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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…

  • Sid - I believe you are looking for the copy picture command which is still available for the Gantt chart. It is on the Task tab - Copy dropdown.

    JW - The timeline won't automatically show progress but you can manually color the tasks based on their status.

  • Thanks this was very helpful

  • The timezone has been very helpful to me, especially on complicated projects. I ran into the bug Heather described, as I was trying to get out of the office at 5pm on Friday! Argh. Oh well, glad to find a fix for it, and that I wasn't going crazy. Try explaining "I know you like the pretty timeline with the colors, but it doesn't work anymore" to nontechnical execs, at the end of a looong Friday.

  • Hello Heather,

    Although I have selected all the tasks as per your instructions below, some of summary tasks will not show up on the timeline view.  And I do have overlapping tasks selected.  Any idea why?

    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.

  • Henny - Do the summary tasks that aren't showing up have dates? A task has to have a least one date for it to be displayed on the timeline.

    If it does have at least one date, then try right-clicking the task and selecting Add to Timeline. Does it get added? If not, your timeline may be corrupted. See my earlier comments to this blog post on how to fix that.

    Thanks,

    Heather

  • Is there a way to have the Timeline sort in to task id sequence?  When I select the task in the Timeline/Existing Tasks option or under the Gantt/Add to Timeline the result is a reordered timeline.  Looking to keep the timeline bars in the order of their task id.

  • I wish to benefit from your expertise.

    I see that, in my file, some summary taks could not be added to timeline. I check the "add to timeline" box, but it would uncheck itself after I close out the box and wont get displated on timeline.

    However some other summary tasks get displayed on timelines easily with this process.

    Can you let me know if there are some standard rules, every activity/summary task should meet in order to get included in timeline?

    thank you very much. your help is hugely appreciated !!

  • Eric - the timeline view doesn't support sorting. When you add a task to the timeline, we try to place it in a manner that minimizes the number of rows you have. You can then move tasks up and down as you wish. If you move a task to a new row, we won't move that task automatically as you add new tasks to the timeline.

  • Hi Heather,

    Is there a way to format the dates on the timeline itself?  I know how to format Milestones Names and Task Names.  However, the dates/timeframes that appear on the timeline depend entirely on the zoom level on the timeline (Qtr 1,'08 vs. Jan vs. Jan 20,2008, etc).  I tried to change the date format on all 3 tiers in the Timescale in the Gantt Chart to see if that had an effect but no luck.  Do you know if there's a way?  

  • Kyle - You can't format the Timeline's timescale. It is automatically calculated based off the width of your window and the project's length. A workaround is to turn off the actual timescale and then make a timescale through tasks - ex. add a task for each week/month/year. In the following post I did this with generic weeks - blogs.msdn.com/.../share-a-schedule-without-revealing-actual-dates.aspx

  • office.microsoft.com/.../communicate-schedule-details-with-a-visio-2002-gantt-chart-HA001056325.aspx

    The instructions on this link indicate that I can perform this conversion in Project 2007, but I am unable to find the "Gannt Chart Menu"

    Any suggestions?

  • K2 - they mean the Gantt Chart menu in Visio. In Visio, start a new drawing using the Gantt Chart or Timeline template depending on what you want. These tempaltes are in the Schedule category. Once you are in the drawing you will be able to import in your Project file to populate the drawing.

  • Is there a way to filter the timeline dates to display.  We have an ongoing project portfolio that we are tracking however we only want to display the projects for the current year in the timeline.

  • I want to use the timeline feature for a program of work and add milestones for each individual project for gated sections of individual projects to use for stakeholder meetings.  Is there a way to do this?

  • Rachael - you can add tasks from multiple projects to the timeline by first creating a master project (a big project that contains other projects - go to the Project tab - Insert project to create this).

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