you could use a timeline for:

  1. Job application pitches. Telling a future employer about your past employment experiences? One of the best ways to do it is with a timeline in Keynote that explains how all your expertise fits together.
  2. New project approvals. If you want a team to approve your project, it's crucial to lay out a road map with key milestones. This level of open communication drives engagement and approval. 
  3. Explaining the history of a topic. How about using a timeline in Keynote to show key events in a company's history? You can use critical points on a timeline to show key events in the organization's history.
  4. Predicting the future. I've seen timelines also used for future forecasts or predictions. Even if your timeline extends past the present, you can use the critical points along it to point out the key dates.
  5. Set your personal goals. Use a timeline with key points to mark the steps it'll take to reach a major goal.

Whether you're showing the past or future, a timeline shows how the events fit together to tell a story. No matter what your project needs are, a Keynote template can be one of the best ways to build a timeline. 

The Best Source for Top Keynote Timeline Templates (In 2023)

You can always build a Keynote timeline by hand. When you do, you'll manually draw out the timeline, using shapes and lines to show events. But that takes too much time and is inflexible, and the result won't be as good as the alternative.

So, why build timelines from scratch? Use a Keynote timeline template with pre-built designs instead! The easiest way to create a timeline is to get a head start and add your details to it. 

All you need to do is pick out a Keynote timeline template that fits your style. Then, you'll substitute the placeholders with your own project specifics. 

Find Keynote Timelines

Keynote timeline templateKeynote timeline templateKeynote timeline template
Keynote presentation theme designs on Envato Elements - with unlimited access.

For this, we'll use a template from Envato Elements. With a premium timeline template Keynote, you'll save precious time. You won't have to build Keynote timeline designs from scratch. Instead, you'll just need to fill in your key details! In seconds, you can make a visual timeline of your own. 

Time and time again, the Elements selection of items impresses me with its depth. There are templates for every purpose, including many templates designed for building timelines. When you choose a Keynote roadmap template from Elements, you’ll enjoy:

  • Expertly crafted designs. With slides built by creative experts, you’ll wow your audience.
  • Flexible layouts. Easy-to-edit and fast to work with, you can customize a premium Keynote roadmap template fast.
  • Themed slide decks. Many timeline template Keynote designs feature unique themes for your business. 

As you can see, a premium Keynote roadmap template from Envato Elements is your best bet! Browse the vast library and join today!

5 (More) Creative Keynote Timeline Templates

These aren't the only options to build your Keynote timeline graphics. Thanks to Envato Elements, there's a deep library of options for building timeline templates.

1. Timeline Keynote Template

Timeline keynote templateTimeline keynote templateTimeline keynote template

The Timeline Keynote template is a top design, with 30 slides for timeline graphics. As you've already seen in this tutorial, timelines can take a variety of forms! This template offers a wide sampling of them. Choose from any of them along with the 7 color schemes to craft your timeline in Keynote in no time flat!

2. Travel Keynote Template

Travel Keynote timelineTravel Keynote timelineTravel Keynote timeline

The Travel template has many slide designs built in, and they're incredibly easy to work with! Some of my favorites are the timeline slides you can use to chain events together. Bold typography and smooth shapes are ideal to build your Keynote timeline graphic.

3. Rubick Keynote Template

Rubick Keynote TemplateRubick Keynote TemplateRubick Keynote Template

If you're wondering how to make a timeline in less time, look no further than this Keynote template. Rubick is a dark and bold template with splashes of color that makes it one of my top choices.

Not every slide features a timeline graphic. But many options are found in this presentation. Use Rubick's Keynote template to bring your timeline to life.

4. Crown Keynote Template

Crown Keynote roadmap templateCrown Keynote roadmap templateCrown Keynote roadmap template

Less is more, and great Keynote timeline templates like Crown are a powerful reminder of that. The light and airy slides help your content take center stage and stand out to the audience.

Best of all, you'll see slides that have bold timelines that stand out. Customize these timeline graphics easily.

5. Startup Infographic Keynote Template

Startup Infographic Keynote templateStartup Infographic Keynote templateStartup Infographic Keynote template

Launching your startup takes bold graphics to gain support. One type of slide that's often included is a timeline that helps showcase your growth journey. Look no further than this Keynote timeline package! It includes all the timelines you see in the screenshot above.

Want to see other templates that include designs that cover all your Keynote needs? Check out the round-up below:

Learn All About How to Make Great Presentations (Free eBook)

free presentation ebookfree presentation ebookfree presentation ebook

Take the knowledge you gained in this tutorial further with our new eBook: The Complete Guide to Making Great Presentations. Grab this PDF Download now for Free with your subscription to the Tuts+ Business Newsletter. 

Keep Learning Apple Keynote

Don't stop here! Everyone needs skills to build out presentation templates so that they can feel confident when giving a presentation. With well-built timelines, you can craft a story in an order that resonates with the audience.

Check out these other tutorials from Envato Tuts+ to see more Keynote skills and templates that you can use to build the best presentation possible. 

You Just Learned How to Make a Visual Timeline in Keynote

How do you show events on a timeline? Now, you know how to make a visual timeline in Keynote to do just that. Keynote timelines show how steps in a sequence link together for a cohesive story.

Now, it's your turn. It's time to open your presentation and make a visual timeline to tell a story. You're sure to love the results and weave a great story that engages the audience.

Editorial Note: This post was originally published in 2018. It has been revised to add extra tips and examples by our staff—with special help from Andrew Childress.

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