How To Make A Timeline In Powerpoint

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               Creating Timelines:
                                 Popular Product Review
           By Timothy A. Piganelli             available to assist with this very       That added expense might be more
                                               important task.                          easily justified for the defense firms
         In almost every case I work, the          The first challenge is how to get    who can bill those services to the cli-
     need for a timeline arises. Whether       a visual created. Having someone         ent, but for the plaintiff firms who
     it is for the opening statement, a        available to create a graphic timeline   must absorb these costs, trying to
     settlement conference or just a way       is the first step. Most legal profes-    accomplish this task in-house is some-
     to analyze the case amongst the trial     sionals are not skilled at creating      times preferable.
     team, a timeline is virtually always      graphics. Many law firms rely on in-         Regardless of your situation, you
     needed. Typically, a trial team cre-      house graphic departments to assist      still need to decide what you want
     ates a chronology of their case with-     with basic timeline graphics. The        the timeline to demonstrate and how
     out realizing that they will eventually   obvious choice is the in-house litiga-   you are going to integrate it into
     need to create a timeline visual.         tion support department, assuming        the presentation. Having a graphic
     Whether it is the chronology of the       one exists. They are usually the “go     is nice, but it must be tied to some
     documents in the case or a chronol-       to person” for these needs. What if      oral presentation, either the opening
     ogy of the facts in a case, a “chron”     you don’t have an in-house graphic       statement, direct exam or in the clos-
     is always built. Similar to the way       expert? You can outsource the work,      ing argument. I am sure most of you
     trial teams analyzes cases, in chrono-    but that has an associated expense.      will agree, a timeline is necessary for
     logical fashion, this is frequently the
     way the trial attorney introduces a
     case to a jury, or judge, or any tryer
     of fact. This visual representation is
     very important to the outcome of
     cases and as such, can become the
     underlying foundation for the flow
     of the case. It is very important that
     care be given in the creation of this
     important visual. Litigators struggle
     with how to create these timeline
     graphics in the most effective, easy
     and understandable way. How to
     create this visual and what to show
     on a timeline is critical. Here we
     will examine some of the do’s and
     don’ts for creating these timelines,
     as well as visual aids tools that are

0   November 2007/January 2008 •   Litigation Support TODAY
your case analysis and presentation.
Bottom line, it is helpful to know
how to generate these graphics on
your own.

Creating Timelines -
The Learning Curve
    Fortunately, creating a timeline
has been made easy by litigation sup-
port software developers and even
a few non-legal applications. In my
opinion, the easiest timeline soft-
ware tool is TimeMap by Casesoft.
It remains one of the most popular
tools on the market and at the top of
any poll found in litigation support
publications. CaseSoft has constantly
improved this widely-used tool to
keep up with the success of its litiga-    line. As shown below, you simply         tie to a defensible source or have
tion management tool, CaseMap.             key in events and date and Timeliner     foundation behind the event. One
    This application is very easy to       Express builds your timeline. In         of the best ways to show the founda-
learn and to use. If you can type,         addition, as you key in the events and   tion behind each event is to tie the
you can use this tool. By simply add-      dates, it too automatically scales your  event with some sort of evidence in
ing dates and events to the New Fact       timeline. (See Figure 2)                 the case. In a timeline, a way to do
Box, you can begin to create your              PowerPoint on the other hand, is     this is to link the event with either a
timeline. As you key in dates and          really not a timeline software, but      document exhibit or testimony.
facts, your timeline automatically         rather a presentation software tool.         Most of the tools mentioned above
builds. TimeMap creates the base           Yet, it allows you to create practically to an excellent job in allowing you
timeline for you and adjusts the time      any type of timeline you can con-        to attach either exhibits images or
scale automatically. (See Figure 1)        ceive. The challenge is learning how     multi-media. However, the best tool
    TimeMap is definitely a tool for       to use PowerPoint to create these        for this job is PowerPoint. Although it
the beginner. By picking a color           timelines. No question, PowerPoint       may not be the easiest tool to learn for
schemes and template, you are on           is the more difficult timeline tool      this timeline application and the learn-
your way to creating a timeline. Most      to learn, but the potential is almost    ing curve is greater, having exhibits
of your selections for style can be        limitless.                               zoom out from individual events on
picked from pre-built templates. You                                                your timeline is very compelling. The
can easily change colors and back-         Attaching Exhibits to Timelines figure below gives a 3-Step view of
grounds with different gradients just         Timelines used in court are fre-      how an exhibit tied to an event would
by double clicking on an event. In         quently introduced during an open-       “zoom” out and display front and cen-
addition, if you don’t feel like typing,   ing statement. When presenting a         ter. This is the only tool of those men-
TimeMap will automatically import          timeline to a jury, it is important that tioned here that can be used to get
your chronological table or Fact           the timeline, and any other graphic      the image to be viewed on the same
Sheet from CaseMap, creating a time-       for that matter, have credibility. Each screen and still be part of the timeline
line for you. It can also integrate with   event depicted on the timeline should graphics. (See Figure 3)
other litigation support applications
allowing the import of chronology
tables or lists.
    Timeliner Express is equally easy
to learn. This tool developed by inDa-
ta Corporation, has the same easy
interface. Again, if you can type into
the boxes, you can create your time-

