This is the second video in a series that will cover a variety of features and tips to help you work with large amounts of data in OnePager.
OnePager Pro has always been able to build multi-project graphs from Microsoft Project integrated master schedules. Now, OnePager Pro 5.0 can make multi-project graphs from separate Microsoft Project plans, even if you haven’t linked them together in an IMS.
We’ll show you how to do this in this short article. Just follow these steps:
Load the first Microsoft Project plan, “Project A”, which is shown below:
On the import wizard, click the Change button in the upper-right to change your template to “Multi-Project Gantt Chart – Detailed”. This is an important step to combine multiple MS Project plans into a single report:
Click the Create new project view button and OnePager will create a graphic that looks like this:
All four of the tasks are grouped into one large swimlane labeled “Project A”. Note that the Project Name in the graph is the label (name) of the project-summary task and not the name of the Microsoft Project plan.
Now, go back to Microsoft Project and open Project B:
Launch OnePager Pro from this second Microsoft Project plan. Now instead of creating a new project view, tell OnePager that you want to UPDATE:
On the import wizard, make sure you are updating the project view that you created just a minute ago. You want to ensure that you are going to REPLACE existing snapshot:
Click the yellow Replace dates button, and OnePager Pro will import the second project, placing it in a swimlane below the first:
It’s that easy. You can now merge other projects into the “Multi-Project-Example” view to summarize as many subprojects as you need.
Conditional formatting was introduced in OnePager Pro version 5.0. This feature lets you tailor your project views and snapshots based on rules that control the shape, color, borders, fonts, and height of tasks and milestones. OnePager Pro’s conditional formatting rules work with Microsoft Project text, number, and date fields, in addition to flag fields (Yes/No).
As an example, suppose we have the Microsoft Project plan shown below which consists of three phases and four teams.
In the example, Flag1 is “Team Available” and will eventually be used to distinguish tasks in the OnePager Pro chart. For starters, though, we’ll create a view without conditional formatting to produce something like this:
Now, suppose you want to change the color of tasks to green when a team is available. You can create this conditional formatting rule by going to Project View Properties->Task Bars->Manage Rules:
When the conditional formatting rules are in place and the project view is created, it will look like this:
Notice that the legend now shows a green entry, indicating that Flag 1 is true. We’ve adjusted the verbiage to make it more meaningful.
That’s it! No more changing colors by hand to show something that you’re already tracking in Microsoft Project. OnePager Pro’s conditional formatting rules are the most powerful way to build meaningful project reports and timelines without the fuss.
We’ve added a couple of new transparent color options to OnePager Pro – the no-fill and the no-borders options. The no-fill option is available for task/milestone markers, comment boxes, text boxes, curtains, and links. The no-borders option is available for task/milestone markers.
Let’s talk about the no-fill option in the context of task/milestone markers first. This option makes the task/milestone marker colorless, instead taking on the color of the chart background while retaining the task/milestone marker’s border. The example below shows the “Project A” task with no fill and a blue border, making the task itself transparent:
It’s easy to set this up. Just select the desired task/milestone marker and click the Format button on the Home tab. Click on the color drop down to see the color chooser, and check the No Fill check box shown here:
The same technique applies to the other objects in a project view that have color options (e.g. comment boxes, text boxes, curtains, etc.).
Making the border of a task/milestone marker disappear follows the same techniques as the fill, but uses the Border Color control as shown here:
When you make the border transparent, the marker will look like this:
The no-borders option only applies to task/milestone markers. You may want to apply no-fill and no-borders at the same time in the case where you only want the task name to appear, or when you want the other marker decorations like baselines or percent complete to appear without the task/milestone itself.
The no-fill and no-border features are another great OnePager Pro tool in the Gantt Artist’s kit to offer you the most flexibility as you are creating dynamic, easy-to-understand project presentations.
