Project Reporting Dashboards

How to create visual project dashboards and executive dashboards.

Customers and Executives love to see project reviews presented on a PowerPoint slide in a dashboard format.   This article and video discusses how to quickly build a PowerPoint project dashboard around your project timeline as shown below.

xecutive dashboard, how to make Project dashboard in Excel,Why PowerPoint?

Executives and customers are most familiar with project reviews presented in PowerPoint.  They are experienced in reading these presentations, and know PowerPoint will force presenters into condensing their content into the most relevant information.  So they get a high-level summary of the business which enables them to make decisions quickly.

Why a dashboard?

Since executive level presentations do not require deeply detailed project reports, they should be no more than 2-3 slides per project. Using a project dashboard is the most effective way to summarize project status at a high level to audiences such as project stakeholders, sponsors, clients and management.  Typically project dashboards are made up of metrics and commentary on various thigns like budget, accomplishments, risks and future actions, and all of these are anchored around a clear, up-to-date project timeline.

How to make a dashboard timeline easily in PowerPoint

Creating fresh and appealing visual project status reports or project presentations in PowerPoint is a time consuming effort for any project manager. Additionally, these presentations often need to be re-created, updated or edited on a weekly, or monthly rhythm, so finding tools that can quickly and easily create and manage this work saves time.

Office Timeline is a free timeline maker that creates and manages PowerPoint timelines for executive and customer project status presentations. These timelines are created natively in PowerPoint so they can easily integrated with a project status slide or pasted on an existing project dashboard template.

The video below demonstrates how to quickly build the timeline and dashboard slide in the image above with Office Timeline.  It also demonstrates how to update your project timeline dashboard instantly and automatically with new information as your project progresses, making preparation for reoccurring project reviews and executive presentations fast.

www.officetimeline.com

Build Gantt Charts with Excel

Project plans, reviews, and proposals often need to be presented to team, clients and executives.  Gantt charts and timelines are the proper way to communicate to these audiences.  Clients and executives, in particular, expect these Gantt charts and timelines to be graphical, visually appealing and easy to understand.  However, creating a Gantt chart in Excel or timeline in Excel has been challenging and time consuming.

This post and video will show you how to quickly turn timeline Excel data or Gantt chart Excel data into a professional looking chart, like the one below, with the Office Timeline PowerPoint add-in.Turn a timeline in Excel or Gantt chart Excel into a PowerPoint slide

Using existing tools to create professional looking Gantt chart and timeline presentations has not been easy.  Project tools, like Microsoft Project, are intended for large scale project management.  They are complicated to learn and they produce overly complex Gantt charts and timelines which are not suited for high level customer and management presentations.

Unlike heavy-weight project tools, visual tools like Visio are better at creating graphical images like Gantt charts and timelines.  However, they are painful to use and lack “smarts” which automatically adjust images when projects need updating.

Excel is often the place that project plans and schedules are created.  Most professionals and project workers find it easy to do this.  Once they have their project planned or tracked, they then need to quickly turn that Excel data into a graphical chart that can presented as a project status report, proposal summary or action plan.  This work is automated by the light-weight timeline maker from Office Timeline.

Office Timeline will immediately turn a Gantt chart in Excel or a timeline in Excel into a professional looking PowerPoint slide that is easy to share and present.  It automatically manages updates, so if plans or project schedules change you can quickly update your Gantt chart or timeline without having to make major edits.

How to quickly build a Gantt chart or Timeline with Excel

Once you have your timeline in Excel or Gantt chart in Excel simply cut and paste it’s data into the Office Timeline PowerPoint add-in.  This video shows how to do that.

Since PowerPoint has size limitations Office Timeline also provides the ability to customize spacing and sizing to maximize the space of your slide.  This is useful for a timeline in Excel or Gantt chart in excel that has a long list of action items (tasks).  The video below shows how you can optimize your project slide if you need to present more.

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Make a “Diagramme de Gantt” in PowerPoint

Clearly communicating your project timeline to international teams, managers and partners is critical when working across cultures.  Doing so requires project presentation tools that are flexible enough to accommodate the local language of your audience.  In the example below we created a Diagramme de Gantt (we just like to say that word) and selected French as the local language setting in Office Timeline.  For enterprises engaged in cross-border collaboration or cross-border selling, adjusting to the native language will create a good first impression.  This rule is important for any Gantt chart timeline presentation.   The steps below explain how you can quickly make a Diagramme de Gantt in PowerPoint using the light-weight add-in for PowerPoint – Office Timeline 2013.

Office Timeline 2013 provides two easy ways to localize the language of your Diagramme de Gantt or any other timeline presentation.

