Microsoft KB Archive/254681

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Article ID: 254681

Article Last Modified on 11/25/2003


  • Visio 5.0 Standard
  • Visio 5.0 Professional
  • Visio 5.0 Technical
  • Visio 5.0 Enterprise

This article was previously published under Q254681


With the powerful new tools that come with the Visio 5.0 Project Timeline solution, you can create dynamic, data-driven Gantt charts that are easy to update. You can also import and export Microsoft Project data or use the same data that you used with previous versions of the Project Timeline Wizard to create project timelines.

When you make a change in a dynamic Gantt chart, any part of the chart that is related to that shape or data is updated automatically. For example, if you change a task's end date, the task bar is updated to show the change, as do shapes and data that are set as dependent tasks.

Creating a Timeline

To create the framework for a new timeline or a complete timeline based on an existing data source, open the Project Timeline Wizard template and follow the instructions on the wizard pages.

NOTE: You can also run the Project Timeline Wizard by dropping the Project Frame shape from the Project Timeline stencil to the drawing page.

For more information about working with data sources, see "Creating drawings from external data" and "Creating project timelines from data files," in Visio Help.

Using Microsoft Project (.mpx) Files with Visio Timelines

A .mpx file is a text file that you can transfer between Project and other programs. With the Visio 5.0 Project Timeline Wizard, you can create a timeline based on an existing .mpx file. You can also export a Visio timeline in MPX format by clicking Export Project on the Project menu.

NOTE: The Project menu appears only when the Project Timeline template is open and active.

Updating Project Timelines from Earlier versions of Visio

You can open existing project timelines in Visio 5.0 products, but you cannot use them as they are with the Visio 5.0 tools.

If you used a data file to create timelines in earlier versions of Visio, you can still use the same data source to create a new timeline with the Visio 5.0 Project Timeline Wizard. If you did not use a data file to create the timelines, but you want to be able to update them to take advantage of the Visio 5.0 tools, you can do one of the following:

  • Create a new data file that contains the timeline information, and then run the Project Timeline Wizard to generate a new timeline based on the new data file.

  • Run the Project Timeline Wizard and create the framework for a new timeline that you create from scratch.

For instructions on creating a data file on the framework for a new project timeline, search on "Project Timeline" in Visio Help or see Project Timeline Wizard Template Help.

To edit the timeline, drag new shapes onto it or right-click a shape in the timeline to modify its properties. For more information on creating timelines with the new Project Timeline Solution, search on "Project Timeline" in Visio Help.

If using the new tools is not important, you can open the timeline that you created in an earlier version of Visio and edit it the way that you did previously.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

How do I move the entire timeline?

A project timeline is made up of several shapes that are contained within the Project Frame shape. The Project Frame shape controls all of the shapes, so to move the timeline and all the shapes associated with it, you drag the Project Frame shape.

If you attempt to move the project timeline by selecting all of the shapes and dragging them, the shapes within the frame become disassociated and lose functionality. If this occurs, reassociate the shapes by moving the project frame.

[GRAPHIC: Picture of project frame being moved]
Move the entire timeline by dragging the frame.

How can I resolve errors I get when I use a data file with the Project Timeline Wizard?

If Visio generates error messages when you try to use a data file with the Project Timeline Wizard, check the following:

  • Make sure the source data is an Excel workbook (.xls), a text file (.txt), or a Microsoft Project (.mpx) file. These are the file formats the wizard is compatible with.

  • Check the data for spelling errors, missing or misplaced commas, and dependencies, and make sure the column headings appear in the correct sequence.

  • Run the Project Timeline Wizard and use the sample data included with Visio 5.0 as the data source. You can find sample data files in the Visio\Samples\Business Diagram folder.

If the sample data files cause errors or if following the other suggestions above does not resolve the errors, you may need to contact Microsoft Product Support Services.

Keywords: kbgraphxlinkcritical kbgraphxlink KB254681