Did you know that OnePager Pro can put horizontal (zebra) stripes in the background of your project view? With OnePager Pro 5.0, you can further decorate your project view with horizontal stripes for rows or for swimlanes.
Get started by going to Home->Project View Properties->Advanced. Look for the Chart Background section in the upper right. Notice the two color choosers, Color 1 and Color 2 and the two radio buttons marked Row stripes and Swimlane stripes.
There are just two things to do: (1) decide whether you are doing row stripes or swimlane stripes, and (2) selecting the two alternating colors for your stripes from the color choosers. That’s all there is to it.
Let’s do an example, taking this boring project view and spicing it up with swimlane stripes:
Now go to Project View Properties as described above and set it up for swimlane stripes by setting the controls shown in the Chart Background section shown below:
When you click the OK button, your project view will look like this:
If you want to put stripes on rows just click the Row stripes radio button instead of the Swimlane stripes button and your view will look like this:
Using zebra stripes for either rows or swimlanes is a way to separate out views that may have a lot of information in rows or swimlanes. It’s a great way to help your audience’s eyes focus on what is taking place in a particular section of your project plan. And, it’s Gantt Art.
A few items you should keep in mind:
- Zebra stripes include the swimlane or row label areas. Of course, with swimlane striping, the row label is also included in the background stripes.
- OnePager builds the row or swimlanes stripes from the bottom of the view up starting with Color 2, then Color 1 and back to Color 2 until it reaches the top row or swimlane depending on the striping mode.
- OnePager keeps the stripes alternating between colors 1 and 2 even when you move rows or swimlanes up or down since the stripes are part of the background and not strictly associated with the row or swimlane itself.
- Horizontal stripes are layered at the back of your document so that they don’t obscure other things like curtains and comment boxes.
- If you don’t want the row or swimlane titles included in the zebra stripes, just use the paint bucket on the Home tab ribbon to change their background colors by hand.
OnePager’s zebra striping feature is another tool in the Gantt Artist’s kit for preparing concise, focused, and colorful schedule charts for presentation to project team members, executives, and customers.
Column Splitting for Complex Resourcing
Our previous post covered conditional formatting, a very powerful feature, a time saver, and a way to make your project reports really sizzle. Our final post covers a new way to manage reporting on projects that have complicated resource assignments.
In OnePager Pro 5.0, we’ve created a feature called column splitting. Recall that Microsoft Project can associate multiple resources to an individual task. Typically, in your Microsoft Project plan these are represented as Resource Names separated by commas. In the Gantt view we typically see this “string” of Resource Names associated with the single task. This may make it difficult to see how individual resources are scheduled and what their activities are across a number of other tasks where they may be assigned.
OnePager Pro 5.0’s column splitting allows you to represent each resource as a unique task in the view. So, a task with two resource assigned can be automatically duplicated so that one task appears for each resource. From there, you can group, sort, and color-code by resources very easily.
Let’s look at a simple example. Suppose we have a portion of a Microsoft Project plan that looks like the one shown below. There are several resources represented among these tasks with one task having three resources assigned.
When column splitting is not turned on, OnePager Pro will produce a Project View that resembles the graphic shown below:
If you look in the legend, each combination of resources generates a unique color, which can be confusion, since Team 1 is now assigned three different colors.
With column splitting turned on, OnePager will give each resource a copy of its assigned task, making for a much cleaner assignment of colors:
Note what happened in the project view above:
- There are now several more task markers on the screen than there were before. The task “Centrifugal barrier” has now been split into three separate task markers: one for each of the three resources that was assigned to this task.
- Each of the resources has a unique color assigned, instead of the confusing multi-resource color assignment that we saw earlier.
- Each of the resources appears by itself in the legend, instead of a part of a larger
conglomeration of resources.
- The square brackets enclosing the percentage figures [%] are removed from the legend.
Once you have column splitting turned on, it’s really easy to see potential resource conflicts. Just group your swimlanes by the split resource column, to get a resource-by-resource view like the one below:
Even in this simple case, you can see with tasks close together, now in the same swimlane, that there is no apparent schedule conflict for Team 1.
