Client and executives expect to see proposals and project plans in PowerPoint. Microsoft Project 2007, 2010 and 2013 are strong project planning tools but their ability to work with visuals can be cumbersome and the charts Microsoft Project produces can be difficult for executive audiences to follow. In this Microsoft Project tutorial I will demonstrate two different options for preparing your project plan so it is suitable for a PowerPoint presentation.
1. The first Microsoft Project tutorial demonstrates how to use some of Project’s hidden tools. This tutorial will show you how to find and use the Gantt Chart Wizard and Task Bar Format tool to prepare your visual, and then the Copy Picture feature to build and copy your visual. The end result will be an image created in Microsoft Project and pasted into PowerPoint as a static slide.
2. The second Microsoft Project tutorial will demonstrate how to export Microsoft Project data natively into a PowerPoint with a Gantt chart add-in from Office Timeline. This method will instantly make a Gantt chart slide (image above) out of your project data, and that slide can easily be formatted, edited and updated right inside PowerPoint.
It is a good practice to keep project visuals for client and executive presentations simple and easy to understand. Microsoft Project’s Gantt Chart Wizard is one place that can help you do this. You can quickly make styling changes to your project visual using the Gantt Chart Wizard. It will allow you to easily select what kind of detail will be displayed. For some unknown reason the Gantt Chart Wizard is somewhat hidden in Microsoft Project so you will first need to add it to the ribbon by following these steps.
Click on File -> Click on Options -> Click on Customize Ribbon.
In the right column beneath the header Main Tabs, right-click the tab in which you want to add the Gantt Chart Wizard button and select Add New Group. This will add a new section to that tab of your Microsoft Project ribbon.
The new section will be listed at New Group (Custom). Right click on New Group (Custom) and rename it then click OK. I called mine Visual Tools.
At the top left side of the Project Options window under Choose commands, select Commands Not in the Ribbon.
Scroll down the left column and select Gantt Chart Wizard. Highlight the new group you just created in step c above and click Add then OK.
You will now see the Gantt Chart Wizard in Microsoft Project’s ribbon. In my example I placed it on the Task tab in the section I added called Visual Tools.
Click on the Gantt Chart Wizard button and the first styling option you get is to select what type of Gantt information you want to display. My preference for client and executive reporting is to keep project visuals simple to understand. In the example I selected to display only standard information.
The second step of the Gantt Chart Wizard allows you to select text you want to display alongside your tasks bars. To keep my Gantt chart clean I selected dates only, and omitted adding resources or any other custom information. Further down in this Microsoft Project tutorial I show you how to add additional custom information to any Task Bar.
The final step of the Gantt Chart Wizard is to select whether you want to display links between dependent tasks. I opted not to show these links in an effort to keep my Gantt chart as easy to read as possible.
The Format Bar button will allow you to change the appearance of a single Task Bar or all of the Task Bars in the project plan. It enables you to add important elements to your Gantt chart. In my example I clicked on the Bar Text tab to add titles, durations and % complete details for each Summary Task. I choose to do this only for the Summary Tasks so that Gantt chart stays relatively simple to follow.
Unfortunately the best way to get this chart from Microsoft Project into PowerPoint is to copy and paste. The good news is that Project
does have another useful tool to do this called the Copy Picture tool. The best thing about this tool is that it you can choose which tasks
you want to show in the visual, and which ones to keep hidden by using the Copy selected rows feature. This is useful for paring down
project tasks just to the ones that are critical for your presentation.
On your Task list view in Microsoft Project, select all the Task rows you want displayed in your image (hold CTRL + click to select each item). In the example below I selected all my Summary Tasks rows.
On The Task tab drop down the Copy button to find the Copy Picture control.
Choose to Render image as aGIF file .
Choose to Copy Selected Rows.
Finally, you can trim off some of the empty space to the left or right of your excel timeline by adjusting its minimum and maximum bounds.
Set your timescale and click OK. (in my example I set the timescale as the entire span of my project.)
Now, with you image copied as a GIF, you are ready to drop it into your project slide. Unfotuantely it is still a static image that cannot be resized or eidited natively or in PowerPoint. Read the section below to learn how to export you Gantt data natively to PowerPoint.
Microsoft Project is designed for Project planning. Microsoft PowerPoint is a visual application and far better suited for creating the type of visuals client and executive expect. Office Timeline is a Gantt chart add-in for PowerPoint. It imports data directly from Microsoft Project and transforms it into rich visual Gantt charts instantly. Since these Charts are a native PowerPoint slides, they can be opened, shared, presented, updated or edited by any client or team member who has Microsoft Office and is familiar with PowerPoint.
In the post below I will show you how to quickly import Microsoft Project data directly into PowerPoint using Office Timeline’s Microsoft Project import wizard. To begin you will need to install Office Timeline Plus, which will add a Gantt chart maker and timeline maker tab to the PowerPoint ribbon (image below.)
Open PowerPoint, click on the Office Timeline tab and click The New Timeline button.
From the timeline template gallery select Import and click the Check to get to the Microsoft Project Import Wizard.
To browse to your Microsoft Project mpp file click on click on the Select a project file button which will open the file browser. I have named the template I used Microsoft Tutorial MPP and placed it in the downloadable section above.
Select what MS Project data you would like to show on your slide from the mpp import list view in Office Timeline. You can also choose who you would like to display them.
Office Timeline will instantly create a PowerPoint Gantt chart slide from your Microsoft Project data. Mine looked like this and it took less than 1 minutes to make.
From there you can make any customization. They are all easily available in the Office Timeline wizard. For example you could change colors, shape, text position, add percent complete or change the timescale from months to weeks. All of this is easily done by using the controls on the Office Timeline ribbon.. remove