NetPoint Support

User Guide

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  1. Getting Started
    1. About this Text
    2. System Requirements
    3. Installing/Upgrading NetPoint
    4. Licensing
      1. Activating Your License
      2. Concurrent Licensing (Server-based)
    5. Automated Software Updates
    6. Project Folders
      1. Navigating in Windows Explorer
      2. Converting Files to Folders
      3. Opening and Unzipping
      4. Saving and Renaming
      5. Sharing and Sending
    7. About the Interface
    8. Menu Bar
      1. File Menu
      2. Edit Menu
      3. View Menu
      4. Schedule Menu
      5. Objects Menu
      6. Tools Menu
      7. Risk Menu
      8. Metrics Menu
      9. Windows Menu
      10. Help Menu
    9. Toolbar
      1. System Icons
      2. Object Icons
      3. Mode Icons
      4. Right-Click Menus
      5. Canvas Menu
  2. Setting up a Schedule
    1. PolyTime/Variable Time Units
    2. Changing Date Formats
    3. Page Size/Print Setup
    4. Schedule Properties
    5. Grid Options
    6. Calendars
    7. Adding/Modifying Calendars
    8. Configuring Holidays
    9. Assigning Calendars
    10. Displaying Holidays
    11. Shared Calendars (Global)
    12. Configuring/Using a Template
    13. Password Permissions
    14. GPM, Early, and Late Dates-Modes
  3. Building a Schedule
    1. Interacting with the Canvas
    2. Setting Defaults
    3. Activities and Delays
      1. Adding/Modifying
      2. Constraining Activities
      3. Text Annotations
      4. Splitting
      5. Dissolving
      6. Info Objects/Attachments
    4. Hammocks
    5. Milestones and Benchmarks
      1. Adding/Modifying
      2. Constraining Milestones
      3. Text Annotations
      4. Info Objects/Attachments
    6. Links, Embeds, and Logic
      1. Creating FS Links
      2. Using Embeds to Create SS and FF Links
      3. Link Geometries
      4. Adding Link Lags
      5. Spotlighting/Highlighting Link Chains
      6. Treating Redundancies
      7. Overriding Logic
    7. Markup Tools
      1. Shades
      2. Shapes
      3. Text Boxes and Notepads
      4. Info Objects/Attachments
      5. Images
    8. Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) and Codes
      1. The Codes Manager
      2. Configuring the WBS
      3. Adding/Modifying Codes
      4. Making Assignments
      5. Creating Swimlanes from Codes
      6. Exporting/Importing from Excel
    9. Costs and Resources
      1. Defining Resources
      2. Modifying an Existing Resource
      3. Deleting an Existing Resource
      4. Assigning Resources to Activities
      5. Viewing the Resource Profile
      6. Limiting Resource Consumption
      7. Noting Changes in Consumption
  4. Optimizing a Schedule - Overview
    1. Layouts
      1. The Layout Manager
      2. Creating/Modifying
      3. Analyzing Links
      4. Viewing Statistics
      5. Exporting Lists to Excel
    2. Automated Layouts
      1. Running the Engine
      2. Locking Relative Positions
    3. Locking Schedule Dates
    4. Criticality
    5. Repositioning Fields (GEM)
    6. Paste Format
    7. Fine-Tuning/Gestural Controls
    8. Adjusting Zoom & Stretch
    9. Filters and Searching
    10. Bulk-Editing Objects
    11. Split-Screen/Multiple Canvases
    12. Schedule Statistics
    13. Predecessors and Successors
  5. Schedule Risk Analysis
  6. Updating a Schedule - Overview
    1. Data Dates
    2. Statusing and Entering Percent Complete
    3. Actualizing Objects
    4. Targets and Comparisons
      1. The Targets Manager
      2. Capturing Targets
      3. Tabular Comparison
      4. Visual Target Mode
      5. Exporting Targets/Comparisons
    5. Displaying Percents Complete and In-Progress Durations
    6. Forensic Floats for Actualized Objects
  7. Inputs and Outputs
    1. Preparing to Export from NetPoint (GPM)
    2. Primavera Project Management
      1. Importing from P6
      2. Exporting to P6
    3. Deltek Open Plan
      1. Importing from Open Plan
      2. Exporting to Open Plan
    4. Microsoft Project
      1. Importing from MS Project
      2. Exporting to MS Project
    5. Microsoft Excel
      1. Importing Generic Spreadsheets
      2. Exporting Linked Reports
      3. Updating from Linked Reports
    6. Native XML
    7. Synchro Professional
    8. Capturing Snapshots
  8. Troubleshooting
    1. Error Reporting
      1. Generating Log Files
      2. Opening Support Tickets
      3. Error Reporting Confidentiality
    2. Understanding File Recovery
    3. Version Compatibility
    4. Constraint Violations Due to Calendar Change
  9. Getting Started - Overview

1.Getting Started

Welcome to the NetPoint® User Guide with NetRisk™ Risk Analysis. NetPoint® is a powerful and easy-to-use project planning and scheduling application. NetRisk™ Risk Analysis is a state-of-the-art GPM-based risk modeling and risk analysis module that runs within NetPoint®. Combined, NetPoint® with NetRisk™ offers seamless scheduling and risk analysis using the same graphical and intuitive interface. NetRisk™ Risk Analysis is available as a supplementary module to NetPoint®. If you’d like to add a NetRisk™ Risk Analysis license to NetPoint, please contact NetPoint® sales at http://staging1.pmatechnologies.com/contact.

NetPoint® with NetRisk™ Risk Analysis makes use of the Graphical Path Method® to introduce a number of innovative concepts to the practice of scheduling and risk analysis. To ensure that all capabilities are fully understood and utilized, we encourage you to use this guide as a reference, to browse through online resources, and to consider signing up for training services. For more information about training, please visit: http://staging1.pmatechnologies.com/services.

Terms of Use

©2008-2015 PMA Technologies, LLC. All logos, trademarks, page headers, images, splash screens, and graphics displayed in this document are service marks, and/or trade dress of PMA Technologies, LLC. Except as explicitly permitted herein, any of the mark is not permitted to be circulated in any form or by any means by any individual or any entity.

NetPoint, the NetPoint logo, GPM, Seeing is Planning, and Life’s a Project are registered marks of PMA Consultants, LLC; PolyTime and Truth in Scheduling are registered marks of PMA Technologies, LLC; Graphical Planning Method, Graphical Path Method, and NetRisk are trademarks of PMA Technologies, LLC. U.S. Patents 8249906, 8400467, 8531459, 8751280. Patents Pending.

USE AND DISCLOSURE RESTRICTIONS: The NetPoint and NetRisk Software (“SOFTWARE”) described in this document is the property of PMA Technologies, LLC (“LICENSOR”). It is furnished under a license agreement and may be used and/or disclosed only in accordance with the terms of the agreement.

No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, manual, photocopying, recording or otherwise, except as permitted by the author or LICENSOR. Neither the authors nor LICENSOR accept any responsibility for any errors or omissions or for any consequences that may result from any errors or omissions.

1.1.About this Text

Within this guide, you’ll find steps and notesSteps are numbered instructions at the beginning of each chapter or section that indicate how to carry out a particular function. Notes serve to summarize the windows and fields, and they contain screenshots and important notes that expand upon the steps.

Certain categories of words in this user guide are color-coded to distinguish them from the rest of the text. Blue is used for the names of icons, commands, and buttons, such as OKGreen is used for menu paths, like View > Toolbar > Dock to TopGray is used for the names of windows, tabs, and text labels, like the Codes Manager or the Properties tab.

When additional or related information is available, a link will appear italicized and in blue. Clicking the link will jump you directly to that section.

NOTE: The features covered in this manual correspond with version 5.0.0.65. Please check the version and release date of your software by clicking Help > About NetPoint…from the menu bar, or contact NetPoint support if you need additional help or have other questions.

1.2.System Requirements

A successful collaborative planning session requires that participants remain engaged and focused. Using NetPoint on a well-equipped computer to drive the planning session will help to avoid costly delays in information processing, and will help maintain a smooth tempo of plan development and flow of information.

Installing/Updating

To install or upgrade NetPoint, administrator rights are required. Within 30 days of installation, license activation is required to grant continued access to NetPoint. If you do not have administrator rights, please contact your IT Department or system administrator. Once installed, administrator rights are NOT needed to run the NetPoint software. For more info, see Installing/Upgrading NetPoint.

Operating System

NetPoint is compatible with Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10, including 64-bit versions.

Hard Disk

To install NetPoint, a minimum of 200MB of free storage space is recommended.

Virtual Memory

NetPoint requires a minimum of 1GB of RAM, but 4GB of RAM is suggested for better performance.

  • Up to 250 total objects: at least 1GB
  • 250 to 500 total objects: at least 2GB
  • Over 500 total objects: at least 4 GB

Supported Schedule Size

Supported schedule size depends on the number of total objects (activities, links, milestones, etc.), the computer’s processor/clock speed, and how much RAM it has. With a well-equipped machine, a delay of about 0.5 seconds can be expected for a schedule between 500-1,000 total objects, which is considered to be a tolerable upper limit. You can continue to work with a schedule until about 2,500 total objects with a delay of 1 second.

Tip: When working with larger schedules, we recommended hiding the resource histogram, as displaying it can add processing time.

NetRisk

With NetRisk, a delay of about 1 second can be expected in the Schedule view of the NetRisk Manager for a schedule with 500 total objects, which is considered to be a tolerable upper limit. A delay of 2 seconds can be expected for saving a schedule with a simulation of 1,000 iterations for 100 activities, for each simulation saved. For this reason, the number of saved simulations should be monitored on larger schedules.

