Quick Start to Office Timeline Pro+

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Overview

Welcome and thank you for choosing Office Timeline Pro+. We’re glad you’re here! Office Timeline Pro+ is a powerful PowerPoint add-in that helps you quickly make and manage professional timelines, program roadmaps and portfolio slides straight in your favorite presentation tool. This guide provides instructions and tips to get you started quickly.

A) Start a new project or program timeline
B) Add or edit data
C) Rearrange or update anything by Drag & Drop 
D) Customize your timeline
E) Jumpstart your timelines with templates

Read the full guide to learn how to get the most out of the Office Timeline Pro+ add-in or use the links above to jump to the topic you're interested in. But before getting started, let’s have a quick look at some key timeline objects that we’ll be mentioning here to get accustomed to their names:

timeline-elements-office-timeline-swimlane.png

 

A) Start a new project or program timeline

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Office Timeline Pro+ gives you 3 simple ways to start a new project or program timeline:

  1. Make it from scratch: From the Office Timeline Pro+ tab on the PowerPoint ribbon, click New and choose Timeline from Scratch.

  2. Use a template: Again from New, select one of the built-in Swimlane, Sub-swimlane or Timeline templates available and update it with your project's data.

  3. Import data from other sources: Click Import on the Office Timeline tab to pull existing data from Excel, Microsoft Project, Smartsheet or Wrike and instantly turn it into a timeline or program slide. The steps are quite similar whichever tool you import your data from.

For the purpose of this guide, we will start a new Timeline from scratch, so you can see how simple it is to make an impressive program timelines or roadmaps from head to toes.

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B) Add or edit data

When you click on the Timeline from Scratch (+) thumbnail in the New wizard, it will open the Data view, which allows you to add and edit milestones and tasks, as well as to define swimlanes and sub-swimlanes (“child” lanes nested inside the “parent” Swimlane).

  1. For each task or milestone you want to add to your timeline, type in its Title, choose its type – Task (T) or Milestone (M) - and enter its Start date and End date (milestones will have the exact same Start and End dates). You can also add % Complete to your tasks here to show progress.
    data-view-add-milestones-and-tasks-change-shapes-colors.png
    Note: The Data view is a great place to start experimenting with colors and shapes. All changes you make here are instantly displayed in a real-time thumbnail view of your timeline.

  2. To create swimlanes, click on Add Swimlane and enter a name for your new lane. We'd recommend keeping these names short for the best fit on the slide.add-swimlane-data-view-office-timeline.png

  3. You can also add sub-swimlanes to show multiple projects or phases inside a swimlane. Simply click the + Sub-swimlane button next to a swimlane and choose a name for the new sub-lane.
    add-sub-swimlane.png

  4. To add tasks and milestones inside a swimlane or sub-swimlane, click right below the lane's name and enter your data, or you can just drag some of your existing items into it. You can even drag & drop items from one lane or sub-lane to another, or reorder them however you see fit.drag-and-drop-data-view.png
    As you add and edit data, take a look at the live preview of your timeline on the right. You'll notice that items that don't belong to any swimlane or sub-swimlane will be linked directly to the timeband.

 

Quick Tips:

  • With Pro+ you can even make Sub-Swimlane slides scaled down to hours or minutes. To add Start and End times to your tasks and milestones, simply click on the small Clock icon in the top-right corner of the data table.
    hours-and-minutes-office-timeline-pro-plus.png

  • On standard timelines and Gantt charts (that don’t have Swimlanes), you can instantly reorder your tasks and milestones by Start Date, End Date or any other column header just by clicking on it.

  • You can access the Data View at any time to make adjustments or updates after creating your timeline slide. To do so, simply click the Edit Data button on Office Timeline tab.

 

C) Rearrange or update anything by Drag & Drop

Once you're done adding your data in the Data view, it's time to move to the Timeline view. To access it, click on the Timeline tab above your data list.

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Note: Once you've created your slide, you can also access the Timeline view by clicking the Edit Timeline button on the ribbon.

The Timeline view is one of our favorite things about the Pro+ add-in – it’s a simple visual Drag & Drop editor that lets you instantly rearrange, edit and update any item on your program timeline.

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Here are just a few changes you can do in the Edit Timeline view:

  1. Drag milestones and tasks from the timeband to a swimlane or sub-swimlane.

  2. Easily reorder items.

  3. Drag milestones and tasks horizontally to instantly update their dates.

  4. Drag task bars by their corners to change their duration.

  5. Rearrange whole swimlanes or even split them above and below the timeband.

  6. Reorder sub-swimlanes or move them to a new “parent” lane.

  7. Rotate and resize swimlane headers for a better fit.

  8. Drag milestones and tasks from one lane or sub-lane to another or move them outside the lanes, linked directly to the timeband.

  9. Group milestones and tasks on one row or even place milestones on tasks.

  10. Change the position of any text or date.

  11. Resize task bars and text boxes for a better fit.

  12. Quickly reposition the timeline on the slide.

  13. Drag the timeband horizontally to adjust its width.

  14. Add, duplicate, hide or delete items using the simple controls at the top of the Timeline view.

  15. Double-click to edit any text or date.

 

It makes it so easy to update your plan or find the perfect layout!

 

D) Quickly customize your timeline

After you've created your project or program timeline, you can customize every detail on it using the Office Timeline Style Pane on the right side of the screen. Simply select the desired object to open its styling options in the pane.

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  1. You can individually style your swimlanes and sub-swimlanes in multiple ways – e.g. change background colors, add outlines, change text fonts and colors, and add or remove gridlines.

  2. Milestones and tasks are also easy to personalize - quickly change their shapes, colors, sizes and text fonts, or customize connector lines from the Style Pane.

  3. The Style pane also lets you customize the timeband with just a few clicks – change colors and text styles, adjust the timeline scale (from days to weeks, months etc.), or even add multiple timescales. You can display extras such as task duration, elapsed time, "Today" marker or percent complete, or hide dates and other details.

Every item on the timeline can be fully customized from the Style Pane, so you can create a stunning program slide that stakeholders will actually read.

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E) Jumpstart your timelines with templates

Office Timeline Pro+ unlocks professional-looking built-in templates to help you get started fast and save time on customizations.

  1. From the New wizard, scroll to the Swimlane and Timeline Templates and double-click the one you'd like to use to open a preview of it.
    templates-office-timeline-pro-plus.png

  2. From the preview, select Use Template to manually add your data to it, or click Import to bring your plan from Project, Excel or other project management tools straight into the template.
    use-template.png

  3. That’s all! The template will be updated with your data and you'll get an impressive timeline slide in seconds.

 

Quick Tips

  • You can save any timeline as a custom template. This way, you can reuse designs or structures you like for future projects to save time or to standardize styles across presentations.
  • You can instantly change the look of an existing timeline by applying a different template or style to it.

 

The instructions and tips above should get you started quickly with Office Timeline Pro+. However, if you have questions or need assistance with anything, contact us and we'll be happy to help.

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