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Creating a Multiple Project Timeline using OnePager Pro

How to combine several Microsoft Project plans into a single timeline

Most project managers track individual project plans in separate Microsoft Project files. But what happens when you want to create a summary-level timeline of multiple projects so that you can see the schedule for the entire program?

This article describes how to use OnePager Pro to create a multi-project summary timeline using the Microsoft Project data you already have.

You can watch a video tutorial on this topic or continue reading for step-by-step instructions:

  1. First, to select which individual tasks and milestones you want to import into OnePager Pro, insert a Flag column into your each Microsoft Project file you want to use. To insert a Flag column, simply right-click on any column heading and then select "Insert Column." In this example, we'll use Flag 20. Simply place a Yes in the flag column you chose to indicate which tasks you want to pull in to your OnePager document.

  2. MS Project file with Flag field.
  3. Double-click the OnePager Pro icon on your desktop. (Don't have OnePager Pro yet? You can download a 15-day free trial to see how it works.) From the Start screen that pops up, choose New.
    OnePager Pro Start screen.
  4. Select one of your .mpp files as the first Microsoft Project source file. Then, click the Change... button to launch the Data source selection dialog box, from which you can add the other files (as many as you like). Hit OK.
    Import multiple Microsoft Project files into your OnePager Gantt chart.
  5. When the OnePager Pro Choices Form launches, you'll want to name your Project View (OnePager document). In this example, we'll call it "Project Portfolio - Tasks by Project".
  6. Now, you can specify which Microsoft Project flag field you want to use to filter your subproject tasks and milestones. Click on Select tasks with 'YES' in column and then choose a flag field (in this example, Flag 20).
  7. Specify a Snapshot date for your portfolio schedule to represent the point in time the OnePager document they are looking at will be accurate to.
  8. Finally, near the top of the form under Starting Template, click Change..., then BROWSE..., and then find the preloaded template called "Multi-Project Gantt Chart - Detailed" in your file system. This template has a set of pre-configured settings that make it easy for you to build multi-project presentations. You can always change these settings later.
    Changing your OnePager Pro starting template.
    Selecting your OnePager Pro starting template in your file system.
  9. Your OnePager launch screen should now look something like this:
    The redesigned Choices form for OnePager Pro, configured to import multiple project plans from Microsoft Project and create a single-page Gantt chart.
  10. Click Create new project view. OnePager will import your selected tasks and milestones and create instant Gantt Art; a high-level portfolio view that shows the schedule for each individual project plan. Initially, your OnePager result will be driven by your Profile Choice that was selected earlier and may look like this:
    How to create a project management timeline for PowerPoint showing multiple projects using OnePager Pro, an add-in for Microsoft Project.
  11. You can further customize your chart to meet your multi-project presentation needs. For example, if you want to color-code each project using a value different from the Resource Names column, click the Project-View Properties Button on the Home tab... ...and then click on the Task Bars tab. Locate the Gantt Bar/Milestone Fill Color section and choose "Project name" as shown below. This tells OnePager you want to color-code all of your project tasks based on their parent project. Click Apply.
    OnePager can color-code your project schedule based on any column in Microsoft Project.
  12. You can also convert the chart to display milestone symbols instead of task bars. In the same Project-View Properties Menu, go to the Advanced tab and choose "Milestone at end" in the Task representation section, as shown below. Click OK.
    OnePager can display project tasks as Gantt bars, milestone symbols, or a combination of both.
  13. With some additional formatting, like using text-driven rules (conditional formatting) to change the shapes of milestones based Project name, you can create a multi-project view that looks like this:
    A multi-project Gantt chart created in OnePager Pro.

It's that easy! Since Microsoft Project gives you multiple Flag fields, you can create separate project views using the same Microsoft Project master file. For example, instead showing a detailed multi-project chart like we did using Flag 1, we could insert a Flag 2 and select a different set of tasks (e.g. summary level) that were important to a particular team or audience.

This means OnePager Pro can help you create a portfolio-level project plan for executives, while creating separate schedules for your engineers, designers, and marketing team, all using the same Microsoft Project file.

Get started today by downloading a free trial or attending one of our demonstration webinars.

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