Module 4: visual chronology template

Download the alternative format and template
(PowerPoint format, 3 slides, 96KB)

Visual Timeline of Events


A Visual Chronology illustrates high-level activities that occurred during an investigation using an epidemic curve.


1.Chronology of Events

  • Although events to be included in the timeline are specific to each investigation, consider including:
    • Date when an event is first identified or when the lead agency is notified
    • Date the outbreak is declared (start date) and date when it is declared over (end date)
    • Dates of OICC activation and deactivation
    • Date the investigation is expanded (e.g. a new province is added)
    • Date that an epidemiological assessment is prepared for a health risk assessment
    • Dates of important findings (e.g. traceback findings, laboratory positive food sample, epidemiologic study)
    • Dates of public health action: communications: to public health professionals (e.g. public health alert) or the public (e.g. public health notice); recall of products.

2.Two Epidemic Curves

  • Using the line list for the investigation, create two epidemic curves in Excel with identical axes.
    • Number of Confirmed Cases by Date of Onset
    • Number of Confirmed Cases by Date Reported to Public Health


  • The event details should be condensed and written in present tense.
  • The events need to be categorized into one of the following categories:
    • Outbreak Identification & Source Implication
    • Traceback and Regulatory Activities, and Results of Product Testing


Using the template in this guide (Page 2), you can create a visual “Timeline of Events”.

1.In the “Design” menu, choose the orientation of the timeline (i.e. portrait or landscape) .

2.Copy over two epidemic curves (paste as “Picture format”) into the template – keep them the same size.

3.Using the box & lines provided in the template; create as many copies as needed.

4.Place the chronology content in the appropriate event box :

  • In the Blue boxes, place the Outbreak Identification & Source Implication content
  • In the Green Boxes, place the Traceback and Regulatory Activities (and results of product testing)

5.Using the connectors/lines, match the date in the event box to the date on the epidemic curves

6.Format/move/add/delete event boxes and lines as needed

  • Ensure all Fonts are the same and arrange/format the visual timeline to your preference
  • Tip: When the connector/line is selected, a yellow icon appears that can be used to readjust the orientation
  • Tip: Group and ungroup the line and box objects as needed (right-click the objects >> select “group”)