Enhancing a Visio Timeline

Configuring a Visio TimelineThis Visio tutorial video continues the work begun in the last tutorial by adding some new features and detail to the Timeline.  The basic structure of the Timeline is broken into phases and the addition of Milestone shapes help to make it clear when a significant stage of the project has been reached.

Making enhancements to a Visio Timeline

There are a number of ways in which a Visio Timeline can be modified, and in this tutorial we look at several of them. If you want to alter the physical appearance of a Visio Timeline, you can always add one of the many background shapes to create a background page with a graphical appearance, but in this tutorial we leave our Visio drawing a blank.

Adding a milestone shape to a Visio Timeline

Milestones are traditionally tasks in a project with no duration. In other words, they are representative of stages in the project which have been completed. You can add milestone shapes to a Visio Timeline in exactly the same way as you can in Microsoft Project, and in fact in Visio, there are more options for formatting your milestone that you would find in Project. As soon as you drag a milestone shape from the stencil onto the drawing page, the usual configure dialogue box opens and allows you to change the dates. The traditional shape for a milestone is a diamond, so this is what we use in the tutorial.

Enlarging an Interval shape in a Visio Timeline

The other enhancement featured in the tutorial for this Visio Timeline is to enlarge one of the interval shapes that represents a phase in the project. This is useful when not enough detail is displayed by default, as the interval shape for a particular phase may be too small. More than one interval shape can be included in an Expanded Timeline shape, and once again a Configure dialogue box will appear so that you can change the duration of that particular part of your Visio Timeline.

In our example, we take the first two interval shapes that represent the planning and development phases and use an Expanded Timeline shape to include them both. We then add further details to the expanded timeline shape, and also demonstrate how anything headed to the primary Visio Timeline is automatically repeated on the Expanded Timeline but that the process does not happen in reverse. We finished the tutorial by adding an additional milestone shape to the Extended Timeline and displaying an “amount completed” bar to give a visual indication of progress.

Enhancing a Visio timeline

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