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Sub-Swimlanes from Smartsheet

If you use Smartsheet and need to create a project timeline or Gantt chart that has parent swimlanes and child swimlanes, OnePager can help.

Smartsheet Gantt chart with swimlanes and sub-swimlanes, also known as parent swimlanes and child swimlanes, which are based on the parent rows from Smartsheet.

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OnePager can create up to three levels of swimlanes and sub-swimlanes based on the layout of your project in Smartsheet. Follow either set of instructions below to see how it works:

1. Easy Method: Direct import of Smartsheet data
2. Legacy Method: Import of Smartsheet data through Excel

Direct Smartsheet Method

OnePager connects directly to Smartsheet, imports your project, and groups rows into swimlanes based on the parent rows that you've already set up in your project plan. Here's how to get started:

  1. In this example Smartsheet project, we have three levels of parent rows (Phase, Workstream, and Sprint), with tasks underneath the sprints at the fourth level. OnePager will use the three levels of parent rows to drive swimlanes and sub-swimlanes, and will place the tasks in the body of the Gantt chart:

    Four levels of parent and child rows in Smartsheet

  2. OnePager will automatically import the parent row information from Smartsheet without you having to do anything special, so before creating our Gantt chart, the only thing we need to do is to decide which child rows from Smartsheet we want to include. The quickest way to do this is to insert a checkbox field by right-clicking on any existing Smartsheet column, and choosing the Insert Column Left option. We'll set up a checkbox field called OnePager:

    Add a checkbox field to Smartsheet

  3. With the OnePager column inserted, check the box next to any child rows that you want to include in your Gantt chart. You don't need to check any parent rows because OnePager will automatically bring in the parent information for any children that you check. Once you're finished selecting child rows, be sure to save your Smartsheet project.

    Select which child rows from Smartsheet should be in the Gantt chart.

  4. From your desktop or Windows Start menu, launch OnePager:

    Launch OnePager from your desktop.

  5. When the OnePager start screen appears, click on New to start building a new swimlane chart from Smartsheet:

    OnePager start screen.

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

    Browse Smartsheet projects from OnePager.

  7. If this is your first time logging into Smartsheet, you will need to log in:

    Log into Smartsheet from OnePager.

    After connecting, Smartsheet will ask you whether you want to Allow OnePager access to your Smartsheet account. Once you click Allow, OnePager will connect Smartsheet automatically going forward.

  8. Select the Smartsheet project that you want to use, and click OK:

    Import from Smartsheet into a OnePager swimlane chart.

  9. OnePager has a template that is specifically-designed to make swimlane charts easy. To use it, go to Change > BROWSE FILES and select the template called Swimlanes with Multiple Levels for Smartsheet:

    Select a template for Smartsheet swimlanes and sub-swimlanes.

  10. Now, make sure that you've selected the OnePager checkbox field from Smartsheet as your filter. Then, click Next followed by Create New Chart.

    Filter your Smartsheet chart based on a OnePager checkbox field.

  11. OnePager will import your child rows from Smartsheet, and will group your project into three levels of nested swimlanes and sub-swimlanes. The first level of swimlanes is based on the top-level parent rows (Phase), the second level swimlane is based on the second set of parent rows (Workstream), and the third level swimlane is based on the third set of parent rows (Sprint):

    Gantt chart created from Smartsheet with swimlanes and sub-swimlanes based on the parent rows.

  12. OnePager's swimlanes are configurable, and can look at any set of parent rows from Smartsheet, or even a custom Smartsheet field. To review how your swimlanes are set up, go to Home > Chart Properties > Rows/Swimlanes, and review the three tabs for Left #1, Left #2, and Left #3, which are animated below:

    Configure which Smartsheet parent rows should drive swimlanes and sub-swimlanes.

    In this example, the left-most swimlane is based on the Level 1 Summary Name which is the highest-level parent rows in Smartsheet. To the right of that, is a second swimlane level that looks at the Level 2 Summary Name, which is the second set of parent rows in Smartsheet. Finally, the third swimlane level looks at the Level 3 Summary Name which is the lowest-level set of parent rows in Smartsheet. If your Smartsheet project is laid out differently, feel free to change these groupings to any other outline level, or any other Smartsheet custom field to achieve the desired result.

In addition to customizing your swimlanes, OnePager also gives you full control over colors, shapes, layouts, and virtually every other aspect of your timeline or Gantt chart. The best part is that all of OnePager's formatting is based on the data that you already have in Smartsheet, so you don't have to spend time manually formatting your chart. We invite you to try it with your own Smartsheet projects by downloading a free trial today.

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Excel Method

OnePager Express can import your Smartsheet data through Excel and create a chart with swimlanes and multiple sub-swimlanes, sometimes called parent swimlanes and child swimlanes. Here are the steps:

  1. Start with a simple Smartsheet project, where tasks are grouped first into workstreams, and then into phases, as parent tasks and sub-tasks:

    Smartsheet project plan with parent and grandparent tasks

  2. Right-click in the header of your Smartsheet project, and choose Insert Column Left. We'll insert a Text/Number field called Parent Swimlane, which will define the groupings for your parent swimlane:

    Insert a parent swimlane column into Smartsheet

  3. Once the Parent Swimlane column has been inserted into Smartsheet, make sure that each task has been assigned a parent swimlane value, which will drive the parent swimlane that it is grouped into:

    Assign parent swimlane values to your Smartsheet project.

