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planchart Tutorial

Lesson 2

Having clicked the 'Start' button on the opening window, a specification screen is displayed for you to input your requirements. Example

 

Design New Chart

To design a new chart simply enter the values you want in the input fields. Each input field is described below:
See example of chart

Before you start to design your chart it would be useful to know whether you wanted your chart in Portrait or Landscape. Landscape will be the more usual format because it gives you more space for the calendar. planchart shows you the current printer's orientation setting by the graphic under the ''Select Printer' button. In the example above it is Landscape.  If it was Portrait the graphic will be as shown here:  Note: printer orientation can be changed by clicking 'Select Printer'.

Chart Width: In default planchart, at startup,  will enter the currently selected printer's orientation width here. In normal circumstances you would leave this alone. However, you may change it. You could make it smaller or larger. If you make it larger planchart will make several pages to accomodate the size. When printed you can then stitch the pages together. In other words, you can emulate having a larger printer, albeit you have to join the pages your printer is capable of.

Chart Height: In default planchart, at startup, will enter the currently selected printer's orientation height here. In normal circumstances you would leave this alone. However, you may change it. You could make it smaller or larger. If you make it larger planchart will make several pages to accomodate the size. When printed you can then stitch the pages together. In other words, you can emulate having a larger printer, albeit you have to join the pages your printer is capable of.

 Clicking this button resets the width and height to the current printer's dimensions. planchart starts off by automatically setting these, but in the course of use you may have changed the dimensions yourself, you may have changed orientation or indeed printers and lost track of the original settings. This restores the width and height to what the current printer is set to.

 Clicking this button toggles the dimensions between millimetres and inches. Note that there may be small rounding differences when converted. The difference will be minute. Also please be aware that planchart at later times may give you warnings and information on dimensions especially when your designed paper size is not the same as the printer's size. These warnings and information may be in millmetres.

Click here for more information on charts with larger sizes than printer capabilities.

Left Column Size: Normally bar charts have a column on the left before the calendar starts. Also usually, this column contains the description of the task or activity being planned. The size of this column is your choice. From the example screen above we can see our printer width is 279 mms. We can make this column say 50mms. This will give us some space to write in and also bear in mind we have control over the font size that we insert here.

Start Chart from: Specify the date you want your chart to start from. There are several ways in which you can enter a date.

1. You set the cursor on a particular part of the date and using the keyboard enter the vaue you want.

2. You set the cursor on a particular part of the date and by clicking the up or down arrows on the right of the field you can set a required date.

3. You can double click in the field. A calendar will be displayed.

You can navigate to the year and month you want by clicking the appropriate directional arrows. You can then click on the date you require. It will be enetered in the field for you.

Chart End date:  Specify the date on which you want your chart to end on. If you are using this chart for a project that in the future will reflect actual progress we suggest that you make your end date about 30% later than your originally intended end date to reflect real world delays. If however you are using it to plan on an unmovable deadline (e.g. wedding day) then make it that day or just after.

Date Line on: planchart can draw a thick red line on a particular date. Usually a line such as this is used to divide the past from the future. i.e. everything to the left of the line has been completed, everything to the right of the line is yet to be done. If you don't wish the line drawn, enter a date before the start date or after the end date.

Calendar periods: The way planchart draws the calendar at the top and bottom of the chart is specified by you. You can represent anything fom a day to several years on a chart. Bear in mind than planchart allows you to subdivide this main calendar into smaller periods with vertical lines. See example of chart. We would offer the following guidelines:
              for projects of less  than a month choose days.

              for projects of less than 3 months choose weeks.

              for projects of less than 2 years choose months.

              for projects greater than 2 years choose years.

Vertical Lines: Vertical lines may be drawn down the chart from the top calendar to the bottom calendar.  These lines can be drawn in periods of days, weeks, months or years. 

Design: Click this button after you have entered your requirements. Don't worry too much about whether you have got it absolutely right. You are not casting this specification in stone. After you see the chart you designed and it's not to your liking, simply close the chart and you'll be returned to this specification screen. Changes can then be made.

Go to lesson 3