I am trying to create a timeline similar to the one displayed below, it does not have to be exactly the same. I already tried looking at other threats about timelines, which made me to believe I am probably gonna have to use the Tikz package. But other than that, they didn't really help me much further.

enter image description here

This is what I tried:

% draw horizontal line   
\draw[ultra thick, ->] (0,0) -- (\ImageWidth,0);

% draw vertical lines
\foreach \x in {2,4,6,8,10,12}
\draw (\x cm,3pt) -- (\x cm,-3pt);

% draw node
\draw[ultra thick] (4,0) node[below=3pt,thick] {t-2} node[above=3pt] {};
\draw[ultra thick] (6,0) node[below=3pt,thick] {t-1} node[above=3pt] {};
\draw[ultra thick] (8,0) node[below=3pt, thick] {t} node[above=3pt] {};
             \draw[ultra thick] (10,0) node[below=3pt] {t+1} node[above=3pt] {};

\draw [black, ultra thick ,decorate,decoration={brace,amplitude=5pt},
       xshift=5pt,yshift=-4pt] (4,0.5)  -- (8,0.5) 
       node [black,midway,above=4pt,xshift=-2pt] {\footnotesize Training period};

\draw [ black, ultra thick,decorate,decoration={brace,amplitude=5pt},
       xshift=8pt,yshift=-11pt] (10,-0.5) -- (8,-0.5)
       node [black,midway,below=4pt,xshift=8pt] {\footnotesize Testing period};


It ended up looking as follows: enter image description here

Which is rather far from my desired result.

  • What have you tried so far? Doing this with the tikz package should be relatively easy (besides the curly braces, but solutions have already been provided for some other questions about them).
    – epR8GaYuh
    Jun 13, 2018 at 8:25
  • I don't have anything to show as of yet, still trying to understand the tikz package. I'm relatively new to latex.
    – Rik
    Jun 13, 2018 at 8:38
  • 1
    Related question on SO main: stackoverflow.com/questions/217834/…
    – Marijn
    Jun 13, 2018 at 9:00
  • I added the code I have until now, but it doesn't really look very neat.
    – Rik
    Jun 13, 2018 at 12:27

2 Answers 2


You can also use line width to draw the colored rectangle. And define the color shading within the \foreach.

\usetikzlibrary{decorations.pathreplacing,positioning, arrows.meta}

% draw horizontal line   
\draw[thick, -Triangle] (0,0) -- (\ImageWidth,0) node[font=\scriptsize,below left=3pt and -8pt]{years};

% draw vertical lines
\foreach \x in {0,1,...,10}
\draw (\x cm,3pt) -- (\x cm,-3pt);

\foreach \x/\descr in {4/t-2,5/t-1,6/t,7/t+1}
\node[font=\scriptsize, text height=1.75ex,
text depth=.5ex] at (\x,-.3) {$\descr$};

% colored bar up
\foreach \x/\perccol in
\draw[lightgray!\perccol!red, line width=4pt] 
(\x,.5) -- +(1,0);
\draw[-Triangle, dashed, red] (5,.5) --  +(1,0);

% colored bar down
\foreach \x/\perccol in
\draw[lightgray!\perccol!green, line width=4pt] 
(\x,-.7) -- +(1,0);
\draw[-Triangle, dashed, green] (6,-.7) --  +(1,0);

% braces
\draw [thick ,decorate,decoration={brace,amplitude=5pt}] (4,0.7)  -- +(2,0) 
       node [black,midway,above=4pt, font=\scriptsize] {Training period};
\draw [thick,decorate,decoration={brace,amplitude=5pt}] (6,-.9) -- +(-1,0)
       node [black,midway,font=\scriptsize, below=4pt] {Testing period};



enter image description here


There are some problems with your code:

  • You are using lots of ultra thick lines which are not really needed.
  • You have some xshift values for the braces which move them out of their right position.
  • Your node syntax to label the axis could be much shorter.
  • You are missing the decorations library which makes your code not compilable.

I did some cleanup of your code and ended up with this (which probably still is not perfect):





    every node/.style={
        % Better alignment, see https://tex.stackexchange.com/questions/315075
        text height=1ex,
        text depth=.25ex,
% draw horizontal line   
\draw[->] (0,0) -- (8.5,0);

% draw vertical lines
\foreach \x in {0,1,...,8}{
    \draw (\x cm,3pt) -- (\x cm,0pt);

% place axis labels
\node[anchor=north] at (3,0) {$t-2$};
\node[anchor=north] at (4,0) {$t-1$};
\node[anchor=north] at (5,0) {$t$};
\node[anchor=north] at (6,0) {$t+1$};
\node[anchor=north] at (8.5,0) {years};

% draw scale above
\fill[myLightGray] (1,0.25) rectangle (2,0.4);
\fill[myDarkGray] (2,0.25) rectangle (3,0.4);
\fill[myDarkRed] (3,0.25) rectangle (4,0.4);
\fill[myRed] (4,0.25) rectangle (5,0.4);
\draw[myRed,dashed,thick,-latex] (5.05,0.325) -- (6.05,0.325);

% draw scale below
\fill[myLightGray] (3,-0.4) rectangle (4,-0.55);
\fill[myGray] (4,-0.4) rectangle (5,-0.55);
\fill[myGreen] (5,-0.4) rectangle (6,-0.55);
\draw[myGreen,dashed,thick,-latex] (6.05,-0.475) -- (7.05,-0.475);

% draw curly braces and add their labels
\draw[decorate,decoration={brace,amplitude=5pt}] (3,0.45) -- (5,0.45)
    node[anchor=south,midway,above=4pt] {Training period};
\draw[decorate,decoration={brace,amplitude=5pt}] (6,-0.6) -- (5,-0.6)
    node[anchor=north,midway,below=4pt] {Testing period};



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