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Understanding project views and snapshots

Nathan Wolcott

Our support desk regularly receives questions where people are confused on the difference between a project view and a snapshot, and when one should be used instead of the other. OnePager lets you use the same underlying Microsoft Project plan or Excel schedule to present different Gantt charts to different audiences. Project views and snapshots are at the heart of these capabilities.

First, some definitions:

  • Project View - A project view is a collection of tasks or milestones from your project plan that you want to present to a specific audience. You might have one project view for your executive team and another project view for your clients. You can create multiple project views from the same underlying Microsoft Project or Excel schedule, and each project view can use a distinct filter to present different tasks.
  • Snapshot - A snapshot is a time-sensitive version of a project view. For example, if you present to executives each month, you can create a new snapshot of your executive summary project view on a monthly basis. Snapshots retain the overall format of your project view, but update important data like start and finish dates, percent complete, and other time-sensitive project data. Each project view has a different set of snapshots, which can be at any frequency you need (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.)

The hierarchy of project views and snapshots is shown below:

Hierarchy of project views and snapshots as used in OnePager project presentation software.

In the example above, you see that a project manager has created three different project views from the same Microsoft Project (or Excel). The first view is for executives, the second view is for team members, and the third view is for regulators. These three project views will look completely different, except that they are based on the same project schedule.

Within each project view, there are three snapshots at different points in time. This means that the project manager has been versioning each one of the three project views over the last few months. OnePager stores all snapshots in historical order, so if someone needs to see what a project view looked like one or two months ago, it is easy for the project manager to pull up an earlier snapshot and compare it to the current project schedule.

There is no limit to the number of project views or snapshots you can create. You have complete control over the frequency of snapshots, whether you want to create a new snapshot each week, month, quarter, or even a snapshot each hour. 15-Day
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