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Create stoplight charts by assigning symbols to columns based on the values of tasks in a row.

OnePager 7.2 gives users the flexibility to re-purpose their text columns as symbol columns, like this:

For example, this Microsoft Project schedule has three phases with four tasks per phase. Each of these tasks has been assigned a different status. We'd like to assign a symbol that quickly shows the status for each task:

To turn on a symbol column, go to Home > Chart Properties > Rows/Swimlanes. Enable the Left #1 text column, map it to the Status field, and then click the Manage Rules button:

OnePager's conditional formatting screen will open. Here, you can write rules to determine when certain symbols should appear in the column:

Here's a quick explanation of how the rules are set up:

  • Field: We will assign symbols based on the Status field.
  • Function: When in a Gantt chart layout, the Function doesn't really matter. When in a timeline layout with multiple tasks in the same row, it will become more important as noted later in this article. For now, we'll set it to At Least One Value, which means that the rule will trigger if at least one task in the row qualifies for the condition.
  • Operator: We will use Contains to do a "fuzzy match" for any status values matching the desired text.
  • Value: These are the expected values from the Status field. Each rule has a different Value of "Late", "Complete", and "On Schedule, Future Task", respectively.
  • Applies To: This rule will assign symbols to the Left #1 column. If you need multiple symbol columns, you can see all of your rules at once, and distinguish them by the value for Applies To.
  • Display As: Change this from Text to Symbol so that the column displays a symbol instead of text.
  • Symbol: Choose the symbol that each rule should display. These can either be emoji symbols, as shown above, or dynamic symbols. If you choose dynamic symbols, you will also want to choose a symbol color.

Click OK and OnePager will assign symbols to the column based on your rules:

Assigning Symbols in Timeline Layout

The example above is fairly simple since the chart is a Gantt chart with one task per row. It's very easy to determine which symbol should appear, since there is only one task's status to consider. However, if we create a timeline layout with multiple tasks per row, we'll need give OnePager more guidance on how to handle a set of tasks with mixed status.

In this example, if ALL tasks are complete, we want to show a green checkmark; if ANY tasks are late, even if it's just one, we want to show a red X. Apart from those two conditions, we'll just show a yellow triangle.

Back in the conditional formatting grid, this is where we need to make some changes to the Function that we didn't pay much attention to earlier. Specifically, because we only want to display the green checkmark when ALL tasks are complete, we need to change the Function for the second rule to All Values instead of At Least One Value:

After OnePager reevaluates the rules, it will change the symbols as follows: