Office Timeline Online can import your Microsoft Project plan into PowerPoint directly as a Swimlane diagram, without you having to manually group tasks into lanes on your timeline. 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 exactly how to set up your Project plan so you can instantly turn it into a Swimlane or Roadmap slide.
For a standard Gantt chart import, Office Timeline Online needs to pull from Project only your basic task and milestone data (e.g. Name, Start and Finish). To import your plan as a Swimlane, you'll need to add an extra "Swimlane" column in Microsoft Project (simply insert a text column without any special settings and name it "Swimlane").
NOTE: Make sure to label this column as "Swimlane" so that the web tool can map it automatically when importing your data.
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.
If you want to keep some tasks or milestones linked straight to your timeline's timescale – not inside a specific lane – simply leave their Swimlane fields empty.
After you've set up and saved your .mpp file, open Office Timeline Online, click Import data on the New tab, and then follow the simple Project Import steps.
Note: You can even import your MS Project data directly into a Swimlane template. To do so, open the templates gallery in Office Timeline Online, choose a Swimlane template you like, and then select Import.
Office Timeline will automatically turn your MS Project data into a Swimlane visual that you can then customize and manage effortlessly.
Quick tip: Whenever your plan in MS Project changes, you can click Refresh data either from the Timeline view or the Data view to quickly update your Swimlane slide as well.
If you want to import milestones from Project, remember to set their duration to 0 days or ensure they are specifically marked as Milestones in your .mpp file – otherwise, Office Timeline Online will import them as tasks by default.
- The items in your Project file don't have to be ordered 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 linked directly to the timescale.