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I am looking to make a standard timeline, nothing fancy, like the one below (although, it does not have to be like that) using any library. How can I go about the achieving this in the best way?

A standard timeline

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2 Answers

up vote 30 down vote accepted

Here's one possibility using TikZ:


I made some additional improvements to the original code (older versions can be seen in the edit history of this answer):


\definecolor{arrowcolor}{RGB}{201,216,232}% color for the arrow filling
\definecolor{circlecolor}{RGB}{79,129,189}% color for the inner circles filling
\colorlet{textcolor}{white}% color for the text inside the circles
\colorlet{bordercolor}{white}% color for the outer border of circles



\newlength\taskwidth% width of the box for the task description
\newlength\taskvsep% vertical distance between the task description and arrow




  on chain,
  inner sep=4pt,
  line width=1.5pt,
  text width=1.2em,
  text height=1.25ex,
  text depth=0ex
on grid

\node[inner xsep=0pt] (c1) {\phantom{A}};
  (c\the\numexpr\value{task}+1\relax) {#1};
  at (c\the\numexpr\value{task}+1\relax) {\task{#2}};

\newcommand\drawarrow{% the arrow is placed in the background layer 
                                                     % after the node for the tasks have been placed
  \node[on chain] (c1) {}; % if no \Task command is used, the arrow will be drawn
\node[on chain] (f) {};
  inner sep=10pt,
  single arrow,
  single arrow head extend=0.8cm,
  fit= (c1) (f)
] (arrow) {};
\fill[white] % the decoration at the tail of the arrow
  (arrow.before tail) -- (c1|-arrow.west) -- (arrow.after tail) -- cycle;

\newenvironment{timeline}[1][node distance=.75\taskwidth]
  {\par\noindent\begin{tikzpicture}[start chain,#1]}


\Task{Complete oral presentation\\ 27/04/2012}
\Task{Work on user interface and some modulation \\ 28/04/2012}
\Task{Work on and complete proposal to hand in \\ 29/04/2012}
\Task{Hand in proposal and astart working on Software planning \\ 04/05/2012}
\Task{Hand in Software planning and work on more content \\ 06/05/2012}
\Task{Complete full user UI with action listeners \\ 12/05/2012}
\Task{Complete beta testing and debug \\ May 13th to May 29th}



\Task[M]{Grilled cheese sandwiches on whole-wheat bread, one peach}
\Task[Tu]{Penne pasta Caprese salad}
\Task[W]{Zucchini muffins with cream cheese, grapes, and watermelon}
\Task[Th]{Peanut butter and banana sandwiches, popcorn, one peach}
\Task[F]{Cream cheese and cucumber sandwich, grapes, and blueberries}
\Task[Sa]{Grilled fish with lemon, grilled corn, and whole-wheat biscuits}
\Task[Su]{Yogurth with honey and blueberries}


enter image description here

How the code works:

Inside the timeline environment, use \Task{<description>} for each task. For example:

\taskmark{This is the first task}
\taskmark{This is the description of the second task and it is a little long}
\taskmark{This is the description of the third task and it is short}
\taskmark{This is the description of the fourth task}
\taskmark{This is the description of the fifth task}
\taskmark{Here is the description of the sixth task}

If no \Task command is used, only the arrow will be drawn. The optional argument for \Task, allows to add a label to the inner circles (if the label is too long, the width for the inner style will have to be increased).

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I'm getting this error "! LaTeX Error: Command \widering already defined. What could be the issue? –  gekkostate Apr 15 '13 at 1:40
@gekkostate that error indicates a conflict between names of commands. The only package that perhaps could be causing the name clash that in my code it's fourier; don't load it. If the error persists, it must be elsewhere in your code, not in mine. You can build a MWE illustrating the problem and add it to your question. –  Gonzalo Medina Apr 15 '13 at 1:44
I removed the fourier package it is fixed! Thanks a bunch! –  gekkostate Apr 15 '13 at 1:45
Can you please demonstrate how to add more tasks? I kind of have it figured out but it would be better if you could give an explanation of your code. –  gekkostate Apr 15 '13 at 1:47
@gekkostate yes, of course, I am improving the code. As soon as I finish, I'll update it and provide an explanation. –  Gonzalo Medina Apr 15 '13 at 1:59
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With PSTricks.

enter image description here

    \pscircle[linewidth=2pt,linecolor=white,fillstyle=solid,fillcolor=blue!75](!2.5 #1 mul 1 add 0){.5}
        \rput[b](!2.5 #1 mul 1 add  1){\parbox{2cm}{\scriptsize #3}}}{%
        \rput[t](!2.5 #1 mul 1 add -1){\parbox{2cm}{\scriptsize #3}}}}

    \psline[linecolor=blue!50,linewidth=1.5,arrowinset=0,arrowlength=0.5]{->}(0,0)(!2.5 #1 mul 5 add 0)

    \Mark{0}{t}{Karl's students do not care about dashing patterns.}
    \Mark{1}{b}{Karl's students do not care about arrow tips.}
    \Mark{2}{t}{Karl's students, by the way, do not know what a transformation matrix is.}
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