Quick Start to Office Timeline Expert

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Overview

Welcome and thank you for choosing Office Timeline Expert. We’re glad you’re here! Office Timeline Expert is a powerful PowerPoint add-in that helps you easily make and manage consistent, on-brand project visuals. This guide provides instructions and tips to get you started quickly.

A) Start a new timeline
B) Add or edit data
C) Rearrange or update anything by drag & drop 
D) Customize every detail on your timeline
E) Standardize project visuals with themes
F) Jumpstart your timelines with templates

Read the full guide to learn how to get the most out of Office Timeline Expert 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

office-timeline-expert-ribbon.png

Office Timeline Expert gives you 3 simple ways to start a new timeline:

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

  2. Use theme or a template: Again from New, select one of the built-in themes and 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 Jira, 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. From Jira, you can even import multiple projects or boards at a time and unify them on a single roadmap.

For the purpose of this guide, we will create a new timeline using one of our favorite Office Timeline themes.

new-timeline-from-theme-office-timeline-expert.png

B) Add or edit data

After you choose a theme from the New wizard and click Create Timeline, you’ll be directed to the Data view, which allows you to add and edit tasks, milestones, swimlanes and sub-swimlanes.

  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.
    add-and-edit-data-office-timeline-expert.png
    Note: As you add your data, you’ll see a real-time preview of your timeline in the bottom-right corner. All items added will be styled by default based on the chosen theme, but you can customize them individually as you please.

  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-office-timeline-expert.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-office-timeline-expert.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. drag-and-drop-items-data-view-office-timeline-expert.png

Quick Tips:

  • Office Timeline lets you make timelines scaled down to hours or minutes. To enter Start and End times to your tasks and milestones, simply add the Hours and minutes column to your data table..
    add-hours-and-minutes-data-view.png

  • You can also add a Predecessors column to your data table, if you want to show dependencies on your timeline.
    add-predecessors-column-data-view-dependencies.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.

  • After generating your timeline, you can access the Data View at any time to easily make changes to your data. To do so, simply click the Edit Data button on the Office Timeline ribbon in PowerPoint..

 

C) Rearrange or update anything by Drag & Drop

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

Note: You can access the Timeline view any time you want to update a visual 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.

drag-and-drop-anything-timeline-view.gif

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

  1. Easily reorder items or move them from one lane to another.

  2. Drag items horizontally to instantly update their dates.

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

  4. Enable dependencies and create dependency links.
  5. Rearrange whole swimlanes or even split them above and below the timescale.

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

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

  8. Change the position of any text or date.

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

  10. Quickly reposition the timeline on the slide.

  11. Drag the timescale horizontally to adjust its width.

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

  13. 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 every detail on your timeline

After you've created your timeline slide, you can customize every detail individually 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.

customize-everything-style-pane.png

  1. You can 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 timescale 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.

You can fully customize any item on your timeline using the Style Pane, enabling you to tweak even the smallest details to your liking.  If you want to completely change the look of your visual quickly, you can simply apply a different theme to it.

 

E) Standardize project visuals with themes

Office Timeline comes with a collection of beautiful themes that you can apply to your visuals to change their look effortlessly and ensure a uniform style in your project communications. Simply pick any theme you like from the Themes window, click Apply, and the add-in will instantly transform your timeline.

timeline-themes-office-timeline-expert.png

Advanced tip: With Expert Edition, you can even create your own custom brand themes and share them with your colleagues at the click of a button. This will help the whole team make compelling timelines effortlessly while maintaining brand consistency.

 

F) Jumpstart your timelines with templates

Office Timeline also comes with professional-looking built-in templates to help you get started fast and save time on setting up your general layout. With templates, you can quickly make Gantt charts or roadmaps with swimlanes and sub-swimlanes.

  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 Create Timeline 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.
    create-timeline-from-template.png

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

 

Advanced Tip: With Expert Edition, you can save any timeline as a custom template to reuse for future work. Every person on your team can work from the same reusable designs, so they can focus on the data rather than fiddle with the layout, significantly reducing setup time.

 

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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