Interactive timeline: Discover all its applications

7 minutes
Written by: Natalia De la Peña Frade

Timeline” means different things for each person: It depends on where you are in your life. Did your history book come to mind? Or maybe your company’s latest presentation? By adding the benefits of technology to timelines, we get the interactive timeline, a much more engaging and effective communication tool.

In this post we will see how to create a free interactive timeline that is easy to share and where you can include as much information as you want, whether for use in class or in your presentations and business proposals.

What is a timeline?

A timeline is a resource that is used to visually display a series of events in chronological order over a given period of time, or also the steps or stages that make up a process.

A timeline is a communication tool used in educational content, in the business world, and even in leisure contexts. They can serve to represent historical facts, milestones in a person’s life, processes, inventions, or anything that happens over time, even to plan your vacation!

Timelines are very powerful in helping to understand a sequence of events. By offering the information visually, it is remembered much better. It is also a super flexible format:

  • It can span any period of time, from a few minutes to several centuries.
  • You can show both past and future facts.
  • It can be of a given duration (one month, one century) or start and end at any time to show the period that interests us.
  • Milestones can be marked in any unit of time: Years, months, weeks, hours…
  • They can be made in both vertical and horizontal formats.

Timelines are always used in a supporting role. Since the internet exists it is possible to design them online and even give them another dimension that makes them a much more powerful and fun communication tool. This extra dimension or layer of information is achieved through interactivity.

What is an interactive timeline?

An interactive timeline includes items or buttons that you can interact with. People can get additional information by clicking on these interactive elements or by hovering their mouse over them.

In an interactive timeline, you can find information in many formats: Text, images, links, maps, audios…

This allows for much richer content. With a virtual timeline, you can expand on the information as much as you like, and the people who visit it will be able to view the content at their own pace, receiving the information only when they want to consume it.

A the same time, interactive content engages: People feel motivated when they can participate and the experience becomes much more meaningful.

Look at this example of an interactive timeline created with Genially:

As you’ve seen, the buttons + are interactive. When you hover over them, labels containing text and GIFs are displayed. Can you imagine everything you could communicate, using any format? For example, you can add background music to your genially, a narration, or a video – whatever content you think of!

Academia Genially ilustracion


Transmit, distribute, and amplify information in various layers to generate an immersive and explorable environment.

Cases of use and examples

As we have mentioned, a timeline can serve to show both past facts and future projects, and also help visualize processes. That is why its practical utility goes far beyond the educational world. It can play a big role in aspects related to the business world, such as project management, business proposals, or business projection.


Its most widespread use is in education and more clearly in the subject of history, to teach the main historical milestones or events of a given era visually. But it can be applied in any context where it is necessary to describe a process, a biography, or a succession of events.

An example of an educational digital timeline:


Timelines have many applications in the business world too, where they have become very popular. For example, in the pitch you create to present your business, one of the slides you can’t miss is the timeline. In that slide, the idea is to show the current situation of the business and its future projection.

The slides you see below are part of two Genially pitch deck templates.

They can also be used to create the storytelling of your company or show its development in a much more visual way.

In a business proposal, a timeline will help you convey information about the phases that make up your service or the deadlines that may need to be set. At Genially, you can find many templates to create super attractive business proposals, and each includes a creative timeline template where you can include your information.

The need to define processes and deadlines is in all departments and activities of the company, but more frequently in project management and marketing. Timelines allow tasks and stages to be scheduled, and interactivity makes it possible to display information in layers, making it as visual as possible.

How to create a free interactive timeline

Making an interactive timeline is easy.

Creating an interactive timeline is as simple as marking a beginning and an end, and chronologically sorting important concepts in the middle.

However, in order to be truly effective, the separation between the markers that point to each milestone must be proportional to the time between them. This makes the process easier to understand at first glance. Perhaps this is the only formal specification, because the digital timeline is one of the most flexible formats available (and also one of the most sought-after in Genially).

What is the best tool to create a free interactive timeline?

To make your timeline interactive, you need a tool that lets you add interactivity to the items you want to add additional information to.

There are many tools for creating a timeline. If you use Genially, you can complete your creation with the free version of the tool. Genially also provides all these benefits:

  • It’s very easy to use: You can add interactivity and animations with a few clicks, without having to know anything about programming.
  • It works in the cloud: When you change your timeline, the information is automatically updated.
  • You can choose a custom size for your creation.
  • You can add as much information as you like, in any format: Text, audio, video, maps… even insert posts on social networks.
  • It’s shared with a link, but you can also embed your timeline on any website or share it on platforms like Canvas, Google Classroom, or MS Teams. You can also present it even offline: If downloaded in HTML format, interactivity and animation effects will still work.
  • You can make the elements of your digital timeline draggable, and thus create super motivating training content. See how the elements of this genially move.

  • And finally, you don’t have to start from scratch: There are a lot of templates! It will take much less time if you use one. The templates are completely customizable, with engaging and effective professional designs – they’ll help you structure information. At the end of the post, you will find a good collection…

To be more effective in creating your virtual timeline, I recommend that you gather all the information you want to communicate before you start looking at templates. A good idea is to take advantage of the ability to add different content formats to make your timeline more dynamic and more entertaining. The more creative and surprising your timeline is, the better.

Once you have the content ready, choose a template and click on ‘Use this template’ to go to the Editor. You can start by editing the first layer of information, that is, the markers of the milestones and the text. It’s also a good idea to add a background image related to your theme. You can even put in a map if it provides useful information.

Most templates already include interactivity and animations, which are designed to make your timeline attention. Simply edit them to include the content you want to display. Before you realize it, you’ll have top-quality content to share with the world.

If you want other people to be able to see your online timeline and other creations, activate your social profile. Share your genius through your own page with your best geniallys!

Interactive timeline templates for the educational community

Interactive timeline templates for freelancers and businesses

Natalia De la Peña Frade
Natalia De la Peña Frade
Content creator: I try to write things you like to read
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4 Responses

  1. Can you provide a template or a YouTube tutorial for the second timeline example titled “An example of an educational digital timeline.”

    1. Hi Marilyn 🙂

      The link just below the timeline takes you directly to a copy of the template that you can edit.
      You may also be interested in this tutorial

      Have a great day! 🚀

  2. Hello, is it possible to have a collapsible timeline? What i am looking for is like a timeline inside a timeline. For example, at one level, the time line shows the biggest events, in a century for example, but if someone desire to see the events in the first decade of that century it can click and gett a more detailed time line of this specific period. Is it possible?
    Thanks for the attemption and congratulations for the producy!

    1. Hi Almir 😊

      Did you know you can insert a genially inside another genially? And not just one: as many as you like!

      For example, you can create a genially showing the events of a century and then a genially for each decade. Then you’ll just need to create Window interactivity in each point of the century timeline where you want to show the more detailed information.

      Check out this tutorial to see how to add Window interactivity and use the option that allows you to insert it using the code of the genially you want to display in each point. It’ll look awesome!

      Have a great day!

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