Monitor & Projector Resolution

NetPoint requires a minimum screen resolution of 1024×768 and a 16-bit color setting. Higher resolution and a 32-bit color setting result in a better graphic image.

NOTE: A lower resolution may result in the inability to reach the OK and Cancel buttons in some dialog windows.

Concurrent License Monitoring

Concurrent license access is monitored by Sentinel HASP®, a third party product by SafeNet®, which is installed on your server and runs a service that monitors HASP licensing on your Network. In addition, each NetPoint workstation must be configured to the license server as described in the NetPoint Workstation Activation & Workstation Configuration to License Server document.

3rd Party Applications

For import/export, any necessary privileges will be set automatically upon installation.

Application
Supported Versions
Primavera P6 6.0 and higher
Microsoft Project 2007, 2010
Microsoft Excel 2010, 2013
Microsoft Outlook 2007, 2010, 2013

NOTE: To benefit from Microsoft Outlook integration, NetPoint requires 32-bit installation. To check in Outlook 2010, click “File > Help”, and then look for the bit number in the right-most sections under “About Microsoft Outlook” after the “Version”. To check in Outlook 2013, click “File > Account”, click the big “About Outlook” icon, and then look for the bit number on the first line at the very end.

NOTE: To benefit from Microsoft Excel integration, NetPoint requires 2010 or higher.

1.3.Installing/Upgrading NetPoint

To install or upgrade NetPoint, administrator rights are required. If you do not have administrator rights, either an administrator must login to perform the installation or you must be granted administrator rights on your local machine. If this is the case, please contact your IT department or system administrator.

Once installed, administrator rights are NOT needed to run the software. For import/export, any necessary privileges will be set automatically upon installation. To check what version you’re running, go to Help > About NetPoint… from the menu bar and check the release date at the top.

NOTE: For NetPoint to launch properly, Windows must have a “My Documents” folder defined within the user directory, as this is where NetPoint will stores recovery files. Otherwise, NetPoint will not be able to successfully initialize.

Steps

1. Click or paste the download link into your system’s web browser. For installing or upgrading a licensed version, enter the credentials in the security window and click Log On. NOTE: The trial does not require credentials and should begin downloading automatically. security
2. In the confirmation pop-up, click Run. run
3. When the download finishes, click Actions. actions
4. When the filter window opens, click Run Anyway. run-anyway
5. If the User Account Control window opens, click Yes. user
6. NetPoint setup will begin. A series of notifications will appear. Click OK for each one. setup-begin
7. In the NetPoint Setup window, click Next. setup-next
8. Check the option next to I accept the terms in the License Agreement and click Next. serup-agreement
9. Leave the location as default or browse for a new one, and then click Next. setup-location
10. Configure the shortcuts or leave them as default, then click Next. setup-shortcuts
11. Begin the installation by clicking Install. setup-install
12. During installation, NetPoint will open momentarily for entering some system defaults. Enter your name and email and click OK. system-defaults
13. Check the option next to Launch NetPoint and click Finish. launch

Notes

Choosing a Default Calendar

By default, all activities and milestones in NetPoint are assigned a calendar when they are created. Click the down arrow button and choose a country to use as the basis for the workweek and holidays for the default calendar. From within NetPoint, custom calendars can be created with custom workweeks and holidays, and any of these can be set as default for the schedule. See Project Calendars and Setting Default Properties for more details.

Choosing a Default Time Unit

If your version of NetPoint includes PolyTime, you will also be able to set a default time unit for new schedules. Click the down arrow button and choose a time unit to apply to all objects in the schedule. Unlike calendars, the time unit cannot differ from activity to activity. From within NetPoint, a different time unit may be chosen at any time during planning. See PolyTime for more details.

Entering Default User Information

NetPoint has the capability to send email notifications. Enter the name and email address that will be used to identify the sender. From within NetPoint, a different name and/or email may be used each time an email notification is generated. See Resource Notifications for more details.

1.4.Licensing

NetPoint uses Sentinel HASP®, a third-party product developed by SafeNet®, to enforce software protection and concurrent licensing.

In the case where a company has opted for concurrent licensing, the HASP utility it is installed on a local server associated with the company’s network to allow end-user IT administrators to monitor and manager the licenses. For example, they can see which licenses are in-use and by whom or detach a license from the network for off-line use.

This chapter details instructions for the following:

  1. Activating your license
  2. Concurrent licensing

1.4.1.Activating Your License

If your license is only used on one computer, please follow the steps below. If your license is shared between multiple users and you are an IT administrator, please visit Concurrent Licensing; otherwise, contact your IT department for any assistance with activation or troubleshooting.

If your license has already been activated and now you’re getting an error, it may be due to one of the following reasons:

  • You’ve reinstalled, upgraded, or made changes to your operating system
  • You’ve migrated to a new computer
  • Your organization has reinstalled, upgraded, or made changes to their licensing server*

*Please contact your IT department for any assistance with activation or troubleshooting

Steps

Collecting Information

  1. Click the Windows Start Screen icon (for Windows 7 and earlier, click the Start icon from the Windows taskbar).
  2. Choose All Apps (for Windows 7 and earlier, choose All Programs).
  3. Choose the NetPoint 5 folder.
  4. Choose NetPoint Activation. The HASP window will open.
  5. Click the Collect Information button. An Explorer window will open.
  6. Name the file and click Save.
  7. Navigate to the file in Windows Explorer.
  8. Zip the file by right-clicking on the file and choosing Send to > Compressed (zipped) folder.
  9. Send the zip file using your email client to support@pmatechnologies.com

NOTE: Once NetPoint support receives your zip file, they will email an updated activation file back to you.

Applying the License

  1. Save the file to your computer
  2. Navigate to the file in Windows Explorer.
  3. Unzip the file by right-clicking on the file and choosing Extract All.
  4. Follow steps 1-4 under Collecting Information above.
  5. Click the Apply License Update tab.
  6. Click the  button.
  7. Browse for the unzipped file and click Open.
  8. Click Apply Update.

1.4.2.Concurrent Licensing (Server-based)

NOTE: The following page is for IT administrators. If you are not an IT administrator, please contact your IT administrator to perform any of the following steps:

concurrent user license grants access to the number of users up to the number of licenses at any given time. This allows organizations to purchase software licenses based on maximum users at one time instead based on the total number of users.  For example, if a company anticipate 50 users, but 40 of which work during the day and 10 at night, the company can opt to purchase only 40 concurrent user licenses rather than a single “named-seat” license for each of the 50 individual users. This is because 40 is the maximum number of users that will need to use the software at once.

Once setup, the software can be installed on as many computers as needed. When NetPoint is launched from one of these locally installed machines, a request for a license will be made to the NetPoint license server. If the number of licensees in use at that point is less than the number of those granted to the company, NetPoint will launch. If not, the user will be prompted to try again later to check again if a license is available.

Steps

Activating

  1. Open a web browser on the local machine you wish to activate and type http://localhost:1947.
  2. Under the Options on the left hand side, click Configuration.
  3. Choose the Access to Remote License Managers tab.
  4. Make sure the box is checked next to Allow Access to Remote LicensesBroadcast Search for Remote Licenses, and Aggressive Search for Remote Licenses.
  5. Enter the name/address of the licence server next to Specify Search Parameters.
  6. Click the Submit button.
  7. Under Options on the left hand side, click Sentinel Keys.

NOTE: Discovery of the license server may take a few minutes.

Detatching

  1. Open a web browser on the local machine you wish to detach and type http://localhost:1947.
  2. Make sure the license has been activated by following steps 2-7 above.
  3. Once activated, choose the Detatchable Licenses tab.
  4. Check the box next to Enable Detatching of Licenses.
  5. Click Products under Options.
  6. Click the Detatch button.
  7. Select an expiration date.
  8. Click the Detatch & Attach button.

NOTE: The license will be restored after the number of days next to Max. Detatch Duration

1.5.Automated Software Updates

NetPoint comes equipped with the ability to notify users of software updates and give them the option to install them. By default, NetPoint is configured to check for updates through a PMA-hosted server; however, you can instead choose to host your own server or “disable” the feature.

Hosting Options

PMA-hosted Option

The default option is ideal for individual licensees and for organizations that do not need to control when and how updates are administered to their end users. For example, if end-users can elect to update as soon as a new version is available (at their own discretion), organizations should not feel the need to establish their own update server.

Self-hosted Option

Self-hosting is ideal for organizations that prefer to control exactly when and how updates are administered to their end-users. For example, if an organization prefers to evaluate new versions prior to distributing them to their end users and/or wants to ensure that end-users can’t ignore updates.

Disabling

To disable update notifications, please send us an email.

The Update Process

The default application shortcut is configured to launch the NetPoint updater executable, which checks the remote server for newer versions of NetPoint. If one is available, the user is given the option to update or ignore. If accepted, NetPoint is updated as follows:

  1. Recovery files are saved
  2. The release notes are downloaded and opened
  3. The new installation files are downloaded
  4. The new installation files overwrite the old installation’s files

Once the process is complete, a final message opens that confirms the successful update and prompts the user to click OK to open the application.

If the update fails for any reason (files could not be written or the internet connection is interrupted), a message opens that alerts the user that the update has failed and prompts them to run the update again with administrator privileges.

When self-hosting, the server administrator can then decide when to put the updated files onto their self-hosted server for final distribution to their end-users.

Software Update Eligibility

If a customer has not paid their annual software maintenance fees, they will not be eligible to receive software updates. In that case, a message will open that prompts them to contact NetPoint support, and they will be re-invoiced if necessary.

NOTE: To improve its products and services, PMA may collect data from end-users through the software update system, including but not limited to: license keys, email addresses, update statistics, and usage statistics. By using this system, end-users agree to these terms.

