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Download

Browse to timelineexpert.com and choose ‘My Account’ from the menu.

Select ‘Downloads’.

Click the link to download the latest version.

Accept the terms and conditions and then click ‘Download’.

Save the zip file on your system to a location of your choosing. You’re done.

Install

Unzip the file that you downloaded from timelineexpert.com by right-clicking on the zip file and choosing ‘Extract All…’

Choose a directory where you’d like to extract the files to – you can just accept the default, which will extract to a new folder in the location where you downloaded the zip file to.  Click ‘Extract’.

You should now have a folder that contains the installation files.

Open the folder and you should see 2 files – ‘setup.exe’ and ‘TimelineExpertSetup.msi’.

Right-click on setup.exe and choose ‘Run as administrator’.

You will be prompted to confirm that you’re happy to run the installation program – simply accept this.

You will now see the installer – just accept all of default settings by clicking ‘Next’.

Click ‘Close’ to finish.  You have successfully installed Timeline Expert.

 

 

Install - Potential Extra Steps

On some systems there are additional steps that may be required. When you open PowerPoint for the first time following installation, you should see the Timeline Expert splash screen.

If this doesn’t appear, there are 1 or 2 things that you may have to do once PowerPoint has launched as follows.

Application Add-Ins Disabled

If you see a message telling you that application add-ins have been disabled, this is because you have PowerPoint set up to only run add-ins that are from trusted sources. The message looks like this:

To trust a source PowerPoint needs to see a digital signature in the add-in that is from a publisher that it knows about, and trusts. To do this click on the link that is the text ‘Application add-ins have been disabled’. This takes you to the Information screen. Click the drop-down ‘Enable Content’ and choose ‘Advanced Options’.

You will now be given the option to trust all applications from the publisher Arity Solutions – the publisher of the Timeline Expert application. Choose this option to avoid having to enable Timeline Expert every time you want to use it.

The Add-In Isn’t Turned On

If you don’t see the security waning as described above, then the Timeline Expert add-in hasn’t been turned-on during installation. Once in PowerPoint click ‘File’ from the menu, and then choose ‘Options’.

Now select ‘Add-ins’ and, with ‘COM Add-ins’ selected click ‘Go’.

Click the check-box next to Timeline Expert and click ‘OK.

If Timeline Expert doesn’t appear in the list, click ‘Add…’ and, if you’re running the 32-bit version of Office, navigate to the file:

C:\Program Files (x86)\TimelineExpert\adxloader.dll’

If you’re running the 64-bit version of Office, navigate to the file:

C:\Program Files (x86)\TimelineExpert\adxloader64.dll’

Timeline Expert will be added to the list of add-ins, ensure that it’s checked and click ‘OK’.

 

Licences Overview

When you buy licences for Timeline Expert you can manage who in your organisation can use each one at any time.

You manage the assignment of your licences using the Timeline Expert web-site at timelineexpert.com.

When you assign a colleague to a licence they will then activate their installed version of the software by entering their email address and the licence-key that you assign to them in the Timeline Expert web-site. Assuming that these details match what you set up (email address and licence-key) then they will be able to use Timeline Expert on their PC.

If you’d like to assign a licence to a different person, you can un-assign from the first person and assign to the new person.

If a person who has been set-up with a licence changes their PC, you’ll have to reassign the licence to them also.

Once activated, a licence is tied to a person using the machine on which they first activated the licence that you assigned to them – this is why you will need to un-assign and then re-assign if they change their PC.

Manage Licences

Login to timelineexpert.com and select ‘Licences’ from the ‘My Account’ Page.

You’ll now be presented with a list of all of the licences that you have purchased or received in the free trial. This list will include any that have also expired (check the ‘Expiry Date’ field).

In order to assign a licence to someone click ‘Edit’ next to the licence. Once in the edit screen add the person’s first name, surname and email address and click ‘Save’.

You will be returned to the list of your licences and the person who you’ve assigned will now be visible. You can email the licence key directly to the individual by clicking the ‘Email Licence to User’ link.

That’s it – you’ve successfully set up a licence for a user.

If you want to disassociate a licence from a user – either because you are transferring the licence to someone else, or, the person has changed their PC, you can do this by clicking ‘Clear User’. Once done, you can set up the new user as you did before.

