The Best Timeline Software and Timeline Makers of 2020


Top 10 Timeline Maker Software

Why use a timeline maker?

Complicated information such as plans, events or projects are better understood when visualized. Timeline software has become an essential tool for quickly visualizing and communicating projects, plans or roadmaps in a way that is easy for audiences to understand. Business professionals such as planners and project managers often use timeline makers to illustrate complex event sequencing or the chronological order of project work. Whether it’d be for reporting on past progress, present status and future events, or communicating the critical milestones required to attain a business goal, timeline creators are the most effective and efficient way to do it.


  Top 10 timeline maker shortlist

  Here are the best tools for when you want to create timelines:

  1. Office Timeline
  2. Tiki-Toki
  3. Sutori
  4. Preceden
  5. Timeline Maker Pro
  6. Timeline 3D
  7. Aeon Timeline 2
  8. Timeline JS
  9. Timetoast
  10. ReadWriteThink

How to choose the best timeline creator

Depending on the user’s needs and requirements, the answer to this question will vary. However, there are some fundamentals that should always be considered when evaluating any timeline maker software:

  • What type of visuals will it produce?
  • Does it have a simple, modern and easy-to-use interface?
  • Will it synchronize with other apps like Microsoft Excel?
  • Is it compatible with modern browsers and operating systems?
  • Does it enable rich customization of the visual once it has been created?
  • Is it reasonably priced?
  • Is it improving and developing rapidly?

The ultimate timeline maker list

There are many options available on the market, so finding the best fit can be a challenge. To get you started, we’ve put together a list of 10 best timeline creators. The scale used for ranking these was based on the several points listed above.


1. Office Timeline


Timeline Made with Office Timeline


Timeline maker and Gantt chart creator that comes in two flavors: as the desktop add-in Office Timeline and web-based app Office Timeline Online; suitable for any non-tech users, but specifically addressing project management professionals.

  • Type of visuals produced (1 p): Designed as a PowerPoint extension, the desktop tool allows the fast creation of professional-looking timelines and Gantt charts right inside the popular slide-maker platform. The resulted visuals can be downloaded as native PowerPoint slides that can be easily opened and edited by third parties without having to install the app. The same type of visuals is produced by its online counterpart. Other formats to which the graphics can be exported are .png image and Excel file.
  • Interface (1 p): The desktop add-in boasts an intuitive interface, a smart layout engine which automatically generates your visual, and a Timeline Creator Wizard that assists new users in getting familiarized with the tool more easily. The online app ensures simplicity and easy data management with a drag & drop interface.
  • Sync with other apps (1 p): The desktop add-in integrates with Microsoft Project, Excel, Smartsheet, and Wrike, whereas the online app allows data import from Excel
  • Browser/OS compatibility (1 p): OTL is compatible with Windows OS, while OTO works in any browser, whether Mac or Windows OS is used
  • Customization options (1 p): Both versions provide a host of customization and styling functionalities (shapes, colors, percentage complete, duration, status indicators) for an enhanced and refined differentiation between events, a rich gallery of pre-designed templates and the ability to import files to help users get started faster.
  • Price (1 p): OTL comes in a free and paid version, the latter at $59 for a 1-year license; the basic plan is fully functional, however the paid package unlocks extra functionalities such as import and synch from MS Project and Excel, more items allowed on a slide, completion percentage and others. OTO has a similar pricing system, users having the possibility to opt for a free account (with unlimited number of milestones and tasks to add to a timeline, but the ones which exceed 10 items are watermarked) or pay $59/year for the Plus edition of the tool (watermark removed).
  • State of development (1 p): Continuous development through regular updates that give users access to new features or enhancements without having to pay extra once they acquire their license. Here is the desktop add-in’s version history, and the online app’s one can be found here.

Final rating: 7/7


2. Tiki-Toki


Timeline Made with Tiki-Toki


General description: Web-based timeline maker software that provides numerous use scenarios to streamline various projects (suitable for businesses, teachers, charities or lawyers).

