Getting Started with OnePager Express Version 7.0 Add-in

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As with previous version of OnePager Express, version 7.0 of OPX can be launched from a Desktop icon as well as from within Microsoft Excel (Add-in). Please note that after selecting the Add-in launch option that you are not be able to launch the OnePager Desktop application. Only one of these applications (Add-in or Desktop) can be active at a time. If you attempt to launch both, a warning message appears as shown below:

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Further note that as mentioned in What's New with OnePager Release 7.0? , this new version has enhanced features such as the User Interface Upgrade and Smart Task/Milestone Text Label Collision Avoidance Feature to name a few. This article provides the basic information needed to Getting Started and use OnePager Express (OPX) after you launch OPX from Microsoft Excel.

The article providing Getting Started guidance when launching from the OPX Desktop icon is at: Getting Started with OnePager Express Desktop

Launching OnePager Express for the First Time

The OPX Add-in automatically displays the OnePager icon on the Microsoft Excel ribbon's Add-in tool tab once OnePager is installed. That tool bar looks like this:

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Clicking the OnePager Express… button takes you to the Chart Editor. Clicking the Templates… button lets you edit the Template Properties form for your graphs. For now, it is simplest to use the default Template Properties form.

You can learn how Template Properties forms let you customize and standardize graph features later at: Managing Templates (Portal)

Before you launch OPX, however, you must have certain scheduling fields in your Microsoft Excel source plan. There is a lot of flexibility in how these fields can be named. A typical example is shown below. The only mandatory fields are fields representing Start, Finish, and Name. In this example, however, we are also including three optional fields:

1) A category field (Category) used to assign colors to tasks.
2) A selection field (Show It) used to choose which tasks to graph.
3) A Task ID field that OnePager uses to keep track of tasks/milestones as your Microsoft Excel plan is change through additions or deletions over the course of the project.
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To control which tasks get graphed, you must specify a Flag field (e.g. Show It) that you wish to use. Numeric fields can also be used the same as the text fields where a 1 in a Number field indicates Yes and a 0 in a Number field indicates No. See how this is done in the illustration above. When making your first chart, we strongly recommend that you select 50 or fewer tasks with Yes. Please note that OPX is shipped with a number of fully populated Template Properties forms that are based on the Microsoft Excel source plan used in the Tutorial also shipped with the product – BlueGrass Project Plan. The following table describes field-heading types that OPX uses and shows variations on the heading titles that OnePager Express recognizes. It is not mandatory that you used these field names, since OPX gives you a chance to choose the actual Microsoft Excel source plan fields that it employs. However, using these names speeds things up because it helps OPX make reasonable guesses on which fields to use as its default selections. Note that three field heading types must always be present: Name, Start, and Finish.

We recommend the inclusion of an ID field with sequential numbering from top to bottom. This assists OnePager maintain a correspondence with Microsoft Excel’s rows after the Microsoft Excel source plan is updated.

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To launch OPX and make a chart, click on the OnePager Express... button on the Microsoft Express tool bar’s Add-ins tab, which accesses the OnePager Express Start form:

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The OnePager Express Start form provides you with three options:

1) NEW Clicking the NEW button brings up the OnePager choices (OPC) form.
2) UPDATE Clicking the UPDATE button allows you to BROWSE FILES for an existing chart or select a recently-opened chart.
3) OPEN Clicking the OPEN button allows you to BROWSE FILES for an existing chart or select a recently-opened chart. Once selected and opened, the chart is available for editing.

Creating a New Chart

Clicking the NEW button accesses the OnePager choices (OPC) form as shown below:

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Options on the New OnePager Choices form

The OPC form gives you more options for selecting source plans. The illustration above shows that OPX was initiated from Microsoft Excel with the source plan shown in the Selected File(s) group shown above. The Add/Remove button gives you the capability to add more source plans to the source packet or, for multiple file packets, to remove files. Clicking the Add/Remove button accesses the Data source selection form as shown below:

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The Data source selection form displays the current source plan that was loaded with Microsoft Excel when you clicked the OnePager Express... button. This form lets you Add more source Microsoft Excel source plans to create a multi-project chart or Remove a source plan from a multi-file source packet. These options are detailed below.

Adding a New Source Plan

When you click the Add button, OPX gives you the option to access a Windows Open form when you select the BROWSE FILES… option as shown here:

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Clicking the BROWSE FILES… option displays a Window’s Open from which you can select a Microsoft Excel source plan to add to the source packet. A sample Open form is shown below:

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When you select a desired Microsoft Excel source plan and click the Open button as shown above, OPX adds the source plan to the source packet and displays it in the Data source selection window as shown below:

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The selected source plan is added to the source packet as shown above. OPX shows the path name of the source plan in the window if you hover the mouse over the source plan name. If you select a recently used source plan from the dropdown menu displayed with the Add button is clicked in the Data source selection form, OPX adds that source plan to the source packet.

