Moving projects across the finish line is rewarding, but it’s far from easy. Maybe your last project finished over budget. Or your team struggled to stay on top of due dates and you didn’t get to deliver your project on time. Managing projects is sweat-inducing work – we get it. Maybe next time, you just need the right timeline software to help your team stay on top of things.
Timeline software allows you to create a visual representation of key milestones and events in chronological order, making projects easier to track and report back on from start to finish. Good timeline software also acts as a handy collaboration tool for the entire team, giving everyone an instant view of work ongoing and demonstrating a clear path forward, so everyone’s always tackling the right tasks, at the right time. There are a ton of timeline apps out there to help you visualize your project like a pro. To give you a headstart, we’ve rounded up the best free and paid timeline software and tools into one comprehensive list. We’ll cover each tools’ top features, pricing, and highlight what each of them does best – so you can find a solution fit for you and your team. Let’s get started. But first…
Great timelines don’t have to be overly complicated eyesores. If you’re feeling budget-conscious or just need something simple, then there are a few free tools you can use to design and share your timeline (which we’ll cover in our roundup below). Heck, you can even generate a timeline for free using the timeline template in Google Sheets, 100% free. And in a previous article, we’ve covered some more free ready-made project timeline templates you can download and start using right away.
If you’re already a habitual user of PowerPoint and not one for fiddling around with complex project planning or Gantt software, Office Timeline is a simple yet powerful timeline creator for basic visual representations. With this app, you can quickly create, collaborate on, and share timelines with your team to track progress using their percent complete tracker – giving everyone involved full clarity on the project status.
Preceden is specifically designed for timeline creation and comes equipped with several features to facilitate better cross-team collaboration. With the easy drag-and-drop builder, you can quickly rustle up a timeline that highlights important, date-based milestones. Next, you can quickly plan backwards, decide what each team member will be working on and get everyone aligned on how to reach key project milestones on time.
While Lucidchart is more of an all-round visualization tool for creating diagrams and flowcharts, and not a dedicated timeline maker per-se, it does come with some handy timeline creation capabilities on the side. Packed full of features, formatting options and templates, with Lucidchart you can make a professional-looking timeline that looks just how you want it to, all in a matter of minutes (and with a clean user interface, to boot!)
Asana is a well-known project management tool that’s already widely used by a lot of teams. Hence why it’s part of our best timeline software list – because Asana also comes with a pretty nifty timeline generator. Once your project is up and running, it’s a similar story to how many other timeline tools we’ve discussed work. A Gantt-style timeline provides a real-time view into your project so you can see all the dependencies, correlations, who’s working on what and with who, and identify weak spots and risks.
Another reliable timeline app on our list is Aeon Timeline. Originally built for creative writers looking to avoid plot holes by visualizing story events, Aeon Timeline has since grown into an indispensable timeline tool for professionals in education, law and project management. Project managers can use it to visualize their team’s work, including milestones, assigned tasks and dependencies. Aeon Timeline also offers robust data customization options – it’s totally up to you exactly how much detail you want to show on your timeline, from images and text to people and task durations. When you’re done developing them, you can share your timelines with team members and leadership and convey progress updates quickly and easily.
Fond of a Gantt chart? Then TeamGantt, a project planning tool with timeline functionality, might be the one for you. Using their simple drag-and-drop feature, you can quickly change the start and end dates for tasks, reorder tasks, and adjust your timeline in a matter of clicks. With your visual timeline all nicely mapped out, you can easily spot risks before they become a problem and gain an accurate picture of the overall progress of your project. Moreover, you can quickly export your project timeline in PDF or CSV and share it with both internal and external stakeholders.
Let’s be honest: there’s nothing new, creative (or all that exciting, really) about your average timeline view. Tiki-Toki, on the other hand, lets you create 3D, multimedia timelines that engage, as well as inform, everyone involved in a project. If you’re looking for a unique way to bring your timeline to life, then look no further.
If you’re looking for timeline software that combines time tracking and task management capabilities for projects of varying complexity, then you might want to take a closer look at Timely. Not only does Timely automatically track time spent on individual parts of a project, you can quickly switch between the timeline and standard calendar view and get an instant update on the status of all of your projects and whether team members are on the right track. Best of all, it integrates directly with the tools you’re already using for work every day.
So there you have it – our pick of the top 8 timeline apps! One last word of advice – the vast majority of these tools offer either free trials, or freemium packages, so our advice is to give a few of them a decent test-drive before making a decision on which is the right one to use for your projects. And remember, a good project timeline needs to be easy to understand and purposefully built. Timeline apps can help you with this, but they can also lead you down a path to overcomplication. That’s why, to help you create the best project timeline, we’ve written a guide that’ll help you out: Learn how to create a project timeline in eight easy steps