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A Swimlane Timeline Blog
Does the Windows Region Date Format matter?
The Swimlane Timeline expects that the Windows OS date format is set to a format that has a 4-digit year setting (yyyy).  If you change it to some other setting, for example a 2-digit year setting (yy), then you could get the following error when you launch the Swimlane Timeline:
 
Windows Region Date Format Error

Check in your “Control Panel\Clock, Language, and Region\Region” option and verify that your Short date and Long date settings have the default 4-digit year (yyyy) format as shown below:

 

Windows Region 4-Digit Year

Does the Swimlane Timeline work if I am using non-English versions of Visio, Office and Project?
 

Yes, the Swimlane Timeline does work with non-English versions of Visio, Office and Project, but there are a couple of setting changes you may need to make:

 

1) Ensure the MS Project “Display Language” is set to English as shown below:

  •  Open MS Project and select “File/Options/Language”
  • Make sure the "Display" Language is set to English

       Project Display Language

 

How do I start the Swimlane Timeline from within Visio?
 

Open Visio then "File/New" and by default you will see the "Featured" Visio solutions.  Now select to see all solution "Categories".  Navigate to the "Visibility" Folder and double-click on the "Swimlane Timeline Solution" preview icon.

Preview Icon

From then on you will see the Swimlane Timeline offered in the default "Featured" Visio solutions section.

Visio Featured Solutions

How can I change the default width of the swimlane title area?
You can quickly and easily override the default width of the swimlane title text box area by clicking on the right side of the swimlane title block area (you will see the line endpoints as shown below) and then click-and-drag the line either right or left to increase or decrease the swimlane title area.
 
Swimlane Title Width
The Swimlane Timeline menus are no longer showing in Visio.  How can I fix this?
Windows can sometimes turn off all application add-ins.  If you don't see the Swimlane Timeline menus in Visio anymore when starting the Swimlane Timeline from the desktop shortcut, then try the following:
 

Go to “Visio/Files/Options/Add-ins” and change the “Manage” option, located at the bottom of the dialogue, from "COM Add-ins" to be “Disabled Items” instead and select "Go..." COM Add-in

 

If you see that the Swimlane Timeline is currently disabled, then select it, and re-enable it.  Close Visio, and restart the Swimlane Timeline from the desktop shortcut and you will now see the Swimlane Timeline menus are again visible.

How can I use a custom task text field (e.g., Text23) instead of the default "Name" field as my task label?
If you would like to use Text23 as your milestone task nickname to be displayed instead of the “Name” field, then go to the “ST Manage/Text” option to create a custom named text setting.  Select “Define New”, then give the custom setting a name (for example, Nickname), and then “Edit” the type of shapes you would like to change. 
 
In your example, you might change the “Milestone Text” to be ‘Text23” instead of “Name” field as shown below:
 
Custom Named Text Setting
Once created, from then on you can access the custom named text setting, in this case called “Nickname”, from the main “Swimlane Timeline/Text” option.
 
Can I use Visio native Data Graphics feature with the Swimlane Timeline shapes?
 

Yes, you can apply Data Graphics on Swimlane Timeline shapes.  The only requirements are that you have Visio Professional and that you save your Swimlane Timeline report as a Visio VSD or VSDX file before you apply the Data Graphics.  In the example below, a Data Graphic has been applied to all shapes that shows a checkbox in the top right position of tasks that are 100% complete.

 

Swimlane Timeline with Data Graphics

 

NOTE: After performing a Refresh, you can use the Swimlane Timeline "Select All Tasks" option to quickly re-apply the Data Graphics to all shapes.

How do I determine if I have 32bit or 64bit Visio installed?
Most Swimlane Timeline users are working in an environment with 32bit Visio/Office/Project applications, but there is a small percentage of users who have the 64bit version of Visio/Office/Project installed and that requires a special 64bit Swimlane Timeline installation.  To determine if you have 32bit or 64bit Visio depends on the Visio version you are using.
Visio 2010
Go to "File/Help" and then check the "About Microsoft Visio" section of the dialogue , and the 32bit or 64bit designation is displayed at the end of the Visio version number.
 
Visio 2013 & Visio 2016
Go to "File/Account/About" and the 32bit or 64bit designation is displayed at the end of the Visio version number located in the top line of the dialogue.
How do I show WORK field values in Summary Fields
The WORK field values typically show with "hrs" in MS Project so they are non-numeric when read into the Swimlane Timeline, and therefore, they do not work with the Summary Fields option.  An easy solution is to use a custom task "number" field (in the example below, Number1), and have it based on the formula “[Work]/60”.  In the example screenshot below we have used the column right-click "Custom Fields" option to rename Number1 to be “Work2”, and you will see that we based it on that formula, and we also check the “Use formula” for Summary Rows too.  The Work2 field strips off the “hrs” and makes it a number value.  Then in the Swimlane Timeline refer to the Work2 field in the “Summary Fields” option.

 

Work as a Number

How do I add a Finish Date Marker?
Use the "Swimlane Timeline/Date Marker" option to display any date field as a marker on a task. You can override the default date format by selecting "Custom" and following the help box guidance (upper & lowercase matter).
 
For example, if you want to show the Finish Date Marker above the task, and in the format 2 digit Day/3 letter Month/4 digit Year, then you would select "Add" a marker, select the "Finish" field, check "Marker on Top", and use the custom date display setting of dd/MMM/yyyy as shown below:
 
Finish Date Marker
 
This setting will result in displaying the Finish Date Marker as shown below:
Date Marker Result
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