With Office Timeline Pro, you can import your Excel data into PowerPoint straight as a Swimlane diagram. This guide will show you how to set up your spreadsheet and turn it into a PowerPoint Swimlane automatically.
Before importing your data, you must first set up your Excel spreadsheet properly so you can bring it into Office Timeline directly as a Swimlane visual. Below you can see an example of how your data should be organized (Download the Excel sample here).
While, for regular Gantt charts and timelines, all you need in Excel are the Title, Start Date and/or End Date for each item, for importing as a Swimlane, you will need to add an extra "Swimlane" column in your spreadsheet.
IMPORTANT: Please make sure to name this column as "Swimlane" so that the add-in can detect and map it automatically when importing your data.
Now, for each of your milestones and tasks, type in the name of the lane you want them to belong to. Items that have the same text in the Swimlane column will be automatically placed in the same lane on import.
If you also want to have some milestones or tasks linked directly to the timeband - not inside a lane - simply leave their Swimlane fields empty.
Once you've set up and saved your spreadsheet, click Import on the Office Timeline ribbon in PowerPoint and follow the simple steps in the Excel Import Wizard.
Note: You can also import your Excel data directly into a Swimlane template. To do so, go to New on the Office Timeline ribbon, select a template, and then click Import.
Office Timeline Pro will automatically turn your data into a PowerPoint Swimlane diagram that you can customize as you please.
Quick Tip: Whenever you edit your plan in Excel, you can click Sync on the Office Timeline ribbon to quickly update your Swimlane slide as well.
See a quick video of the Excel Swimlane import steps here:
When setting up your spreadsheet, remember that Tasks have both a Start Date AND End Date, while Milestones, being a single moment in time, have only a Start OR End Date.
Adding a % Complete column in your spreadsheet is optional. If you do use it, make sure to enter only the numbers in the column, without the "%" symbol. This will ensure the percentage data is imported properly.
Your tasks and milestones in Excel don't necessarily have to be ordered by Swimlane title. You can order them however you wish - when importing the spreadsheet, all items that have the same text in the Swimlane field will be placed in the same lane, while those that have that field empty will be linked directly to the timeband.
The Sync feature mentioned earlier can come in handy if you wish to quickly turn an imported Gantt chart into a Swimlane – just add the Swimlane column in the original spreadsheet linked to your chart and then click Sync on the Office Timeline Ribbon to automatically apply the changes to your slide.