We all love the feeling when the whole team is working like clockwork, ticking off project tasks like a shopping list. Much more interesting than learning a historical timeline, right?
What we often struggle to accept, though, is that this only comes together when we have a robust process for project planning that includes building a project timeline of important events—which can be a real pain.
Unless, of course, you’ve got a handy timeline software package to make professional-looking timelines.
In the next few minutes, you’re going to learn about the seven best timeline creation platforms out there, so you can quickly choose the best one for you and get to work.
What is timeline software?
Timeline software is a platform designed to help project managers create project timelines, enabling you to share your timeline of how a project is going to play out over time.
Sticking to the schedule is one of the toughest parts of project management, with nearly half of projects going over their initial schedule.
It’s crucial, then, that every member of a project team has a clear view of the timeline for specific tasks, milestones, and objectives of the project, whether it’s the construction of an office’s timeline or a marketing campaign for an MNC.
There are various kinds of timeline software, though most will at least include:
- Start dates
- End dates
Can I create a timeline for free?
There are a number of free timeline software solutions available, though you’ll have to pay to access the ones with the most extensive features. To name a couple, there’s Aeon Timeline and Timeline Maker Pro.
From our experience, it’s a small price to pay for project management success, but if you are trying to keep things low-budget, then you can (technically) create a timeline for free using Google Sheets or try a free trial with MS project.
Although not a timeline maker specifically, Google Sheets has a timeline template for you to get set up quickly, with no lifetime license required.
When you open up Google Sheets, you’ll see this:
Click on the Template gallery button and scroll down to the Project management section, where you’ll find a timeline chart template:
Click on it to automatically generate a new sheet using this template.
Edit the text in each Phase, add your company and project details, and throw in a bit of color-coding for good measure!
Sure, it’s not the most interactive timeline software, and you’ll need to do a bit or merge/unmerging to get your task lengths perfect, but it is free.
If you’re looking for a more robust and user-friendly option, here’s what you need to look for:
5 features to look for in timeline software
1 – Customization
One of the most important components of pretty much any work tool is the ability to customize.
When assessing a project management timeline tool, ask yourself if you can do the following:
- Rename the timeline view (important if you’re creating multiple timelines)
- Group and organize timeline bars
- Color-code timeline items to improve workflow and aesthetics
- Display a ‘today’ bar
- Hide weekends (assuming you’re not working 7 days a week!)
- Choose between different views like Gantt, Kanban, etc.
monday.com’s Timeline View allows you to customize every single one of these functions with just a couple of clicks!
2 – Collaboration
Unless you’re a solo entrepreneur, consultant, or freelancer, you’re probably going to be collaborating with an entire team on your projects.
You might even have several teams, distributed across the globe, working different hours, and for different departments.
You’re going to need a timeline maker that enables you to communicate and collaborate effectively.
Here’s what to look for:
- Time tracking
- File sharing
- Team chat
- Instant notifications
- Mobile app
- Summary emails
- The ability to assign tasks
- Customizable permission sets
monday.com is built around team collaboration —it’s what drives everything we do.
3 – Automation
As much as we’d all like to think that a project will flow exactly as planned, the simple truth is that things change: scope, delays or advances, and priorities.
All of this means that your project timeline graph will need to flex as the requirements of the project do, and the last thing you want is to have to make those changes manually each and every time.
The solution is automation.
monday.com makes automation simple and intuitive; no complex coding background required.
Set due date reminders
Never miss a beat by setting due date reminders on tasks. These can go to the individual responsible, or the project manager, or both!
Add recurring tasks automatically
Is your team performing recurring tasks each week?
Rather than adding them in manually, just set up an automation recipe to take care of it.
Complex projects often implement multiple project boards with several timelines running at once.
monday.com has automation rules that can adjust parameters across multiple boards.
4 – Templates
Setting up a timeline from scratch can take a lot of time.
monday.com has hundreds of ready-made templates that you can plug into your monday.com board.
You can try the project timeline template.
5 – Integration
Your timeline maker isn’t going to be the only tool in your project management tool chest, so it’s going to need to integrate with all of the other software platforms you use on a daily basis.
When you’re looking for a timeline software package, choose the one with the biggest set of integrations possible:
What is the best timeline software?
monday.commonday.com is more than just a timeline maker; it’s a full-scale Work OS and a project manager’s best friend.
It’s a project management software and timeline creator that saves teams time spent doing manual work by implementing smart automations, building custom workflow apps, and integrating directly with the tools you’re already using on a daily basis.
With monday.com, users can…
- Choose from several project views, including Timeline, Gantt chart, Kanban, Table, Calendar, Chart, and Map
- Share with outside parties without putting sensitive data at risk by setting individual sharing permissions
- Track time spent on individual parts of a project
- Upload and share documents, and attach them to specific tasks for immediate context
- Add users to tasks to show who is responsible for what
- Design your own automation rules to automate manual grunt work and recurring tasks
- Get work done on the go with easy-to-use iOS and Android apps
- Build your own apps with our Apps framework
- Get started instantly with over 200 pre-built project management templates
- Make edits quickly with drag-and-drop functionality
In monday.com, the Timeline is a way of visualizing your data, not a separate creation. That means that you can quickly switch between the Timeline view and your standard work view.
Why monday.com is the best choice for timeline software
If you’re not yet convinced, here are a few more reasons why monday.com is the ultimate choice of timeline software.
The Timeline view is not a standalone tool, but rather one of many different views which update automatically as tasks are edited.
You can quickly and easily switch between the standard Timeline view and the Gantt chart view:
Don’t settle for just one view at once, work smarter with Split Screen mode:
Try out our Dark Mode if you’re looking for something a little easier on the eyes:
You don’t need to switch back from the Timeline view to edit tasks either, meaning you can get work done faster:
Timelines, the invaluable tool
Whether you’re looking for a simple timeline creator for basic visual representations, or a more complex timeline software with project and task management capabilities, there’s something out there for everyone.
Ultimately, the best timeline software will depend on your needs, but above all, monday.com is an incredibly feature-rich timeline generator and project management tool.
Start exploring with one of our pre-made templates.