Step 1: First, choose the native language for timeband itself, while you are in the Wizard. This is easy to do and makes a terrific first impression.  Simply set the Timeband Language from the Language drop-down menu on the Scale tab of the Office Timeline Wizard.

Step 2: Next, adjust the date format from US to International.  This is done from the Office Timeline ribbon in PowerPoint by using either the Task or Milestone date format.

Using these two simple steps to localize your Diagramme de Gantt will distinguish you and your work among your cross border clients, colleagues and managers. A Gantt chart template will help speed the process as you develop the Ganttproject presentation.

Office Timeline 2013.  Outstanding. Simple. Professional.

How to make a timeline easily

Timeline makers are powerful visual tools for presenting project or planning information clearly.  This post will show you how to easily make a timeline slide for client or management presentations, with a simple template driven timeline maker that plugs into PowerPoint. 

In the past it has been difficult to create a timeline that is graphically appealing or to make a timeline that is appropriate for presentations to staff, clients or managers.  Free timeline makers, also called timeline creators or timeline generators, are a category of software tools that make this task much easier. This post shows how to make a timeline easily with a free timeline creator that builds professional timelines quickly, right inside PowerPoint.    Timeline template made with timeline generator Office Timeline

Office tools do not manage timeline data or automate timelines.

To create a timeline with Visio or make a timeline with Excel is painful because neither are automated for this work like a timeline creator is.   A timeline creator or timeline generator is specifically set-up to create graphical images and to manage project schedules.  (project schedules are the dates and events that make up your project).  A timeline creator or timeline generator simplifies how this project schedule is used to make a timeline and how to update it easily.

The ability to continually make changes is important because project schedules frequently change.  For example if any of your milestones slip the timeline creator would automatically update the entire timeline.   Without the automation of a timeline creator, making even simple changes like this would require painful manual editing of the graphics for each Excel data point or Visio object.Project Schedule for timeline creator

Project tools are too complicated for presentations to clients and managers.

Heavy-weight project tools such as Microsoft Project, like a timeline creator, are also equipped to make a timeline or Gantt chart.  Although these tools are automated to manage project schedules elegantly, they are complicated to learn and too heavy for high-level presentations.  Since project software is not designed to be graphical, it is difficult to make timeline presentations that are suitable for reviews with staff, customers and executives.  These audiences expect a PowerPoint presentation.

Office Timeline is a free timeline creator that solves these problems.

The best solution for project presentations is a light-weight timeline generator that integrates into a familiar presentation tool like PowerPoint.  It should create a timeline template or Gantt chart natively in PowerPoint so it can be updated, shared and modified simply by any PowerPoint user.  The post below shows how to easily build a timeline, right from PowerPoint, with a free timeline creator called Office Timeline.

Follow these steps to make a timeline quickly. 

Download and install Office Timeline.  Once installed it will add an Office Timeline tab to your PowerPoint ribbon.

Step 1: From the ribbon click New to launch the timeline creator wizard which will guide you through easy set-up and design steps.Timeline creator ribbon in PowerPoint

Step 2: Browse through styles of timelines, Gantt charts and templates.   Select the style you would like to build, then click the Next arrow to style your timeline.Make a timeline in PowerPoint

Step 3:  Enter the key project milestones and tasks and set their dates or durations (in the Office Timeline Plus edition you can paste schedules directly from Excel).  Make some optional style choices such as changing the color or shape for each item.  When you have finished click the Next arrow to create a timeline.Timeline creator milestone wizardTimeline generator task wizard

Step 4: Choose how you want milestones, tasks, timeband, and scaling to be presented.Make a timeline in PowerPoint _Style WizardMake a timeline in PowerPoint _Scale Wizard

Step 5: Done, just click the green Check in the timeline creator to make a timeline slide that looks like this.Make a timeline template in PowerPoint with add-in from Office Timeline

You now have a professional looking timeline slide that will stand out in high-level presentations. At any time, you can make changes to the slide by simply clicking on the Milestone, Task or Style buttons on the timeline generator ribbon. This will re-access the wizards so you can quickly update your timeline, and easily change any of the design choices you made. Office Timeline will instantly rebuild your slide with those changes.

See a this short video of how it works.

Quickly make a Pharmaceutical timeline slide in PowerPoint

In pharmaceutical and in clinical trials, making and presenting professional, high-level pharmaceutical timelines to big pharma management or pharmaceutical agencies is essential.  The pharmaceutical industry needs and depends on clear project timelines and Gantt charts that can be easily presented in PowerPoint so manufacturing plans and decisions can be made efficiently and effectively. The post below shows how to easily build and update a clinical trial timeline or pharmaceutical project timeline slide, right from PowerPoint, with a free PowerPoint add-in.
Pharmaceutical timeline or clinical trial timeline

Creating a pharmaceutical timeline or clinical trial timeline slide has been painful.

