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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Endpoints: How to not lose track of dates on a timeline

Endpoints are a little-known feature of OnePager that allow you to assign special symbols to different dates in your schedule and have those symbols appear near your main task bar. Endpoints are especially useful if you have several tasks left-to-right in a timeline layout and are worried that the overlap between those tasks will mask the true start and finish dates.

Let’s start with this simple project, which is initially in a Gantt chart layout. You can see that some of the tasks are scheduled back-to-back, but that other tasks are at least partially concurrent:

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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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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 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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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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