While most people will use column splitting for resource assignments, it’s important to understand that column splitting will work for any Microsoft Project column!
In this blog series, we’ve seen most of the new features in OnePager Pro 5.0. Please feel free to contact us with questions or comments. We are committed to responding directly and sharing your interesting comments and thoughts with other readers, where appropriate.
Conditional formatting is perhaps the most powerful feature in OnePager Pro 5.0. Why? Because conditional formatting lets you drive marker shape, color, borders, font, and height with data from your Microsoft Project Plan, and automatically update these attributes as your plan changes. With OnePager Pro 5.0, you can set up conditional formatting rules that look like this:
These rules will automatically be applied to the tasks and milestones in your OnePager Pro chart based on the data that you already have in Microsoft Project.
The simple Microsoft Project plan below has some sample data that will be picked up by the conditional formatting rules. Notice that initially, all tasks are marked as “Low Risk”:
When the project view is first created, all three low risk tasks are formatted with a green color according to the conditional formatting rules:
Now, let’s update the project plan, adjusting the risk of two of the tasks:
When we refresh the OnePager Pro chart, the conditional formatting rules are automatically reapplied, and the tasks change the formatting automatically based on the changes in Microsoft Project:
The example above is pretty simple, but it illustrates the power of conditional formatting. Think about how much time you would spend making PowerPoint slides showing this information. With conditional formatting, you can create Gantt Art instead of Gantt charts!
Our final post will cover a useful enhancement to OnePager Pro 5.0 that allows for better management of projects with complex resource assignments.
Modernized User Interface
In this post, we’ll focus on OnePager Pro 5.0’s new intuitive controls that let you harness the power of some of the new features. Specifically, we’re going to talk about the new OnePager Pro 5.0 ribbon interface and refreshed dialog boxes.
We’ve reorganized the toolbar on the OnePager Pro editor, to feel more like Microsoft Office. All controls are now accessible from four ribbon tabs. These are the File, Home, View, and Insert tabs.
Putting the File tab aside momentarily, let’s look at the Home tab shown below:
While we’re not going to talk about each and every button and control on this ribbon tab, we would like to say that this ribbon tab is organized into six sections:
- Editing: This section of the Home ribbon tab gives you control over the entire project view with respect to selecting all objects in the view, copying the graph to your computer’s clipboard, cropping empty rows, showing or hiding selective elements, and how task/milestone markers are all represented.
- Settings: This section has two buttons. The first gives you direct access to the dialog boxes that change detailed settings for the entire project view and the second allows you to store a template for future use from the project view you’ve just created.
- Font: As the title implies, these controls allow you to control the characteristics of text selected (highlighted) in the project view like task names and text in comment boxes.
- Format: This section has two control buttons. The Format button lets you change properties of selected (highlighted) task/milestone markers. The second button, the paint bucket, lets you immediately change the color of a selected marker or set of markers.
- Alignment: This set of six controls lets you position selected text within any other object.
- Position: This set of nine buttons allows you to position selected task/milestone marker text around the selected markers.
All these Home ribbon tab controls are well documented in the OnePager Pro 5.0 User’s Guide.
Moving on to the View ribbon tab, we have again grouped controls together that relate to how the Project View will be displayed as shown here:
There are four sections on the View ribbon tab:
- Snapshots: The two adjacent buttons titled Previous and Next provide the controls for you to move from the current snapshot being displayed to the previous or next snapshot in the series. Since OnePager Pro has the capability to create, store, and retrieve snapshots of your projects based on the dates that your Microsoft Project Plan data was presented to OnePager Pro, these controls provide the access to these historical snapshots. Additionally, this section has a button which displays all available snapshots.
- Layout: The controls here allow you to zoom project view content in and out. Controls are also provided to give flexible zoom options and to fit the project view horizontally or vertically in available screen space.