  • Type of visuals produced (1 p): Interactive, multimedia timelines created directly in the browser and which can be shared as unique, embeddable URLs; users can choose between 2D and 3D views to visually represent biographies, history and legal timelines, schedules and others.
  • Interface (1 p): Built-in search and filtering functions, four different view types, zoom in/out functionality, adjustable panel size, 3D or 2D timeline layout and spacing options that can be switched with one click.
  • Sync with other apps (0.5 p): Integration with YouTube and Vimeo.
  • Browser/OS compatibility (0.75 p): Mainly a cloud-based software, it is also available as a desktop app for Mac and Windows (only for Chromebooks); however, since Google has announced its intention to close down the Chrome app environment for Windows, TikiToki developers no longer guarantee if the software continues to work on Windows devices.
  • Customization options (1 p): Color and category-based customization options, customizable time spans, collaboration and group edit functionalities, as well as the ability to include multimedia (images, videos and audio)
  • Price (0.5 p): Users can choose between 2 types of accounts: the Free account (limited to only 1 timeline) and the Premium account (prices ranging from $7.50 to $25/month depending on scale)
  • State of development (1 p): Regular updates and improvements brought to the software, with a history of the past and upcoming features available here.

Final rating: 5.75/7


3. Sutori


Timeline Made with Sutori


General description: An online timeline maker software that is mainly targeted at teachers and students, but also a reliable tool for business needs.

  • Type of visuals produced (1 p): Collaborative timeline presentations that include texts, graphics, video and audio materials from multiple sources; the visuals can be accessed and edited by other users (account and invitation to view required), shared via email, social media, or as a link or embeddable code.
  • Interface (1 p): Applies social media patterns to enable users to produce engaging content, either from scratch or from ready-made templates.
  • Sync with other apps (1 p): It integrates with a wide range of learning management systems like Canvas, Blackboard, Instructor, Moodle, and it lets users embed resources from all the Google Suite, PDF files, and links for any website.
  • Browser/OS compatibility (0.5 p): Sutori works on Chrome, Safari, Firefox and Edge browsers.
  • Customization options (1 p): Includes interaction, annotation and collaboration tools, as well as a quiz feature for performance assessment; it also allows progress tracking and live feedback.
  • Price (0.3 p): For teachers - available with free and paid accounts ($99/year/user), with the latter unlocking access to a wider gallery of templates and plans, unlimited number of timelines, saving and printing offline features and more. A license for 6 educators reaches 500/year, whereas a school-wide license with LTI integration costs $2000/year. For business users, there is also a free plan available, whereas the starting price for a Pro plan is $399/year (costs established depending on the level of added customization requested by customer).
  • State of development (0.75 p): A steady pace of development, with updates on new features and enhancements published on the website’s blog page.

Final rating: 5.55/7


4. Preceden


Timeline Made with Preceden


General description: An easy-to-use web timeline creator that helps users create visuals for business, educational and non-profit audiences.

  • Type of visuals produced (1 p): Timelines and project roadmaps that can be shared and exported in multiple formats (downloaded as spreadsheet, printable PDFs or images, and shared through its URL or as embeddable code).
  • Interface (1 p): User-friendly interface which ensures seamless visualization of milestones, dates and deadlines, with templates for biographies, corporate planning visuals and history graphics.
  • Sync with other apps (0.25 p): Microsoft Excel
  • Browser/OS compatibility (1 p): As a web-based tool, it is compatible with any type of browser.
  • Customization options (0.75 p): event group function (similar to swimlanes), timeline appearance customization options (colors, shapes, external resource attachment feature).
  • Price (0.5 p): Provides free and paid licensing options, with the former limited to the creation of a single timeline with 10 items tops, and the latter with unlimited timelines, data import flexibility and other extras at a price ranging from $29 to $179/year based on type and number of timelines.
  • State of development (1 p): Monthly updates announced via a Monthly Release Notes Newsletter. As a Preceden user, you can subscribe to the newsletter by following the steps described here.

Final ranking: 5.5/7


5. Timeline Maker Pro


Timeline Made with Timeline Maker Pro


General description: A desktop timeline maker that can cater to a variety of users, including investigators, researchers and planners.

