Although not considered an illustration program, Microsoft Word 2013 offers some basic illustrating features that you can use to combine shapes, images and text. If you need to create a timeline for a project, it is possible to create one in Word 2013 by either inserting Shapes or SmartArt objects. If you are planning to print your timeline in black and white, a basic illustration will be sufficient, but you can also aim to impress by using a bright color palette and including images to represent each period on your timeline.

Creating a Basic Timeline

Step 1

Select the Page Layout tab and choose "Orientation" under Page Setup. Select "Landscape."

Step 2

Click the Insert tab and select "Shapes" under Illustrations. Select the arrow or double arrow under Arrows.

Step 3

Click and drag from left to right on the page to create the base of the timeline. Hold the "Shift" key to draw a straight horizontal line.

Step 4

Click the line and click on the Format tab that appears on the menu bar under Drawing Tools.

Step 5

Click the "Down" arrow next to "Shape Outline" to change the look of the line. Select a color for your line and click the arrow next to "Weight." Select "6 pt" to make the line thicker and more pronounced.

Step 6

Click the Insert tab and select "Shapes" again. Click the straight line under Lines. Click and drag to draw a vertical line out of your timeline to indicate certain dates or periods of time. Hold the "Shift" key to keep the line straight. Repeat this step and draw lines on both sides of your timeline.

Step 7

Click "Text Box" under Text and select "Simple Text Box." Click anywhere on the border of the text box that appears and drag to move it into place. Click and drag the nodes to resize the text box, and click in the box to add dates and other information related to a certain period on the timeline. Repeat until your Timeline is complete.

Timeline Using SmartArt

Step 1

Click the Insert tab and select "SmartArt" under Illustrations. Click "List" and select "Continuous Picture List." Click "OK" and the SmartArt object will automatically be placed on your page.

Step 2

Click anywhere on the border of the shape and drag to move it into the desired place. Click on the far right node and drag to stretch the shape to fill the page. It will automatically make the shapes bigger.

Step 3

Click anywhere on the border of the SmartArt object and select the "Design" tab that appears under SmartArt Tools on the menu bar. Click "Add Shape" under Create Graphic and repeat to add as many shapes as there are time periods on your timeline.

Step 4

Click the "[Text]" on each shape to add dates and other information. The font size will automatically decrease depending on the amount of text you are adding and make it the same for all of the text boxes.

Step 5

Click the "Picture" icon to add a picture to represent the time period. Repeat to add a picture for every time period.

Step 6

Click the first individual shape and select the "Format" tab that appears under SmartArt Tools. Select the Shape Style you want to apply or click "Shape Fill" to change the color of the shape. Repeat to specify a different color for each time period.