I recently shared this simple interactive timeline template created with PowerPoint in the E-Learning Heroes community: PowerPoint Template - Interactive Timeline. A few community members told me they really liked it and asked how I created the interactivity, so I wanted to walk you through the simple three-step process I followed to build it.
Step 1: Create Timeline with Shapes and Text Boxes
Everything you see on the slide is just shapes and text. Oh, and of course there’s my lovely, crisp image, which I picked up from the awesome free stock photography site stocksnap.io, one of my current faves. I just dropped in some rectangle shapes and text-entry boxes, and then added an upside-down triangle to indicate the spot on the timeline. Easy peasy!
I should point out that a few of the items are actually on the Slide Master, including the grey title rectangle at the top and the two grey rectangles with the dates along the bottom. This is how my Slide Master looks:
However, the image, the text to the right of the image, and the arrow on the Timeline are all content that changes from slide to slide, so those objects are NOT on the slide master.
Step 2: Duplicate the Slide
The next thing I did was duplicate my slide, once for every time slot on the timeline. Once I duplicated my slide, I had to make a few quick edits. First, I swapped out the imagery using the Change Picture feature on the ribbon. Next, I updated the date and the placeholder text located to the right of the image. Finally, I adjusted the placement of the upside-down triangle on the timeline so it points to the correct time period. I repeated this for every time slot on my timeline.
Step 3: Add Interactivity on Slide Master
The last thing I did was pop back to my Slide Master to add interactivity to my timeline, which is super easy. First, I created a simple rectangle shape and made it transparent by setting its border and fill to No Fill. Then, I duplicated this invisible rectangle shape and placed one rectangle over each date on the timeline.
With the invisible rectangles in place, I added a hyperlink to each one that links to the corresponding slide in the Timeline. Now, when a learner clicks on the dates on the Timeline, it will link them to the corresponding slide with the appropriate information. And since I added the hyperlinks on the Slide Master, I only need to add them once, and it works across my entire project.
That’s a super-simple way to create an interactive timeline in PowerPoint in 3 steps. Do you have any tips of your own for creating interactivity with PowerPoint? If so, please leave a comment below!
Want to try something you learned here, but don’t have Articulate software? Download a free 30-day trial, and come back to E-Learning Heroes regularly for more helpful advice on everything related to e-learning.