The Office Timeline Add-in lets you import your project data from Excel into PowerPoint and quickly turn it into a beautiful timeline slide. This will show you exactly how it works. You’ll learn how to:
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A) How to set up your sheet for importing
Before importing your Excel data, we recommend you to first ensure your spreadsheet is set up properly. Below you can see an example of how your data should be organized in Excel to ensure a smooth import process:
Tasks should have a Title, Start date and End date.
Milestones come with a Title and either a Start date or End date.
It’s best to add a Row ID column and fill it out with a unique identifier for each of your tasks and milestones. This will be helpful later, when refreshing your timeline to match any changes in your Excel file
Learn more about using Row IDs in Excel when importing & refreshing.
- Adding a % Complete column in your worksheet 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.
- You can also add a Notes column before importing your sheet. After importing, your Notes will show up in the Edit Data window in Office Timeline, but they won't be visible on the timeline itself to avoid overcrowding.
- If you wish to import Swimlanes from Excel, you’ll need to add an extra column in your spreadsheet (or two, if you’d also like to use Sub-Swimlanes). Find out more about importing Swimlanes and Sub-Swimlanes from Excel here.
B) How to bring your data into Office Timeline
Once your worksheet is all set up, it’s time to load it into the PowerPoint add-in:
Click the Import/Export button on the Office Timeline ribbon in PowerPoint, choose Import, and then select Microsoft Excel from the window that pops up:
Then, browse to your Excel file and upload it in the Import dialog:
Next, if you have multiple worksheets in your Excel file, select the one you wish to use from the drop-down menu in the upper-left corner of the Import window:
Office Timeline will instantly bring in the data from the chosen sheet and try to identify the table header automatically. You can choose a different header if you wish, simply by checking the desired row.
C) Map your data for importing
Mapping your data for importing means instructing Office Timeline exactly which columns you wish to import from your Excel sheet. This is simpler than it sounds – it just means you should pick an Office Timeline header for each column you want to use for generating your timeline.
In the Map columns step, if you’ve set up your spreadsheet as described in chapter (A), Office Timeline should automatically detect and map at least the Title, Start Date and End Date columns detected in your data, the mandatory columns needed to generate your graphic.
We also recommend you to ensure the Row ID is mapped as well (to help you later when refreshing data). Additionally, you can can also map the % Complete, Notes, Swimlane and Sub-Swimlane columns (if available).
Note: In our example above, the headers on the first row are the Office Timeline headers, while the ones on the second row are the corresponding column names we have in our Excel file. The green ones are already mapped, while the grey ones are still unmapped.
If you’d like to use other columns from Excel than the ones mapped by default, you can easily remap the data. Simply click the little dropdown arrow above the column you wish to map and select the desired Office Timeline header for it. For instance, here's what we’d do if we wanted to use a “Start1” column as the Start Date when importing:
To unmap a column that you don’t want to import at all, click the dropdown arrow by its header and select “Unmap”.
D) Select which rows to import
After you finish mapping columns, you'll get to the Select Rows step, where you can double-check your data and choose exactly what tasks and milestones you want to import.
You can use the checkboxes next to each row to select or deselect individual tasks and milestones, or click the box in the top-left corner of the table to simultaneously select/deselect all rows in your current view:
Now, when you have a complex project with over 50 or even 100 rows of data, it can be time-consuming to manually select specific tasks you may want to import. This is why Office Timeline lets you filter your view so you can quickly choose exactly the rows you need.
To do so, simply click the Filter and customize your view exactly how you want it. You can apply up to 3 filters simultaneously, so you can really cherry-pick what to show in the data table.
As a quick example, see below what the filter would look like if, for instance, you wanted to keep only your project’s milestones in view.
After you apply the filter and all tasks are removed from view, you can quickly select or deselect all milestones in one go, just by clicking the checkbox in the top-left corner of the table:
When you’re done selecting the rows to import, click the green Import button, and the add-in will instantly generate your PowerPoint timeline, which you can then edit and style as you wish.
Quick tip: Whenever your Excel data changes, you can easily refresh your timeline to match any updates you’ve made in your source worksheet.
If you encounter any issues or need help importing your Excel data into Office Timeline, don't hesitate to contact us. We'll be happy to help!