1.6.Project Folders

NetPoint® makes use of a project/folder-based structure, which organizes your schedule files (such as reports, templates, simulation data, recovery files, and iObjects) automatically together. Instead of opening and closing schedule files, you will be opening and closing project folders, which then load into NetPoint whichever schedule file they contain.

All new schedules must have a project folder created for them. This is done automatically when saving a schedule for the first time. All legacy schedules need to be imported and converted to projects before they can be opened. Once converted, however, schedules are opened and saved just like before, with only minor differences to the interface.

This section details instructions for the following:

  1. Navigating in windows explorer
  2. Converting files to folders
  3. Opening and unzipping
  4. Saving and renaming
  5. Sharing and sending

1.6.2.Converting Files to Folders

All schedules created before version 4.1, release 22 Mar 13 must be converted to projects before they can be opened. At this time, converting these schedules must be done one at a time. This can be done outside of NetPoint by browsing for the file in Windows Explorer, or inside NetPoint through the file menu. Instructions for both are provided.

Upon converting, a folder of the same name will be created, the file will be automatically moved inside it, and the filename will be changed to “NetPointFile.np4.” In the event that you change your mind or something goes wrong during the import, a back-up copy of the schedule will automatically be saved to the original location with “-backUp” appended to the end. For a list of other changes, see the notes end of this section.

Steps

Outside of NetPoint

  1. In an explorer window, browse for the desired file.
  2. Double-click the .npt or .np4 file, or right-click and choose Open.

NOTE: If a message opens, see Troubleshooting Opening for more info.

From Within NetPoint

  1. First, choose File > Convert .np4 file to Project Folder from the menu bar.
  2. Browse for the desired file and click Open.

NOTE: If a message opens, see Troubleshooting Opening for more info.

Notes

Descriptions as Annotations

Descriptions that were being displayed as annotations in legacy schedules will be converted to conventional annotations. We recommend re-displaying the descriptions for these objects and deleting the annotations to avoid any unexpected behavior.

Lags on Non-FS Links

Lags on link types other than finish-to-start are no longer supported. Therefore, upon opening a schedule that contains them, an error message will display, the lags will be automatically removed, and the affected links will be spotlighted on the canvas.

Custom Positions of Data Elements

Data elements (durations, dates, descriptions, etc.) that have been positioned more than 3″ away from their host objects will be reset, and their host objects will be spotlighted on the canvas.

RELATED RESOURCES

1.6.3.Opening and Unzipping

When working in NetPoint, projects are opened just like files, with only minor differences to the interface. On the left, both project folders and non-project folders will show up in the tree. On the right, only projects will be listed. Projects should always be chosen on the right, NOT on the left. The left is only for selecting the parent directory in which the project resides.

If you’ve selected a parent directory on the left, but the project is not showing up on the right, its schedule file may have been removed from it. To correct this, look for a file named “NetPointFile.np4” that no longer resides in a folder named after a project and move it back in to the proper folder. Until this is done, you will be unable to open the project from within NetPoint.

Likewise, if a folder which is certainly not a NetPoint project appears in the list on the right, such as “MyDocuments,” it likely contains an orphaned NetPointFile.np4. To correct this, determine which project folder is missing a schedule file, and return it to its proper location

NOTE: To open the schedule from Windows Explorer, search for the folder which contains the project name, open it, and then double-click the file called NetPointFile.np4.

Steps

Opening Projects

  1. Choose File > Open Project from the menu bar.
  2. On the left, browse for the directory in which the project resides, without yet choosing the project itself.
  3. On the right, choose the project itself and click OpenNOTE: At any time, a project may be deleted or renamed by right-clicking on it in the list.

 NOTE: If a message opens, see Troubleshooting Opening for more info.

Unzipping Projects (.nzp/.zip)

  1. Choose File > Unzip and Open Project from the menu bar. The Open window will default to the folder where the last project was zipped and saved.
  2. If a different project is desired, browse for the directory in which it resides on the left.
  3. On right right, select the zip file file from the list and click Open. NetPoint will automatically save the project to the same folder where the zip file is.

NOTE: A .nzp can also be opened by simply double-clicking it in an Explorer window.

Opening Projects from Emails (.nzp Files)

  1. Right-click on the file from your preferred email application.
  2. To view the schedule immediately, choose Open. The Opening Mail Attachment window will open..
    1. Click the Open button.
  3. To save the .nzp file first, choose Save As.
    1.  Browse for the desired location and click SaveNOTE: If you make a change to the file name, make sure that “nzp” still shows up next to Save as type. If it does not, make sure to append “.nzp” at the end of the filename to avoid losing the file type.
    2. To open the schedule, navigate to the location in an explorer window and double-click the .nzp file.

NOTE: If a message opens after opening, see Troubleshooting Opening for more info.

Opening Projects from Emails (.zip Files)

  1. Right-click on the file from your preferred email application..
  2. Choose Save As (recommended).
    1. Browse for the desired location and click Save. NOTE: If you make a change to the file name, make sure that “nzp” still shows up next to Save as type. If it does not, make sure to append “.nzp” at the end of the filename to avoid losing the file type.
    2. To open the schedule, see Unzipping Projects.
  3. To view the schedule without saving, choose Open (not recommended). The Opening Mail Attachment window will open.
    1.  Click Open. An explorer window will open. NOTE: The .zip file will be temporarily saved to “C:\Users\[your username]\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Outlook[alphanumeric string]”.
    2.  Navigate up one level by clicking the name of the temporary location. WARNING:  If you just open the folder and launch the NetPointFile project file without navigating up and unzipping, the .zip file will not go through the proper extraction process and the project may be missing a number of supporting files.
    3. Right-click on the .nzp and choose Extract All.
    4. If a Windows Security window opens, click OK.
    5. To choose a new location, click Browse, select the desired location, and click OK.
    6. Otherwise, just click Extract. A new explorer window will open.
    7. Double-click the project folder.
    8. Double-click the filed called “NetPointFile.np4″.

NOTE: If a message opens after opening, see Troubleshooting Opening for more info.

Notes

Troubleshooting Opening

Message
Printer Unavailable If the printer that was used when the schedule was last saved is unavailable or not installed, a warning will open. Click OK. printer-unavailable
Choose a new printer next to Name and click OK. The schedule will then open. For more info on printers, see Print Setup. new-printer
File Already Open If the project is open on another machine, a lock may have been placed to protect the file. In this case, the schedule can only be opened in read-only mode, and the File Already Open! warning will open. Click View as Read-only. The schedule will then open. file-open
File Recovered If an unexpected crash occurred, NetPoint® will automatically recover any schedules that may have been open and unsaved when the application terminated. For more info see Understanding File Recovery. file-recovered
Bad Data Positions If any data elements are more than 3″ away from their host objects, a warning will open. Click Continue to Canvas. No further action is required. data
Invalid Lags If a legacy schedule is opened where a non-finish-to-start link had a lag, a warning will open. Click Continue to Canvas. No further action is required. For more info on lags, see Adding Lags to Links. lag
Duplicate Code/Value IDs If a schedule is opened where a code or value is found to have the same system ID as another code or value, a warning will open and any assignments will be lost. Click OK. To review code assignments, see step 1 of Exporting an Existing Template and choose “Defaults – Codes & Code Assignments”. code
Incomplete or Missing Data If a schedule is opened which cannot be read, a warning will open. This may be because it’s missing data, it’s been corrupted, or it contains a bad format. This is rare and should not occur under normal circumstances. Click OK and contact NetPoint support. missing
Resolution Violation If a legacy schedule is opened where one unit of time is less than the width of a pixel on the screen, the Resolution Violation Alert will open. Choose from the available options and click OK (we recommend choosing the second option to avoid additional steps). For more info on resolution, see Print Setup. resolution
   a. If increasing the page size, a printer window will open. Click the dropdown button next to Size and choose a page size that meets the recommended width from the Resolution Violation Alert window. size
   b. If increasing the number of tiles, no further action will be required.
   c. If reducing the length of the project, the Schedule Properties window will open. Click the Dates tab, and under Calendar Dates, choose a start date that is later in time or an end date that is earlier in time. This process may have to be repeated until satisfactory. dates
   d. If increasing the resolution, open the Control Panel from the Windows Start menu, choose Adjust Screen Resolution, and choose one that’s higher. Go back to NetPoint and click OK. This process may have to be repeated until satisfactory. screen-resolution

1.6.4.Saving and Renaming

When saving a project, the schedule itself will be named NetPointFile.np4, a folder will be created using the description you entered, and the schedule file will be automatically placed in it. The NetPointFile.np4 file should never be renamed; instead, to rename a project, always edit the folder itself.

In addition, each time a project is saved, a file with a .nzp extension will be saved in the project folder for easy emailing or uploading. For more info, see Sharing and Sending Projects.

NOTE: If you’re downloading a project from the web through a browser, always right-click to specify where it will be saved, as some download locations may have limited access or permissions.

Steps

Saving

  1. While viewing the desired schedule, choose File > Save Project or File > Save Project As from the menu bar.
  2. On the left, browse for the location in which you want the new project to be saved, and select it in the list. NOTE: To create a new folder, click the New Folder button. To edit or delete a folder, right-click and choose accordingly.
  3. After selecting the folder, a list of existing NetPoint projects will show up on the right. Enter a description next to Save Project As. This will be the name of the new project. NOTE: At any time, a project may be deleted or renamed by right-clicking on it in the list.
  4. After entering a description, click Save.

Renaming

  1. While viewing the desired schedule, choose File > Save Project As from the menu bar. By default, the Save window will default to the current project.
  2. To choose a different project, browse on the left for the location in which the project resides.
  3. On the right, right-click the project itself and choose Rename Project.
  4. Begin typing and click Enter.
  5. When finished, click Cancel.

