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Timeline Layout: Lining up Multiple Tasks in One Row

OnePager can line up multiple tasks or milestones left-to-right in the same row to create more of a timeline view instead of a Gantt chart. OnePager does this automatically so that you don't have to drag individual items up and down and align them manually.

Assume that you have two project plans, and want to create a multi-project timeline where all of the milestones from Project A are in one row and all of the milestones from Project B are in another row:

Here's how to convert your OnePager Gantt chart into a timeline:

  1. Create your OnePager chart, importing the milestones from each project. Your Gantt chart will initially look like this:

  2. To convert the Gantt chart layout to a timeline, go to Home > Project View Properties > Rows/Swimlanes. At the top of the screen change the Task Collection from Make one row per task to Collect tasks into rows. In this case, we'll place multiple milestones into the same row based on the "Project Name", but any field from Microsoft Project or Excel can be used to create a timeline. We're just using "Project Name" as a simple example.

    Birds on a wire or Birds-on-a-wire layout

  3. Click OK, and OnePager will reposition all of the tasks or milestones in your chart so that anything that is part of Project A appears in one row, and anything that is part of Project B appears in a second row:

Creating a timeline by collecting multiple related tasks into a common row works really well if your tasks/milestones are sequential and don't overlap. If your tasks/milestones are concurrent, review the next section to learn how to account for overlap.

Overlapping Tasks and Milestones

If you are attempting to place multiple tasks/milestones in a single row, but several of your items are scheduled at the same time, your chart may become difficult to read, since tasks and milestones will sit on top of each other. OnePager gives you a few ways to mitigate this overlap.

  1. Going back to the project plan from earlier, let's import the project summary tasks in addition to the milestones. This means that each project will include one summary and three milestones:

    Notice that the summary bar isn't in the same row as the three milestones. This means that each project now consists of two rows instead of one. This doesn't look bad, but may not be what you want. The reason that OnePager created two rows is to account for the overlap between the summary bar and the three milestones. In many instances, your chart is a little easier to read if you limit the amount of overlap between concurrent tasks and milestones.

  2. If you want to have your tasks and milestones in the same row even if there is a small amount of overlap, OnePager will let you do this. Go back to Home > Project View Properties > Rows/Swimlanes.

  3. Notice that the timeline is currently set to Collect tasks automatically. This means that OnePager will place as many qualifying tasks into a single row, but when it detects overlap, it will add more rows automatically and stagger things out to improve readability.

  4. If you choose instead to Collect up to x tasks per row, OnePager will not worry about overlap, and will simply put as many qualifying tasks per row as you tell it to. In this case, setting the maximum to 4 tasks per row would be fine, but you can also set a higher ceiling if you don't want to think about it. We'll do up to 99 tasks per row, even though we don't have close to that many:

  5. Click OK once more, and you will get a true timeline for each project, though it's hard to see the milestone text:

  6. To improve readability while still allowing for overlap, you can adjust your milestones so that the text goes above the bar, and so that each milestone has a white border. You can also eliminate the text for the summary tasks from each bar, since the same project names are already on the left-hand side of the chart. This gives a cleaner, more compact result:

    Lining up several tasks into one row creates a timeline

Additional Resources

Here are conditional examples of how to create a project timeline in OnePager: