How To Make and Use Timeline Charts in Google Sheets

Learn how to make timeline charts in Google Sheets, useful for data marked by time and dates.

Table of Contents
  1. How to format the data for timeline charts
  2. How to make a timeline chart
  3. How to change the period displayed by the timeline chart
  4. How to hide the range controls in the timeline chart
  5. How to include zero in the timeline chart
  6. How to make a timeline chart with several columns
  7. Sample sheet
Table of contents
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
  1. How to format the data for timeline charts
  2. How to make a timeline chart
  3. How to change the period displayed by the timeline chart
  4. How to hide the range controls in the timeline chart
  5. How to include zero in the timeline chart
  6. How to make a timeline chart with several columns
  7. Sample sheet
6 Minutes

Unsure which chart type to use? Click here to find the right chart for your data and the ideas that you want to convey.



Timeline charts are a special type of line chart in Google Sheets for data that is marked by date or time stamp. They will allow you to zoom in and out to see both short-term and long-term patterns. 


In this tutorial, we will learn how to make and use timeline charts in Google Sheets. 


The sample data that we will use in this tutorial is the historical stock value data of Microsoft (MSFT) on NASDAQ: Microsoft Corporation Common Stock (MSFT) Historical Data


How to format the data for timeline charts

The data for a timeline chart can be formatted as follows:

  • The first column contains the date or datetime
  • The second column is for the data attached to a given date or datetime
  • Additional columns can be added for another line or curve in the chart


This straightforward format is similar to the format of line charts.

How to make a timeline chart

Step 1: Select the data to be plotted to a timeline chart, then click Insert on the main menu, then select Chart.

Insert option from main menu selected, Chart option highlighted


Step 2: Go to the Chart editor, then click the drop-down box below Chart type. Scroll down to find the Timeline chart option under the Other heading.

Chart editor sidebar, Setup tab, Chart type, Timeline chart highlighted. 


Here is the timeline chart:

Timeline chart of MSFT stock value from 2016 to 2021.

As you can see, there are more features on a timeline chart that do not exist on a simple line chart which can be useful when analyzing historical data. At the top of the chart is a set of buttons with different time periods ranging from 1 hour to the maximum time period covered by the data, as well as a range below the main chart with ends that you can drag. We will learn their purpose  in the next section.


How to change the period displayed by the timeline chart


There are two methods for changing the period displayed by the timeline chart which each use one of the range controls in the timeline chart. 

Method 1: The zoom options on the top of the chart

There are buttons on the top of the chart with the label Zoom that you can select to zoom in to within a given period backwards from the most recent entry. There are options for 1 hour, 1 day, 5 days, 1 week, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, and the maximum period.


By default, the maximum range is used:

Timeline chart of MSFT stock value from 2016 to 2021.

If we select 1 yr, we will get the following timeline chart:

Timeline chart of MSFT stock value from 2020 to 2021.

If we select 1 month, we will get the following timeline chart:

Timeline chart of MSFT stock value for the last 30 days.


Method 2: The date range selector on the bottom of the chart


There is a slider on the bottom of the chart, called the date range selector, that you can modify if you want to focus on a specific time period in between the earliest and most recent data points.. For our example, we want to zoom in on the dip in the first quarter of 2020 (you know what happened in this period):

Timeline chart of MSFT stock value from 2016 to 2021, with the dip highlighted.

To do so, slide the sliders on the bottom of the chart until you cover the relevant period:

Timeline chart of MSFT stock value in 2020, highlighting the dip

You can now better analyze a specific period in the timeline chart.


How to hide the range controls in the timeline chart

There are two range controls in the timeline chart: the zoom buttons on the top of the chart and the slider on the bottom of the chart. If you want to hide the range controls in the timeline chart, here are the steps:


Step 1: Go to the Chart editor sidebar on the right side of Google Sheets, then select Customize tab, then select Timeline. 

Chart editor, Customize tab. 


Step 2: Look down to find Show zoom buttons and Show date range selector. By default, they are ticked. Untick them.

Chart editor, Customize tab. Show zoom buttons and show date range selector options unticked.


Here is the final timeline chart now.

Timeline chart of MSFT stock value from 2016 to 2021, without controls.


How to include zero in the timeline chart

By default, timeline charts modify the range of the y-axis so that it starts with the lowest value within the displayed range. You can change the starting point to zero  by ticking Expand range to show zero, located near the bottom of the Timeline options under the Customize tab of the Chart editor sidebar.

Chart editor, Customize tab. Expand range to show zero option ticked.


Here is the timeline chart:

Timeline chart of MSFT stock value from 2016 to 2021, adjusted to include zero. 


How to make a timeline chart with several columns

You can also make a timeline chart that includes more than one column of data for a given period of time. Each additional column of data will plot another line on the timeline chart. Here are the steps:


Step 1: Select the data to be plotted to a timeline chart, then click Insert on the main menu, then select Chart.

Insert option from main menu selected, Chart option highlighted


Step 2: Go to Chart editor, then click the drop-down box below Chart type. Scroll down to find the Timeline chart under the Other heading.