Creating a pharmaceutical timeline slide or gantt chart slide with the project software used in pharmaceutical manufacturing has been difficult. Heavyweight project applications do not have simple tools to create high-level project reviews needed for important presentations. They produce overly complex Gantt charts and timelines which are not suitable for clinical trial presentations or pharmaceutical manufacturing project reviews to management and agency executives.

On the other hand, tools like Microsoft Visio and Excel are time consuming because they are not automated for making the type of professional looking pharmaceutical timeline or clinical trial timeline that management expects to see.   This is further complicated as a clinical trial timeline or pharmaceutical timeline frequently needs updating when schedules change, requiring a complete rebuild of the timeline.

Finally, stand-alone timeline maker or timeline generator solutions are not integrated into Microsoft PowerPoint, making them difficult to share and present, and also inflexible when multiple team members need to collaborate on a timeline.

Office Timeline is a lightweight PowerPoint add-in that solves these problems.

Office Timeline makes it easy to create clinical trial timeline or pharmaceutical timeline slides, suitable for high-level presentations, proposals and project reviews.  It was created to make it very simple to design, build and update professional looking pharmaceutical timeline slides for reviews to executives and management.  Since it is a lightweight PowerPoint add-in, it can build clinical trial timeline slides natively in PowerPoint which means they are easy to edit, communicate and share with other project stakeholders.

See how it easily makes Pharmaceutical Timeline and Clinical Trial timeline slides

Here is a quick look at how it works. Download and install Office Timeline from here.  Once installed it will add an Office Timeline tab to your PowerPoint ribbon (see image below). Click New to launch the Office Timeline wizard which will guide you through a couple easy set-up and design steps.Timeline maker add-in for PowerPoint 1. Select the type of gantt chart or timeline slide you want to build from several style types offered, then click the Next arrow to enter your pharmaceutical or clinical trial project schedule and to begin customize it.Timeline maker add-in for PowerPoint New Wizard

2. Enter the key project milestones and tasks of your Pharmaceutical Timeline and set their dates or durations (in the Office Timeline Plus edition you can paste schedules directly from excel).  Make some optional style choices such as changing the color or shape for each item.  When you have finished click the Next arrow to choose customizations for your Pharmaceutical manufacturing slide.Timeline maker Milestone Wizard in PowerPoint

Timeline Maker Task Wizard in PowerPoint

3. Make stylistic and design choices for how you want Milestones, Tasks, Timeband, and Scaling to show on a Pharmaceutical timeline or Clinical Trial timeline, then click the green Check to build your slide.Timeline Maker Style Wizard in PowerPoint

You are done and now have a professional looking pharmaceutical manufacturing timeline or clinical trial timeline slide that will stand out in high-level presentations. At any time, you can make changes to the slide by simply clicking on the Milestone, Task or Style buttons on the ribbon. This will re-access the wizards so you can quickly update your pharmaceutical project or clinical trial data, and easily change any of the design choices you made. Office Timeline will instantly rebuild your slide with those changes.Pharmaceutical timeline or clinical trial timeline

How to make an event plan in PowerPoint.

If you have ever organized an event or had to make an event proposal you know it is important to build the event plan in Excel, so you can manage all the details.  However, when it comes time to view or present your event plan or event proposal Excel is not suitable because it lacks the ability to make a graphical timeline.  PowerPoint is a more suitable tool for building graphical timelines of your event plan, however doing so has been time-consuming and slow.  That’s changed with the free Office Timeline plug-in for PowerPoint.

Office Timeline is a free plug-in for Microsoft PowerPoint 2007, 2010, and 2013 that quickly makes your event timelines.  Using it to create, manage and present an event plan or event proposal is intuitive and simple.  It starts with a simple wizard for entering the key tasks and milestones of your event plan or you can paste those directly from Excel (requires Plus edition). Then with a mouse click your plan is turned into a beautifully laid out PowerPoint timeline slide.  Once created, it is easy to edit and share the slide so planners can keep their team and vendors updated on progress and changes.

Here’s how to make an event plan or event proposal in PowerPoint.  First download and install free Office Timeline from http://officetimeline.com.  Once installed it will add a tab to your PowerPoint ribbon for creating and editing timelines. To create a new event plan slide, follow the 4 steps below.

1 – Click New to launch the Office Timeline wizards which will guide you through a couple easy set-up and design steps.

2 – Select the type of event timeline you want from pre-designed templates, then click the Next arrow to begin entering your event plan.

