Excel Hints & Tips - Timeline

In: BlogDate: Jan 31, 2013By: Darren Andrews

How to use the Timeline feature in Excel 2013/2016.

Hi, we are Happy

We are leading a movement to create happy, empowered and productive workplaces.

How can we help you and your people to find joy in at least 80% of your work?

More about Happy

We all like a good Pivot Table don’t we? But to get the full range of summary options we sometimes need to add more than we’d like.

For instance, in my personnel database I want a summary of salary and bonus for each department. But I also want to be able to filter the results by the start date of the staff.

To do this I would have produced a Pivot Table similar to the one below and then used the custom date filter to filter by the correct period.



I could group the data, but once again, it’s less than elegant. It would also be possible to create an Activex control or some VBA to make this more flexible but it’s becoming increasingly complex.


Using the Timeline feature

To use this just create your Pivot Table as normal. It is not necessary to include the date field, as you will use the Timeline filter on in the Pivot Table:



On the insert ribbon you will find the Timeline tool:


When you use the tool it will identify any fields that the Timeline filter can filter.



Pick your field, and your timeline is ready for use!



You can change the periods it filters – choose between Yearly, Quarterly, Monthly and Daily view using the dropdown menu on the top right corner of the dialogue. You can also change the period filtered – just highlight the appropriate period.

Very simple, very nice!

Don’t forget, all of our IT training courses include two years of free access to our IT Helpline. The IT Helpline is staffed by our IT trainers, with support available by phone and email. You can contact our team as many times as you like about the material covered on your course.

Why not sign up to our newsletter?

Sign up to our monthly newsletter, full of tips, tricks and news to help you to be happier and more productive at work.

Sign up here

Darren Andrews

Darren is one of Happy's Senior Trainers, able to train almost every IT course on our course programme. He worked for Happy for 12 years and has been an Associate Trainer since 2018.

More by Darren

Want to learn more?

Dive further into Excel’s Pivot Tables feature with our Excel Pivot Tables: From Data to Dashboard training course. In this faster-paced intensive one-day course, you will discover how to use Excel’s powerful Pivot Table and Pivot Chart tools to summarise and display useful and relevant information to help your decision makers use all of this data. Using your knowledge of Excel’s Pivot Table and Pivot Chart tools, you will be able to turn large data sets into meaningful dashboards and reports confidently and efficiently.