Applies to

Smartsheet
  • Business
  • Enterprise

Track date-based work with timeline view

Timeline view displays date-based work on a horizontal timeline. Use timeline view to create project roadmaps, or to plan, track, and manage tasks, work, and portfolios.

PLANS

  • Smartsheet
  • Business
  • Enterprise

When you switch to timeline view, the look and layout of the sheet controls are different, and some features, such as the file menu, access to forms, and automations may not yet be available. 

 

If you don’t have a business or enterprise plan, you need to upgrade in order to use timeline view. Reach out to your plan manager or contact support to upgrade. 

 

Timeline view allows you to:

  • See date-based work on a timeline
  • Group data into horizontal lanes and filter down to specific items
  • View and edit milestone and bar details
  • Zoom in or out to see more or less data 
  • Scroll to see future or past work
Brandfolder Image
timeline view

Access timeline view

On a sheet, navigate to the top toolbar where you can switch views, and select Timeline.

Configure your sheet for timeline view

If a sheet has no date columns, the Timeline option in the sheet layout switcher is not selectable.

Timeline is available in any sheet with at least one date column (that is not backed by a column formula). All items with a date provided will appear as a milestone (diamond) on the timeline. Any items missing a date will not appear on the view.

If your sheet has two or more date columns (that are not backed by a column formula), then the first two date columns are automatically set as the start date and end date in project settings. All items with at least one date provided (either start or end date) appear on the timeline as milestones, and all items with two dates provided (start and end date) appear on the timeline as bars. Any items missing both a start and end date will not appear on the view.

If a sheet has project settings configured with dependencies enabled and predecessor/duration columns defined, then the timeline uses duration values to determine whether an item appears as a bar (1+ day duration) or milestone (0-day duration).

Project settings must be configured and edited in grid view. 

Edit timeline items

Timeline view displays data as bars (multi-day duration events) or milestones (zero-day duration events). Hover over bars and milestones to see their full name and their start and end dates. Changes to bars and milestones made by other users are displayed in real time. 

View and edit timeline item details

Right click and select Edit details or double click on the bars or milestones to see all of the item’s details and edit them as needed. Changes are saved immediately.  Any columns that are hidden in grid view do not appear in the details panel. 

Edit item colors

Timeline displays task bar colors from Gantt, card, or calendar view on its bars and milestones. To edit these bar and milestone colors, switch to Gantt, card, or calendar view and either:

If your sheet has at least one conditional formatting rule that sets task bar color, then all bars on the sheet that don’t meet your conditional formatting rule are grey.

Edit item titles

Bar and milestone titles are pulled from the sheet’s primary column by default. You can customize which column is used to define item titles via the Settings toolbar button. Only text/number or auto number columns can be selected. When you change the item title, these changes are applied for all viewers of the sheet. 

You can also set how the item title is displayed - fully visible or shortened. The option you pick here is user-specific and does not apply to all viewers of the sheet. Select the toolbar button, then pick one of the three available options:

  • No text overflow- Bar titles are shortened to fit within the bar; milestone titles are limited to 20 characters.
  • Partial text overflow- Bar & milestone titles only display the first 20 characters of text.
  • Full text overflow- Bar & milestone titles can display up to 150 characters; bar titles can run past the length of the bar. 

Assign contacts to items

To assign bars and milestones to contacts, return to grid view, select Edit Column Properties for the contact column, and add the contacts to the contact list. See Specify preferred contacts in a contact list column for more instructions.

Use timeline view

Group items on the timeline

Grouping organizes data on the timeline into horizontal lanes. Timeline view supports up to two levels of grouping; data can be grouped by any dropdown list (single-select), contact list (single-select), or symbol column. 

To add grouping:
  1. On the toolbar, select Group. 
  2. In each dropdown, select the column you want to group by. 

Grouping is a user-specific preference. Smartsheet remembers the applied grouping for each user for each timeline.

Uncategorized lane

When applying grouping, you can choose to show or hide the uncategorized lane by toggling the Group toolbar button. Like other grouping settings, preferences for the uncategorized lane are saved per user for each timeline. 

Item hierarchy 

A dropdown arrow next to the item title denotes whether that item has subitems in the same grouping lane. Hierarchy is respected on timeline view; parent items appear above their child items. Bar and milestone stack order is determined by: (1) hierarchy level, (2)  start date, (3) end date, (4) grid row order. 

Timescale controls

You can change the timeline to show days, weeks, months, quarters, or years using the dropdown in the toolbar. You can also zoom in or out of the timeline using the toolbar controls, and jump to today by selecting the Today button.

Filters in timeline view

In the toolbar, you can select any existing filter, switch between filters, or turn filters off. Filters applied in grid, card, Gantt, or calendar view are automatically applied when you switch into timeline view, and vice versa. To create new, edit, or delete filters, you must switch to grid view.

Share your timeline

You can share your sheet with collaborators directly from timeline view. You can set timeline as a default view with a specific filter applied 

  1. In the sheet, select Share in the upper right. 
  2. Insert any people or groups as needed. 
  3. Select Edit next to Default view. 
  4. Here you can specify which filter should be applied. 
  5. Select Share or Copy link

Collaborate with others

You can see changes made by other users – specifically newly created, updated, and deleted items – in timeline view as they happen in real-time. The other users viewing or editing the sheet are listed in the top right corner. Hover over their account photo to see their contact information.

Users viewing the sheet in timeline view can see all other users regardless of the view they are using. Users viewing the sheet in grid, card, calendar, or Gantt view are not able to see users viewing the sheet in timeline view. 

Timeline view limitations

Timeline view is not currently available in reports, dashboards, or WorkApps. However, it is under active development, and new functionality will continue to be introduced over time. Your feedback can help us shape the evolution of this product. Please share your feedback with us directly using the Product Feedback Form

Frequently asked questions

What columns can you group by?

It’s currently only possible to group by dropdown list (single-select), contact list (single-select), and symbol column types. 

Is it possible to display additional columns on bars?

No, this is not currently supported. 

How do I manually color bars or add conditional coloring?

Timeline displays any manual and conditional formatting colors that have been set in grid, card, Gantt, or calendar view. Ensure that task bar colors are being set on your items. It is not possible to edit conditional formatting or manual colors directly from timeline. Return to grid view to do so.

What is the difference between timeline and Gantt views?

Timeline view differs from Gantt view in that it maximizes page density – putting items side by side when possible – and allows you to visually group items thematically into horizontal lanes. 

 

Use timeline view when planning and managing roadmaps, portfolios, projects, and communicating their progress to stakeholders. Use Gantt view to break complex projects into simple tasks, define and track dependencies, work with baselines, and identify critical paths.

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