Removing a Source Plan

The Remove button allows you to remove a source plan from a source packet. if that source plan is not needed to create the new chart. To remove a file, first select the file in the Data source selection form’s window so that it is highlighted in blue then click the Remove button as shown in the sequence below:

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Other Choices to Make

Moving on to the other groups of the OPC form, you are asked to confirm a few things before you build the chart. OPX makes good guesses for each of these choices, but you can change any of them:

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Starting Template

The current Template Properties form determines which fields get imported from Microsoft Excel and how the initial chart looks. OPX ships with many sample Template Properties forms, but you can also customize your own Template Properties form. To choose which Template Properties form to use in building your chart, click the Change… button in the top group of the OPC form.

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For now, just stick with the default Template Properties form entitled Single Project Gantt View – Detailed, but you can always use a different Template Properties form to get a different type of chart.

Title of the New Chart

This is the Title of the graph and also the suggested save name in which it is saved. You can change the save name when you save it. We recommend that you enter a Title that helps you identify the chart later on as shown here:

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For each chart you create, OnePager remembers colors, titles, legends, font sizes, and all other graph properties so that your work is saved. Later, you can update the chart with a snapshot of how the project looks on a different date. Then you can browse through the snapshots to see how the project is changing over time. OPX also saves the path name associated with the save name (.TAM). Path names are not available in .TAMs produced with version of OPX prior to version 6.0.

Task Selection

This is how you tell OPX which tasks to import from your Microsoft Excel source plan as indicated below:

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Either click the Select all tasks radio button to graph everything or choose a Flag field. You can make several charts from a single Microsoft Excel source plan, each using a different Flag or Number field. In OPX if no Flags are set to Yes, OPX provides the user with a warning message shown below:

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Clicking the Select tasks by custom filter button enables the Edit filters... button. Clicking the Edit filters... button takes you to a form that controls the Conditional Import Filters feature as shown here:

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For more detailed information, please see the article at: Conditional Import Filters (Portal)

Snapshot Date

This is the date of the report and lets you keep track of how schedules change over time. The snapshot date is set by default as the current date taken from your computer. You can change the snapshot date by clicking on the dropdown button at the window shown in the illustration below:

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Making a calendar date selection as shown above establishes the snapshot date for the chart and the snapshot being created. Each chart can have many snapshots. Snapshots and their management are important topics. Snapshots are the basis of how OnePager Express helps you track the progress of your project.

For more information, please see the articles at: Managing Chart Data (Portal)

Show Field Mappings

The Show field mappings checkbox near the bottom of the form. When this box is checked you have a chance to review and change the Microsoft Excel field mappings to OPX before you make your first chart. To do this, click the Next> button. You see the following screen:

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Notice in the graphic above that OPX has relied on the current Template Properties form to make some guesses on what Microsoft Excel fields should be used in making the graph. You can easily change any of these field mappings by making selections from the dropdown menus. For example, we show below how to change the Color:

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Making the Graph

Once you are satisfied with the field mappings, click on Create new chart button to import your selected Microsoft Excel source plan data and create a chart. After a few second you see a screen that looks like this:

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Note that each task or milestone was color coded based on the value in the Category field. The Legend contains an optional diagram near the bottom, explaining that the bars inside the Gantt bars represent percent complete extracted from Microsoft Excel. Percent complete comes from a Microsoft Excel field that you specified in the field mapping form. Note that the current Template Properties form is the Template used by OnePager Express to create the first chart and determines how your data looks in the new chart. The Template Properties form’s Task Bars tab showing where the color control is located is shown below:

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Copying the Chart to Microsoft PowerPoint

OnePager provides access to the Windows clipboard so you can copy the chart and paste it into another application. To copy the current snapshot to the clipboard click the Copy button on the Home ribbon as shown below:

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Then launch Microsoft PowerPoint and paste the clipboard copy of the chart into a Microsoft PowerPoint slide, as shown below:

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That’s it! You created a professional 1-page schedule summary from a complex Microsoft Excel schedule and copied it into a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation.

You can also print the chart by selecting the Print button on the File tab. OnePager has other features that let you move tasks vertically to different rows and swimlanes, change the number of swimlanes, add swimlane titles, show dependencies among tasks, change task colors, hide tasks, add floating comment boxes, and standardize on graph styles across organizations.

