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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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.

Using Separate Fields for Task vs. Milestone Text

When creating a chart in OnePager, we want to make sure that the audience knows what the tasks and milestones represent. This is why the labels in a chart are so important.

Most of the time, using the same text field from MS Project will suffice for both your tasks and your milestones, but there are situations where you need to label tasks one way and milestones another. In this article, we are going to discuss how you can import data from two different Microsoft Project fields so that you can use the first field to label your tasks and the second field to label your milestones.

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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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Mavericks

Did you know that you can “maverick” tasks or milestone shapes in OnePager?

This is the term we use when one or many shapes in the body of the chart have had any of their properties manually modified.

If you happen to modify one or many shapes using the capabilities in the Home tab on the Ribbon (Font, Format, Alignment, Position), or right-clicked on a shape and chosen Format to reveal the Change Task/Milestone Properties to make a change there… you have “mavericked” your shapes.

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OnePager Tip: Virtual Summary Task (VST)

There is a little-known feature in OnePager that allows you to turn several tasks into a single task…this is called the Virtual Summary Task, or “VST.”

To create a VST, simply select as many tasks as you would like to combine using your CTRL key or using a mouse-lasso. Then right click on one of the items and choose “Make into virtual summary task.”

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New Video: Mapping ANY Fields from Project or Excel Into OnePager

In earlier versions of OnePager, we gave you the option to select the fields that you wanted to import when you were first building your report, but didn’t offer the flexibility to change your mind and add new fields later on.

That changed last year with version 6.0.  Take a look at this video to see how to map ANY field from Project or Excel into an existing OnePager Project View:

https://youtu.be/m8Bevl8lod0