It’s certainly been a very busy 2019 for the TimeTable Visio Team. This quarter’s release of TimeTable Visio includes Multi-page support and some exciting new ways to create Near-Term schedules. Near-Term schedules are small windows of a project schedule that are typically about 6-weeks. Now it's much easier to create these Near-Terms and more importantly, easier to print.
Also included in this release, is a brand-new Abbreviations feature. Abbreviations does exactly what it sounds like: it abbreviates words from your imported schedule. A great example of this is tasks like “Ceiling Grids”, they are usually a 1- or 2-day tasks, however it’s a long phrase that can’t typically fit in its task bar. With Abbreviations, you can automatically rename all tasks called “Ceiling Grids” to anything you want, like “CLG GRD”. Read on below to learn more about it.
We’re excited to roll out these new features, but they’re just a taste of what’s to come in the next few months. Read on to get more details on the October release of TimeTable, along with a little look ahead as to what we have in store for the next release.
The highlight feature of the October 2019 release, Multi-Page support is now here! Now, when you create a new page, a TimeTable time-scale is automatically placed on the sheet. Just click on configure, and select the tasks, scale, range, or any other settings that you want. This was something that our users have been asking for more than anything else, we’re so happy to get it to you.
Now you no longer need to have multiple Visio files for one project. Just one with multiple sheets will do the trick. Multi-page support is only available with the Pro license.
As you read above Abbreviations are a great way to shorten those long task descriptions from your schedule import into something more concise that fits inside shorter task bars. The example above about Ceiling Grids, is a great reason why this is a much-needed feature. With the new version of TimeTable Visio, you’ll get a default abbreviations.csv file which includes almost 100 phrases and words with their corresponding abbreviations. This CSV can be copied and modified, and ultimately imported into your TimeTable Visio Project to automatically re-label your tasknames. You can even keep separate CSV files for different projects.
Remember, hovering your mouse over a task will always show you its original name, and you can always reset the Task Label.
Up next is our Configuration Window which has seen some significant changes. There is significant performance improvement, especially with large projects. We’ve removed buttons and switches that weren’t doing anything. We’ve also added some right click options to the tree to make checking and unchecking WBS easier.
Tree Selection Fixes
There was an error before today’s release, where if a parent WBS was unchecked, and you checked one of its children then neither the parent nor child would get imported. This was a bug that needed a silly work-around, but we fixed it. Now, when you check a child of an unchecked parent, the parent will go into the mixed state and everything will import as you intended.
We’ve learned that TimeTables take between 4x and 10x lesspaper than their Gantt counterparts, not only is it great for the environment,but it also means you are able to communicate your plan more efficiently.However, we did notice almost all of our users would try to import an entire schedule with 1,500 or even 5,000 activities onto a single TimeTable sheet.This meant the sheet of paper that they would try to print was 15’ tall or more.
We’ve also noticed that almost all manually created Visio Schedules had about 4x less the number of tasks than projects of similar size and scope but created in P6 or MS Project. This led to expectations that a TimeTable can and should fit on a single E1 sheet.
To try to tamper the issues with creating TimeTable that are too tall we’ve added Height to the TimeTable metrics Window. Now as you’re adding WBS to a sheet, you’ll get a preview of how tall that sheet will be, with a subtle warning if you go over 34” tall (standard E1 height).
We’ve made the timescale even better. Now week numbers show correctly, in the right size, and we’ve removed some pesky bugs that were showing longer months as shorter than shorter months. We also removed some gaps between months.
WBS Container Improvements
For a while, we were shading WBS Containers so that you can see how many levels in the task was. This made the TimeTables look ugly, so we made them hollow. Now you just see the border of WBS. But even more, now you have complete control of the line and fill for each WBS.
Next, when you are using the “Edit Dates to Print” feature,the WBS Container will show double chevrons where it gets cut off.
Task Shape Improvements
We’ve done away with the “reshape text” command and made shapes more streamlined. First, when the shape text is too large to fit (more than 3 lines of text) inside the task, the text will automatically turn into a callout. When that happens, you’ll see 2 yellow control handles (dots) to move and reshape the text. You can always double-click on the task to give it a more concise label or use our new Abbreviations feature to do this automatically, if the text length then becomes short enough, it'll automatically go back inside the task bar.
The task shape, like the WBS Container, also gets the double chevrons if it gets cut off by the print window.
The print window is another highly requested feature. This allows users to print a small window of their schedule. This was our first stab at it, and it's not perfect, but we have plans to make it better. Please see below about how to contribute to the future of TimeTable.
Keep in mind that rearranging WBS and activities within a print window works, but after doing so it is recommended to not touch the print window again. Be on the lookout for improvements to this in the future.
Links & Relationships
Different name, same thing. We’ve always allowed the import of all links. However, importing and showing all the relationships looked like spaghetti. No more. We’ve defined non-driving links as any link where the lag is equal to or less than the time-distance of the link. These non-driving links are shown as grey when they are displayed. We've then added an option in the Ribbon to hide these non-driving links.
While hiding non-driving links may be enough to satisfy most scenarios, sometimes there still might be too many links shown, so we’ve added the ability to hide any links that occur between two tasks within the same WBS Container, or Intra-WBS links.
We’ve also changed the layout of links. Before, it was all right-angles with rounded corners, but this had the unintended consequence of Visio routing around the WBS Container headers. So, we changed the default to the“straight-line” routing option to avoid this. We like it a lot better, but if you want to change it back or even try the “curved” option, just go to the Design Tab in the ribbon, and then all the way to the right you’ll see the Connectors button to change styles.
- Re-labeling a task with a name longer than the original name results in just the original name
- Adding “Responsible” to manual tasks doesn’t generate respective options in the color legend.
- Manually re-sorting tasks/wbs after a print range has been defined and then re-defining the print range causes unintended shape placement.
- New Page only allows you to place a TimeTable with the same date range as your last TimeTable
What to look forward to
- Direct import from P6
- Manual Mode
- Smart Placement of tasks
- Display Float
- And much more!
Get Support & Contribute to the future of TimeTable Visio
Install TimeTable Visio October 2019 release now
Download TimeTable Visio from our product page here. Note we are still asking for emails so that we can notify you when the next update comes. (we'll eventually get an auto-updater, but until then we need to go the old school way)