                                                                   Litigation Support TODAY •   November 2007/January 2008   1
                                                                                       TimeMap timeline, then the linked
                                                                                       image with a portion torn out, high-
                                                                                       lighted and annotated. (See Figure 4)
                                                                                          Timeliner Express has a unique
                                                                                       way of attaching images to its time-
                                                                                       lines. The feature is very useful and
                                                                                       allows for real time annotating of any
                                                                                       linked images. Once you have select-
                                                                                       ed an image and launch the hyperlink,
                                                                                       a window appears. Then Timeliner
                                                                                       Express brings up a utility similar
                                                                                       to their trial presentation software
                                                                                       TrialDirector, allowing you to zoom,
                                                                                       highlight and annotate in real time.
                                                                                       (See Figure 5)
                                                                                          In this manner you can manually
                                                                                       emphasize areas of the document as
                                                                                       you go, compared to having to pre-
                                                tion to using TimeMap for linked       build the exhibit.
         This technique is accomplished
     using PowerPoint’s animation func-         exhibits is that when you click on
     tions and inserting in pre-built graph-    an attached exhibit, TimeMap opens     Expanding Timelines - Drilling
     ics. It makes for a very effective         a new window, launches the default     Down to More Detail
     visual to show an audience the linked      software for the specific type of         In some cases, many of the case
     exhibit. Once the exhibit is shown,        image linked, and then presents the    events occur in a relatively short
     the image zooms back into the event        image. One way to work with this       amount of time. For example, a
     giving the audience the “visual” foun-     is to have the linked image already    timeline may consist of 20 events
     dation for the timeline entry.             prepared for optimal viewing by        that span over a 3-year time period.
         On the other hand, for ease of use,    having the image zoomed in with        Yet, 12 of those events may have
     TimeMap has a simple way to attach         annotations. Presenting a full page    occurred in a single month of that
     images to each event. The process          on a graphic usually is not readable   3-year time period. It is here that
     only requires that you select an image     to a jury across a courtroom from a    you may need a timeline that can be
     that is accessible to you, as the linked   screen or monitor. The figure below    “interactive.” The idea is to have the
     or hyperlinked exhibit. The limita-        shows this in two steps. First, the    timeline “expand” out showing more
                                                                                       detail (12 events in 1 month). There
                                                                                       are two ways to approach this chal-
                                                                                       lenge. First, Timeliner Express has a
                                                                                       unique feature that allows the user to
                                                                                       expand and compress their timelines
                                                                                       by sliding a scroll bar near the bottom
                                                                                       of the screen. All you have to do is to
                                                                                       enter all the events on your timeline,
                                                                                       as discussed above, then, when you
                                                                                       get to the “condensed” area, expand
                                                                                       the timeline out to show the audience
                                                                                       the detail. In the figures below, the
                                                                                       events in this sample timeline become
                                                                                       very condensed and cramped near
                                                                                       the right side of the timeline. Events
                                                                                       are over lapping and unreadable. By
                                                                                       expanding the scroll bar at the bot-
                                                                                       tom, you can spread out those events
                                                                                       that are condensed making them
                                                                                       easier to view. (See Figure 6 &7)

