What’s New in OnePager 7.0: Smart Text Optimization

Continuing our series on the new features now available with OnePager 7.0, we’ll turn our attention to smart text optimization. In an ideal world, there is always enough space to cleanly label every task and milestone legibly. In practice, though, especially for larger charts, it can be hard to figure out where to place text without it getting in the way of something else.

In OnePager 7.0, one of the biggest upgrades is smart text optimization: the ability for OnePager to automatically decide the best place for each piece of text. This feature allows you to minimize overlap and reduce the amount of manual nudging required to get things to look good.

Smart text optimization starts with a new algorithm that finds whitespace in your chart and automatically positions text in areas that have the most space. If you go to Home > Chart Properties > Task Bars and then click on the Task Bar Label Properties button, you’ll see three new “Best Fit” modes:

  • Best Fit All Directions: Optimize text in any direction (above, below, left, right, centered)
  • Best Fit Left/Right: Optimize text to the left, right or center. Do not place text above or below.
  • Best Fit Above/Below: Optimize text above or below. Do not place text to the left, right, or centered.

Here’s an example of Best Fit All Directions, where text can be positioned above, below, to the left, the right, or centered:

If you’re going to use an optimization method that utilizes space above or below the tasks, it’s a good idea to increase your default row height so that there is enough whitespace to take advantage of the above/below positions. You can increase your default row height by going to Home > Chart Properties > Page Layout:

Once OnePager has done an initial optimization of your text based on available whitespace, you should find that things are generally pretty de-cluttered. But there will still be cases with very dense charts where there simply isn’t enough whitespace to go around. In these cases, OnePager can use escape paths to further refine your text layout.

An escape path is an additional treatment that OnePager can apply to overlapping text when simple repositioning isn’t enough. In OnePager 7.0, there are four new escape paths:

  • Wrapping: Automatically break your text across multiple lines when they are too long to fit cleanly on one line. In previous versions, you may have done this manually. It’s now something that OnePager can do automatically:
  • Stairsteps: Similar to comment boxes, text attaches to the parent shape with a line and then jumps far above or below the cluttered area:
  • Truncation: Shorten the number of characters in a piece of text to make it fit better:
  • Font Reduction: Reduce the size of the text so that more words fit in less space:

We recommend that you start with wrapping, since it’s the least invasive, and most users find that it does a lot to mitigate overlapping text without getting too crazy. You have the options to decide which escape paths OnePager is allowed to use, and the priority in which OnePager should try to apply them. You can also determine how robust an escape path should be. For example, do you want to wrap up to two lines of text, or four?

You should find that smart text optimization goes a long way to improve the readability of your charts, while minimizing the amount of fine-tuning that you need to do by hand. That said, we recognize the need for a little nudge here and there will never completely go away, so we’ve made that a little easier, too. Beginning in OnePager 7.0, you can now click on individual text elements and reposition them individually or as a group. This will give you more control of which text should go where, especially when your text contains multiple elements such as the task name, dates, and percent complete:

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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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