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Project 2010: Introducing the Timeline View

Project 2010: Introducing the Timeline View

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In Project 2010, we’ve added a new view called the Timeline view which allows you to easily create a high level view of your project plan that you can then share through other Office applications such as PowerPoint and Outlook.

The default view for Project 2010 is the Gantt with Timeline so you’ll see the Timeline view at the top of your window the first time you boot Project 2010 but it if isn’t there, you can display it by going to the View tab and checking Timeline in the Split View group.

Here is the Timeline view when you create a new project. I’ve also selected the Timeline view’s Format tab to show off the commands that go along with the Timeline view.

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I will demonstrate how in 4 simple steps you can create Timeline view that looks good enough for any status meeting or mail to executives, customers, partners, etc.

Step 1: Add Tasks to the Timeline

Simply right-click the tasks you want on the Timeline and select "Add to Timeline”.

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Step 2: Arrange the Tasks

Now that you have tasks on your the timeline, you can easily re-arrange them so it looks even better. You can drag tasks above or below the gray bar which represents the project to display the tasks as callouts or drag tasks up or down within the gray bar to display the tasks on different rows.

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Step 3: Format the Tasks

Now that the tasks are arranged nicely, you can make a few tweaks to make the timeline more readable. Through the Timeline’s Format tab, I’ve updated the date format to be more concise, set more text lines to show so you can read the tasks names, and highlighted some tasks with different colors to make them stand out (did I mention Project 2010 now has 32-bit color – yes that means we now have orange).

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Step 4: Share the Timeline

Finally, you can paste the Timeline into other Office applications such as PowerPoint and Outlook by clicking Copy Timeline on the Format tab and selecting the proper size. When you paste the Timeline view, the items are pasted as individual Office Art shapes, so you can do an optional step 5 like I have and further format the shapes using the graphics power of those applications. Here I have added reflection, a 3-d effect, and further edited the colors.

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That’s not all the Timeline view can do but I’ll have to save the rest for a video…

  • Can we see all tasks in the timeline view in one shot. Something like a network diagram view combined with the features of the timeline.

    The Gantt view is good, but I am not able to make out the complete view from it.

    This will add lot of value and give very good clarity to people.

  • You can add all the tasks to the timeline view. Depending on your screen size, length and size of the project, it might be hard to manage but you can do it.

    To easily add all of your tasks, click the box in the top left corner of the grid (between ID numbers and the indicator icon). This selects all of the tasks. Then click Add to Timeline on the Task tab - Properties group.

  • Thanks for this walkthrough Heather.  Have you released a video yet?

  • The only current videos of the timeline view are from the Project conference. The videos are about 60 minutes and include a section on the timeline view.

    Project Reporting: http://www.microsoft.com/showcase/en/us/details/cc8620d9-0600-41c8-9ef8-b6d8a8b9ed2b

    Project desktop overview: http://www.microsoft.com/video/en/us/details/0586e3e5-4ad8-400a-ba1e-0f0b254fc0bb

  • I recently started using the Project 2010 beta and the timeline feature has quickly become one of my favorite additions. I frequently find myself preparing schedule summaries for different audiences and would like to be able to prepare multiple timeline based on the same project data. Is it possible to do this in the beta or are you considering a feature that allows you to create multiple timelines from the same data?

  • Glad you like it! You can have multiple timeline views just the same way as you can have multiple Gantt charts, etc.

    To create a new Timeline view, go to the View tab, in the Split View group, click on the Timeline dropdown and select More Views. Click to create a new view, Single View, with the screen set to Timeline. Give it a name and you have now created a new timeline view.

    To switch between that view and your other timeline views, just use the Timeline dropdown. When you add tasks to the timeline, they are added to whichever timeline view is currently being displayed.

    Thanks.

  • I am very excited about timelines too!  They are great for my needs, now I don't have to keep a manual Excel spreadsheet as well as a project file.