  • Type of visuals produced (1 p): Timelines that can be copy-pasted into documents, exported into .jpeg, .png or .bmp images, .ppt, PDF and HTML formats.
  • Interface (0.75 p): Easy-to-use interface, offering embedded themes and a wide range of styles for data visualization, as well as a built-in presentation mode which lets users to instantly share charts (read-only format) with collaborators or colleagues (however, creating an account is required)
  • Sync with other apps (1 p): It has an Import Wizard for any CSV, TXT, MS Project files and a copy/paste feature for MS Excel.
  • Browser/OS compatibility (0.3 p): Compatible with Windows OS (XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, and 10).
  • Customization options (0.75 p): Category colors, custom fields and adjustable event labels for enhanced visual differentiation; it allows the addition of annotations, comments, and feedback to support the chart data (linking to external sources, multimedia files or websites).
  • Price (0.75 p): No free plan available (only a 14-day free trial); the paid version is available as a ‘lifetime’ license with prices ranging from $49 up to $535 per user.
  • State of development (0.5 p): A regular but slow enhancement pace; release history for the software can be accessed here.

Final rating: 5.05/7


6. Timeline 3D


Timeline Made with Timeline 3D


General description: Desktop/mobile device timeline software that allows Mac and iOS users to build 3D animated timelines.

  • Type of visuals produced (1 p): Interactive 3D timeline charts of business deadlines, world history, family trees and other types of data, with optimized display on retina screens. The resulted visual can be exported into 2D and 3D formats, as a web page and uploaded on a server, downloaded as a Keynote or PowerPoint slideshow or as a printable PDF file.
  • Interface (1 p): Coded to use the latest Apple frameworks for enhanced performance and stability, the software’s interface supports complex timelines with 3D perspective and employs auto-layout intelligence and a context rendering engine; it also offers a drag & drop functionality to add media, arrow keys or Bluetooth remote shortcuts to fly over the timeline, the M key shortcut to zoom into attached media, search and filter functions to find certain details of one’s presentation.
  • Sync with other apps (0.3 p): Keynote, import function from iCloud Drive and other sources.
  • Browser/OS compatibility (0.5 p): available for Mac OS X and for iOS. It can be downloaded and installed through Apple’s App Stores.
  • Customization options (0.75 p): Offers an advanced date parsing logic, event categories for color-coding of events; it accommodates HD video content, with enhanced render quality of animations, lighting and other effects, along with output resolutions up to 4K; separate themes for screen display and printing,
  • Price (0.3 p): Free of charge when a series of Mac and iOS apps are purchased (depending on the type of format in which you want to present your timeline, you might require more expensive apps)
  • State of development (1 p): Regular and important feature updates that are listed here.

Final rating: 4.85/7


7. Aeon Timeline 2


Timeline Made with Aeon Timeline


General description: Desktop timeline creation tool that’s a good fit for creative, instructional and course authors, legal practitioners and project managers.

  • Type of visuals produced (0.75 p): Timelines that can be exported to CSV files, .jpeg or .png images, PDF file (for Mac users only) or into an interactive, read-only web format.
  • Interface (1 p): Easy navigation with zoom in/out, scroll up/down and search functions.
  • Sync with other apps (0.25 p): Integrates with Scrivener.
  • Browser/OS compatibility (0.7 p): Works as a desktop tool both on Mac and Windows operating systems, and as a mobile app for iOS.
  • Customization options (1 p): Flexibility ensured with various display options, predefined and customizable templates; controls that help highlight and group activities (e.g. bookmarks, collapse lanes, nest event and filter features, dependencies, assignation function between employee/resource and events).
  • Price (0.5 p): The software offers a fully-functional 20-day trial, and the paid version is available at $50/year per license. Volume discounts apply for bulk purchases, and a 15% discount for students and educators. The version for iOS requires separate purchase from the desktop version.
  • State of development (0.5 p): Regular updates that arrive earlier for the versions downloaded directly from the site (as opposed to the iOS version, for which updates come via App Store). Users that want to revert to older versions can find links to previous releases here.

Final rating: 4.7/7


8. TimelineJS


Timeline Made with TimelineJS


General description: An open-source timeline maker designed by the Northwestern University Knight Lab that allows the creation of rich timelines from a Google Spreadsheet.