To learn more about these features, read about the specific workflows in this Wiki at Basic Workflows (Portal) and Manual versus Data-Driven Editing (Portal)

Opening a Chart

The right-most button on the OPC form is the OPEN button. Clicking the OPEN button displays a dropdown menu which happens to be the same for the UPDATE buttons. The options in the dropdown are discussed below:

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Clicking the BROWSE FILES... option accesses a Windows Open form from which you can select a .TAM that you want to open. Selecting the desired .TAM causes OPX to display the selected chart in the Chart Editor. From this position, you can edit the chart, save it, or share it with others. Clicking any of the RECENT chart items the dropdown menu above causes OPX to load the associated .TAM into the Chart Editor where you can edit the chart, save it, or share it with others.

Replacing A Snapshot - Updating a Chart with Changes Made to the Microsoft Excel Source Plan's Data

Suppose after examining the chart you created and saved, you realize that it might be best to show more task bars. This, you think, would greatly improve the schedule presentation. Updating the chart at this point is a simple matter. Recall that OPX is active and the Chart Editor is displaying the current chart you want to update. Additionally, the Microsoft Excel source plan and the application are active. The original chart looked like this:

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Since Microsoft Excel is still an active program and the Microsoft Excel source plan you are using is still being displayed, go back to the Microsoft Excel application and change the Show It field setting for the rows you want to now display from No to Yes for the rows you want to now display. As section of the Microsoft Excel source plan where this is done is shown below:

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Once you’ve made the Show It field changes lines 7 through 15 in the Microsoft Excel the source plan looks like this:

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With the Microsoft Excel source plan updated, go back to OPX and navigate to the Data tab on the ribbon where there are several buttons. To update your chart to now show the additional rows from your Microsoft Excel source plan click the Replace Snapshot button as shown below:

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When you click the Replace Snapshot button, OPX goes back to the associated Microsoft Excel source plan that you just changed, imports all the rows that changed, and update your chart. At the conclusion of the operation, the updated chart looks like this:

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The example above is just one of many uses of the Data tab’s Replace Snapshot button when you need to update a chart. You can do this as many times as necessary until the chart is the way you need it. In addition to adding and removing rows by changing the Show It field, you can change source plan task Start Dates, Finish Dates, or Resource Names' and display these data changes in the chart. Using the procedure above you can do this very efficiently. You can now save the chart by giving it a save name. When you save the chart in OPX, OnePager saves the .TAM and saves the Microsoft Excel source plan name and path information. This is useful when you want to further update the chart or when you want to add a snapshot later on. In the examples below it is assumes that the chart is saved as BlueGrass Project Report - Express.

Adding a Snapshot - Adding to the Chart with Changes Made to the Microsoft Excel Source Plan's Data

The power of OPX is illustrated when, after a period of progress on the project, it is time to produce another chart. OnePager produces your next snapshot with the same look and feel as the original. Assuming that the Microsoft Excel source plan was updated with actual start and finish, percent complete, and other relevant data during the reporting interval, OPX can easily generate a new snapshot. Suppose we have the following chart created on 11/1/2018 and we want to create another graph from the updated Microsoft Project source plan on 12/1/2018.

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Before creating a new snapshot for 12/1/2018 as planned, we need to update the Microsoft Excel source plan say by updating the Percent Complete for the following tasks to the percentage indicated:

  • Eng. Team 1 Dev. - 100%
  • Internal Perf. Test - 10%
  • Create MERLIN System - 100%
  • Create ADONIS System - 25%

When the source plan is updated with this revised information we can proceed. Launch OPX either from Microsoft Excel or from the Desktop icon and click the UPDATE button on the OnePager Express Start form. Doing so accesses the following OnePager choices (OPC) form:

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In the OPC form above we selected the NEW snapshot at date: as shown. You can also select a date for the snapshot so that this snapshot represents the project at the status date point in time. To see which snapshot dates already exist, just position your mouse over the NEW snapshot-date: window to see a list of the existing dates.

