Timeline Charts on Steroids
October 11, 2008 7:33 AM   Subscribe

I am tasked with preparing a multi-category, filterable timeline as a work project. I think Access is probably the best way to do this, but I need some help with the mechanics, or suggestions on where to find a template.

The final product will look similar to a gantt chart, with the primary difference being that milestones need to be shown as text, not progress bars. The top horizontal axis needs to display dates, the left vertical axis needs to display 5 different categories of milestones (for example, "events" are in the top section, "deliverables" in the second section, etc). I have over a hundred milestones (all associated with a date) to display.

If it were only this requirement, I would just build it by hand in Excel or Powerpoint or something. However, the timeline needs to be filterable by another set of categories (not the same as the ones on the left vertical axis), so that I can tailor the end product to different audiences--this ability to filter on a third set of variables makes me think a database approach is going to be easier than just using Excel.

Does anyone know if someone has done this sort of thing in Access before? Is there a template somewhere that I can rip off? Failing that, does anyone have any advice regarding the sort of structure that might make sense to represent this data, if I have to build this from the ground up?
posted by Inkoate to Computers & Internet (1 answer total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I can see how you could do this in Access, but I'm pretty sure that the basic Access report would not let you display what you want, the way you want. It might look something like this:

Report heading: Category 2: Board Members
Date: 10/10/08
- Category 1: Deliverables
- - Item 1
- - Item 2
- Category 2: Events
- - Item 3
- - Item 4

Date: 10/11/08
- Category 1: Deliverables
- - Item 5
- Category 2: Events
- - Item 6

As an intermediate Access user, a report like what you describe sounds a bit more advanced if not downright impossible to me, so you need to do some serious searching and/or seek out some real-person expertise.

But assuming I could get away with the report above, I would set up a table for category 1, a table for category 2, and then an item table that would have name, date, category 1 and category 2. Then a form that would have a drop-down of Category 2 items and a button that would launch the report. The query behind the report would use the form's drop-down as its criteria.

Please let me know if you would like this comment to make more sense cause I'm not sure if it does.
posted by amethysts at 9:10 AM on October 11, 2008

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