- Graphic elements: The four check boxes allow you to turn on and off various features available to you in the project view.
- Redraw: This button gives you the opportunity to tell OnePager Pro to redraw the screen should it become cluttered.
The Insert ribbon tab shown below is very powerful. It gives you the ability to further decorate task/milestone markers or the project view itself with comment boxes, links, curtains, and comment boxes.
Clicking on any of these buttons will bring up an appropriate dialog box that gives you complete control over the insertion that you are going to make. For the comment button, it is necessary to select a marker to which the comment box is going to be attached. Similarly, you must select (highlight) two markers in order to establish an event link between them and configure the link with the options available in the dialog box.
Last but certainly not least is the File ribbon tab. As with many Windows applications, the File ribbon tab has a multitude of uses and, therefore, depending on the use, additional controls are provided as appropriate for that use. The OnePager Pro 5.0 File ribbon tab has twelve sub-functions as shown in the Import/Export function example below:
Most of the twelve left-side tab functions shown are self-explanatory and typical of most Windows applications. Again, the details of each button, function, and ribbon tab are well documented in the OnePager Pro 5.0 User’s Guide.
Refreshed Dialog Boxes
The redesigned dialog boxes in OnePager Pro 5.0 give you access to the default settings for everything specific to your project view. We won’t discuss each tab in detail, but we would like to show an example of the dialog box that is accessible from the Home ribbon tab and the Project View Properties dialog box:
Deadlines and Endpoints
This post covers two new features that are closely related to each other: deadlines and endpoints. Microsoft Project has a deadline date field that OnePager Pro 5.0 can import and display in your Project View. Think of it as a decoration on a task marker.
Just as tasks have start and finish dates of various kinds, OnePager Pro 5.0 can represent the single deadline date field from the Microsoft Project Plan with a variety of shapes, fills, and borders of your selection. Take a look at this simple example of a Deadline decoration on a task marker:
Here “Task A” is represented in yellow while the deadline marker is represented as a downward pointing arrow, with a solid fill, and in red to highlight its critical nature. With OnePager Pro 5.0, you can import a deadline date for each task marker and use the shape, fill, border, and color features of OnePager Pro to make your point. When deadlines are passed and the parent task is not 100% complete, the deadline marker automatically turns red.
In addition to incorporating the Microsoft Project deadline field representation, we’ve added another related concept – endpoints. As a user of Microsoft Project, you can associate a variety of other custom dates with a task in your Microsoft Project Plan.
For example, you may want to highlight several dates on a long duration task – perhaps to represent the dates for internal reviews. With the endpoint feature, you can do this. Here’s an example of a task marker showing several endpoints, representing three key dates that are mapped to custom date fields in Microsoft Project:
The endpoints above are connected with various colored dotted lines to the task marker. This is an additional feature associated with deadline and endpoint decorations. Again, as with deadline decorations, endpoints provide you with a variety of shapes, fills, borders, and connection line options.
Dragging, Dropping and Resizing
OnePager Pro 5.0 now gives you the capability to re-size tasks and milestones on the screen. In previous versions, all task and milestone markers were the same size.
To implement this we’ve changed the selection highlight from a green highlight to a highlight that includes handlebars where you can grab and re-size the marker. Here’s an example:
The selected task above has grab points (handlebars) that you may use to increase or decrease the height of the marker just using your mouse, just like you would in PowerPoint. Below is a graphic that shows this marker reduced in size after it was grabbed and its height reduced:
Other objects in the project view can be re-sized using this new technique as well. This includes the legend and comment boxes. Consider the example below:
In this graphic there, is a comment box attached to Task B. The comment box is selected as indicated by the highlight around the box and the eight grab points available to re-size the box. Re-sizing is proportional and looks like this after a re-sizing operation is performed:
In our next post, we’ll discuss deadlines and endpoints—two powerful new decorations that you can add to your OnePager Pro charts.