Changing Tasks to Milestones for Birds on a Wire

Many of our OnePager users like “birds on a wire” charts, which place a summary task in the background and then layer related milestones on top of the bar so that everything is in one line.

If the “birds” that are going to sit atop the “wire” are truly milestones, it’s easy. But what if the “birds” are actually tasks, and you want OnePager to display them as milestones? In other words, what if your birds on a wire chart is nothing but wires? How do you create birds when all you have are wires?

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Which Version of Project Online/Project Server Do You Use?

If your company currently uses Microsoft Project Server or Project Online, we’d like a minute of your time to understand which version of these EPPM tools you are using today, and what your plans are for the next twelve months. This helps us ensure that we place the right support resources in the right places.

We’d appreciate a minute of your time for this quick, two-question survey, which basically asks you which version of Project Server/Online you’re using now, and which version you think you’ll be using a year from now.

Take the Survey

If you only use desktop Microsoft Project, you can skip the survey, since we will be sending out something similar for you in the near future.

2019 Holiday Hours

Happy Holidays from the OnePager team! Our sales, support, and licensing hours for the 2018 holiday season are as follows:

  • November 27: 9a-2:30p ET
  • November 28: Closed
  • November 29: Closed
  • December 24: 9a-2:30p ET
    December 25: Closed
    December 26: Closed
    December 27: 10a-7p ET
    December 30: 10a-7p ET
    December 31: 9a-2:30p ET
    January 1: Closed

We resume our normal weekday support schedule of 9a-8p ET on January 2, 2020.

Heads Up: Rotten Office Update Headed Your Way

We have become aware of a critically-broken Office Update that Microsoft began pushing to users this past Tuesday, November 12th.

The update, once installed, will immediately break a number of key Microsoft Office features and many Office add-ins, including OnePager. It also will break any third-party applications that rely on certain Office components to be functional on your system.

In short, it is an unmitigated disaster.

To learn how this impacts your use of OnePager, read here to get more details, and to learn how to fix the issue so that your access to OnePager is not interrupted.

For more general information on the issue, since it impacts many other applications beyond OnePager, read here, and here.

In the meantime, if you have not already been hit by this update, please temporarily suspend Office Updates until Microsoft has released a fix. To turn these off, launch Excel, and go to File > Account > Update Options. Choose to Disable Updates

If Microsoft provides us with more information on how to stop this issue from happening without waiting for their next update to be pushed, we will let you know ASAP.

Why it’s Important to Keep OnePager Up to Date

We’d like to remind all of our users, especially those who have been with us for a while, to keep their installations of OnePager current. OnePager interfaces directly with components from Windows, Microsoft Project, Project Online, and Excel. Microsoft periodically makes updates to Windows, Office, and Project, especially if you are using Office 365. If you’re running an outdated version of OnePager, there’s a possibility that you could encounter issues that we’ve already fixed in a later update.

Photo Credit: Guilia Poggiali

Many IT departments are very good about installing Windows Updates as soon as they come out, and doing the same with Office updates. OnePager isn’t always top-of-mind for them, so we occasionally see cases where the IT department stays on top of updates from Microsoft but forgets to maintain OnePager. This is akin to rotating the tires on your car every 10,000 miles but never changing the oil. The tires will be in great shape, but your engine might end up giving you a nasty surprise!

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Avoiding Uneven Swimlanes when Microsoft Project’s WBS is Inconsistent

Most of our Microsoft Project users like having OnePager Pro automatically group swimlanes by one of the outline levels tied to the WBS of the project plan. For example, grouping by Level 1 Summary Name will create swimlanes based on the top-level parent task, whereas grouping by Level 2 Summary name will create swimlanes based on summaries one level lower.

But what happens if your WBS in Microsoft Project isn’t set up so that every outline level matches up to where you’d like to see a swimlane? Take this Microsoft Project plan for example:

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OnePager Issued Patent for Non-Linear Time Axis

Last October, we told you about the non-linear time axis feature of OnePager version 6.1. This new feature allows you to call out a portion of your timeline — making, say, the third quarter of 2019 wider than the second and fourth quarters, so the tasks and milestones from Q3 stand out. OnePager users had been asking for this feature for years, and have been enthusiastic about this new capability.

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Unique IDs in Excel

Continuing our series on unique IDs, this week’s post will cover how to correctly establish and maintain a unique ID in an Excel spreadsheet that you are planning to use with OnePager Express. The focus of this article is for project plans that you are building from the ground up in Excel.

If you are using Excel to transfer data from another PPM tool like Planisware, Primavera, or Smartsheet, you’ll want to wait for our next article, which will provide specific instructions for each of those platforms.

When creating a unique ID in Excel, you want to use a field where all the values can be (1) unique and (2) consistent. It doesn’t really matter what you name the field as long as you adhere to these two principles. The unique IDs themselves can be any format that you like. Most users prefer a simple numeric ID, but if you want to create something different, you certainly can.

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