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:

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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.

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