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Using OnePager Pro to Create Project Outline Summary Reports

How to build a Gantt chart showing different summary levels of your MS Project plan

Complex projects are often managed by collecting smaller tasks into summary tasks, but these summary tasks often don't translate very well into a Gantt chart, timeline, or other project report.

Project outline summary report created in OnePager Pro, an add-in to MS Project

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Project reports are much easier to read if you follow these two rules:

  • Top-level summary tasks should be a larger size with a large, bold font
  • Lower-level detail tasks should be a smaller size with a smaller font

OnePager Pro, presentation software for Microsoft Project, enables project managers to automatically create an outline-level Gantt chart where higher-level summary tasks are larger and more visible, and lower-level detail tasks are less visible. This outline formatting enables project managers to show a lot of detail, but still communicate project timelines at a high level.

If you aren't already using OnePager Pro, you can download a free trial and try it out today. To build your project outline summary report, follow these simple steps:

  1. Start with a Microsoft Project plan. Notice that this plan has summary and detail tasks nested into a work breakdown structure:
    Sample MS Project file You can use a flag column (e.g. "Flag 20" above) to filter a sub-set of your total project tasks and milestones.
  2. To create your outline summary report, double-click the OnePager Pro icon on your desktop. From the Start screen that pops up, choose New.
    OnePager Pro Start screen.
  3. Choose your Microsoft Project plan as the source file for your OnePager Gantt chart.
    OnePager Pro source file selection.
  4. Next, when the import wizard appears, hit the Change... button in the Starting Template section, then BROWSE... to select Single Project Outline View.tat, which comes pre-loaded with your installation of OnePager. You can also give your chart a name, filter your tasks, and even give your report a status date:
    OnePager Pro's redesigned import wizard
  5. Click the Create new chart button, and OnePager Pro will import your data from Microsoft Project to create an outline summary report of your project:
    Project outline summary report created in OnePager Pro, an add-in to MS Project

In the report above, top-level summary tasks are larger with a bold font, while detail-level tasks smaller, and have smaller fonts. This helps you fit more information on the page, but still highlight your project plan at a high-level.

Conditional Formatting

OnePager automatically formats summary and detail tasks different using its patent-pending conditional formatting rules for Microsoft Project. If you would like to see how these rules work, or how to configure them, you can go to Home > Chart Properties > Task Bars > Manage Rules. This will give you a list of the data-driven rules that OnePager is using to automatically size the tasks based on their importance:
Conditional formatting in OnePager Pro

OnePager Pro's conditional formatting for Microsoft Project is very flexible, so you can customize these rules to apply different shapes, sizes, colors, and fonts based on any information you are tracking in Microsoft Project.

Get started today by downloading a free trial.

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