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Easy Project Portfolio Views from Microsoft Project

How to create portfolio-level project summaries from multiple Microsoft Project plans.

Microsoft Project is a great way to manage individual projects, but what if you want to create an executive summary of all the projects in your portfolio without redrawing everything by hand?

Timeline of multiple projects in a porftolio, imported from Microsoft Project.

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OnePager Pro works with Microsoft Project to combine multiple projects into a single portfolio view which can be used to present to clients or executives. Here's how to get started:

  1. First, add a flag field (Flag 20 in this example) to each of your Microsoft Project files, to indicate which tasks you want to include in your executive portfolio view. You can select as many or as few tasks as you want, but remember that simpler is often better. After adding the flag column, each of your Microsoft Project files should look something like this:
    Microsoft Project file with a flag field.
  2. 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 appears, choose New.
    OnePager Pro Start screen.
  3. Select one of your .mpp files as the first Microsoft Project source file. Then, click the Add/Remove 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.
  4. Next, when the OnePager Pro import wizard launches, you'll want to name your Chart. Let's call it "Portfolio Executive Summary".
  5. 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.
  6. Now, select Flag 20 as the filter for your view. This ensures that you only import the tasks and milestones that your executives need to see:
    OnePager Pro lets you to import the most important tasks and milestones from multiple projects to create a comprehensive portfolio summary view.
  7. Choose a Snapshot (status) date for your executive summary (the current date is fine) and click Create new Chart. OnePager will import your chosen tasks and milestones from each subproject and create an executive summary:

    Project Portfolio View created from multiple Microsoft Project plans.

  8. By default, OnePager will assign a unique color to each project in your portfolio. In the example above, you can see that Project A is blue, Project B is red, and so on.

    If you want to color-code your project portfolio based on resource information instead of subproject, click the Chart Properties Button on the Home tab of the ribbon... ...and then click on the Task Bars tab. Locate the Gantt Bar/Milestone Fill Color section and choose "Resource Names" as shown below. This tells OnePager you want to color-code all of your project tasks based on their resource assignments. Click OK.
    OnePager can color-code your project schedule based on any column in Microsoft Project.

  9. The result should look something like the below image:
    Project portfolio view created with OnePager Pro using Microsoft Project data.
  10. So far, we have a multi-project Gantt chart that shows several projects in a portfolio, and has been color-coded by resource assignment. If you want to simplify the report even further, you can convert it from a Gantt Chart to a timeline, so that all tasks for each project are lined up left-to-right in a single row.

    To do this, go back to Home > Chart Properties, and then click on the Rows/Swimlanes tab. At the top, choose the option Timeline (multiple tasks per row) by the "Level 1 summary name" field, like this:

    Align multiple tasks left-to-right in the same row to create a timeline for each project.

  11. When you click OK, OnePager will reduce your Gantt chart to a timeline, with one line for each subproject, like this:

    Timeline of multiple projects in a porftolio, imported from Microsoft Project.

That's it! You can cut and paste your OnePager Pro portfolio summary into a PowerPoint presentation or into an e-mail, and be ready to share it with executives in a matter of minutes.


If you would like to customize your executive portfolio summary a little more, here are some ideas:

  • Use conditional formatting to allow your data to drive coloring, shapes, fills, shape size, and more!
  • Group, sort tasks by any field in Microsoft Project (resources, phase, etc.).
  • Generate a project legend that makes it easy for executives to get the big picture.
  • Move tasks or milestones anywhere on the page to create custom groupings.
  • Show each project's percent complete, critical bath, or baseline dates, and compare the entire portfolio.
  • Refresh your project portfolio with updated dates and percentages any time one of your Microsoft Project plans is modified.

OnePager Pro will create rich, easy-to-understand portfolio views with the click of a button, and it keeps you from having to rebuild your executive summaries manually every time your project schedule changes.

Get started today by downloading a free trial.

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