If you’d like details of all of your licences to be sent to you in an email, click the ‘Email’ button at the top of the page – all licences will be emailed you in a comma separated file (csv) by email.

 

Register Licence

You will have been provided with a licence key by your administrator – this is a 32 character unique string called a GUID (globally unique ID). Here’s an example:

208f3e0e-7c49-4310-83f7-b659b63c7d9c

The first time that you open Microsoft PowerPoint after Timeline Expert has been installed, you will be prompted to provide your licence key and email address.

Enter your details in the boxes and press ‘Register Licence’. Your licence will be registered and the details displayed.

That’s it, you’re registered. Either click ‘OK’ or simply wait a second, and you’ll be taken in to Power Point.

 

 

 

 

Drawing a Chart Manually

When you open PowerPoint you will see that there is a new ribbon tab – Timeline Expert.

The controls in the Timeline Expert tab are all context sensitive – they will be available depending on which elements of the chart you have selected at the time.

If you have not yet drawn a chart, there will be only three items available to you:

  • Insert – Gantt Chart: this is a drop-down button and is used to insert a new chart.
  • Import – Project: this allows you to create a chart by importing the data from MS Project.
  • Format – Theme: this allows you to change the colours and fonts by choosing your preferred theme.

We are going to select ‘Insert – Gantt Chart’ and then choose ‘Date Mode’.

A new Gantt chart will be drawn. It will contain rows, but no tasks or milestones.

To select the chart in order to change overall chart settings, move the chart or resize the chart you must click in the top left-hand corner – you also use this area to move the chart around the page. A hand-icon will appear when you have the chart selected and your cursor is in this area.

You can change the overall date range of the chart by selecting it and choosing ‘Set Date Range’. Other chart related items are in the ‘Grid’ section of the ribbon.

Tasks and milestones are drawn on rows – you can add as many tasks and/or milestones to a row as you like (and you can add or remove as many rows as you like). To add a task, first highlight the row that you want to add it to. The option ‘Insert – Task’ will now be available to you.

Click the icon to insert a task onto the row that you have selected.

In order to edit the task, first select the task. At this point task related icons in the ribbon will be enabled, that will enable you to change the dates and RAG or colour etc. Note that you can also drag a task to where you need it to go, and resize it as you would with other shapes in PowerPoint.

All of the controls are described in another help topic – for now we suggest that you have a go.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Import from MS Project

Use the MS Project button in the ‘Import’ section to import data from MS Project.

You’ll be presented with a wizard that will take you through a few simple steps to import the data that you need and present it in the way you want it to be displayed.

First choose your MS Project file.  Once selected click ‘Next’.


Click next and add your filter information.  This is how your tasks will be selected for import.  You can choose from a number of task fields, including Name, Start, Finish, Summary, Milestone, any of the custom Flag fields, and any of the custom Text fields.

For this example I’m choosing to filter on ‘Flag1=yes’ – I’ve already added the custom field ‘Flag1’ to my MS Project plan, and I’ve set the value to ‘yes’ for the tasks that I want to import.

 

In the next section you provide settings for how tasks are displayed.  In this example I’m going to change where the tasks’ RAG statuses come from – the custom field ‘Text10’, which I’ve already set up in my MS Project file with ‘Red’, ‘Amber’, ‘Green’, or ‘Complete’, note that the default RAG is ‘Green’ if no value is provided.

I’m not importing baseline data in this example – this is covered in another example.  I’m also using the ‘Name’ field from the tasks for the display, which is the default.  Any of the custom text fields can also be used.

In the next section you provide settings for how the grid will appear.  In this example I’m only changing one setting from the default – the ‘Swim Lane Layout’.  I’ve set this to ‘Manual’ and am using values in the custom field ‘Text1’ to control which swim-lane tasks are placed in when the chart is drawn.

 

When you click ‘Next’ Timeline Expert will import the data from your MS Project file and will display how many tasks it has imported in the Summary step.  This allows you to go back before completing the process if you need to.  In my example I’ve imported 11 tasks with the filter that I applied.

Clicking ‘Next’ will then draw the chart.

That’s it – the tasks identified in the filter drawn in a Gantt Chart in PowerPoint.