   November 2007/January 2008 •   Litigation Support TODAY
                                                                                                            This allows the viewing of detailed
                                                                                                        events during the December timeframe.
                                                                                                        When the presentation of this portion
                                                                                                        of the timeline is completed, the red
                                                                                                        portion either fades away or compresses
                                                                                                        back into the main timeline.
                                                                                                                     CONTINUED ON PAGE 36

     There are more dynamic ways
  to achieve this effect in PowerPoint
  again, by using the animation fea-
  ture. In this example, we animate
  the expansion of a portion of the
  timeline and focus on it showing the
  condensed events. The red portion of
  the timeline is built such that when
  activated, this portion actually zooms
  out from the original timeline in
  green. (See Figure 8)

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                                                                    but it makes it easier for the jury to
                                                                    follow and understand. An audience
                                                                    is more focused and can understand
                                                                    the presentation if it is delivered to
                                                                    them in steps. All of the software
                                                                    applications we have been discussing
                                                                    can do this.
                                                                        TimeMap has a new send to
                                                                    PowerPoint feature. After complet-
                                                                    ing a timeline in TimeMap, you can
                                                                    then send the results to PowerPoint.
                                                                    This feature makes it easy to create
                                                                    PowerPoint slide shows based on a
                                                                    TimeMap timeline graph. The fea-
                                                                    ture instantly generates a PowerPoint
                                                                    slide show containing separate slides,
                                                                    each with the next fact in sequence
                                                                    presented front and center. Facts
                                          Figure 8                  that have appeared on prior slides are
 CONTINUED FROM PAGE 23                                             faded out, but still visible. Future
                                             If there are events    facts are hidden. Pressing F5 in
                                                                    PowerPoint kicks off the presentation
 Special Effects and Unique
 Timeline Techniques
                                             that a trial lawyer    and you can then view a slide show
     One of the biggest challenges I         can live without in    in which the timeline builds from
                                                                    slide to slide. The feature enables
 find in timeline graphics is the way
 litigation, trial attorneys present
                                             the timeline, elimi-   you to use the “animation” features in
 a timeline. A story must be told            nate them. It will     PowerPoint after saving hours of time
                                                                    building each event.
 around the timeline, but how to
 do this effectively is key. The big-
                                             make for a cleaner         Timeliner Express has a built in
 gest mistake I see is presenting a          graphic in the end.    feature that allows you to bring up
 completed timeline that has all 20                                 one event at a time. By selecting this
 events displayed on the screen. In
 the example below, if this timeline is
 being displayed to the jury, the trial
 attorney is not assured that the jury
 is viewing the event that is being dis-
 cussed or looking at the first event or
 the last event on the timeline. Even
 though the remarks being made are
 addressing the first event, the jury
 may be looking at the last event on
 the far right hand side of the screen.
 (See Figure 9)
     The method for insuring that the
 jury is viewing the timeline in the
 sequence the trial attorney wants is
 to display one event at a time. Using
 this method, the trial attorney con-
 trols what the jury is focused on by
 only allowing one event at a time to
 build on the timeline. This technique
 not only allows the presenting attor-
 ney to control the jury’s attention,