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You can use the built in calendar dropdown or type in the new snapshot’s month, day, and year in the window provided as shown below:

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Un-check the Show field mappings checkbox OFF if you want to use the same field mappings as you used before. The bottom of the screen now looks like this:

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Pressing the large New button creates a new snapshot for the chart. The chart opens at the new snapshot. The color, fonts, title, and swimlane assignments are consistent between the two snapshots:

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You can go back and forth between the two snapshots by using the snapshot forward/backward buttons on the View tab as shown below:

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Editing the Chart

Editing Text Label Font Sizes

You can edit the font sizes and text positions on task bars to optimize readability. To do this, hold down the left mouse button and drag a selection box (Lasso) that encloses many tasks/milestones at once:

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When you release the mouse, the enclosed tasks/milestones are all be selected:

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Click the Increase Font Size button on the tool bar shown below:

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The chart now looks something like this:

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Repeating this operation for the remaining tasks/milestones (we could have done Select All and done it all at once!), we obtain a chart with larger fonts on all the tasks/milestones:

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Editing Text Label Positions

Another common editing action is to move the task bar text label from their current positions to positions elsewhere around or on the task bar. To do this, click the text label to select it and then click the Label Position button on the tool bar. This action accesses the Label Position dropdown list where you can select one of the text-positioning buttons as shown here:

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At this point, as an example, click the Left option in the dropdown and the selected text label is moved to the left side of the task bar as shown here:

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In case you change your mind about the last editing action you took, you can UNDO the last editing action by clicking the UNDO button above the OnePager tool bar. Successive clicking the UNDO button undoes editing actions in the reverse order that they were applied.

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Save the edited chart by pressing the Save button above the tool bar next to the UNDO button. All of the font size changes, text-position edits, and the new Legend position are now saved in case you need to update this chart with new data at a later time.

Editing Other Chart Contents

The examples above are just samples of Chart Editor capabilities provided for editing within the chart. Making other edits to task bars/milestone symbols and text labels are covered in more detail in this article: Manual Editing Task/Milestone Shapes and Text Labels (Portal)

Additionally, you can add task bar/milestone symbol information related to each task bar such as baseline data, percent complete information, and critical path information. You can add comment boxes to task bars, free floating comment boxes in the chart, vertical curtains, and background images. And you can change the chart's Start/End Dates, add or hide the Legend, and add time axes at the top, bottom, and within the graph. Further, you are able to edit task bar/milestone symbol shapes, you have at your disposal controls for editing rows/swimlanes, headers and footers in the chart, background colors, and other text information shown in the graph.

These capabilities and the articles that provide the detailed information on how to use them can be found in the set of article links at: Ways to Make Changes to Your Chart

Enhanced Editing Capabilities Provided in OnePager Express Version 7.0

Displaying Data-Driven Task Links

OnePager Express 7.0 is enhanced to assist you with displaying Task Link dependencies from the Microsoft Excel source plan data you provide. Typically, this feature is turned OFF in all Template Properties forms distributed with OnePager. However, the feature can be turned ON either before or after the creation of a chart. To turn the Data-Driven Task Link feature ON prior to creating a chart, go to the Template Properties form you plan to uses and click on the Task Links tab and then click the Import predecessors checkbox ON in the Data-Driven Task Links control group as shown below:

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In the Template Task Link tab above there are two additional controls that need to be set to tell OnePager Express which data field you are using to express task dependencies in the form of predecessors and which dependency format you are using either (1) Microsoft Project or (2) Oracle Primavera. These controls are in the form of dropdown menus as shown for the dependency format selector below:

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With the Import predecessors checkbox checked ON and the dependency data field and dependency format selections made in the Template Properties form, the chart first created looks like this:

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To turn the Data-Driven Task Link feature ON after the chart is created, go to the Chart Properties form's Task Links tab and then click the Import predecessors checkbox ON in the Data-Driven Task Links control group as shown below:

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Once imported, Data-Driven Task Links can be shown or hidden and can be edited globally using the Template Properties or Chart Properties forms as shown above or individually using a task link right-click context menu. OnePager Express 7.0 continues to support manual Task Links which in previous OnePager Express versions were called Event Links. The OnePager version 7.0 Data-Driven Task Links feature is flexible and powerful.

More details are provided in the series of articles at: Linking Task and Milestone Using Manual and Data-Driven Task Links (Portal)

Editing the Time Axis

OnePager Express is also enhanced with new capabilities and feature so you can edit the time axis and configure it to focus on specific time periods of interest in your project schedule presentation. As an example of the enhancements made to the time axis is the addition of the time axis cell stretch feature where you can lengthen the horizontal extend of any time axis cell so as to provide more space to focus on details within that time period. An example of a stretched lower level time axis cell is shown below:

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For additional detailed information on the editing of time axis cells and other related capabilities please see this article: Modifying the Time Axis (Portal)

Related Links

What's New with OnePager Release 7.0?

Getting Started with OnePager Express Desktop

Conditional Import Filters (Portal)

Basic Workflows (Portal)

Manual Editing Task/Milestone Shapes and Text Labels (Portal)

Linking Task and Milestone Using Manual and Data-Driven Task Links (Portal)

Modifying the Time Axis (Portal)

Managing Chart Data (Portal)

Managing Templates (Portal)