 

RELATED RESOURCES

1.6.5.Sharing and Sending

To copy or move projects between hard drive locations, make sure to copy/move the entire project folder and not just the NetPointFile.np4 file.

To upload or email a schedule, it is recommended to use the .nzp file that can be found within the project folder, as opposed to manually zipping the project or sending the NetPointFile.np4 file by itself. The .nzp file is a compressed version of the project folder, which is updated each time the schedule is saved. It includes ALL files placed in the project folder, regardless of whether or not they were generated by NetPoint or put there by the user.

Alternatively, NetPoint provides an email utility from within the application. The email utility, however, will ONLY include NetPoint-generated files, leaving out any files placed in the project folder by the user.  For more information, see the notes at the end of this section.

NOTE: To benefit from Microsoft Outlook integration, NetPoint requires 32-bit installation. To check in Outlook 2010, click “File > Help”, and then look for the bit number in the right-most sections under “About Microsoft Outlook” after the “Version”. To check in Outlook 2013, click “File > Account”, click the big “About Outlook” icon, and then look for the bit number on the first line at the very end.

Steps

From within NetPoint

  1. When viewing the desired schedule, choose File > Send as Email Attachment from the menu bar.
  2. After a few seconds, the default email application will open, and a new message will be created with the NetPoint .nzp file attached.
  3. To finish, compose the message as desired and click Send. 

NOTE: To open a project from an email, see Opening and Unzipping Projects.

Notes

Email Utility

When using File > Send as Email Attachment, the contents of the project will be slightly different, according to the table below:

Permanent .nzp file
File > Send as Email Attachment
Saved/Unsaved Changes Only represents the last saved state. Any changes, including iObjects that may have been added, will not be reflected when zipped unless the project has since been saved. Represents the latest state, regardless of whether or not the project has been saved.
Supporting Files Includes ALL files placed in the project folder, whether generated by NetPoint or added by the user. Includes ONLY files generated by NetPoint, including: simulation files, layout files, exported Excel templates, and iObjects that have been copied to the project folder.

 

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1.7.About the Interface

The following aspects of the user interface are unique to NetPoint.

Autosave Windows

Many windows do not contain OK and Cancel buttons. Any changes made take effect when the window is closed do not require confirmation. To close these windows, click the Exit icon and any changes will be automatically saved. The only way to cancel any changes is to use the Undo feature.

Undo Unavailable Icon

Some actions found in menus or windows are excluded from being undone. This is because some actions take place silently, and there would be no clear indication on the canvas if they were undone. To protect you from undoing an action and not realizing it, the Undo feature will skip over these actions. Any menu or window excluded from the Undo feature will be identified with the Undo Unavailable icon.

1.8.1.File Menu

Click the File menu to access the following commands: 

New Opens a blank NetPoint canvas. Shortcut: Ctrl+N.
Open… Accesses saved project schedules. For detailed instructions, see Opening and Unzipping Projects. Shortcut: Ctrl+O.
  Open .nzp… Unzips a project’s folder to a specified location and opens its schedule in NetPoint. For detailed instructions, see Opening and Unzipping Projects.
Open Recent Lists the most recently opened projects. Choose to show 4, 10, or 16. Click on a specific plan name to open that plan.
Save Stores the latest changes to the file. Shortcut: Ctrl+S.
  Save As… Saves a new schedule as a project or an existing schedule as a different project or to a different location. For detailed instructions, see Saving New Projects.
Close Closes the current schedule without exiting NetPoint.
  Send Project as Email Attachment… Zips the current project’s folder, opens the default email client, and attaches the zip file. For detailed instructions, see Sending and Zipping Projects.
  Convert .np4 file to Project… Converts legacy NetPoint files into the folder-based structure and opens the project. For detailed instructions, see Converting Legacy Schedule Files.
  Zip Project… Zips a project’s folder and saves it to a specified location. For detailed instructions, see Sending and Zipping Projects.
Print Opens options for selecting a printer and adjusting print properties. Shortcut: Ctrl+P.
Print Preview Adjusts zoom and stretch so the entire plan fits in the screen and turns on page breaks. For detailed instructions, see Printing and Presenting.
Print Setup… Opens options for changing the page size and orientation. For detailed instructions, see Page Size.
Page Tiling (a x b) Opens options for tiling a schedule across multiple pages and hiding or showing page breaks. For detailed instructions, see Page Size/Print Setup.
Import/Export Contains options for interfacing with Primavera P6, Open Plan, MS Project, XML, and Excel. For detailed instructions, see Inputs and Outputs.
Insert Image File(s)… Adds an image that will display on the canvas behind all objects except for shades. For detailed instructions, see Image Files.
Take Snapshot Opens options for generating an image from the schedule. For detailed instructions, see Capturing Snapshots.
Exit Closes down the application and all open projects.

1.8.2.Edit Menu

Click the Edit menu to access the following commands: 

Undo Reverses the last actions. Undo does not apply to zoom, stretch, page setup, print setup, global text size, or calendar strip text size changes. Shortcut: Ctrl+Z.
Redo Reverses the previous undo actions. Redo does not apply to zoom, stretch, page setup, print setup, global text size, or calendar strip text size changes. Shortcut: Ctrl+Y.
Cut Removes selected item(s) from the canvas to the clipboard. Shortcut: Ctrl+X.
Copy Places selected item(s) onto the clipboard without removing them from the canvas. Shortcut: Ctrl+C.
Paste Inserts copied items from the clipboard. Shortcut: Ctrl+V.
  Paste Format Applies only the display and formatting characteristics of copied items from the clipboard to selected objects of the same type. For detailed instructions, see Paste Format.
  Delete Erases selected item(s) from the canvas without saving to the clipboard. Shortcut: Del.
  Default Format Copy Options… Opens options for choosing which data elements and formatting settings are included in a given copy/paste format action. For detailed instructions, see Paste Format.
  Select All Selects all items on the canvas. Shortcut: Ctrl+A.
Find an Activity… Opens a window for locating a specific activity. For detailed instructions, see Filters and Searching. Shortcut: Ctrl+F.
Search and Filter Objects… Opens options for filtering the schedule. For detailed instructions, see Filters and Searching. Shortcut: Ctrl+Shift+F.

1.8.3.View Menu

Click the View menu to access the following commands:

Un-Hide All Objects Re-displays anything that was hidden on the canvas.
Horizontal Split Divides the window into two landscape canvases. For detailed instructions, see Split-Screen/Multiple Canvases.
Vertical Split Divides the window into two portrait canvases. For detailed instructions, see Split-Screen/Multiple Canvases.
Resource Key… Displays or hides the resource key. For detailed instructions, see Reading the Resource Graphs and Curves.
Toolbar Repositions, hides, or shows the toolbar.

1.8.4.Schedule Menu

Click the Schedule menu to access the following: 

Modify Schedule Properties… Opens a window for customizing and formatting the entire plan. For detailed instructions, see Schedule Properties.
Manage Schedule Progress… Opens a window for actualizing objects with respect to a data date. For detailed instructions, see Actualizing Objects.
Set Password… Opens options for settings a password to read or modify the schedule. For detailed instructions, see Password Permissions.
Shade Non-working Days Adds vertical shading to all non-working days. For detailed instructions, see Displaying Holidays.
Prompt for Grid Numbers When Pasting Enables a prompt each time an object is pasted from the clipboard to determine its vertical grid position. For detailed instructions, see Grid Options.
Open Layout Manager Opens a window for saving, viewing, and deleting layouts and running the automated layout engine. For detailed instructions, see Layouts.
Animate When Running Redraws the network in real-time while an automated layout is ran.
Always Fine Tune After Running Applies a fine tune after running an automated layout. For detailed instructions, see Running Automated Layouts.
Run Automated Layout Begins the layout processing. For detailed instructions, see Running Automated Layouts.
Layout Manager Settings Contains options for resetting the Layout Manager settings. For detailed instructions, see Running Automated Layouts.

1.8.5.Objects Menu

Click the Objects menu to access the following commands:

Set Properties for Selected Objects… Opens a window for modifying the properties of multiple objects simultaneously. For detailed instructions, see Bulk-Editing Objects.
Set Default Properties for New Objects… Opens options for setting properties before objects are drawn on the canvas. For detailed instructions, see Setting Defaults.
Set Duration Display Format for Activities Changes what time unit that durations are displayed in on the canvas. For detailed instructions, see Setting Defaults.
Change Text Size Changes the text size for the entire schedule at once.
Restore Default Positions of Data Resets the position of any descriptions, IDs, dates, floats, drifts, buffers, gaps, and total floats back to their default locations. For detailed instructions, see Repositioning Fields (GEM).
Arrangement (Shades and Images) Rearranges the order of shades, shapes, or images on the canvas. For detailed instructions, see Rearranging Shades.
Line up Activities Places the selected activities on the same horizontal line on the canvas. Whichever activity is selected first will become the target gridline. For detailed instructions, see Grid Options.
Restore Faded Colors for All Objects Restores the color of all objects that have been spotlighted in a yellow box or faded.
Highlight Driving Link Chains Highlights activities and links with the smallest gaps and fades the rest. For detailed instructions, see Highlighting Link Chains.
Redundant Links Controls the display of redundant links on the canvas. For detailed instructions, see Treating Redundancies.
Display Float and Drifts for Actualized Objects Enables floats and drifts to be displayed for actualized objects. For detailed instructions, see Forensic Floats for Actualized Objects.
Use Outlines for Critical Objects (non-actualized only) Outlines all objects in red while maintaining their designated color (when critical). For detailed instructions, see Criticality.