3   November 2007/January 2008 •   Litigation Support TODAY
                                                                                   to after the electronic presentation of
                                                                                   the timeline. Here, in combination
                                                                                   with having built your timeline dur-
                                                                                   ing the opening statement and show-
                                                                                   ing it on a screen or monitor, it may
                                                                                   be helpful to have a static version of
                                                                                   your completed timeline available on
                                                                                   an easel during the course of the trial
                                                                                   to refer to with witnesses.
                                                                                      It never hurts to be creative in your
                                                                                   timeline. Building a timeline in dif-
                                                                                   ferent formats can be effective. For
                                                                                   example TimeMap now has vertical
                                                                                   templates allowing timelines to be built
                                                                                   in a vertical fashion as shown below, as
                                                                                   compared to a traditional horizontal
                                                                                   fashion. (See Figures 10 & 11).
                                                                                      Another option may be to build a
                                                                                   timeline that is diagonal in structure
                                                                                   for a variety of reasons. The figure
                                                                                   above illustrates what can be done
feature, each event displays, one at          Most of what we have discussed       with this unique type of diagonal
a time and in chronological order.         here assumes you are using some type    graphic.
Another useful feature is that if your     of visual display technology for the
timeline continues horizontally for a      presentation. One technique I like to   Summary
long distance, it automatically scrolls    use is to create a foam-core board of      If you are a novice at creating
the timeline as you go through each        the complete timeline to be referred    timelines and need a starting point,
    PowerPoint can be used to bring
in one event at a time, by simply
animating each event. Each event in
a PowerPoint created timeline can
come into the view by a number of
methods such as wiping it from the                                                  Easy-to-use and intuitive point
base of the scale or having it fade into                                            and click browser-based interface
view. Again, with some knowledge of
                                                                                    No software to buy
this powerful presentation tool, you                                                Pay per use pricing
can create some eye-catching effects.
                                                                                    Support for native files,
Other Tips and Advice                                                               OCR and scanned Images
    One of the challenges that arise
                                                                                    Document review workflow
is when litigators learn the potential                                              management best practices
of timeline graphics and the tools to
create them then they want to cre-
ate visuals with too many events.                                                  ImageDepot is offered exclusively through
Although there are techniques used
to handle this, as discussed above, it                                             a nationwide network of litigation support
is advisable to narrow down events                                                 vendors and authorized resellers, currently
to only those that are very important
and key. If there are events that a                                                serving over ninety markets. To arrange for
trial lawyer can live without in the
                                                                                   an in person or online demo, or for a list of
timeline, eliminate them. It will
make for a cleaner graphic in the end.                                             resellers near you, please visit us online at:


             The Litigation Support
             Professional’s Secret
                Career Booster

                                           CONTINUED FROM PAGE 28                       most visibly appealing and interactive
                                           you should consider using TimeMap            timeline presentations. Either way,
                                           or Timeliner Express because both            any of these tools can be used to cre-
                                           make creating basic timelines very           ate useful timelines so that the trial
                                           easy. They have excellent built-in fea-      lawyer can effectively walk a jury or
                                           tures to allow the import of previous-       audience through the story and the
                                           ly built chronologies to avoid having        evidence of their case.      LS T

                                           to start from scratch. Also, TimeMap             About the Author: Timothy
                                           and Timeliner Express both export to         Piganelli is founder of Legal Technology
                                           a PowerPoint file format allowing for        Consulting, Inc. He is a nationally recog-
                                           more advanced users to then animate          nized speaker and author as well as one of
                                           and prepare interactive presenta-            the country’s top trial consultants in the
              Look for all new             tions. While PowerPoint does not             areas of trial strategies, trial presentation,
                    Paralegal              have the ability create timeline graph-      courtroom technology, and computerized
            SuperConferences 2008:         ics by importing chronologies, it is         litigation support.
                                           the strongest tool for creating the
                   Los Angeles
               Houston • New York
             Chicago • San Francisco       CONTINUED FROM PAGE 19                       e-discovery process. Understanding the
                                           and the tools being used.                    perspective and challenges of the other
              Atlanta • Jacksonville           Each team has responsibilities in this   team can facilitate the effectiveness of
                Nashville • Atlanta        process. However, the technical team         both teams in the mission of achieving
                                           can, and perhaps should, take the lead in    the best possible result for their litiga-
                Washington, D.C.           managing the transition to the full use      tion client.  LS T

                                           of technology by legal teams. By under-           About the Authors: Charlotte Riser
                                           standing the attorney or paralegal’s         Harris is a Managing Consultant with Five
                                           level of acceptance of and comfort with      Star Legal and Compliance Systems, Inc.
                                           technology, and gearing their interac-       Previously, she was the Manager of Practice
                                           tion and information to that level, the      Support atVinson & Elkins LLP. Don Swanson
                                           technical team can be more effective.        is the President and Founder of Five Star Legal
                                           Attorneys and paralegals must take the       and Compliance Systems, Inc. Don is a rec-
                                           time and make the effort to gain the         ognized expert in litigation support computer
                                           knowledge necessary to enable them to        systems and works with law firms, corporate and
                                           make informed decisions throughout the       government clients across the country.

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