3 – Add the key milestones of your event plan or event proposal, choose the color and style for each milestone marker and then hit the Next arrow.Evetn Plan Milestones

4 – Add the key tasks of your event plan or event proposal, choose the color and shape you would like for each of your task bands.Event Plan Tasks

Finished.  Click the green Check Box and Office Timeline will build your event plan or event proposal as a timeline on a PowerPoint slide which you easily update, change and share with others.Event Plan

 

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How to reposition Task Dates for a cleaner slide

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You have a lot to say when presenting your project timeline. The adage of too much information rings true as your slide is populated with titles and dates. (To change the timescale of your project’s timeband, see this blog on timeband scales.)

Follow these few steps to improve the clarity of the information on the slide.

1.Prepare your milestone and task data to create a project timeline that looks something like this for example.

2.Next, select Date Format on the Office Timeline ribbon to choose a more compact date style for your tasks (and milestones).

3.Finish adding clarity to the presentation slide by using the Task tools to split the dates and position the text above or below the task arrows.

 

Are you running the latest version? Check our Release Update site here .

Make a graphical itinerary template for travel documents

Whenever I meet folks in business segments I am unfamiliar with, I try to learn about their work and whether there are places our timeline maker could add value.  This was the case with a travel agent who was in business of putting high-end tours together.  I asked if she used some type of itinerary planner or itinerary template with her clients, and if I could see the travel itinerary for one of her tours.

It was a nicely assembled document with a lot of pretty pictures and blurbs about fantastic destinations.  Cleary a lot of work goes into preparing something that looked good, however I noticed it lacked a high level overview of the trip.  I thought about capturing her itinerary as a timeline and mentioned that Office Timeline could do that for her.  Specifically it would provide an itinerary planner an easy tool to make a graphical itinerary template for their client’s travel documents.

Itinerary planner

Office Timeline is a timeline maker that is embedded into PowerPoint, so using it to create, manage and present itinerary templates is intuitive and quick.  It starts with a simple wizard for entering travel dates and destinations or importing those events directly from Excel. Then with a push of a button this itinerary is turned into a graphical image which can be pasted into other documents  (see blog post pasting your timeline image into other documents).

Itinerary template

Although my friend did not use PowerPoint much I suggested it would be valuable in making itinerary templates that could be re-used.  She graciously volunteered to Office Timeline and give me feedback.

When we reconnected, I learned she did end up using it to make visual itineraries which she pasted as images into her customer’s travel documents.  Now here is the interesting thing I did not anticipate, she also found several other clever uses for Office Timeline.

She had this notion was that visual images of travel itineraries would be very easy to reference in the future.  Her idea was a portfolio of itinerary templates that would become a knowledge base of her work…very cool.

What excited her most was that it was simple to do and that accessing them graphically was considerably better than sorting through Word or Excel documents (see blog post on pasting itineraries from Excel into Office Timeline).  The other benefit of these itinerary templates was in selling and presenting new proposals.  She thought that presenting her work as visual images would be more engaging for her prospective clients.

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Easily share and collaborate with your project team

Office Timeline produces timelines as native PowerPoint objects, which means you can easily share them and collaborate on a timeline with your project team just as you would any other PowerPoint slide.

If you would like your project team to edit a timeline, add data, enhance it’s style or design new elements they can easily open it with Office Timeline Free Edition an begin collaborating right away.

  1.  Your colleagues, managers or customers can download the free edition of Office Timeline.  Notify them with this Share Office Timeline service.
  2. Quickly share your timeline slide with your project team using the Email button on the Office Timeline ribbon and selecting Email PowerPoint slide as Attachment.Project Team

If your project team is using Excel or MS Project to track and manage project schedules, see this blog tip on how you can easily import data from Excel:  Importing Data

Are you running the latest version?  Check our Release Update site here.

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Pasting your timeline image into other documents

Get a Free license for Office TimelineOffice Timeline makes beautiful graphics which can be easily copied from PowerPoint and saved as an image which can be used in documents, emails or on your website.  Here’s how.

  1. From your timeline click the Email button on the Office Timeline ribbon in PowerPoint and to drop down the menu. To copy your timeline select Copy Timeline to Clipboard. From here you can paste it anywhere using the regular paste function of your application.    Timeline Image
  2. To insert your timeline into email (Outlook) select Email Timeline as a Picture (image of timeline only) or Email Timeline Slide as a Picture (image of the entire slide).  These will launch a new Outlook message with the image inserted.  (you can copy this image from Outlook and save it or paste it elsewhere).Timeline Graphics

Are you running the latest version?  Check our Release Update site here.