1.8.6.Tools Menu

Click the Tools menu to access the following commands:

Manage Resources… Opens a window for creating, modifying, deleting, assigning, and limiting resources. For detailed instructions, see Defining Resources.
Assign Resources… Opens a window for assigning resources to multiple activities simultaneously. For detailed instructions, see Assigning Resources.
Modify Resource Display Settings… Opens a window for adjusting the histogram calculation and plot displays. For detailed instructions, see Viewing the Resource Profile.
Open Codes Manager… Opens a window for creating, modifying, deleting, and assigning codes. For detailed instructions, see The Codes Manager.
Manage Calendars… Opens a window for creating, modifying, deleting, and assigning calendars. For detailed instructions, see Calendars.
Assign Calendars… Opens a window for assigning calendars to multiple objects simultaneously. For detailed instructions, see Assigning Calendars.
Open Targets Manager… Opens a window for capturing and comparing targets. For detailed instructions, see The Targets Manager
Modify Visual Target Filters … Opens a window for adding, modifying, and deleting filters used in Visual Target Mode. For detailed instructions, see Visual Target Mode.
Manage Notification Recipients…. Opens a window for creating, modifying, and deleting recipients and for assigning them resources. For detailed instructions, see Noting Changes in Consumption.
Generate Resource Change emails… Opens a window for notifying recipients of any changes in consumption of assigned resources. For detailed instructions, see Noting Changes in Consumption.

1.8.7.Risk Menu

Click the Risk menu to access the following commands:

Open NetRisk Manager… Opens a window for managing the risk register, duration-ranging, floating, or pacing activities, and running the simulation and analyzing results (among others). For detailed instructions, see The NetRisk Manager.
Run Simulation… Opens the manager to the Run tab. For detailed instructions, see Simulating the Schedule.
View Schedule at Selected Percentile… Opens options for visualizing simulation data directly on the canvas. For detailed instructions, see Viewing P-Values and Indices on the Canvas.
End Current NetRisk Session... Disables the current session of NetRisk, allowing other uses to enable it (when running from a shared location). For detailed instructions, see Enabling and Disabling NetRisk.

1.8.8.Metrics Menu

Click the Risk menu to access the following commands:

Open Metrics Manager… Opens a window for managing the metrics and Schedule IQ™.  For detailed instructions, see Schedule IQ™ and Analytics.
View Schedule Statistics… Opens a window for viewing basic schedule metrics and statistics (like number of activities, percentile floats, etc.). For detailed instructions, see Schedule Statistics.

 

1.8.9.Windows Menu

Click the Window menu to access the following commands:

Cascade Rearranges the current open files in a cascade view.
Tile Rearranges the current open files in a tiled view.
List of Open Plans Open NetPoint plans are listed here.

1.8.10.Help Menu

Click the Help menu to access the following commands:

About NetPoint… Shows current release information and link to website.
Open User Guide… Opens a PDF of the NetPoint User Guide for help.
Contact Support… Opens the default email client and addresses a message to NetPoint support.
Collect Information for NetPoint Support… Generates an HTML file containing recent actions taken and conditions of the software, which can then be emailed to NetPoint support.  For detailed instructions, see Generating Log Files.

1.9.Toolbar

The toolbar contains icons that access commonly used commands and objects. It includes system icons, object icons, and mode icons.

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1.9.1.System Icons

System icons perform basic application functions, and are familiar to most users.

New Project Creates a blank NetPoint canvas. Shortcut: Ctrl+N.
Open Project Accesses saved NetPoint projects. For detailed instructions, see Opening and Unzipping Projects. Shortcut: Ctrl+O.
Save Project Stores the latest changes to the file. Shortcut: Ctrl+S.
Cut to Clipboard Removes selected item(s) from the canvas to the clipboard. Shortcut: Ctrl+X.
Copy to Clipboard Place selected item(s) onto the clipboard without removing them from the canvas. Shortcut: Ctrl+C.
Paste from Clipboard Inserts copied items from the clipboard. Shortcut: Ctrl+V. Click the down arrow to apply only the display and formatting characteristics of copied items from the clipboard to selected objects of the same type. For detailed instructions, see Paste Format.
Print Project Opens options for selecting a printer and adjusting print properties. Shortcut: Ctrl+P.
Undo Reverses the last actions. Undo does not apply to zoom, stretch, page setup, or print setup. Shortcut: Ctrl+Z.
Redo Reverses the previous undo actions. Redo does not apply to zoom, stretch, page setup, or print setup. Shortcut: Ctrl+Y.
Select Tool Grab, choose, select, or move activities and objects on the canvas. Shortcut: V.
Multi-Object Select Tool Grab, choose, or select multiple activities and objects without needing to use the SHIFT key. Shortcut: V.
Pan Tool Move around the canvas without needing to use the scroll bars. Shortcut: H/SPACE/MOUSEHWEEL.

1.9.2.Object Icons

Objects are the building blocks of a plan.

Add Activity Activities are the building blocks of a schedule and represent work being done. They have a start date and a finish date, represented by end nodes, and they span a certain period of time. For detailed instructions, see Adding/Modifying Activities. Shortcut: A.
Add Delay/Gain Delay/gains are a type of activity but whose duration can reach zero. Delay/gains are useful for showing positive or negative impacts to the schedule or for atypical activities and do not support embedded nodes or resources. For detailed instructions, see Adding/Modifying Activities. Shortcut: D.
Add Link Links represent a relationship between objects, such as activities, milestones, and benchmarks. From them, float attributes are calculated, including gap, buffer, float and drift. Click the down arrow to choose a specific geometry. If object dates overlap, embedded nodes must be used. For detailed instructions, see Creating FS Links. Shortcut: CTRL+L.
Link Multiple Activities (FS)  An FS link represents a relationship where the successor cannot start before the predecessor finishes. For detailed instructions, see Creating FS Links.
Add Start Embed A start embed is placed on a host activity to allow start-to-start (SS) relationships. It may be placed to coincide with its host activity’s start or finish nodes, or it may be offset (to have a lead or lag) between the two. In a SS relationship, a successor cannot start before its predecessor starts. For detailed instructions, see Using Embeds to Create SS and FF Links. Shortcut: E.
Add Finish Embed A finish embed is placed on a host activity to allow finish-to-finish (FF) relationships. It may be placed to coincide with its host activity’s start or finish nodes, or it may be offset (to have a lead or lag) between the two. In a FF relationship, a successor cannot finish before its predecessor finishes. For detailed instructions, see Using Embeds to Create SS and FF Links. Shortcut: E.
Add Start Milestone Milestones are zero duration events used to represent key dates or moments in the schedule. Like activities, milestones will track along with the network once they’ve been linked to any predecessors or successors. Start milestones align to the beginning of the day or time unit (by default, 9:00 am), and should be used for events which will precede an activity or represent an initiation. In addition, start milestones will snap to their earliest successor, always maintaining a zero gap link. For detailed instructions, see Adding/Modifying Milestones/Benchmarks. Shortcut: M.
Add Finish Milestone Milestones are zero duration events used to represent key dates or moments in the schedule. Like activities, milestones will track along with the network once they’ve been linked to any predecessors or successors. Finish milestones align to the end of the day or time unit (by default, 5:00 pm), and should be used for events which will succeed an activity or represent a termination. In addition, finish milestones will snap to their earliest predecessor, always maintaining a zero gap link. For detailed instructions, see Adding/Modifying Milestones/Benchmarks. Shortcut: M.
Add Start Benchmark Benchmarks are zero duration events used to represent a key date or moment in the schedule. Unlike activities and milestones, benchmarks will remain fixed at whatever date they’re placed, regardless of whether or not they’ve been linked to any predecessors or successors. Start benchmarks align to the beginning of the day or time unit (by default, 9:00 am), and should be used for events which will precede an activity or represent an initiation. For detailed instructions, see Adding/Modifying Milestones/Benchmarks. Shortcut: B.
Add Finish Benchmark Benchmarks are zero duration events used to represent a key date or moment in the schedule. Unlike activities and milestones, benchmarks will remain fixed at whatever date they’re placed, regardless of whether or not they’ve been linked to any predecessors or successors. Finish benchmarks align to the end of the day or time unit (by default, 5:00 pm), and should be used for events which will succeed an activity or represent an termination. For detailed instructions, see Adding/Modifying Milestones/Benchmarks. Shortcut: B.
Add Hammock Hammocks are a type of activity used to represent or summarize a group of other activities, milestones, and/or benchmarks. Hammocks, however, have no attributes of their own except for the descriptions/ID, and they don’t accept resources, embedded nodes, or links. Click the down arrow for more options. For detailed instructions, see Hammocks. Shortcut: CTRL+H.
Add Data Date A data date is an object on the canvas used to represent the date to which the project has been statused. Data dates help provide a clear visual indicator of the progress of the schedule. For detailed instructions, see Data Dates. Shortcut: U.
Add Info Object Info objects are external files or attachments. Placing an info object onto the canvas is a way to embed a document within the schedule for viewing. For detailed instructions, see Info Objects/Attachments. Shortcut: I.
Add Shape Shades are blocks of color used to highlight or delineate sections of the canvas. Click the down arrow to open a menu of other shapes. For detailed instructions, see Shades. Shortcut: S.
Add Notepad Notepads are notes that do not show up on the canvas. Instead, they are represented by an icon and viewed by double-clicking the icon. For detailed instructions, see Text Boxes and Notepads. Shortcut: N.
Add Text Box Text boxes are text objects that show up directly on the canvas.  For detailed instructions, see Text Boxes and Notepads. Shortcut: T.

1.9.3.Mode Icons

Mode icons provide quick access from the canvas to important functions.

