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Microsoft KB Archive/254690

From BetaArchive Wiki

PSS ID Number: 254690

Article Last Modified on 11/25/2003

The information in this article applies to:

  • Microsoft Visio Standard 5.0x
  • Microsoft Visio Professional 5.0x
  • Microsoft Visio Technical 5.0x
  • Microsoft Visio Enterprise 5.0x

This article was previously published under Q254690


This article explains how to set up an external data file correctly for use with the Project Timeline Wizard. It outlines how the wizard uses each field and the order the fields must be in to work properly.

Determining File Format

The Timeline Wizard can use either a text file or a Microsoft Excel data file to generate a timeline. If you use an Excel data file, you will get the best results by starting with the Projmgt.xlt file. This file is an Excel template that ships with Visio 5.0 and later and is designed for use with the Project Timeline Wizard. A sample Projmgt.xls is also included with Visio 5.0 and later.

Creating a Text File

For the wizard to properly format your data, the following line must appear as the first line in the text file, with each field separated by a comma.

Task #, Task Name, Duration, Start Date, End Date, Dependency, Resource

The following table explains each field's purpose in the order in which the fields must appear in the text or data file.

Task #: Required. You must use this in order to use a Dependency. The task number does not show on output.
Task Name Required. Task identifier. Shows on output.
Duration Not required if you have both a Start Date and End Date. If you have a Start Date, you can avoid calculating the End Date by using Duration. Use W for weeks, D for days, M for months.
Start Date If you use Start Date alone, with no End Date or Duration, the wizard inserts a milestone into the timeline at the specified date. If you use End Date and Duration, the wizard calculates the Start Date.
End Date If you use End Date alone, with no Start Date or Duration, the wizard inserts a milestone into the timeline at the specified date. If you use Start Date and Duration, the wizard calculates the End Date.
Dependency Indicates a Dependency of one task upon another. For example, The Start Date of Task 2 depends on the completion date of Task 1. Dependency overrides all date fields. However, Dependencies are not automatically considered. You must choose Custom Format and choose to have dependencies displayed.
Resource Not required. Contact Person, does not show on output.

NOTE: The wizard automatically uses the information in the Duration, Start Date, and End Date fields to create your chart.

To make sure the wizard can create a timeline successfully, the data in the text field

  • must be free of syntax errors.

  • must have a comma for each field, even if there is no data in that field. Otherwise, the wizard puts the data into the wrong fields, which can cause it to fail. For example, in the sample text file in the "Sample Data" section, Task #1 has no Dependency, but the extra comma works as a place holder.

Sample Data

The following is an example of a text file for a project timeline. You can copy this information into Notepad and save it as a .txt file.

Task #,Task Name,Duration,Start Date,End Date,Dependency,Resource
1,Write Outline for Procedure,30 d,7/17/95,8/15/95,,Joe
2,Write Procedure,16 d,7/17/95,8/1/95,,Sam
3,Review Procedure,23 d,7/17/95,8/8/95,,Kory
4,Field Test Procedure,2 w,8/9/95,8/22/95,,Tech
5,Final Approval,,8/23/95,,4,Program Team

Keywords: KB254690
Technology: kbVisio500xSearch kbVisioSearch kbZNotKeyword3