How to import MS Project data as a Swimlane



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Office Timeline Pro lets you import your MS Project plan into PowerPoint directly as a Swimlane diagram, without you having to manually group tasks into lanes on your slide. To do this, you'll first need to make some adjustments to your data in Microsoft Project, similar to what we did in the screenshot below.


Read on to find out how to set up your Project plan so you can instantly turn it into a PowerPoint Swimlane or Roadmap.



  1. For a standard Gantt chart import, Office Timeline needs to pull from Project only your basic task and milestone data (e.g. Name, Duration, Start and Finish). To import your plan as a Swimlane, you'll need to add an extra "Swimlane" column in MS Project (simply insert a text column without any special settings and type "Swimlane" directly in the Header name).


    IMPORTANT: Please make sure to label this column as "Swimlane" so the add-in can map it properly when importing your data. 

  2. In the new "Swimlane" column, type in the name of the lane you want each task or milestone to belong to. Items that have the same Swimlane name will be automatically grouped into the same lane when they're imported.


  3. If you want to keep some tasks or milestones linked straight to the graphic's timeband – not inside a specific lane – simply leave their Swimlane fields empty.swimlane-fields-empty-for-timeband-items-ms-project.png

  4. After you've set up and saved your .mpp file, open PowerPoint, click Import on the Office Timeline tab, and then follow the simple Project Import steps.import-from-ms-project-into-office-timeline-powerpoint.png
    Note: You can even import your MS Project data directly into a Swimlane template. To do so, go to New on the Office Timeline ribbon, choose a template you like, and then select Import.

  5. Office Timeline Pro will automatically turn your MS Project data into a Swimlane slide that you can customize and manage

    Quick tip: Whenever your plan in MS Project changes, you can click Sync on the Office Timeline ribbon to quickly update your Swimlane slide as well.





  • If you want to import milestones from Project, remember to make sure their duration is set to 0 days or that they are specifically marked as Milestones – otherwise, Office Timeline will import them as tasks by default.

  • The records in your Project file don't have to be arranged by Swimlane name. You can order them in any other way - when importing the .mpp file, all tasks and milestones with the same Swimlane name will be placed in the same lane, while those that have the field empty will be placed directly on the timeband. 



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