Open Gestural Interface The gestural interface is a window for crashing, extending, or repositioning activities and other objects without the need for the keyboard. For detailed instructions, see Fine-Tuning/Gestural Controls. Shortcut: CTRL+G.
Open Zoom/Stretch Controls Zooming and stretching will only temporarily enhance readability on screen. They will have no effect on the printed page and they will reset when the project is printed or saved and closed. For detailed instructions, see Adjusting Zoom and Stretch. Shortcuts: CTRL+ +/-/1/0 (zoom) and SHIFT+ +/-/1/0 (stretch).
Open Schedule Properties Schedule Properties is a window for customizing and formatting the entire plan. For detailed instructions, see Schedule Properties.
Run Automated Layout Automated layouts enhance the organization of the schedule by assisting with, or completely taking control of, the placement and layout of objects in the network. Underneath the hood, dozens of factors are taken into account, including relationships between activities, link geometries, text and description lengths and positions, and grid and canvas dimensions. Click the down arrow for more options. For detailed instructions, see Running the Engine.
Enable/Disable Logic  Logic is a mode whereby object relationships are enforced. When turned on, NetPoint will heal a negative-gap link as it forms to preserve the logic of the original relationship. For detailed instructions, see Overriding Logic.
Change Planning Mode In GPM Planning Mode, activities can be scheduled anywhere between their early and late dates without the need for setting a constraint and reducing total float. In Early Dates Mode, all connected activities are pulled back to their traditional CPM early-start dates. In Late Dates Mode, all connected activities are pushed forward to their traditional CPM late-start dates. Click the down arrow to jump to a specific mode. For detailed instructions, see GPM, Early, and Late Dates Modes.
Enter/Exit Visual Target Mode In Visual Target Mode, activities that are ahead of or behind schedule can be made either smaller, larger, or lighter or darker, resulting in a visual comparison. This formatting will have NO effect on colors or sizes specified outside of Visual Target Mode and the two will be stored separately. Visual Target Mode requires at least one target to have been captured by the user and a base and alternate designated. For detailed instructions, see Visual Target Mode. Shortcut: CTRL+T.
Hide/Show Resource Profiles The resource profile displays total and cumulative resource consumption in a chart at the bottom of the canvas. For detailed instructions, see Viewing the Resource Profile. Shortcut: CTRL+R.
Hide/Show Resource Limits A limit is an object that restricts how much of a resource may be used at any given time. It is drawn on the canvas, like an activity, with a certain height and “duration”. The height at which the limit is drawn corresponds to the maximum value activities can consume of that resource when overlapping with the limit. For detailed instructions, see Limiting Resource Consumption.
Change Display Mode The Global Edit Mode (GEM) allows you to reposition object fields (e.g. descriptions, dates, durations, etc.) for multiple objects at a time. Upon entering GEM, all dates become fixed, and no object property boxes are accessible. However, object descriptions can still be modified by double-clicking them on the canvas. Date Lock mode prevents any changes to horizontal positions of objects on the canvas; however, activity dates can still be changed via their property boxes, and all objects can still be moved to different grids. For detailed instructions, see Repositioning Fields and Locking Relative Positions. Shortcut: CTRL+D, CTRL+E..

1.9.4.Right-Click Menus

Right-clicking on the canvas or on an object will bring up a menu with additional options, some of which may only be found in the menu itself.

RELATED RESOURCES

1.9.5.Canvas Menu

Right-click on the canvas to see the following menu:

canvas-menu

Insert Grid at [x] Inserts a grid above the one designated. For detailed instructions, see Grid Options.
Remove Grid [x] Removes the designated grid. For detailed instructions, see Grid Options.
Properties Opens a window for customizing and formatting the entire plan. For detailed instructions, see Schedule Properties.
Cut Removes selected item(s) from the canvas to the clipboard. Shortcut: Ctrl+X.
Copy Places selected item(s) onto the clipboard without removing them from the canvas. Shortcut: Ctrl+C.
Paste Object(s) Inserts copied items from the clipboard. Shortcut: Ctrl+V.
Paste Format Applies only the display and formatting characteristics of copied items from the clipboard to selected objects of the same type. For detailed instructions, see Paste Format.
MAIN MENU Contains the options from the main menu bar.
Insert Image File(s) Adds an image that will display on the canvas behind all objects except for shades. For detailed instructions, see Image Files.
Set This Date as Changes the date of the project start or project completion. For detailed instructions, see Dates Tab.
Show Resource Limit Overage Information at Cursor Display current and maximum resource consumption levels when the mouse cursor moves over the canvas. For detailed instructions, see Limiting Resource Consumption.
Display Schedule Statistics… Opens a window for viewing basic schedule metrics and statistics (like number of activities, percentile floats, etc.). For detailed instructions, see Schedule Statistics.
Manage Schedule Progress… Opens a window for actualizing objects with respect to a data date. For detailed instructions, see Actualizing Objects.
Restore Default Position of Data Resets the position of any descriptions, IDs, dates, floats, drifts, buffers, gaps, and total floats back to their default locations. For more info, see Repositioning Fields (GEM).
Show Project End Hides/shows the yellow project completion box.
Show Project Start Hides/shows the yellow project start box.

2.Setting up a Schedule

Before drawing activities and building a schedule, it can be helpful to configure the plan appropriately. Whether you’re starting with a blank canvas or importing activities from another application, the page size, time unit, and project dates should all be optimized beforehand. Once set, they can be modified at any time during planning.

2.1.PolyTime/Variable Time Units

Time units are the intervals on which activities and other objects are based. For example, an activity’s duration may span one day or any whole unit increment thereof. The schedule time unit may be set to a unit as small as minutes or as large as years. The time unit may not differ from activity to activity—once set, it applies to all objects within the schedule. Durations, dates, and float values are all calculated according to the schedule’s time unit.

Small time units—like minutes and hours—are useful for projects with short durations or for showing an extremely high level of detail. Large time units—like months and years—are useful for projects with long durations or for showing an extremely broad level of detail. If the schedule is blank (i.e. no activities or other objects have been drawn), the time unit can be changed to a higher or smaller unit. The calendar dates and project dates will automatically update to a reasonable range. However, once an object has been placed on the canvas, the time unit may be changed only to a smaller unit. The calendar dates and project dates will remain fixed. This restriction is enforced because converting to a larger time unit would involve either rounding or truncation and would potentially result in changes to dates and durations (which would result in altered gaps, floats, drifts, etc.).

NOTE: Small time units can only be used if the duration of the project is reasonably short or if the size of the canvas is sufficiently large. Otherwise, the width of a time unit would be less than the width of a pixel on screen, and input from the mouse would no longer translate accurately on the canvas.

Steps

Changing the Default Time Unit for NetPoint

  1. See step 12 of Installing/Upgrading NetPoint.

Changing a Schedule’s Time Unit

  1. Click Schedule > Modify Schedule Properties from the menu bar and choose the Dates tab.
  2. Click the down arrow next to Time Unit and choose accordingly.
  3. When finished, click OK.

NOTE: When converting to time units smaller than days, some dates may appear to change; however, they are only realigning – all float calculations and values will remain constant. This is because with days, weeks, half-months, months, quarters, or years, dates are aligned to the end of the prior unit, whereas with hours, quarter hours, and minutes, dates are aligned to the start of the next unit. For example, a three-day activity that starts on May 1st will end on May 3rd at 11:59 pm. If converted to hours, however, the same three-day activity will now end on May 4th at 12:00 am.  This is done to align with other applications as well as user expectations.

Notes

Resource Considerations

When converting plans from a higher time unit to a lower time unit, or when exporting a plan that is in any time unit other than days, resource assignments may not be accurate. For example if 48 widgets are assigned per day and the time unit is changed to hours, then 48 widgets would be assigned per hour instead of 2 widgets being assigned per hour. The following approaches may be taken to correct the outcome: 1) wait to resource load the schedule until the file is converted or exported; 2) reassign every resource to every activity after converting or exporting to correct the values; or 3) delete the resource assignments prior to converting or exporting and start with a clean resource-assignment slate, but with resources defined.

Calendar Considerations

When working with time units of hours or smaller, NetPoint does not support “daily calendars” or “shifts”. For example, if a schedule in days is converted to hours, a working day is converted to 24 working hours. Similarly, a 1-day gap is converted to a 24 hour gap. As a result, hours, quarter-hours, and minutes are only recommended for schedules without non-work periods.

2.2.Changing Date Formats

NetPoint will display dates according to whichever format has been set for the “short date” in Windows. As a result, a schedule created on a computer in, for example, the U.S., will automatically be updated when opened on a computer in the U.K. and vice versa, assuming each user’s computer has been configured to their country.

Dates will be updated for objects on the canvas, in the calendar strips at the top, at the cursor, and in all lists and date controls. In addition, the names of days and months will also be updated to the correct language at the cursor and in the calendar strips. However, no matter what format is chosen, the year will never be displayed for an object’s start and finish dates on the canvas. To change the format of dates that you’re seeing, you must change the format of the “short date” chosen for Windows.

NOTE: Displaying days and months with letters can only be done for latin-based languages. If a non-latin based language is chosen (e.g. Armenian (Armenia)), and the short date includes months with letters (i.e. more than two ‘M’s’), question marks will appear for an object start and finish dates on the canvas. Question marks will also appear for the names of months in the calendar strip and days at the cursor.

Steps

  1. Open the Windows Control Panel. Depending on your version of Windows, this can be done by clicking the Start button and selecting Control Panel, or by typing “control panel” in the search bar in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Click Region. The Region window will open.
  3. First choose the desired language/country under the Format dropdown.
  4. Next, choose the desired format next to Short date.
  5. Click Apply.
  6. Click with the mouse on the NetPoint canvas to confirm the changes.
  7. When finished, click OK.
  8. Click the Close icon to close the control panel.

