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Primavera P6 Multi-Project Timeline

Create a timeline of multiple Primavera P6 projects in OnePager.

If you need a way to visualize multiple projects from Primavera P6, OnePager gives you an easy way to create a timeline that looks like this:

Timeline of multiple Primavera P6 projects created in OnePager.

To see how it works, download a free trial of OnePager, and then follow either set of instructions below:

1. Direct import of Primavera P6 data (XML/XER format)
2. Import of Primavera P6 data through Excel

Direct Method

OnePager has the ability create timelines directly from Primavera P6 using either the XML or XER file format. Here's how:

  1. We'll start in Primavera P6, where several project plans are open:

    Multiple projects open in Primavera P6

  2. If your P6 schedule is large, you can choose to include only selected tasks and milestones in your timeline by adding a user defined field called OnePager and placing a Yes next to any activities that should appear on the timeline:

    Filter activities in Primavera P6 before creating a Gantt chart.

    To add a user-defined field to Primavera P6, go to Enterprise > User Defined Fields and click the Add button to add a new user-defined field called OnePager.

  3. Next, you want to to export your P6 schedule to either XML or XER format. Go to File > Export and follow the prompts to export both projects:

    Export from Primavera P6 to an XML or XER file.

  4. You can choose to export each project to its own XML or XER file, or create a consolidated export that contains all projects in a single file. In this example, we'll export both projects to a single master file:

    Select multiple Primavera P6 projects to be exported to a single master file.

  5. Next, go to your desktop or Windows Start menu, and launch OnePager:

    Launch OnePager from your desktop.

  6. When the OnePager start screen appears, click on New to begin building a new multi-project timeline chart from Primavera P6:

    OnePager start screen.

  7. When the import wizard appears, choose Select > BROWSE Primavera P6 Files and then choose the multi-file Primavera P6 export from step #4:

    Browse Primavera P6 XML or XER projects for import into OnePager.

  8. The import wizard will confirm which file(s) from Primavera P6 that you are about to import. If you set up a user-defined field in step #2, select it as your import filter:

    Filter your Primavera P6 Gantt Chart using a user-defined field.

  9. Click Create New Chart, and OnePager will import the selected activities from each of your Primavera P6 file, and create a multi-project Gantt chart that initially looks like this. In the remaing steps, we'll convert it from a Gantt chart to a timeline:

    Multi-Project Gantt Chart created from several Primavera P6 projects

  10. In the current chart, each project gets its own swimlane, and all of the tasks for each project are lined up in a Gantt chart layout. We want to add a sub-swimlane based on the WBS in Primavera P6 so that each project is subdivided by phase. To do this, go to Home > Chart Properties > Rows/Swimlanes. Click on the Left #2 swimlane tab, and set it to the Level 1 Summary Name, which is the top-level summary from the Primavera P6 WBS:

    Add a sub-swimlane based on the Primavera P6 WBS.

  11. Click OK, and OnePager will add a secondary swimlane that groups activities based on their position in the Primavera P6 WBS:

    Gantt chart with swimlanes based on the Primavera P6 project name and a sub-swimlane based on the Primavera P6 WBS.

  12. Now, we want to switch the chart from a Gantt Chart layout to a timeline layout, again based on the Primavera P6 WBS, so that all activities that are children of a specific phase will appear in the same row. Return to Home > Chart Properties > Rows/Swimlanes and change the Task Layout to a Timeline, again based on the Level 1 Summary Name. In our example, we have a few tasks that are concurrently-scheduled, so we're also going to check the Stagger Overlapping Tasks box to improve readability, though this is optional:

    Create a multi-project timeline based on the WBS from Primavera P6

  13. Click OK, and OnePager will switch your chart from a Gantt chart to a timeline based on the Primavera P6 WBS:

    Multi-project timeline based on the WBS from Primavera P6

  14. If we want each phase of the project to have a different color, we can go to Home > Chart Properties > Task Bars and change the Foreground Color to look at the Level 1 Summary ID instead of the Project Name:

    Assign colors to your multi-project timeline based on the WBS in Primavera P6.