    It's not necessary to assign a parent swimlane value to any of your parent tasks, unless the parent tasks themselves will be displayed in your project timeline or Gantt chart.

  4. To set up a sub-swimlane, add a second column called Child Swimlane, and make sure that each task has been assigned a child swimlane value, similar to what we just did with parent swimlanes in the previous step:

    Assign child swimlane values to your Smartsheet project.

  5. To filter which tasks should be included in your OnePager Gantt chart, add a Checkbox column called OnePager, and check the boxes next to the tasks that you'd like to include:

    Filter your Smartsheet project before importing into OnePager

  6. Finally, insert an Auto-Number/System column called Row ID, which will act as a unique ID for each task in your Smartsheet project:

    Add the Row ID column to Smartsheet.

  7. Save your project, and Smartsheet should automatically number the tasks in your project. The Row ID that Smartsheet generates may not be sequential, and may not match the number of the row itself, but that's normal:

    Row ID column after adding it to Smartsheet.

  8. Now, it's time to export your Smartsheet project to Excel so that OnePager can import it. To do this, go to File > Export > Export to Microsoft Excel and save the Excel file to your desktop. Open the Excel file, and it should look something like this:

    Excel file exported from Smartsheet.

  9. Launch OnePager by going to Excel's Add-Ins tab, and clicking the OnePager button:

    OnePager Express add-in launch from Excel.

  10. On the Start screen, click NEW to begin building a new Gantt chart or timeline:

    OnePager Express start screen.

  11. On the next screen, give your Gantt chart a name, and make sure that your tasks are being filtered by the OnePager checkbox column that you created back in Smartsheet:

    Create a new Gantt Chart in OnePager using data exported from Smartsheet.

  12. Click Next and then Create New Chart to import your project into OnePager. Initially, we'll start with a basic Gantt chart that doesn't have any swimlanes. In the last few steps, we'll show you how to add parent and child swimlanes to the chart:

    Initial OnePager Gantt Chart created using data from Smartsheet.

  13. To add swimlanes, go to Home > Chart Properties > Rows/Swimlanes. Turn on the Left #1 Swimlane and map it to the Parent Swimlane column from Smartsheet:

    Swimlane grouping based on the Parent Swimlane field

  14. To add sub-swimlanes, stay on the same screen, and go to the Left #2 Swimlane tab, mapping it to the Child Swimlane column from Smartsheet:

    Sub-swimlane grouping based on the Child Swimlane field

  15. Click OK. OnePager will group your chart first by the Parent Swimlane column, and will then create a sub-swimlane based on the Child Swimlane field:

    Parent Swimlane and Child Swimlane (sub-swimlane) on a Gantt chart that was based on data exported to Excel from Smartsheet.

  16. The instructions above showed you how to create swimlanes and sub-swimlanes in OnePager, using data exported from Smartsheet. In the remaining instructions, we'll show you how to change the colors of your Gantt chart so that the swimlanes look even better.

    To start, let's change the colors in the Gantt chart so that all tasks belonging to the same phase and workstream have the same color. To do this, go to Home > Chart Properties > Task Bars and change the color-code setting to look at the Child Swimlane:

    Color-code the Gantt chart based on the Child Swimlane or Sub-Swimlane.

  17. Click OK, and OnePager will instantly apply a new color scheme to the timeline:

    Project timeline color-coded based on the workstream or child swimlane.

  18. If you want to add color to the swimlanes themselves, you have a few options. One is go apply an alternating color pattern so that every other swimlane appears in a different color. To do this, go to Home > Chart Properties > Main and change the Chart Background so that it has Left #2 Swimlane Stripes, which means that the stripes will be applied to the smaller child swimlane as opposed to the parent swimlane:

    Swimlane stripes applied to the Gantt chart

  19. Click OK and OnePager will reformat the swimlanes that that every other sub-swimlane is light blue:

    Gantt chart with blue and white swimlane stripes.

  20. Another option is to use the paint bucket to give each swimlane its own unique color. In this case, we'll left-click on the swimlane, and then apply a background color that coordinates with the color of the tasks themselves:

    Apply custom background colors to swimlanes.

  21. You can apply a separate color pattern to the parent swimlanes in the left-hand column. Go to Home > Chart Properties > Rows/Swimlanes and click the Swimlane Formatting button on the Left #1 swimlane tab. Here, we've assigned an alternating gray color pattern, and have also decided to rotate the swimlane text:

    Add a background color to the parent swimlane cells.

  22. Click OK one final time and you'll see the updates to the formatting of the parent swimlane as well:

    Gantt chart with parent swimlanes and child swimlanes that each have their own color scheme.

Try OnePager swimlane software today by downloading a free trial.

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Smartsheet and the Smartsheet logo are trademarks of Smartsheet, Inc. Smartsheet screenshots are copyright Smartsheet, Inc. OnePager is a separate project reporting application that can generate timelines and Gantt charts using data extracted from Smartsheet, but is not affilitated with or endorsed by Smartsheet, Inc.