2.3.Page Size/Print Setup

The page size should always be set specifically after a new document is created but before the network is drawn. This is because the page size will determine not just how the schedule prints, but also how it displays on-screen. Choosing a new page size will increase or decrease the horizontal width of the canvas by stretching it, and it will increase or decrease the vertical height of the canvas by adding or removing gridlines. It is recommended to choose the page size anticipated for printing, and if the schedule appears too small or too large, to use the zoom and stretch controls to enhance readability on-screen.

For some schedules, increasing the page size may help enhance readability; however, others may be too complex to view on a single page. In these cases, the plan may be tiled across multiple pages, horizontally and/or vertically. When printed, a letter and number will print on the lower left of each tile to convey tile sequence. The letter indicates the horizontal sequence; the number indicates the vertical sequence. These can be previewed, and the plan can be adjusted to automatically fit the screen using the print preview.

When opening a schedule that was created on another computer or network, the same page size may not be available, since page sizes are specific to printers. In this case, a warning will appear and the user will be prompted the change the page size automatically. If the printer is available but the driver doesn’t match (likely with “software only” print drivers, e.g. Microsoft XPS Document Writer or Adobe PDF), a similar warning will open. In either case, the schedule will only open once a new printer and page size have been chosen. To assist the user, the warning lists both the printer and page size dimensions in which the schedule was last saved.

NOTE: A large page size can only be used if the time unit is reasonably high or if the duration of the project is sufficiently short. Otherwise, the width of a time unit would be less than the width of a pixel on screen, and input from the mouse would no longer translate accurately on the canvas. Similarly, horizontal tiles can only be removed if the same requirements are met.

Steps

Choosing a Printer/Page Size

  1. Click File > Print Setup from the menu bar.
  2. Next to Name, first choose the desired printer.
  3. Next, in the Paper section, choose the desired Size.
  4. If desired, change the Orientation.
  5. When finished, click OK.

Adding/Removing Page Tiles

  1. Click File > Page Setup (Tiling: a x b) from the menu bar.
  2. Increase or decrease the numbers next to Across and Down as desired.
  3. When finished, click OK.

NOTE: If the number of vertical tiles is reduced, any areas of the network falling below the new boundary will be cropped. Content can be restored, however, by returning to the original number of vertical tiles.

Viewing Page Breaks

  1. Click File > Page Setup (Tiling: a x b) from the menu bar.
  2. Under Page Breaks, check the box next to Display on Canvas.
  3. When finished, click OK.

Print Preview

  1. Click File > Print Preview from the menu bar.
  2. To revert, click the Reset button next to Zoom Factor.
  3. To continue in the preview, click the red X in the upper-right corner of the Schedule Zoom & Stretch window.

NOTE: Print preview can be cancelled at any time by clicking the Zoom/Stretch icon from the toolbar and following step 2.

Notes

Resources

If resource histogram colors are not printing faithfully, first try printing to another printer. Depending on the printer, this may or may not resolve the issue. In the case that it doesn’t, it is recommended to remove the histogram patterns entirely until a further solution is implemented.

Text

When text is too close to the margins, a warning will pop when printing and the text will be highlighted. The print operation will continue, but we recommend adjusting any text near page or tile borders to provide a buffer for the future.

Text strings may appear shorter on screen than when printed, depending on the monitor and resolution of your screen.

Images

If your schedule contains images that appear mirrored when printed, try printing to PDF first or printing to a different printer.

 

RELATED RESOURCES

2.4.Schedule Properties

The schedule properties include settings and formatting options for the entire plan, including dates, colors, and timeline configuration. Instructions for a subset of functionality are provided below.

NOTE: At this time, pasting objects from one schedule to another such that one or more of the object’s dates falls outside the calendar range of destination schedule is unsupported. The calendar range of the destination must be adjusted. Otherwise, an error message will appear and the paste will be cancelled.

Steps

Changing the Criticality Thresholds

  1. Click Schedule > Modify Schedule Properties in the menu bar.
  2. Increase or decrease the number next to Criticality Threshold or Near-criticality Threshold.
  3. If desired, click the dropdown next to Criticality Factor and choose accordingly.
  4. When finished, click OK  to save and close the window.

 

NOTE: By default, critical activities are automatically turned red, but their original color may be preserved by choosing Objects > Use Outlines for Critical Objects (non-actualized only).

 

Changing the Grid Spacing

  1. Click Schedule > Modify Schedule Properties from the menu bar and choose the Formatting tab.
  2. Next to Grid Spacing, click the up or down arrows to increase or decrease the value accordingly.
  3. When finished, click OK to save and close the window.

 

NOTE: The maximum allowed value is determined by the current size of the page and the positions of existing objects within the canvas. The grid spacing can only be increased if the bottom grid is unoccupied. If objects already reside on the bottom grid, they must be moved higher in order to increase grid spacing.

 

Adjusting the Calendar Start/End Dates

  1. Click Schedule > Modify Schedule Properties from the menu bar and choose the Dates tab.
  2. Next to Start Date, click the down arrow to open the visual calendar picker, or type in a desired date manually.
  3. Repeat step 2 for End Date.
  4. Double check that the Project Dates are still within the new Calendar Dates. If no objects have yet been added to the canvas, ths may be done automatically by clicking Autofill next to Use Calendar Dates.
  5. When finished, click OK to save and close the window.

 

NOTE: The dates may also be modified graphically by moving objects on the canvas until the calendar warning is triggered. However, NetPoint will always enforce a minimum of at least 2 time units between the start of the network and the start of the calendar and a minimum of at least 4 time units between the end of the network and the end of the calendar. If there is a zero-gap link between the project start and any activities or milestones, pulling the project start earlier will also trigger the automatic calendar adjustment. The calendar will not adjust automatically, however, if moving it earlier would place a zero-gap successor on a non-working day according to its calendar. These effects will become particularly noticeable with larger time units such a months and years.

 

Using an Ordinal Calendar

  1. Click Schedule > Modify Schedule Properties from the menu bar and choose the Dates tab.
  2. Check the box next to Ordinal Start.
  3. Click the down arrow to open the visual calendar picker, or type in a desired date manually.
  4. When finished, click OK to save and close the window.

Notes

Properties Tab

The Properties tab is where the general settings are changed.

Field
Definition
Project Title A text object for describing the project. By default, it is positioned at the top center of the canvas (when displayed) but can be subsequently repositioned.
Project Start A field for customizing the text of the project start box on the canvas.
Project Completion A field for customizing the text of the project completion box on the canvas.
Criticality Threshold Determines at what point (e.g. days) an activity will be displayed as critical. % is calculated as the percent of remaining duration from the data date onwards. As a result, as the data date approaches the project finish date, the threshold will approach 0. If the data date equals to the project finish date and percent is chosen, the threshold will equal 0. For more info, see Criticality.
Near-criticality Threshold Determines at what point (e.g. days) an activity will be displayed as near-critical (excludes critical activities). % is calculated as the percent of remaining duration from the data date onwards. As a result, as the data date approaches the project finish date, the threshold will approach 0. If the data date equals to the project finish date and percent is chosen, the threshold will equal 0. For more info, see Criticality.
Criticality Factor Determines how criticality and near-criticality will be calculated. Float is defined as the amount of time an activity can be delayed before delaying the completion of the project. Drift is defined as the amount of time an activity can gain before advancing the start of the project. Total Float is defined as float + drift and is equal to the CPM value of Total Float. NOTE: Choosing Float will discount drift values. Choose Drift will discount float values. For more info, see Criticality.

Dates Tab

The Dates tab contains all date related fields.

Field
Definition
Time Unit Intervals on which activities and other objects are based. If PolyTime is enabled, the user will have the option of scheduling in time units other than days. Changing the time unit may have a significant impact on the schedule. See PolyTime/Variable Time Units for more details.
Project Completion Type Determines the behavior of the project completion box. If Fixed, the project completion will remain at whichever date it is entered or placed graphically. If Calculated, it will track automatically with the last activity in the network; it will not track along with milestones or benchmarks.
Fiscal/Ordinal Start An option for shifting the quarter and year sightlines to correspond to a custom date, most often used to align to a fiscal year or ordinal scheme.
Show Calendar as Ordinal An option for displaying the timeline, or calendar strips, by sequence instead of by time. The date chosen above becomes 0; to the right, increments of 1, and to the left, negative decrements of 1. Only available when the Fiscal/Ordinal Start is checked.
Start Date (Calendar) The date that corresponds with the left edge of the canvas. By default, this will be set to 6 months prior to the current date and cannot be earlier than 1/1/1971 (if activities are near the project start, the recommended limit is 1/1/1974). Together with the End Date, this determines the maximum possible range in which the project itself may take place. Changing the calendar dates can affect the resolution of the schedule.
End Date (Calendar) The date that corresponds with the right edge of the canvas. By default, this will be set to 12 months after the current date and cannot be any later than 12/31/2100 (if activities are near the project completion, the recommended limit is 12/31/2096). Together with the Start Date, this determines the maximum possible range in which the project itself may take place. Changing the calendar dates can affect the resolution of the schedule.
Use Calendar Dates A shortcut for aligning the project dates 1 time unit within the calendar dates. This button will be disabled once any objects have been added to the canvas to prevent unintentional modification to the network.
Start Date (Project) The actual start of the project. Displays as a yellow box on the canvas. To view the entire box, set the calendar’s start well outside the project’s start.
Completion Date (Project) The actual finish of the project. Displays as a yellow box on the canvas. To view the entire box, set the calendar’s end well outside the project’s completion.

