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Create Swimlanes on a Project Timeline

How to make a timeline with swimlanes using data from Microsoft Project

Timelines are a great way to communicate the status of a project. Using swimlanes on the timeline takes this concept a step further by allowing you to break the project up into different sections based on phases, resources, or sub-projects. But it can be complicated to create timelines with swimlanes, especially if you are trying to make Visio swimlanes or creating timelines by hand in PowerPoint.

OnePager Pro is timeline software for Microsoft Project that creates swimlanes in seconds instead of hours. To learn more, you can watch a video tutorial on this topic. Or, you can download a free trial and follow these step-by-step instructions, complete with examples of timelines made in OnePager Pro:

Timeline with swimlanes created in OnePager Pro.

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Here's how to create a Microsoft Project timeline with swimlanes in OnePager Pro:

  1. Start with your Microsoft Project plan. The plan below outlines the tasks by the different deployment sites, which we'll use for swimlanes in this example:
    Microsoft Project plan with multiple phases.
  2. If you want to show a sub-set of tasks, you can set up a filter column ("Flag 20" above) to specify the tasks and milestones that you want to include in your timeline. You can also set up custom rules (e.g. import anything assigned to Bob that is behind schedule).
  3. Next, double-click the OnePager Pro icon on your desktop. From the Start screen that appears, choose New.
    OnePager Pro Start screen.
  4. OnePager Pro will launch an easy import wizard. Let's give our example timeline a name decide how much information from Microsoft Project we want to import:
    OnePager Pro's easy import wizard.
  5. Click on the Create new Chart to create a swimlane report:
    Examples of timelines: See how to create a timeline with swimlanes in OnePager Pro, an MS Project add-in.

    Initially, we have more of a Gantt chart with swimlanes, but in the following steps, we'll show you how to convert each swimlane into a timeline instead.

  6. To change how your swimlanes are laid out, go to Home > Chart Properties and go to the Rows & Swimlanes tab. In this example, we'll collect multiple tasks into the same swimlane, by making the change shown below:
    Change the way swimlanes are grouped and sorted.

    If you prefer, you can also turn on a legend in place of the individual task labels to make your timeline easier to read.

  7. When you click OK, your swimlanes will be redrawn in a completely different style without having to change anything in Microsoft Project:
    Timeline with swimlanes created in OnePager Pro.

OnePager Pro is the easiest way to create timelines with swimlanes that are ready for PowerPoint. Visio swimlanes are a thing of the past, as is creating timelines by hand in PowerPoint.

Get started with OnePager Pro by downloading a free trial or attending one of our demonstration webinars.

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