  • Type of visuals produced (0.3 p): Interactive timelines which can be customized and shared as URL or embedded as HTML code on one’s webpage. However, once published, the visuals created from a Google Spreadsheet are public to anyone who comes across it.
  • Interface (1 p): Quite straightforward layout, with clear instructions on how to get started.
  • Sync with other apps (0.5 p): Supports media from diverse resources like YouTube, Twitter, Vimeo, Google Maps, Wikipedia, SoundCloud, Vine and others.
  • Browser/OS compatibility (0.75 p): Designed and tested primarily for Google Chrome, the software is effectively with any other browsers (except Internet Explorer versions before IE10).
  • Customization options (0.5 p): A pretty standardized look for the final output, but it does allow the attachment of external media to enliven the visual a bit. More complex structures can be built by tech-savvy users mastering JSON skills. Creating timelines with ancient dates is also a possible.
  • Price (1 p): Free
  • State of development (0 p): Irregular, no release history available.

Final rating: 4.05/7


9. Timetoast


Timeline Made with Timetoast


General description: A web-based timeline that lets users to design and build their own interactive timelines directly from their browsers upon registration.

  • Type of visuals produced (0.5 p): Historical timelines, product launch roadmaps or other types of chronologies, which can be downloaded as .jpeg or .png images or as GIFs.
  • Interface (0.5 p): Graphical interface with no drag & drop functionality, but which supports showing images on the timeline; visuals can be viewed in both horizontal and list modes; users can start building timelines from templates grouped in categories (BCE/BC date timeline creation is possible).
  • Sync with other apps (0.3 p): Allows data import from various sources, but no integration with other apps.
  • Browser/OS compatibility (0.75 p): Works with any type of browser.
  • Customization options (0.2 p): Timeline color customization options to match the color scheme of the site into which the visual is to be embedded (only for Pro Plan subscribers).
  • Price (0.5 p): Comes with a public free single-user plan, and two paid packages ($71.88/year for 5 users and $107.88year for 35 users).
  • State of development (0.2 p): Slow enhancement, minor improvements (release history available on the official website’s blog page: https://blog.timetoast.com/)

Final rating: 2.95/7


10. ReadWriteThink


Timeline Made with ReadWriteThink


General description: Free web-based timeline generator that allows simple sequential visualizations of events or processes.

  • Type of visuals produced (0.5 p): Horizontal timelines which support image display associated with time labels.
  • Interface (0.75 p): Easy-to-use drag & drop and item re-arrangement functionality; it allows saving incomplete work; visuals can be shared via e-mail.
  • Sync with other apps (0 p): -
  • Browser/OS compatibility (0.75 p): Works on any browser with Adobe Flash Player enabled.
  • Customization options (0.1 p): Flexible structuring by time of day, date, or event; labels with short or long descriptions.
  • Price (1 p): Free
  • State of development (0 p): No release history available.

Final rating: 2.85/7


Conclusion

Deciding which timeline maker is the best fit for you is ultimately dependent on your needs. Although our research is not exhaustive, it should give some direction on what to focus, based on these 7 criteria listed above.


The Best Timeline Maker Overview


Rank Software
Description Score
1 Office Timeline Timeline maker and Gantt chart creator suitable for any non-tech users, but specifically addressing project management professionals 7/7
2 Tiki-Toki Web-based timeline maker software that provides numerous use scenarios to streamline various projects 5.75/7
3 Sutori Online timeline maker software mainly targeted at teachers and students, but also a reliable tool for business needs 5.55/7
4 Preceden Web timeline creator that helps users create visuals for business, educational and non-profit audiences 5.5/7
5 Timeline Maker Pro Desktop timeline maker for a variety of users, including investigators, researchers and planners 5.05/7
6 Timeline 3D Desktop/mobile device timeline software that allows Mac and iOS users to build 3D animated timelines 4.85/7
7 Aeon Timeline Desktop timeline creation tool for creative, instructional and course authors, legal practitioners and project managers 4.7/7
8 Timeline JS An open-source timeline maker that allows the creation of rich timelines from a Google Spreadsheet 4.05/7
9 Timetoast A web-based timeline that lets users to design and build interactive timelines directly from their browsers 2.95/7
10 ReadWriteThink Web-based timeline generator that allows simple sequential visualizations of events or processes 2.85/7

Top 10 Roadmap Software Based on User Reviews


Best Roadmap Software

Quickly compare the best roadmap software for project management

Roadmap software is frequently used to plan the upcoming work on a project, helping project managers and their teams balance workload, coordinate and prioritize activities, and track progress in a transparent way. Despite the variety of roadmap apps in the market, choosing the best one for your team can be time-consuming as you’ll need to review all their various features and see if they suit specific needs or integrate with any other project management tools you may be already using.


