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 Business Solutions, Senior Manager of Business Development 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.

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.

Hybrid Gantt Chart and Timeline Layout

Most of our users are already aware that OnePager has the ability to build charts in a Gantt chart layout with each task in its own row and in a timeline layout where multiple tasks are lined up left-to-right. What if you want a hybrid approach with portions of your chart looking like a timeline and the rest looking like a Gantt chart?

One way, of course, is to use your mouse to adjust the vertical alignment of certain tasks or milestones, but that’s pretty time-consuming, and we tend to frown on drag-and-drop editing. Instead, you can use a custom field in Microsoft Project to help OnePager do this automatically. In this example, we’ll create a chart with milestones lined up like a timeline with the remaining tasks like a Gantt chart.

If you go to Home > Project View Properties > Rows/Swimlanes, you can toggle between the Gantt chart layout (One Task Per Row) and the Timeline Layout (Collect Tasks into Rows by…). Here’s what the Gantt layout looks like:

Conversely, the timeline layout looks like this:

When we lay out our OnePager chart based on the WBS (“Level 1 Summary Name”), OnePager can only really do one or the other. However, with a simple formula in Microsoft Project, we can create a hybrid chart with a timeline at the top and a Gantt chart at the bottom.

Back in Microsoft Project, we will insert a formula into the “Number1” field:

The text of this formula is:

IIf([Milestone],0,[Unique ID])

In plain English, for any milestones in the plan, Microsoft Project will always assign a 0 (zero) value to the Number1 field. For tasks, Microsoft Project will set Number1 equal to the UniqueID for that task.

The end result is that all milestones will share a value for Number1, while all tasks will have their own unique values:

Back in OnePager, we can use the values in Number1 to drive the layout of the chart. Go to Home > Project View Properties > Rows/Swimlanes. Choose “Number1” as your collection field, like this:

Again, in plain English, what we’re telling OnePager is to line things up left-to-right when the value of Number1 is the same. Based on the formula we created, the only time Number1 is the same is when we have milestones. Otherwise, Number1 will be different for each task. The end result is that we end up with a timeline for milestones at the top, while everything else below remains in a Gantt layout:

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: 10a-7p ET
    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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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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Unique IDs in Project Online and Project Server

In our previous post, we covered the ins and outs of unique IDs with Microsoft Project locally on the desktop. This article discusses some of the differences in how unique IDs work when you are using Project Server or Project Online.

When you launch OnePager as an add-in to MS Project, you have the option to connect directly to Project Server/Online or to let MS Project connect to the server and then funnel the information back to OnePager through the desktop client. When you’re using OnePager as a standalone application outside of MS Project, all connections to Project Online and Project Server are direct and do not involve MS Project.

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Unique IDs in Microsoft Project

Continuing our earlier discussion of Unique IDs, we’ll turn our attention this week to Microsoft Project. Project generally does a pretty good job of creating and maintaining Unique IDs so that you don’t have to worry about it, but we’ll cover a few gotchas in this article.

Your Unique IDs in OnePager will vary in MS Project based on whether you are:

  • Using Project on the desktop or connecting directly to Project Online or Project Server over your network; and
  • Reporting on a single project or on multiple projects
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