The Office Timeline PowerPoint add-in can import your project plan from Smartsheet and instantly turn it into an easy-to understand PowerPoint timeline that you can style and update effortlessly. Here we'll show you exactly how it works. You'll find out:
Read the full guide to learn to learn all the basics, or use the links above to scroll straight to the chapter you’re interested in.
A) How to bring your Smartsheet data into the Office Timeline Add-in
For a successful Smartsheet import, Office Timeline needs to draw from your sheet your tasks' Names and Start & Finish dates (% Complete and Comments are also importable, but they are optional). Below you can see a sample plan in Smartsheet, which we’ll use to show you how importing works.
If you want to import Swimlanes from Smartsheet, you’ll need to add an extra column in your sheet (or two, if you’d also like to use Sub-Swimlanes). Learn more about importing Swimlanes and Sub-Swimlanes from Smartsheet here.
Once you have your plan all set up in Smartsheet, it's time to import it into Office Timeline:
Click the Import/Export button on the Office Timeline ribbon in PowerPoint, select Import, and choose Smartsheet from the window that pops up.
Log in to your Smartsheet account and then select the sheet you’d like to import.
Note: The Office Timeline add-in can import Projects, Task Lists, Grids, Cards (as long as they contain Start/Finish dates and Name), Forms and Reports (except Summary Reports) from your Smartsheet account.
Click the green Next button to move to the next step: mapping columns.
B) How to map your data for importing
After loading your Smartsheet data, the add-in should automatically map the Title, Start Date and End Date columns detected in your sheet, the mandatory columns needed to generate your timeline. Additionally, you can also map the % Complete, Notes, Swimlane & Sub-Swimlane columns (if available).
Note: In the screenshot above, the headers on the first row are the Office Timeline headers, while the ones on the second row are the corresponding column names from Smartsheet.
If you need other columns from Smartsheet than the ones mapped by default, you can easily remap the data. Just click the dropdown arrow above the column you want to map and select the corresponding Office Timeline header for it:
Quick tip: TIf there’s any mapped column that you don’t want to import, click the dropdown arrow by its header and select Unmap to ignore it:
C) Select which rows to import
When done mapping columns, you'll get to the Select Rows step, where you can double-check your data and choose the specific tasks and milestones you want to import from Smartsheet.
Use the checkboxes next to each row to select or deselect specific tasks and milestones, or click the box in the top-left corner of the table to select/deselect all visible rows:
If you have a lot of data in your Smartsheet file, we'd recommend importing only the key tasks and milestones (or the summary tasks) to ensure you get a clean timeline that's easy to follow.
For plans that contain summary tasks with subtasks, you can quickly select the whole group by checking the summary task. To select just the summary task and not its subtasks, hold Ctrl while clicking the checkbox.
Now, when you have a large project with over 50 or even 100 rows of data, manually ticking each box to pick the tasks you want to import might get quite frustrating. That’s why Office Timeline lets you filter your view so you can quickly choose exactly the rows you need. There are two major ways you can do this:
Use the View menu above the table to choose the hierarchy level you want to keep in view. In our example below, we selected “Level 1” to see just the summary tasks:
Then we can just tick the checkbox in the upper-left corner of the table to select or deselect all (and only) the summary tasks..
Use the Filter in the top-right corner to customize your view based on your preferred criteria. You can apply up to 3 filters simultaneously, which means can truly cherry-pick what to see in the data table.
For instance, see below what the filter would look like if, you wanted to keep in view only project milestones planned after a specific date. After you apply the filter, you can then select or deselect all said milestones with one click.
When happy with the data selected for importing, 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 Smartsheet data changes, click Refresh in PowerPoint to effortlessly update your timeline slide too. Just follow these simple steps for refreshing Smartsheet imports.
If you run into any issues or need help importing from Smartsheet into Office Timeline, don't hesitate to contact us. We'll be happy to assist!