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Smartsheet Birds on a Wire Chart

See how to build a birds on a wire timeline using milestones and summary rows from Smartsheet

Birds-on-a-wire charts show a sequence of milestones along a summary task, like this:

Birds on a Wire chart created from Smartsheet.

If you use Smartsheet, OnePager can import your project and create a birds-on-a-wire timeline like the example above.

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If you don't already have OnePager, click the button above to download a free trial. Then, follow these instructions to start building your birds-on-a-wire timeline from Smartsheet:

  1. Start by taking a look at your Smartsheet project:

    Smartsheet project with milestones underneath summary rows

    Here, the milestones will serve as the birds, and will sit on top of wires that correspond to the Smartsheet summary rows.

  2. This Smartsheet project is very simple, so we can import all of its rows in our birds on a wire chart. However, if you have a larger Smartsheet project, you can add a checkbox field called OnePager and check the boxes next to any milestones (birds) or summary rows (wires) that you want to include.

    To add a checkbox column field to Smartsheet, right-click and choose Insert Column Left. Choose the Checkbox column type, and name it OnePager.

  3. Save your Smartsheet project, go to your desktop or Windows Start menu, and launch OnePager:

    Launch OnePager from your desktop.

  4. When the OnePager start screen appears, click on New to start building a new birds-on-a-wire timeline from Smartsheet:

    OnePager start screen.

  5. On the import wizard, choose Select > BROWSE Smartsheet:

    Browse Smartsheet projects from OnePager.

    If you've never logged into Smartsheet from OnePager before, Smartsheet will ask you for your username and password, and will ask you to Allow OnePager read-only access to your Smartsheet project.

  6. Now, select the project that you want to use from Smartsheet and click OK:

    Import from Smartsheet into a OnePager birds-on-a-wire timeline.

  7. OnePager has a template that is uniquely-designed to create birds-on-a-wire charts from Smartsheet. We can select it by going to Change > BROWSE FILES and choosing the Birds on a Wire Chart for Smartsheet template. Once you've selected the correct template, click Next and then Create New Chart:

    Select the birds on a wire template for Smartsheet.

  8. OnePager will import your project from Smartsheet, and will automatically create wires for each of your summary rows. OnePager will then create a bird for each milestone in your project, and place them on top of the appropriate wires:

    Birds on a wire timeline created in OnePager using a Smartsheet project.

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Formatting your Timeline

While the basic birds on a wire chart imported from Smartsheet is a great start, you may want to adjust the formatting of your timeline before sharing it with your leadership. Here are some suggestions on changes that you can make:

  1. To assign different colors to the tasks and milestones in the chart, go to Home > Chart Properties > Task Bars, and click the Manage Rules button to set up conditional formatting. Here, we've set up rules that assign a unique color to each section of the timeline:

    Conditional formatting assigns a different color to each set of tasks and milestones in the birds on a wire timeline

  2. After applying the rules, the colors of the tasks and milestones in the timeline should look like this:

    Birds on a wire timeline from Smartsheet with conditional formatting applied to tasks and milestones.

  3. We can also apply a coordinating color pattern to the swimlanes in the chart as well. To do this, go to Home > Chart Properties > Rows/Swimlanes. In the Swimlanes section, click on the Manage Rules button:

    Apply conditional formatting to swimlanes in your timeline imported from Smartsheet.

  4. These conditional formatting rules are similar to those that we created for tasks and milestones, except that they format the swimlane cell color, swimlane background color, and swimlane font instead:

    Conditional formatting rules for a timeline imported from Smartsheet.

  5. Once applied, OnePager will make another update to the chart, and adjust the background colors to match the tasks and milestones of each phase of the timeline:

    Birds on a Wire timeline created from a Smartsheet project.

Get started today by downloading a free trial.

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