Best roadmap software shortlist

To help you with the selection process, we’ve picked out 10 of the best roadmap tools in 2019 based on user ratings. The candidates are:

  1. Roadmunk
  2. Aha!
  3. ProductPlan
  4. ProWorkflow
  5. Targetprocess
  6. Office Timeline
  7. ProdPad
  8. Roadmap Planner
  9. Wrike
  10. Craft

10 top roadmap software for project management

In the overview of the best roadmap software below, you can find out more about the features, pricing, and main benefits of the best roadmap apps on the market today. You’ll also find an average user rating to help you quickly compare these tools.

1. Roadmunk

Average rating (GetApp, TrustRadius, G2 Crowd, Capterra): 4.63/5

Offering schedule visualization tools, project templates (called “roadmaps”) and team collaboration functionalities, Roadmunk is a cloud-based project management software suitable for all industries and businesses of all sizes. With a user-friendly interface, the product is easy to implement in an existing environment and allows customers to:

  • Rank tasks based on priority
  • Attach files to specific tasks
  • Create a roadmap starting from one of the pre-built designs available or by uploading CSV files or Jira data
  • Customize and configure the roadmap to suit a particular project
  • Export the roadmap in several popular formats and share them with colleagues
  • Assign one of three permission levels to team members (if the user is the administrator)
  • Try it out through a free trial (the paid subscription is on a monthly basis, with prices ranging from $19 to $99+ based on the plan the client chooses).
Roadmunk Customer Review

2. Aha! Software

Average rating (Software Advice, GetApp, G2 Crowd, Capterra): 4.54/5

Aha! is a cloud-based project management solution that allows users to create customized product, manufacturing, marketing, technology and consulting roadmaps, thus catering to a wide range of industries. Including Kanban boards, task lists, analytics and collaboration as primary features, the software supports agile and scrum workflows and integrates with applications such as Jira, Zendesk, Slack, Dropbox, Visual Studio, Trello and others.

The free trial option is available, supported by demos, a getting-started guide and knowledge base.

Aha! Customer Review

3. Product Plan

Average rating (Software Advice, GetApp, G2 Crowd, Capterra): 4.5/5

Managers who prefer to use visual overviews of their project to communicate plans for future work to teams of all sizes can find a reliable resource in ProductPlan. A cloud-based visual roadmap platform, it allows the easy and quick creation of roadmaps that can be customized with timeframes, tags, legends and filters, shared with viewers and exported as PDF, image or spreadsheet. Tracking any change or update made to the roadmap, the software integrates with major project management tools such as Jira, Slack, and Pivotal Tracker, helping users to avoid double work.

It comes in both free and paid versions (three plans – Business = $39/mo/user, Enterprise = $69/mo/user, and Enterprise Plus = $99/mo/user), the payment being billed annually.

Product Plan Customer Review

4. ProWorkflow

Average rating (GetApp, TrustPilot, G2Crowd, Capterra): 4.46/5

A cloud-based project management tool suitable for individual use and teams of 5 to 5,000, ProWorkflow helps users easily track tasks, progress, resources and invoices through customizable features tailored to their business profile.

Users can choose from three plans: Solo ($10/month) – ideal for freelancers, Professional ($20/month/user), and Advanced ($30/month/user) – most suitable for large teams. Customers who pay 1 year in advance get a 10% discount.

ProWorkflow Customer Review

5. Targetprocess

Average rating (Software Advice, G2 Crowd, Capterra): 4.44/5

Targetprocess is a cloud-based modular software that supports project management using a combination of Scrum, Kanban and the user’s preset work solution. Ensuring data visualization at every level of the organization, the tool allows users to prioritize incoming work with visual encoding cues, signal every change with live updates, and track progress and manage risks through alerts.

