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Leading adult education through support for and the effective application of technology.

Microsoft Word: Create a Timeline


Activity Description

Timelines are a useful graphic used in class or student work. Use Microsoft Word to create a timeline of personal or historical history.


  1. Find timelines online or in textbooks to show the students.
  2. Create several timelines using Microsoft Word. These could be historical or personal event timelines. (see instructions on Example Document 1).
  3. Print handouts for the students.


  1. Discuss timelines and how to read them. Show timelines you have found online or in textbooks to illustrate different styles. Practice reading them. Show the ones you created using Microsoft Word.
  2. Assign creating a timeline. Students can be assigned individually, as pairs or as groups. This is particularly useful to mix students of different reading levels.
  3. Distribute handout.
  4. Demonstrate each step in creating the timeline.
  5. Use your examples to show final products.

Teacher Tips

Discuss with students copyright laws and how they apply to the pictures you see and use online. Discuss Creative Commons and usage rights.

More Ways

  • The timeline could be a part of a larger project on history including a PowerPoint presentation for student groups. You could discuss presentation skills and good listening skills to assist students with group participation

Program Areas

  • ABE: Adult Basic Education


  • Low
  • Intermediate
  • High
  • All Levels



  • Reading
    • Critical Thinking/Decision Making
    • Learning to Learn


Creative Commons,microsoft,Microsoft,Microsoft Word,timeline,usage rights,Word
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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN220124 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.