Making Timelines with Dates Earlier than 1900 in Visio

I was asked recently about making Visio timelines with dates earlier than 1900, which is the start of time as far as Microsoft Office products are concerned, so I thought I’d try to adapt one of my approaches used on other projects. In this case, I am assuming that the data is coming from an Excel worksheet, and I will use the Link Data to Shapes feature in Visio Professional/Premium. Visio Standard users can still make the timelines manually, or could attempt to use the older Database Wizard.

Create the data source in Excel

The first decision I made was not to use date fields in Excel or Visio because of the 1st Jan 1900 is the start of everything issue. Therefore I created a table in a worksheet that splits the Start and End dates in Year, Month and Day columns:

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