Targetprocess offers a 30-day free version, a free trial for their Company plan (which costs $20/mo/user) and an Enterprise package, with prices tailored to the customer’s needs.

Targetprocess Customer Review

6. Office Timeline

Average rating (GetApp, TrustPilot, G2 Crowd, Capterra): 4.42/5

An on-premise project scheduler that directly integrates into PowerPoint as an add-on, Office Timeline helps you automatically turn your data into easy-to-follow timelines and roadmaps. Offering pre-built, customizable templates and task-tracking features such as swimlanes, milestones on task or percent complete, the add-in integrates with common project management applications such as Wrike, Smartsheet and Microsoft Excel or Project for importing and exporting data pointers.

This PowerPoint roadmap maker offers three plans, Free, Plus ($59/year), and Pro ($99/year). While the free version is fully-functional, with the Pro edition you get to work with unlimited items per timeline, easy templates and helpful technical support.

Office Timeline Customer Review

7. ProdPad

Average rating (GetApp, TrustRadius, G2 Crowd, Capterra): 4.18/5

Offering diverse project management functionalities (Kanban, roadmaps, collaboration, idea management), ProdPad is a flexible product that integrates with Jira, Slack, Trello and other major tools used for project management purposes. Users get access to a different host of features and level of administrative rights depending on which of the three plans they select (Essential, Advanced and Performance).

Each of them comes with a free trial, whereas the paid versions cost $99/month (Essential), $299/month (Advanced) and $999/month (Performance).

ProdPad Customer Review

8. Roadmap Planner

Average rating (TrustRadius, G2 Crowd, Capterra): 4.1/5

Roadmap Planner is a desktop/mobile tool that allows organizations from various business domains to create business development, marketing and product vision roadmaps. Access to different planning, visualization, management, and data exchange functionalities depends on the plan users choose (Basic or Pro).

In terms of pricing, the only free version is the one with basic features for a single user, the options that include more users and different features implying subscription payment ($4.00/month/user).

Roadmap Planner Customer Review

9. Wrike

Average rating (Software Advice, TrustPilot, G2 Crowd, Capterra): 4/5

Suitable for both enterprises and SMBs, Wrike is a cloud-based project management solution that comes with Gantt charts, workload view for resource management, custom dashboards and calendars. Structuring via folders, tasks and projects and auto-assignment based on task status is possible as well.

Depending on the number of users and features required, users can choose from a variety of plans: Free (limited to 5 users and basic features), Professional ($9.80/mo/user), Business ($24.80/mo/user), Marketers and Enterprise.

Wrike Customer Review

10. Craft

Average rating (Software Advice, TrustPilot, G2 Crowd, Capterra): 3.82/5

Designed for teams in companies of all sizes across various industries, Craft is a cloud-based software that allows project and product managers to customize workflows, track time spent/progress in Scrum story points and add/update tasks and priority scores as needed. With features such as product road mapping, idea, task and release management, version control, and feedback collection, the tool helps efficiently plan product releases, milestones and initiatives within a project.

Users who try out the free 14-day trial and decide to buy can choose from three plans: Essential = $39/month/user, Pro = $89/month/user, and Enterprise = price established after sales consultation.

Craft Customer Review

Roadmap Software for Mac

Taking into consideration the clear tendency towards cloud-based roadmap solutions, we also recommend the free, online project scheduler from Office Timeline. Using the easy drag & drop interface of this relatively new web tool, you can create and update product roadmaps directly in your browser, and then download them as PowerPoint slides or .png images to present in meetings.

Summary

Choosing the right product roadmap software for your team and organization can be overwhelming. We hope this user review analysis will help you make an informed decision as to what option is best suited for you

How Better Task Management Could Overcome Procrastination

EProject Management Template for PowerPoint

The phenomenon of putting off any type of task that needs to be completed by a certain deadline is called procrastination. A commonly cited "culprit" causing this type of behavior is laziness, leading to the judgmental opinion that procrastinators are somehow morally faulty, disorganized, weak-willed or unmotivated.

However, more and more studies come to refute this misconception, claiming that procrastination is neither shameful, nor a character flaw, but a result of various situational constraints. To bolster this statement, many specialists have pointed out that procrastination is especially manifested when the task in question is meaningful to its undertaker (who cares about performing it well).

