Office Timeline Online lets you import your MS Project data and instantly turn it into a beautiful, easy-to understand visual that you can customize and update with just a few clicks. Here we'll show you exactly how it works. You'll find out:
Read the whole guide to learn the ins and outs of importing from Microsoft Project, or use the links above to go straight to the chapter you're interested in.
A) Bring your Project data into Office Timeline Online
For a successful import, Office Timeline Online needs from your Project file your tasks' Titles (Names), Start Dates, and End Dates (& Complete and Notes are also importable, but they are optional). Below you can see a plan sample in Microsoft Project, which we will use to demonstrate how importing works.
Note: To properly identify your milestones both in Project and in Office Timeline Online, make sure that they are set to have a duration of 0 days or that they are specifically marked as Milestones in your .mpp file.
If you want to instantly turn your Project data into a Swimlane slide, you will need to add an extra "Swimlane" column in your Project file, where you’ll add the name of the lane each task or milestone should belong to. Learn more about importing Swimlanes from Project here.
Once you have your plan all set up in Microsoft Project, it's time to upload it into the online timeline maker:
From the New tab in Office Timeline online, click on Import data and then choose Import from Project from the window that pops up.
Then, browse to your .mpp file or just drag it into the web tool to go to the next step.
B) Map your data for importing
After loading your .mpp file, Office Timeline should automatically map the Title, Start Date and End Date columns detected in your data, the mandatory columns we need to generate your timeline. Optionally, you can also map the % Complete, Notes and Swimlane columns (if available).
If you want to import other columns from Project than the ones mapped by default, you can easily remap your data. Just click the little dropdown arrow above the column you wish to map and select the desired Office Timeline header for it. For example, here's what we’d do if we wanted to use the “Start1” column as the Start Date when importing:
Quick tip: To unmap a column you don’t want to import, click the little dropdown arrow in its corresponding header and select “Unmap”:
C) Filter your view and select which rows to import
After you finish mapping columns, you'll get to the Select Rows step, where you'll see all importable rows from your original file. Here you can double-check your data and choose which tasks and milestones you want to import.
Note: Free users can import up 10 tasks and milestones per timeline, while premium users can bring in up to 150 rows of data from their chosen source.
You can 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 all rows in your current view:
If you have a complex plan in Microsoft Project, we'd recommend importing only the most important 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 deselect a whole group by unchecking the summary task. If you wish to uncheck just the summary task but keep its subtasks, hold control while clicking its checkbox.
Now, when you have a large project with over 50 or even 100 rows of data, it can be frustrating to manually tick each box to select the specific tasks you want to import. That's why Office Timeline Online lets you filter your view so you can quickly choose your data. 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 chose “Level 1” because we wanted to see only the high-level summary tasks:
Then we can just tick the checkbox in the top-left corner of the table to select all (and only) the summary tasks that we kept in view.
Use the Filter in the top right corner to customize your view exactly how you want it. You can apply up to 3 filters at once, 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 in view only your project’s milestones. Once the filter is applied, you'll be able to select or deselect all milestones at the click of a button.
When you’re happy with your data, click the green Import button, and Office Timeline online will instantly generate your timeline, which you can then edit and style as you wish.
Quick tip: Whenever your MS Project data changes, you can easily refresh your timeline data to match the changes in your source file. Just follow these simple steps.
Contact us if you encounter any issues or need assistance importing your Project data into Office Timeline Online. We'll be happy to help!