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Hourly Project Timeline

How to create a project timeline that shows tasks hour-by-hour.

Not all projects last for months or years. Some projects run for less than a day, which means that project timelines have to carefully show key activities hour-by-hour or even minute-by-minute. OnePager can help you do this.

OnePager is the leading project reporting tool, and works with with either Microsoft Project, Primavera P6, Planisware, or Excel to build hourly project timelines:

Hourly project timeline built in OnePager

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These instructions are geared towards Microsoft Project users. If you are an Excel user, please read this article on how to build hourly project timelines from Excel instead.

OnePager can also be used to build hourly Gantt charts, if that's what you are looking to do instead of a timeline.

How it Works

  1. Begin with your Microsoft Project schedule. Your project is probably more complex than this, but we'll keep it simple in this example. Notice that all tasks are scheduled on the same day--just at different times:

    Project plan with hourly tasks.

    If you don't have an hourly Microsoft Project plan, feel free to download ours to follow along with this example. Below, you will find a sample Microsoft Project plan with hourly tasks, plus a OnePager template (*.tat) that will automatically format your timeline to show hourly units. Please save BOTH files to your Downloads folder or to your Desktop.

      Hourly Project Timeline.mpp (Microsoft Project File)
      Hourly Project Timeline - MSProject.tat (OnePager Template)

  1. Import your project plan by clicking the OnePager button on Microsoft Project's Add-Ins tab. Don't have OnePager? You can download a free trial. In this example, we'll bring in all five tasks, but if you have a larger plan, you can pick and choose which items you actually want to show.

    OnePager Pro connects directly to Microsoft Project.

  2. On the start screen, click NEW to start creating a new project timeline, then go to Change > BROWSE FILES to select the Hourly Project Timeline - MSProject template that you downloaded in the first step:

    Custom templates define how your OnePager project timeline will look.

  3. Click the Create new chart button to create your hourly project timeline:
    Create your hourly project timeline from Project or Excel in a matter of minutes.

This hourly project timeline features:

  • All project tasks lined up left-to-right in a single timeline instead of a Gantt chart
  • A unique color for each task, or each type of task
  • A detailed time axis showing the hour and quarter hour
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Highlighting Concurrent Tasks

In the example above, the layout is very clean, because no tasks overlap. However, OnePager can account for overlapping tasks very easily.

  1. Let's assume that Task 2 begins a few minutes before Task 1 ends and also continues past when Task 3 is supposed to start:

    Hourly project plan with tasks scheduled concurrently.

  2. One way to handle this is to use transparency to blend the colors with overlapping tasks. To do this, go to Home > Chart Properties > Task Bars. Adjust the Transparency to 50%, like this:

    Adjust the transparency of tasks in your timeline.

  3. Click OK, and OnePager will make all of the tasks in your timeline semi-transparent, making it easy to see where one overlaps with another:

    Hourly Project Timeline with semi-transparent overlapping tasks.

  4. Another option, which you can use with or without transparency, is to ask OnePager to automatically stagger tasks when they take place at the same time. To do this, go to Home > Chart Properties > Rows/Swimlanes and check the box to Stagger Overlapping Tasks:

    Hourly Project Timeline with semi-transparent overlapping tasks.

  5. Click OK, and OnePager will move the conflicting task to a different row, so that it's easier to see its full duration:

    Hourly Project Timeline with semi-transparent overlapping tasks.

OnePager is the best way to create a project timeline with details down to the hour, down to the minute, or even down to the second. OnePager connects easily with Microsoft Project, Primavera P6, Planisware, or Excel, so you don't need to build a timeline from scratch if you already have your project plan in another application.

Get started today by downloading a free trial.

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