Social psychologist and professor at Loyola University Chicago’s School of Continuing & Professional Studies Devon Price is one of the supporters of the idea that procrastination is not a consequence of laziness, but a functioning problem stemming from two major causes:

  1. Anxiety about the final outcome not being good enough (perfectionism);
  2. Confusion and doubts about how to initiate the task (executive functioning challenge).

In other words, procrastination has nothing to do with moral conduct or motivation, but mostly with fear of failure or the uncertainty about how to begin a complex undertaking. Procrastinators would often will themselves to work for hours, but end up paralyzed in front of a blank Word document, piling on the guilt and worsening their level of stress.

The key solution to such instances, Devon Price suggests, is to identify which of the two above is the source of obstruction and:

  1. If anxiety is the impediment, you need to walk away from the task and engage in a relaxing activity. This should act like a restart button.
  2. If you don’t know how to begin the task, you should divide the main activity into a series of specific subtasks and organize them on a timeline to better track progress. It creates a psychological shift in the way you perceive the challenge at hand (an overall massive project vs. smaller, separate activities that you can tackle one by one).

Applying this strategy becomes even easier when using external structuring tools, such as the intuitive PowerPoint add-in called Office Timeline, which helps you turn your to-do list, schedule or activity plan into a beautiful and clear timeline. You can kick-start the process with our slide here (which is free to copy and share), and can add more milestones and tasks to the graphic using the Plus version of the tool.

Download the Project Management Template for PowerPoint or choose any other free templates from our gallery.



Quickly turn project data into professional timelines

Build stunning, uncomplicated timelines and Gantt charts that are easy to make and simple to communicate. Get the advanced features of Office Timeline Plus free for 14 days.

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Microsoft’s Insert Data from Picture Tool for Excel Users

Microsoft insert data from picture tool

Professionals who rely on Excel to organize and process data for various purposes have one more reason to enjoy using this platform as its developer, Microsoft, has launched a new tool for Android phones that allows users to turn a photo of data into an Excel spreadsheet. The Android app’s Insert Data from Picture feature lets you capture an image of data displayed in rows and columns on a piece of paper and automatically converts it into editable table data. Apart from numbers, one can also turn lists and recipes into the well-known tabular form.

The main process involves taking a photo of the data in question and sending it to Excel’s online image-recognition engine to process and change it into a table. During the import, you’re given the possibility to alter any detail before its conversion. Microsoft said that the iOS version of Excel would be soon available as well.

Here are the main few steps you need to take to turn phone photos into Excel table data:

1. Open the Android Excel app and tap the New button at the top. This will create a new file and you can choose to either format it as a blank workbook or start from one of the templates available.

2. Go to the bottom of the app and tap the Data from Picture button. As a first-time user, you will also need to tap Allow to give Microsoft permission to convert the image to data in order to proceed.

3. Place the red rectangle around the data you need and tap the Capture button. You might be prompted to repeat the process if the image is not very clear and the app cannot identify the data.

4. Once the image is captured, tap the red check button to commence the conversion process. If want to start again, tap the X.

5. In the preview section which appears, tap the red-highlighted cells and then Edit to start entering missing information; to make corrections or changes to the existing data, you need to tap un-highlighted cell. Tap Done after each edit.

6. When you’ve finished editing, tap Insert at the top to position the data in your workbook.

Part of Microsoft’s suite of Office apps for mobile devices, the Android Excel app can help users save time importing their data to other relevant tools that integrate with Excel, such as PowerPoint. As developers of an intuitive add-in that turns Excel data (and not only) into beautiful slides right inside PowerPoint, the Office Timeline team can only welcome this great addition to the range of data processing tools on the market.

Guest Post: Using Office Timeline to Communicate Detailed Engineering Schedules

Hello, I'm Mannix and I've been working for years in project control roles on industrial engineering projects in the oil and gas, pharmaceutical and infrastructure industries. Over the years, I have experienced several poorly planned, chaotic and demoralizing projects. These experiences motivated me to find and document the tools, process and techniques that allowed for the thoughtful, efficient and well executed project delivery.

In this article, I will explain how I use Office Timeline to convert Primavera P6 schedules into easy to understand project plans. I have found this approach to work really well when planning, communicating and executing on engineering projects.