Automation

You can automate the import of data from MS Project using a macro in PowerPoint. All of the settings that you enter in the import wizard you can use in the macro to create a plan on a page.
First ensure that the ‘Developer’ tab is shown in the ribbon in PowerPoint by choosing ‘Customise the Ribbon’ from the drop-down menu when right-clicking on the ribbon.


 

Now you’re going to add a reference to the Timeline Expert type library that will enable you to use the API in VBA macros. Open the Visual Basic editor by choosing ‘Visual Basic’ from the ‘Developer’ tab.


 

From the menu choose ‘Tools, References’ and click the ‘Browse’ button.


 

Navigate to and choose the type library file:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Timeline Expert\timelineexpert.tlb

Click ‘OK’ when you’re in the ‘References’ dialog box. You’re now able to use the API.

Now you can use the API to automate the import from MS Project. Start by adding a new sub-routine to a module and then you can start to add the code below.

To automate the import you’re going to use three objects – an Automator, a Filter and a Settings object. Start by defining these objects:

Dim objAutomator As TimelineExpert.automator
Dim objFilter As TimelineExpert.filter
Dim objSettings As TimelineExpert.importsettings

Now instantiate these objects:

Set objAutomator = New TimelineExpert.automator
Set objFilter = New TimelineExpert.filter
Set objSettings = New TimelineExpert.importsettings

Let’s set up the filter first:

objFilter.DataType = DataType_Bool
objFilter.BoolValue = True
objFilter.Operator = FilterOperator_Equals
objFilter.FieldName = “Flag1”

For our example we’re using a filter based on the custom field ‘Flag1’ with its value set to ‘yes’. The type here is ‘Bool’, which is short for ‘Boolean’, which is ether true (yes) or false (no). You can choose any other flag or text (custom) field, or from a number of standard fields in MS Project to apply your filter. If you choose a date field then you’ll need to provide either one or two dates also in the filter properties ‘Date1’ and ‘Date2’. Simply use the options available to you in the wizard for reference.

Set up the type of import and the path to the MS Project file.

objSettings.FilePath = “C:\project1.mpp”
objSettings.Source = ImportSourceApplication_Project

Now let’s set up the rest of the settings, starting with task settings:

objSettings.RagFieldName = “Text10”
objSettings.BaselineSource = BaselineImportSource_None
objSettings.TaskLabelFieldName = “Name”

Notice that we’re storing the RAG value in the MS Project custom field ‘Text10’, and that we’re not importing baseline data in this example.

Now add the grid settings:

objSettings.LayoutSwimLanesManually = True
objSettings.LayoutSwimLaneFieldName = “Text1”
objSettings.ThemeName = “Theme 1”
objSettings.MaxRowsPerPage = 20
objSettings.SetSpecificGridDates = False

Notice that we’re setting up the swim-lanes manually and assigning tasks to swim-lanes using the custom MS Project field ‘Text1’. We’re relying on grid dates being set automatically too.

To complete the set-up of the settings object we need to reference the filter that we set up as follows:

set objSettings.filter = objFilter

The final step is to run the automation using the ‘Automator’ object that we created earlier. In order to do this we need a starting slide reference to be set up. In this example we add a new slide and set its layout to match the first slide in the current presentation. You can choose to do this however you like. Here’s how to set up the slide reference:

Dim objSlide As Slide
Dim pptLayout As CustomLayout
Dim lngNewSlideIndex As Long
Set pptLayout = ActivePresentation.Slides(1).CustomLayout
lngNewSlideIndex = ActivePresentation.Slides.Count + 1
Set objSlide = PowerPoint.ActivePresentation.Slides.AddSlide(lngNewSlideIndex, pptLayout)

Finally we call the automation method passing the settings object that we created earlier, the slide reference that we’ve just created, the chart’s title, and also position and size information about the chart using the values ‘Top’, ‘Left’, ‘Width’ and ‘Height’.

objAutomator.CreateGanttChart objSlide, 50, 100, 500, 300, objSettings, “Delivery Plan on a Page”

Now run the macro that you created and the automated import will run.

You can download a working version of this from this link.

Note that to make this work on your system you will have to change the path to your MS Project file in the macro, and you may have to re-apply the reference to the Timeline Expert type library as described above.