    Is it possible to view multiple time lines at one time.  

    For instance I have multiple small project within one large project.  They all use the same resources and I need to quickly see where I may have overlaping project tasks in the timeline view.  The only way I can think of to do that is with multiple time lines but if I can only view 1 at a time it won't help me.

    Thanks.

  • The only way to view multiple timelines at a time would be to create multiple windows. To do this, on the View tab, click New Window, and select to create a window with the view set to one of the timeline view's. You now have a different "window" of the project. You can use the Switch Windows tab to go between them or arrange all to display them so you can view multiple windows at the same time.

    This help article is for Excel but the same window management applies to Project: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/excel/HP012170431033.aspx?pid=CH100648381033

    For your scenario though, it sounds like it would be best for you to use the Team Planner. To get to this view, on the Resource tab, click Team Planner. This shows all your resources with the tasks that are assigned to them over time. This should help with your comparison.

    This post has more information on the Team Planner: http://blogs.msdn.com/project/archive/2009/10/08/project-2010-introducing-the-team-planner.aspx

    Hope this help!

  • I watched the video and have been working with the timeline a bit now.  Thanks!  But, I can't find how to make the timeline view just the date range that I want.  It appears with the Start and Finish date of my schedule, and if I select three tasks (in the same week, in month two of the project) I want the timeline to only show me that week but it shows me the three tasks as tiny little bars in the lengthy timeline.  How do I only show the date range of the week for the tasks I want to show?

  • I really like the Timeline View, but would like to make a feature request.  Since the Timeline View supports the ability to add multiple lines of text for all tasks, it would be great if you could have tasks in the timeline include other pieces of information about the task on those additional lines, such as Task Notes or Resource Names.  This would be very helpful, since the Notes can be freeform and include any information and update automatically as updated in the plan.

    In addition, it would be nice to have the ability to place milestones on any line of the timeline view (and not be restricted to only appearing at the top or the bottom).

    I really like Project 2010 and hope to see it continue to improve.

  • Right now it appears that a task can only be represented on the timeline view as an in-line task, or as a callout.  However, due to limited visibility of the text because of short date ranges, it would also be nice to be able to have the Task Name or Task Notes represented as a callout to the in-line task.  An example would be a case where a task only lasts 1 or 2 days and you can't read the text. I want to keep the block on the timeline view as a block and then just have a callout from the block off of the timeline with the Task Name text or Task Notes text.  Can this be included as a feature request for Project 2010.1 ?

  • Bill - unfortunately you can't set the date range of the timeline view. It will always go from the start date of the first task to the finish date of the last task. You can though, only copy/paste a subset of the timeline. To do this, click and hold in the timeline view to draw a box around the section you are interested in. Then click Copy on the Task tab. This will copy just the selected portion of the timeline view.

    Kurt - Thanks for the feedback! You can set the timeline view to display more than one line of text through the Format tab. This will help some with your second request. Or you can create a dummy task that is the same length as the real task so that way you can display a bar and callout.

  • Hi Heather,

    I'm having problems with taskbars not wanting to exist on the same line within a multi-line timeline.  The tasks are not overlapping (separated by two months), but will not let me put them on the same line (about the 5th line down).  Instead, they keep jumping up to the 2nd line any time I try to put them together on the same line.  Oddly enough, when they jump up to the 2nd line, that actually puts them on the same line as another taskbar ! (which I couldn't make happen manually).  Funny stuff.   Any ideas on how to force two taskbars, which don't overlap, to exist on the same line of the timeline?  (other than flattening the entire timeline into a single line)

    Thx!

  • I'm not sure why the tasks aren't staying put for you. If you explicitely drag a task into a spot - it should stay there.

    If you want to send the file to projrep@microsoft.com I can take a look.

  • I tried using timeline, it gives great view, but my understanding was that it would also indicate what is completed, based on Actual finish dates or completion percentage.

    Is there a way to indicate that in timeline?

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