If you use Microsoft Visio to create a Timeline to give a visual representation of a project, you will normally include milestone shapes at significant key phases. Visio inserts dates automatically into the events and milestones in the timeline, but this is not always required.
Timelines can be created by choosing the Schedule template category and choosing metric or US units. They can be extremely useful where an overview is required rather than a detailed project plans. They are often given to non-technical people, or senior management panels to provide a clear visual indication of duration, events and significant phases within a project. I recently had an enquiry from somebody who had a timeline that was to be used more than once. Her situation was that the timeline would be used across several different markets, and at several different times, so although all the stages of the project would be identical in each case, the timings would not.
This lady had tried to remove the date label that Visio automatically inserted on the milestone shapes, but had met with a dialogue box telling her that due to shape protection and/or layer properties it was impossible to complete her request. She had tried several different methods of deleting this text, including using the backspace key to delete the text, opening the shape data window and even formatting the text, but eventually asked for our assistance. Luckily we were able to help.
The Shape Sheet
When Shape Protection prevents the editing of certain features it is often necessary to open the Shape Sheet, and this was the course of action we suggested. I told her to select the milestone shape on the timeline, and with the shape selected to click on the text label so that that became selected instead. With the label selected she went to the Window menu and clicked Show Shape Sheet to open the Shape Sheet in the bottom half of the window.
By scrolling down through the information held on the shape sheet she was able to find the Miscellaneous category. She searched through this category until she found the HideText command which has a TRUE/FALSE option beside it. The default is set to FALSE, but by double-clicking the cell containing the word she was able to open the drop down box and select TRUE. Pressing ENTER confirmed her selection and removed the text from the milestone shape. Once the change had been implemented, she was able to close the Shape Sheet window and was then able to use the timeline as she intended.
For more tips and tricks on using Project Scheduling in Visio, visit http://www.visio-tutorial.com/