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Smartsheet Timeline

How to build a project timeline using a plan from Smartsheet

If you use Smartsheet to manage projects, you need an easy way to create a project timeline, other than the basic Gantt chart that comes with Smartsheet. This article will show you how OnePager can create a timeline from a project that originated in Smartsheet.

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OnePager Express is a timeline tool for Excel that makes it easy to create great-looking project timelines in minutes. Simply export your Smartsheet plan to Excel and bring it into OnePager to get started.

  1. Start with your project plan in Smartsheet. Here, we have a sequence of tasks broken out into different phases. Our goal is to have all of the tasks for a given row lined up left-to-right, so if we have four phases, we'll end up with four timelines in the chart.

    Smartsheet project with tasks and phases.

  2. Right-click in your Smartsheet chart and choose the Insert Column Left option. We are going to insert a new Text/Number field called Parent Task. Click OK so that the new column appears in your Smartsheet plan.

    Insert a field into Smartsheet to track the parent task.

  3. Click into the new field and write a formula that will give you the parent task for each task in your plan:

    Formula for parent task in Smartsheet.

    The formula is =PARENT([Task [email protected]])

  4. Make sure you copy the formula to all of the tasks in your project. You can do this by highlighting the empty cells and pressing Ctrl + D to fill down.

    Fill down a formula in Smartsheet.

    Once this is complete, you will see that all of the tasks in your Smartsheet project clearly identify their parent task.

  5. We'll another field to Smartsheet that lets us decide which tasks we want to include in our OnePager chart. Following the same steps as before, we'll create a Checkbox field called OnePager:

    Create a checkbox field in Smartsheet.

  6. Now, check the boxes for the tasks that you want to include in your timeline. In this example, we will select the standard tasks, but not the summary tasks. You'll see why in a minute:

    Checkbox field in Smartsheet for OnePager.

  7. The final field that we want to insert into Smartsheet is an Auto-Number/System called Row ID:

    Row ID auto-number field in Smartsheet.

    Save your project, and Smartsheet will automatically number each task in your plan.

  8. Your Smartsheet plan is now ready to be exported to Excel. In Smartsheet, go to File > Export > Export to Microsoft Excel:

    Export from Smartsheet to Excel.

  9. Now it's time to bring your project plan into OnePager. Open the Excel file that you just created, go to the Add-Ins tab, and click the OnePager Express icon:

    Launch OnePager from Excel.

  10. On the start screen, click NEW to start building a new timeline. On the import wizard, give your timeline a name. We want to switch OnePager's default template from Single Project Gantt View - Detailed to Birds on a Wire Chart. You can switch the template by clicking on Change > Browse Files and selecting the correct template:

    Name your Smartsheet timeline.

  11. Click the Next button, and then from the next screen, click Create New Chart. OnePager will import the selected tasks from your Smartsheet project and give you a timeline like this:

    Smartsheet Timeline created in OnePager.

This timeline takes the phases that you have in your Smartsheet project plan and uses those phases to create a series of timelines where sequential tasks are lined up left-to-right. OnePager also automatically assigns color so that all of the tasks in a given phase all share the same color.

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