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Differences between charts, snapshots, and templates

TITLE: Differences between Charts, Snapshots, and Templates

OnePager lets you use the same underlying Microsoft Project plan or Excel schedule to present different Gantt charts or timelines to different audiences, and also lets you create a standard style to be used across different Snapshots. Charts, Snapshots, and Templates are at the heart of these capabilities. First, some definitions:

  • Chart - A Chart (formerly a Project View) is a collection of tasks or milestones from your project plan(s) that you want to present to a specific audience. You might have one Chart for your executive team and another Chart for your clients. You can create multiple Charts from the same underlying Microsoft Project or Excel schedule(s), and each Chart can use a distinct filter to present different tasks. The initial settings in a Chart are inherited from a Template.
  • Snapshot - A Snapshot is a time-sensitive version of a Chart. For example, if you present to executives each month, you can create a new Snapshot of your executive summary Chart on a monthly basis. Snapshots retain the overall format of your Chart, but update important data like start and finish dates, percent complete, and other time-sensitive project data. Each Chart has a different set of Snapshots, which can be at any frequency you need (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.)
  • Template - A Template is a general set of style rules that can be used to create different Charts. For example, if you have several projects and need to create the same style of report for each one, a Template will allow you to create a single style that can be applied across multiple Charts. Templates do not contain any project data; they only contain general settings.

How Snapshots Relate to Charts

Every Chart will contain at least one Snapshot, but most project contain several Snapshots. The hierarchy of Charts and Snapshots is shown below:


Hierarchy of Charts and Snapshots as used in OnePager project presentation software.

In the example above, you see that a project manager has created three different Charts from the same Microsoft Project (or Excel) plan. The first Chart is for executives, the second Chart is for team members, and the third Chart is for regulators. These three Charts will look completely different, except that they are based on the same project schedule.

Within each Chart, there are multiple Snapshots at different points in time. This means that the project manager has been versioning each one of the three Charts over the last few months. OnePager stores all Snapshots in historical order, so if someone needs to see what a Chart looked like one or two months ago, it is easy for the project manager to pull up an earlier Snapshot and compare it to the current project schedule.

There is no limit to the number of Charts or Snapshots you can create. You have complete control over the frequency of Snapshots, whether you want to create a new Snapshot each week, month, quarter, or even a Snapshot each hour.

How Templates Relate to Charts

Templates act like a stylesheet to define a common reporting format across many Charts. They allow an organization to pick a standard color palette, fiscal year, grouping/sorting scheme, and even a common set of conditional formatting rules. Because Templates are project-agnostic, they do not contain any project data or any manual customizations that are made to individual tasks. These individual customizations are contained within the Chart, not the Template.

The following diagram shows how Templates relate to Charts, and the Snapshots within them:

Diagram of Templates and Charts.

In the example above, the project manager is now creating a total of six Charts. We have the same three Charts from Project A, and have added three new Charts from Project B. Templates are used to create a common style across projects.

For example, the "Executive Template" can be applied to Project A, and then separately to Project B to create two separate Charts called "Project A - Executive Summary" and "Project B - Executive Summary," respectively.

Even though these projects are separate, they will have similar formatting, layout, and other characteristics.


Last Updated: August 11, 2020