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A Swimlane Timeline Blog
Can I display text with Date Markers?

Yes, you can customize Date Markers to display text by enclosing your text in single quotes (') in the "Custom" option.  


Date Marker 5


In addition, you can also display the same Date Marker field twice! 


For example, you can display Text for the Date Marker positioned above the task, and display it again with the Date portion below the task, by adding the Date Marker field twice (see example result below):


Date Marker 1

Date Marker 7

In this example, "Study 6" has multiple dates associated with it in the data source:


Date Marker 2


The Date Marker field named "Protocol Issued (PI)" is selected once with position of "Marker on Top" will, in this case, display 'PI' above the task:


Date Marker 3


The Date Marker field named "Protocol Issued (PI)" is selected again with the default position below ("Marker on Top" unchecked), in this case, the 3 letter month and day date format:


Date Marker 4


This is repeated for all of the date fields that the user wishes to display.

Tutorial - Creating Custom Conditional Format Views & Legends
Add another dimension of insight to your Swimlane Timeline reports with conditional formatting and legends to highlight key tasks for quicker analysis, review and decision-making.
Example Legend
Can I change the Baseline View formatting?
The "ST Add/Show" menu Baseline View option gets its formatting from the currently applied color palette.  Although, the Baseline View endpoint shapes are currently fixed as triangles, you can use a custom color palette to change the Line Format to get different looks. 
Use the "ST Manage/Palette" option to define a new palette.  Give the palette a name, for example "Baseline".  In the "Baseline" section of the custom color palette, edit the "Line Format" as shown below:
Custom Palette
You can, for example, change the Line Color to "Red", and change the Line Weight to a larger size like "2.5", and then change the Line Pattern to "Solid".  When you hit OK to apply your custom color palette, you will notice that the baseline view goes from this default view:
Baseline Default
To this:
Baseline Custom
Now you can use the "Swimlane Timeline/Color Palette" option to change between the default "Primary" palette, and the new created custom "Baseline" palette.
BTW, if you would like to see the Baseline Start/Finish actual dates, then you can use the "Swimlane Timeline/Date Marker" option to show them.
How can I automatically get tasks in Swimlanes to be shown in the order that I want, and have that ordering preserved on Refresh?

By default, tasks are placed in swimlanes in the order they are encountered in the source data after applying our shape and text collision avoidance algorithms.  The Swimlane Timeline task Sort option can automatically reorder the tasks in swimlanes based on values in a custom task field.


If you had a custom task text field, for example "ST Sort", and it contains values A1-A9, B1-B9, C1-C9, …etc. then in the Swimlane Timeline you can reorder tasks within swimlanes  by selecting "ST Sort" from the field pick list in the task Sort option.  Tasks will be placed within swimlanes in alphanumeric order, and any tasks with the same "ST Sort" value will be grouped together within a swimlane.


Let's say the source data with the "ST Sort" field looked like this:


ST Sort Source Example


Default layout - compressed, with text and shape collision avoidance auto-applied, and tasks shown in the order encountered:


ST Sort - Before Sort


Task layout after applying task Sort and specifying the "ST Sort" field (NOTE: Tasks are placed in alphanumeric order, and any tasks with the same "ST Sort" value are grouped together):


ST Sort - After Sort

How do I get my Project Online Enterprise fields to be brought in to the Swimlane Timeline?
The Swimlane Timeline will read in all of the Project Online Enterprise Fields that are showing in the Gantt Chart view.  Make sure that MS Project is showing the Gantt Chart view, and then Insert Columns for the Enterprise Fields that you want read in to the Swimlane Timeline.
Project Online Enterprise Fields
Does the Windows Region Date Format matter?
The Swimlane Timeline expects that the Windows OS date format is set to a format that has a 4-digit year setting (yyyy).  If you change it to some other setting, for example a 2-digit year setting (yy), then you could get the following error when you launch the Swimlane Timeline:
Windows Region Date Format Error

Check in your “Control Panel\Clock, Language, and Region\Region” option and verify that your Short date and Long date settings have the default 4-digit year (yyyy) format as shown below:


Windows Region 4-Digit Year

Does the Swimlane Timeline work if I am using non-English versions of Visio, Office and Project?

Yes, the Swimlane Timeline does work with non-English versions of Visio, Office and Project, but there are a couple of setting changes you may need to make:


1) Ensure the MS Project “Display Language” is set to English as shown below:

  •  Open MS Project and select “File/Options/Language”
  • Make sure the "Display" Language is set to English

       Project Display Language


How do I start the Swimlane Timeline from within Visio?

Open Visio then "File/New" and by default you will see the "Featured" Visio solutions.  Now select to see all solution "Categories".  Navigate to the "Visibility" Folder and double-click on the "Swimlane Timeline Solution" preview icon.

Preview Icon

From then on you will see the Swimlane Timeline offered in the default "Featured" Visio solutions section.

Visio Featured Solutions

How can I change the default width of the swimlane title area?
You can quickly and easily override the default width of the swimlane title text box area by clicking on the right side of the swimlane title block area (you will see the line endpoints as shown below) and then click-and-drag the line either right or left to increase or decrease the swimlane title area.
Swimlane Title Width
The Swimlane Timeline menus are no longer showing in Visio.  How can I fix this?
Windows can sometimes turn off all application add-ins.  If you don't see the Swimlane Timeline menus in Visio anymore when starting the Swimlane Timeline from the desktop shortcut, then try the following:

Go to “Visio/Files/Options/Add-ins” and change the “Manage” option, located at the bottom of the dialogue, from "COM Add-ins" to be “Disabled Items” instead and select "Go..." COM Add-in


If you see that the Swimlane Timeline is currently disabled, then select it, and re-enable it.  Close Visio, and restart the Swimlane Timeline from the desktop shortcut and you will now see the Swimlane Timeline menus are again visible.

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