When you import data from Excel into our PowerPoint add-in, the resulting timeline remains linked to the original Excel file used (the source file). This way, you can update your visual effortlessly whenever your Excel data changes, by using Office Timeline’s Refresh Data feature. Here we’ll show you exactly how it works.
You’ll read about:
Read the full guide or use the links above to scroll straight to the chapter you’re interested in.
A) Starting the refresh
To start updating your imported timeline, click the Refresh Data button on the Office Timeline tab in PowerPoint.
The add-in will connect to the source Excel file and open the Refresh Data wizard:
Quick tip: If you wish to use another Excel file other than the one already linked to your timeline, click on “Change file” next to your file’s name in the header of the Refresh window.
B) Filtering your view in the Refresh Data list
By default, in the Refresh window, you will see a list of all the data that’s different in the Excel sheet compared to your current timeline, as well as a Status for each item, so you can get a clear overview of the updates.
If you’d like to customize what you see in the data list, there are 2 ways you can filter your view:
You can use the Status filters to show or hide from view all items with a specific status. Simply click the arrow on the “Status” column header and check or uncheck whatever you wish from the dropdown menu.
You can also create custom filters to refine your view even further. To do so, click on the Filter button located on the top-right of the data list, and then add your desired conditions in the window that pops up.
Note that both types of filters (Status and Custom) will affect only your current view – they’ll have no impact on the final timeline. Only the rows you select (or deselect) from the data list will actually impact the visual.
C) Selecting the items to refresh and what happens to them depending on status
You can easily select the updates to make to your timeline by checking the boxes in the leftmost column of your data table:
To move even faster, you can use the checkboxes above the data list to select or deselect whole groups of items depending on their status.
Speaking of statuses, let’s see what each of them means and what happens to the different types of rows when refreshing data:
Overview of statuses
One or more of an item’s values (title, start date, end date etc.) differ in Excel compared to your current timeline. We’ll show you both the timeline version and the Excel version of said item (task/milestone), with the differences highlighted, so you can easily decide which version to keep.
- Select a Changed item to bring its Excel version into your timeline when refreshing.
- Deselect it to keep the values you currently have on your timeline.
The task/milestone exists on your current timeline but was deleted from the Excel file.
- Select a Deleted item to remove it from your timeline.
- Deselect it to ignore the deletion and keep the task/milestone on your timeline.
The item didn’t exist in Excel the last time you imported the file (or the last time you refreshed your timeline).
- Select a New task or milestone to add it to your timeline.
- Deselect it to ignore it when refreshing.
The item is already on your timeline and hasn’t suffered any changes since you last imported it.
- Select an Imported item to keep it on the timeline.
- Deselect it to remove it.
The item existed in the Excel file the last time you imported it or refreshed the data, but you didn’t bring it into the timeline.
- Select a Not Imported item to add it to the timeline.
- Deselect it to ignore it when refreshing.
The item is not importable (e.g. the title may be missing, the start & end dates may be invalid, or the Row ID cell may be empty or duplicated). To “fix” invalid items, go back to your Excel sheet and double-check the data on the corresponding row.
Once you’re done choosing the items to refresh, click the green Finish button in the bottom right corner, and that’s it - your timeline will instantly be updated.
- Using Row IDs in your Excel file when first importing the data helps us refresh your timeline more accurately.
- You can use the Data refresh settings menu in the upper-right corner to choose whether you want to import 1-day tasks as milestones or to ignore title changes when refreshing.
- Refreshing data goes one way only. It will update your PowerPoint slide to match the changes in your Excel file. Office Timeline will not impact or change your spreadsheet in any way.