Chart editor sidebar, Setup tab, Chart type, Timeline chart highlighted. 


Here is the timeline chart:

Timeline chart of MSFT stock value from 2016 to 2021, including the opening, high, low, and closing prices.


Sample sheet

Here is the sample sheet you can check for the examples shown here.

Timeline chart sample sheet 




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October 19, 2021

How To Make and Use Timeline Charts in Google Sheets

Google Sheet spreadsheet

Unsure which chart type to use? Click here to find the right chart for your data and the ideas that you want to convey.



Timeline charts are a special type of line chart in Google Sheets for data that is marked by date or time stamp. They will allow you to zoom in and out to see both short-term and long-term patterns. 


In this tutorial, we will learn how to make and use timeline charts in Google Sheets. 


The sample data that we will use in this tutorial is the historical stock value data of Microsoft (MSFT) on NASDAQ: Microsoft Corporation Common Stock (MSFT) Historical Data


How to format the data for timeline charts

The data for a timeline chart can be formatted as follows:

  • The first column contains the date or datetime
  • The second column is for the data attached to a given date or datetime
  • Additional columns can be added for another line or curve in the chart


This straightforward format is similar to the format of line charts.

How to make a timeline chart

Step 1: Select the data to be plotted to a timeline chart, then click Insert on the main menu, then select Chart.

Insert option from main menu selected, Chart option highlighted


Step 2: Go to the Chart editor, then click the drop-down box below Chart type. Scroll down to find the Timeline chart option under the Other heading.

Chart editor sidebar, Setup tab, Chart type, Timeline chart highlighted. 


Here is the timeline chart:

Timeline chart of MSFT stock value from 2016 to 2021.

As you can see, there are more features on a timeline chart that do not exist on a simple line chart which can be useful when analyzing historical data. At the top of the chart is a set of buttons with different time periods ranging from 1 hour to the maximum time period covered by the data, as well as a range below the main chart with ends that you can drag. We will learn their purpose  in the next section.


How to change the period displayed by the timeline chart


There are two methods for changing the period displayed by the timeline chart which each use one of the range controls in the timeline chart. 

Method 1: The zoom options on the top of the chart

There are buttons on the top of the chart with the label Zoom that you can select to zoom in to within a given period backwards from the most recent entry. There are options for 1 hour, 1 day, 5 days, 1 week, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, and the maximum period.


By default, the maximum range is used:

Timeline chart of MSFT stock value from 2016 to 2021.

If we select 1 yr, we will get the following timeline chart:

Timeline chart of MSFT stock value from 2020 to 2021.

If we select 1 month, we will get the following timeline chart:

Timeline chart of MSFT stock value for the last 30 days.


Method 2: The date range selector on the bottom of the chart


There is a slider on the bottom of the chart, called the date range selector, that you can modify if you want to focus on a specific time period in between the earliest and most recent data points.. For our example, we want to zoom in on the dip in the first quarter of 2020 (you know what happened in this period):

Timeline chart of MSFT stock value from 2016 to 2021, with the dip highlighted.

To do so, slide the sliders on the bottom of the chart until you cover the relevant period:

Timeline chart of MSFT stock value in 2020, highlighting the dip

You can now better analyze a specific period in the timeline chart.


How to hide the range controls in the timeline chart

There are two range controls in the timeline chart: the zoom buttons on the top of the chart and the slider on the bottom of the chart. If you want to hide the range controls in the timeline chart, here are the steps:


Step 1: Go to the Chart editor sidebar on the right side of Google Sheets, then select Customize tab, then select Timeline. 

Chart editor, Customize tab. 


Step 2: Look down to find Show zoom buttons and Show date range selector. By default, they are ticked. Untick them.

Chart editor, Customize tab. Show zoom buttons and show date range selector options unticked.


Here is the final timeline chart now.

Timeline chart of MSFT stock value from 2016 to 2021, without controls.


How to include zero in the timeline chart

By default, timeline charts modify the range of the y-axis so that it starts with the lowest value within the displayed range. You can change the starting point to zero  by ticking Expand range to show zero, located near the bottom of the Timeline options under the Customize tab of the Chart editor sidebar.

Chart editor, Customize tab. Expand range to show zero option ticked.


Here is the timeline chart:

Timeline chart of MSFT stock value from 2016 to 2021, adjusted to include zero. 


How to make a timeline chart with several columns

You can also make a timeline chart that includes more than one column of data for a given period of time. Each additional column of data will plot another line on the timeline chart. Here are the steps:


Step 1: Select the data to be plotted to a timeline chart, then click Insert on the main menu, then select Chart.

Insert option from main menu selected, Chart option highlighted


Step 2: Go to Chart editor, then click the drop-down box below Chart type. Scroll down to find the Timeline chart under the Other heading.

Chart editor sidebar, Setup tab, Chart type, Timeline chart highlighted. 


Here is the timeline chart:

Timeline chart of MSFT stock value from 2016 to 2021, including the opening, high, low, and closing prices.


Sample sheet

Here is the sample sheet you can check for the examples shown here.

Timeline chart sample sheet 




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