About Safford

Safford is a versatile technology professional with a solid history of empowering emerging growth companies in a broad array of industries. His employment history includes energy industry consulting at Quorum Software, Senior Manager of Client Services and Technical Sales at telecom service aggregator GetConnected, and Vice President of Strategic Partner Management at electronic payment processor IP Commerce. Prior to his tenure as OnePager's COO, Safford was the company's Vice President of Marketing and Alliances. Safford holds a BA in Psychology and management from Rice University.

Highlighting Estimated Tasks

The Estimated field in Microsoft Project lets you identify tasks for which dates aren’t yet set in stone:

Simply place a “Yes” next to tasks that are estimated, and leave everything else alone. If you want to make a distinction between estimated and firm tasks in your OnePager chart, you can do so with conditional formatting.

To launch conditional formatting, go to Home > Chart Properties > Task Bars, and then click the Manage Rules button in the bottom. We’re starting out with some conditional formatting rules that assign different colors based on the Status field:

A lot of beginner OnePager users assume that conditional formatting can only used for color, or that conditional formatting can only look at one Microsoft Project field at a time. Both of these assumptions are incorrect. Even though we already have a set of rules that assign color based on status, we can add a separate rule that looks for tasks where the Estimated flag field is true:
Once you’ve set up the condition, scroll to the right and assign a dotted border, like this:
Click OK on the border selector, and you’ll see the dotted border appear in the conditional formatting grid:

Click OK to close the Conditional Formatting Rules screen, and then click OK again to close Chart Properties. Your chart will update so that all estimated tasks appear with a dotted black border, while still retaining their main colors that are based on status:

Displaying Only Deadlines in a Chart

Those of you who are seasoned users of OnePager know that you can show deadline markers in your OnePager chart, which appear (hopefully) to the right of your main task bars:

Traditionally, deadline symbols don’t appear without their associated task, and even if they did, their formatting options are pretty limited, since they’re not something that is controlled by conditional formatting, or even really very easy to edit by hand.

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Are you still on 32-bit Project?

Microsoft began releasing 64-bit versions of Office, including Project, back in 2010. Eleven years later, we still see that a lot of our users still haven’t switched from 32-bit Project to 64-bit Project, even though they’re continuing to upgrade their Microsoft Project versions from 2010 to 2016, then to 2019 and onward.

Believe it or not, 66% of OnePager Pro users are still using 32-bit Project. The vast majority of these 32-bit users are running a relatively modern version of Microsoft Project like Project 2016 or Project 2019. On top of that, almost all of these users are on 64-bit Windows 10.

You read that correctly: people who have a blazing-fast computer with the highest-powered version of Windows available are still running a lower-horsepower version of Microsoft Project. It’s a common misconception that if you have 64-bit Windows that you will automatically have 64-bit Project, but the reality is that most 64-bit Windows users are still on 32-bit Project.

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OnePager Supports Windows 11

A few weeks ago, we confirmed OnePager’s support for Office 2021 and Project 2021. Now, on the heels of that certification, we are pleased to announce that OnePager also supports Windows 11.

As you are probably aware, Microsoft announced the pre-release of Windows 11 in late June and begin shipping preview builds on June 28th. We immediately commenced our testing efforts to ensure that any of our users who take an early release of Windows 11 will be in good shape when it comes to OnePager.

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Phases in Excel Project Plans

If you manage projects in Excel, you’ve probably come across the need to assign tasks to different phases, especially if your project is somewhat complex. There is a right way and a wrong way to set up phases in Excel, and structuring your phases correctly will make it easier to format your charts in OnePager Express.

Many people think that the relationship between a task and a phase in Excel should look like it does in Microsoft Project, with the phase on top, and the tasks indented underneath:

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Microsoft Project 2021 and Office LTSC Certification

We are pleased to report that OnePager has certified that the latest versions of Project and Office, due out in late 2021, are compatible with the latest versions of OnePager. As a Microsoft Certified Partner, we always get early access to the latest updates from Microsoft to ensure that we test OnePager well in advance of those same updates being pushed to you, our end users.

Our certification process involved testing OnePager 7.0 against the following upcoming releases from Microsoft:

  • Microsoft Project Professional 2021 has been certified for use with OnePager Pro 7.0.
  • Microsoft Office 2021 has been certified for use with OnePager Express 7.0.
  • Microsoft Office LTSC (Long Term Servicing Channel) has been certified for use with OnePager Express 7.0. Office LTSC is a new version of Office designed for highly-regulated devices or devices in secure or classified environments (SCIFs).

If you use Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365), you may soon receive the same updates from Microsoft that are covered under these perpetual license releases, and can expect similar results with respect to OnePager compatibility.

Fixing Individual Text Collisions

If you’re using OnePager 7.0, you probably know that there is a new set of algorithms that automatically optimize the text in your chart to minimize text collisions.

These algorithms work very well, but every so often, you may find a text collision that sneaks through. In other cases, you might have moved text or shapes around by hand and created a text collision that wasn’t there originally.

If your chart looks good overall, but you have a couple of lingering text collisions, you don’t have to re-optimize your entire chart to fix it. Instead, you can select the pieces of text that are in trouble and re-apply the optimization just to the area of your chart that needs it. In this example, we have three pieces of text that are hard to read. So we can select all three with a Ctrl+Left-Click, and then right-click on any one of the three selections to choose the Re-Optimize Text Collisions option from the context menu:

OnePager will re-run the optimization algorithm only for the selected tasks. So if you’re happy with the layout of the rest of your chart, you don’t have to worry about messing it up while you’re fixing a collision elsewhere.

Big Charts: How much is too much?

Photo Credit: Gabby K from Pexels

If you’ve taken a OnePager training class, you’ve probably heard us say “less is more” — which, despite sounding trite, really is true when it comes to building charts. A chart with only 50 tasks is many times more readable, and therefore more valuable, than a chart with 500 tasks, even when your manager thinks otherwise.

This article is dedicated to the people who’ve already told their manager that big charts are a bad idea and end up having to create one anyway.

When creating a large chart in OnePager, think of it like a balloon: you can keep filling it with air for a long time, but eventually, you’re going to exceed the physical limitations and pop that balloon. This begs the question: What is the size limit of a OnePager chart?

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What’s New in OnePager 7.0: 16×9 PowerPoint

If you’re using PowerPoint 2019 or Office 365, you have probably switched over to the 16×9 aspect ratio for your slides. OnePager 7.0.7 and later support this aspect ratio as well, which is useful if you’re in the habit of saving directly from OnePager to a PowerPoint file instead of doing a copy/paste.

To change your PowerPoint aspect ratio, go to Home > Chart Properties > Page Layout, and then change the PowerPoint Aspect Ratio setting from 4×3 to 16×9:

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What’s New in OnePager 7.0: Text Element Ordering

In our last post, we discussed the improvements to text editing that OnePager 7.0 makes available. Along those same lines, OnePager version 7.0.6 and later offers additional flexibility to customize the order in which text elements appear relative to each other.

Some users prefer to display not only the name of their tasks, but also dates and percent complete as text next to the task names. While not everyone places a lot of weight on which of these pieces of text comes first, it does matter to some people, so we’ve made it configurable.

For example, if you display both the task name and the dates, perhaps you always want the task name closest to the bar, and the date farther out:

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