    Note: You could also color-code by Level 1 Summary Name instead of Level 1 Summary ID. We chose the latter because it is different for each project. If you color-code by the name instead of the ID, then all "Phase II" tasks will get the same color across Project A and Project B. Some users prefer this, but we wanted a different color for each project and phase combination.

  15. Click OK, and OnePager will apply color-coding based on the Primavera P6 WBS:

    Multi-project timeline, with color coding based on the WBS from Primavera P6

That's it! There is a lot more customization available, which you can explore on your own after downloading a free trial.

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Excel Method

OnePager Express takes an Excel export from Primavera P6 to create timelines of multiple projects, using these steps:

  1. Start with your portfolio of projects in Primavera P6. In this example, we have Project A and Project B:
    Multiple projects in Primavera P6
  2. Next, export your Primavera P6 project plans to Excel. To do this, go to File > Export and choose the Spreadsheet - (XLSX) option. Click Next.
  3. For your Export Type, choose Activities and click Next. Select both projects to export and click Next again:
    Export multiple projects from Primavera P6
  4. If you already have an Excel export template in P6, use it. If not, you can set up a custom OnePager template. We recommend exporting the following fields from Primavera P6:
    Export fields from P6 into Excel for use with OnePager.
  5. Finish your export from Primavera P6 to Excel. P6 should create a separate Excel file for each project plan that you've chosen to export.
  6. OPTIONAL: When Primavera P6 exports data to Excel, it gives you two sets of column headings. The first row is a system-generated name, while the second row is a more user-friendly name. You can use either, but for better readability, we recommend deleting the first row so that the user-friendly names move to the top. We'll do this for BOTH Excel files:
    Delete the first row from your P6 export.
  7. To start building your multi-project timeline with OnePager, double-click the OnePager Express icon on your desktop:
    OnePager Express imports P6 data via Excel.
  8. On the start screen click NEW to build a new timeline:
    Create a multi-project timeline from Primavera P6
  9. On the import wizard, click Select and then Browse Files to the folder that contains your exports from Primavera P6.
    Browse to the folder that contains your P6 exports.
  10. Add your first project plan, then click Add/Remove to add the rest of your project plans. Once all of your plans have been added, click OK
    Import multiple Primavera P6 exports into OnePager.
  11. Give your timeline a name, select one of OnePager's multi-project templates, and then click Next:
    Use a multi-project template
  12. Double-check to make sure that OnePager has mapped the correct fields from P6 into your timeline. Once this looks good, click on Create new Project View
    Map Primavera P6 fields into a OnePager timeline.
  13. OnePager will import your projects from the two Excel files and create an initial report. We'll want to make a few customizations to get it to look the way we want.
  14. To group and sort your timeline into swimlanes by project name, go to Home > Project View Properties > Rows/Swimlanes and change your swimlane settings to group by the "Project Name" field from Primavera P6:
    Group your timeline into swimlanes based on Project Name from Primavera P6.
  15. This will give you a project-by-project Gantt chart, which is close, but not quite the timeline we're going for:
    Gantt chart with multiple projects.
  16. To convert your report from a Gantt Chart into a timeline, go back to Home > Project View Properties > Rows/Swimlanes. Instead of making One Row Per Task, choose to Collect tasks into rows by the "WBS Name" field from Primavera P6. This will line tasks up left-to-right when they have the same location in your WBS:
    Create a timeline based on the WBS Name field from Primavera P6.
  17. When you line multiple tasks up left-to-right based on the WBS Name, you also want to adjust your task labels so that they're easier to read. Do this under Home > Project View Properties > Task Bars > Task Bar Label Properties. Tell OnePager that task labels should Fit in Task Bar:
    Make your timeline more readable by repositioning the task names.
  18. Now, click OK until you are back in the chart. Your timeline should now look like this:
    Timeline of multiple Primavera P6 projects created in OnePager.

From here, you can customize lots of other aspects of your timeline, including color, layout, timescale, and much more. You can even add more projects from your P6 environment if you need to expand your portfolio from two projects to three or more projects. There is no limit!

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

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