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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 Express can help.

Smartsheet Gantt chart with swimlanes and sub-swimlanes, also known as parent swimlanes and child swimlanes.

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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.

  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.

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    Formatting Options

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

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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

    4. 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.

    5. 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.

    6. 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.

    7. 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 Pro 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.