Office Timeline Pro and Pro+ can import your Smartsheet plan into PowerPoint and automatically turn it into a beautiful Swimlane slide. In addition, the Pro+ add-in also lets you import Sub-swimlanes (or nested lanes), which will enable you to show multiple programs and projects on your on your timeline. This guide will show you:
Read the full guide or, if you have Office Timeline Pro+ and are already familiar with importing Swimlanes, click on chapter II above to jump straight to the sub-lanes guide.
Before getting started, if you need a quick reminder of our terminology, take a look at some key timeline elements that we’ll be mentioning here:
I) How to import Swimlanes from Smartsheet
To import Swimlanes from Smartsheet, you'll first need to tweak your sheet a little, like we did in our sample below.
For classic Gantt charts and timelines, all Office Timeline needs from Smartsheet are the Task Name, Duration, Start and Finish columns. To import your project as a Swimlane, add an extra column in your sheet and name it – you guessed it – "Swimlane". It should be just a simple Text/Number column.
Now enter the name of the Swimlanes you want your tasks or milestones to be placed in when importing the data. Items that have the same Swimlane name will be added to the same lane on the visual.
Note: You can also make a mix between a Swimlane and a classic timeline. To keep items linked directly to the timeband like on a regular timeline or Gantt chart, just leave their corresponding Swimlane fields empty in your sheet.
Once done, click Import on the Office Timeline ribbon in PowerPoint and connect to Smartsheet to bring in your data.
Quick tip: You can even import your Smartsheet project directly into a Swimlane template. To do so, go to New on the Office Timeline ribbon, choose a design you like, and then select Import.
After you follow the simple steps in the Smartsheet Import Wizard, you'll get a presentation-ready Swimlane slide that you can easily style further or update as you please.
If you want to import milestones from Smartsheet, remember to make sure their duration is set to 0 days; otherwise, Office Timeline will import them as tasks by default.
You can also choose to import 1-day (or less) tasks as milestones. Click Settings on the Office Timeline Ribbon and then go the Import tab to activate this option.
II) How to import Sub-swimlanes from Smartsheet (Pro+ Edition feature)
Once you’re familiar with importing your Smartsheet plan as a Swimlane slide, creating Sub-swimlanes from your online sheet is easy since the process is quite similar. Below you can see an example of how to set up your Smartsheet plan to import it into nested Swimlanes:
Once you have a “Swimlane” column filled out in your Smartsheet plan, add another one called “Sub-swimlane” next to it. You will use this new column to define the sub-lanes.
Note: Naming this new column “Sub-swimlane” will help Office Timeline detect and map it automatically when loading your Smartsheet data into Microsoft PowerPoint.
In this new column, type in the name of the sub-swimlane you’d like each of your tasks and/or milestones to belong to. Items that belong to the same Swimlane (“parent” lane) and have identical Sub-swimlane names will be grouped in the same “child” lane when importing.
If you wish to keep some “standard” Swimlanes – without any nested lanes, simply leave the corresponding Sub-swimlane fields empty:
Note: Inside the same Swimlane, either all tasks can be grouped in sub-lanes or none at all. When importing, if some of the items inside a Swimlane don’t belong to any sub-lane (while others do), we will automatically group them for you into a generic sub-swimlane.
Once you’re done setting up your Smartsheet plan for nested Swimlanes, follow the usual Smartsheet import steps.
Office Timeline Pro+ will automatically transform your Smartsheet data into a visual PowerPoint slide with Swimlanes and Sub-swimlanes, which you can edit and style as needed.
- You can import sub-swimlanes from Smartsheet directly into an Office Timeline template. This will help you save time customizing your slide.