How to Plan for Engineering Projects

Planning an oil and gas engineering project means coordinating thousands of activities. The activities define how the engineering, procurement and construction phases of the project interrelate with each other, and therefore must be developed and organized in great detail.

Enterprise planning systems such as Primavera P6 are typically used to plan the activities and align the project schedule to the cost estimate. The finalized detailed schedule then forms the basis of the contractual relationships between the contractors and suppliers who will work on the project.

One of the dangers of a detailed project schedule is that the forest gets lost for the trees. A comprehensive project schedule for a large oil and gas engineering project quickly turns into a very large document, often up to forty pages long. While it describes the work that needs to be done, it does not communicate the overall plan for the project very clearly. All the pages of data hide the key project activities and deliverables that need to be understood in order for the project to be a success.

As a project planner, I get around this problem by creating two documents. The first is the project schedule, which breaks the project scope into executable chunks and identifies the logical steps needed to get the work done. The second is a project plan, which clearly communicates the key phases and milestones for a project. Read on, and I’ll try to explain the differences in more detail.

Project Plan versus Project Schedule

Simply put, a project plan tells us about where we are going and a project schedule tells us how we are going to get there. Let's discuss them one by one.

What a Project Schedule Does:

1. Defines what - Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

The WBS is the basis of project management. It breaks the project down into logical pieces and allows the time, cost and scope of a project to be managed.

2. Defines who - Organisational Breakdown Structure (OBS)

This allows each person working on the project to see the activities that they are working on and the key interfaces that they are responsible for.

3. Schedules the work

This means that the logical relationships between project activities and work packages are correctly applied. The resulting sequence means that activities are started and finished in the right order.

4. Defines the time phased budget

The project schedule can be matched with the cost estimate to produce a time phased budget. This gives the project team the likely manpower and cost over the project timeline. This is critical for accurate project staffing and cashflow.

What a Project Plan Does:

1. Identifies the products and milestones

The key project deliverables and milestone dates are identified. This allows the project outcomes to interact with the business objectives of the project.

2. Allows non-experts to understand the project

Project decision makers often do not have the knowledge of the experts who work on a project. The project plan should give everyone involved with the project a working knowledge of the execution strategy and the project outputs.

3. Allows a project manager to sell the value of the project

Being able to clearly tie the project objectives to a detailed project schedule makes everyone feel confident about the overall project management team. An easy to communicate project plan is a vital part of doing this.

How I use Office Timeline to create a project plan from Primavera P6 data

For a project management team, the plan must be sold to a client group and possibly a number of vendor and supplier organisations. In order to do this effectively, the project must be communicated succinctly, preferably on a single page.

When I develop a detailed schedule in Primavera P6, I export the activities and dates into an Excel workbook. I can then import this file into the Office Timeline plugin in Powerpoint. The benefit of this is that as the project details are tweaked, I can easily update the P6 schedule and the Excel export and have an accurate project schedule and project plan for the project team to use.

To do this in Office Timeline is easy. I take my schedule in Primavera P6 and copy the data by clicking select all in the edit field and pressing control+c to copy all the text.

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I then paste the data into an Excel file and save the file in a suitable folder. This file will be the link between my Primavera P6 schedule and the project plan in Office Timeline. Whenever I update my Primavera P6 schedule I update the Excel file and refresh the changes into Office Timeline.

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I then open PowerPoint and use the import function in the Office Timeline ribbon.

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From here I can select the activities and milestones that I want included on my project plan. I generally use a mix of WBS descriptions, activities and milestones from my Primavera P6 schedule to create a meaningful project plan.

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And here you have it, a concise and easily understood project plan.

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I hope you have found the distinction between a project plan and a project schedule useful as you develop engineering schedules with your project teams. And when it comes to communicating your plan, I have found the combination of Office Timeline and a detailed Primavera P6 schedule to work really well. It brings together two powerful professional tools to make a project planner's life easier.

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Taylor Croonquist
Mannix Carney is a project planner based in Calgary, Canada, with over 15 years of experience in planning in the oil, gas and pharmaceutical industries. He writes about Primavera P6 and project planning for large scale projects at www.ProjectPlanningHq.com.







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