Displays Tab

The Displays tab contains checkboxes for hiding or showing different fields or elements on the canvas.

Field
Definition
Project Title A text object for describing the project. By default, it is positioned at the top center of the canvas (when displayed) but can be subsequently repositioned.
Holiday Line A line at the top of the canvas for displaying non-working days. Holidays, weekends, and non-working periods will be displayed as red notches or rectangles; weather days will show up as blue notches or rectangles. The name of the holiday is also displayed, in blue, by hovering over it with the mouse cursor. The holiday line is based on whatever calendar is set as the default calendar for new activities. The holiday line cannot be displayed when working with time units larger than days and will be disabled accordingly. For more info, see Displaying Holidays.
Grid Numbers Faded numbers for identifying gridlines. For more info, see Grid Options.
Project Completion The actual finish of the project. Displays as a yellow box on the canvas. Can also be shown/hidden by right-clicking on the canvas, or on the yellow box itself.
Project Start The actual beginning of the project. Displays as a yellow box on the canvas. Can also be shown/hidden by right-clicking on the canvas, or on the yellow box itself.
Current Data Date An object on the canvas used to represent the date to which the project has been statused. For more info, see Data Date.
Old Data Dates An object on the canvas used to represent the date to which the project has been statused. For more info, see Data Date.
Calendar Strips Horizontal rows at the top of the canvas for displaying the timeline or time units.
Calendar Sightlines Vertical lines corresponding to the calendar strips for lining up dates on the canvas.

Formatting Tab

The Formatting tab contains controls for changing the look of the canvas.

Field
Definition
Canvas Color The background color of the plan.
Calendar Strip Color The color of the timelines at the top of the canvas.
Strip Text Color The color of the timeline text at the top of the canvas.
Strip Text Size The size of the timeline text at the top of the canvas.
Grid Spacing Determines how much vertical space there is between adjacent horizontal grid lines. For more info, see Grid Options.
Layout Spacing The number of inactive (empty) grids between active grids. An active grid is one that contains an object. An inactive grid is a grid that does NOT contain an object. Choosing Single will result in only active grids with no inactive grids; choosing Double will result in one inactive grid placed between every active grid; and choosing Triple will result in two inactive grids placed between every active grid. After choosing, click Apply for the changes to take effect.

2.5.Grid Options

In NetPoint, a horizontal grid system guides the placement of all activities, delays, milestones, benchmarks, and hammocks. Although they can be temporarily positioned between grids while selected, they will always snap to the nearest grid as soon as they’re deselected. Info objects, shades and shapes, notepads, and text boxes, however, are free to be positioned anywhere on the canvas.

Grids provide an important reference point for objects on the canvas. In addition, they can be strategically used for improving the look and layout of the network. For example, the amount of space between grids can be adjusted, and grids can be added or removed.

Grid spacing determines how much vertical space there is between adjacent horizontal grid lines, but it will not actually stretch the canvas (increase or decrease its height). The maximum allowed value is determined by the current size of the page and the positions of existing objects within the canvas. The grid spacing can only be increased if the bottom grid is unoccupied. If objects already reside on the bottom grid, they must be moved higher in order to increase grid spacing.

NOTE: The default grid spacing of 0.500 inches allows activities with single line descriptions to be displayed with both the duration and the float block, without the chance of any text overlapping (using a small global text size). A grid spacing of 0.350 inches allows activities with single line descriptions to be displayed with either the duration or the float block (but not both), without the chance of any text overlapping (using a small global text size). Values smaller than 0.350 should only be used to customize advanced schedule layouts, because they may cause numerous text collisions unless activities are placed more than 1 grid apart.

Steps

Changing the Grid Spacing

  1. With the Select Tool chosen in the toolbar, click the small grey box at either the far right or left edge of the canvas of any grid.
  2. Drag the cursor up (to decrease spacing) or down (to increase spacing) until it changes to a double-sided arrow and a decimal value appears.
  3. When satisfied, let go of the mouse.

or,

  1. Click Schedule > Modify Schedule Properties from the menu bar and choose the Formatting tab.
  2. Next to Grid Spacing, click the up or down arrows to increase or decrease the value accordingly.
  3. When finished, click OK to save and close the window.

Adding/Removing Grids

  1. With the Select Tool chosen in the toolbar, right-click immediately above the desired grid.
  2. Choose Insert Grid at # or Remove Grid # accordingly.

NOTE: Grids that contain objects cannot be removed.

Lining Up Activities

  1. With the Select Tool chosen in the toolbar, click the activity that you want subsequently selected activities to align to.
  2. Press and hold the SHIFT key on the keyboard and select additional activities. Alternatively, you can click on a blank portion of the canvas and drag a rectangular marquee box around all the activities, so long as they are next to each other.
  3. Click Objects > Line Up Activities in the menu bar.

NOTE: If no activity is selected first (e.g.. a group is only selected by drawing a box around them), then the activities will align to the grid of whichever activity was added to the canvas first.

Hiding/Showing Grid Numbers

  1. Click Schedule > Modify Schedule Properties from the menu bar and choose the Displays tab.
  2. Next to Grid Numbers, check or uncheck the box to show or hide grid numbers respectively.
  3. When finished, click OK to save and close the window.

Changing Layout Spacing

  1. Click Schedule > Modify Schedule Properties from the menu bar and choose the Formatting tab.
  2. Next to Intermediate Grids, choose Single for no intermediate grids between active grids, Double for one intermediate grid between active grids, and Triple for two intermediate grids between active grids.
  3. Click Apply.
  4. When finished, click OK to save and close the window.

 

RELATED RESOURCES

2.6.Calendars

Calendars are a way for specifying which periods an activity, milestone, or benchmark may or may not be taking place due to national holidays, weekends, scheduled days off, and/or weather (blocked weather days).

If desired, a specific calendar may be chosen as the default calendar, but it will only apply within the active schedule. The only way to reset the default calendar permanently is to reinstall NetPoint, at which point a different country may be selected. For more info on changing the default calendar or reinstalling, see Default Properties and Installing/Upgrading NetPoint respectively.

NOTE: If a milestone is assigned a calendar that’s different from that of its predecessors or successors, and the network is pulled backwards, gaps may open up as the chain crosses a weekend or non-working days. As such, it is recommended to always keep milestones on the same calendar as their predecessors/successors.

NOTE: When moving 1 or more objects with different calendars, the behavior will be different depending on whether using the mouse or using the keyboard/gestural controls. For more info, see Fine Tuning/Gestural Controls.

 
This chapter includes details for the following:

  1. Adding/modifying calendars
  2. Configuring holidays
  3. Assigning calendars
  4. Displaying holidays
  5. Shared calendars (global)

2.7.Adding/Modifying Calendars

NetPoint comes preloaded with two calendars for the user to start with. The first one is set upon installation of NetPoint. The second one called the Calendar Day calendar has every day as a working day. Additional calendars may be created, modified, and deleted through the Project Calendars window.

NOTE: If an object is copied from one schedule and pasted into another where its calendar is not defined, a warning will appear. By clicking OK, the object will be pasted, but its calendar will be reassigned to whichever calendar has been set as default for the schedule. To check or change the default calendar, see Default Properties for more details.

Steps

Defining

    1. Click Tools > Manage Calendars from the menu bar. The Project Calendars window will open.
    2. Click the New button. The Calendar Properties window will open.
    3. Enter a name.
    4. To add a list of pre-defined holidays and/or non-working days, choose a country or pre-existing calendar from the dropdown next to Templates and click Add to List.
    5. Check or uncheck any additional days and non-working.
    6. Enter any weather days.
    7. Click Add. The new calendar will be added to the Project Calendars window and the Calendar Properties window will reset.
    8. To add additional calendars, repeat steps 3-7.
    9. When finished, click the Exit icon.
    10. Click OK to save the changes and close.

Modifying

  1. Click Tools > Manage Calendars from the menu bar. The Project Calendars window will open.
  2. Select a calendar in the list and click Modify. The Calendar Properties window will open.
  3. Make desired changes.
  4. Click Update. The Calendar Properties window will reset.
  5. To modify additional calendars, repeat steps 2-4.
  6. When finished, click the Exit icon.
  7. Click OK to save the changes and close.

NOTE: The Calendar Days calendar, or any shared/global calendars, cannot be modified (for the Calendar Days calendar, the button will be disabled). If a calendar is modified which is assigned to an activity, then the start date and duration are held constant while the finish date is recalculated. However, if the activity has any constraints, then user input will be needed to resolve any violations. A calendar may never be modified if any of the objects it has been assigned to have been actualized. First de-actualize any objects before modifying the calendar. For more info, see Actualizing Objects.

Deleting

  1. Click Tools > Manage Calendars from the menu bar. The Project Calendars window will open.
  2. Select a calendar in the list and click Delete.
  3. In the confirmation, click Yes.
  4. To delete another calendar, repeat steps 2-3.
  5. When finished, click OK to save and close.

NOTE: A calendar cannot be deleted if it has been assigned to any objects, or if it has been set as the default calendar for the schedule.

Notes

Calendar Properties Window

Field
Definition
Name A text field for describing the calendar.
Share to all Projects A shared calendar will be copied to all new and existing schedules on the machine. For more info, see Shared Calendars (Global).
Templates A list of 23 countries (including 2 for the United States), complete with their national holidays and workweek, are provided as templates for creating a new calendar. Any user-defined calendars as well as the default calendars are also provided. This makes it possible to start with an existing calendar and make changes rather than redefine all the holidays from scratch.
Holidays Specific non-working periods.
Non-working Days Non-working days that repeat every week.
Weather Days A way to randomly assign non-working days due to external factors on a monthly basis. To prevent all of the weather days from falling on pre-existing non-working days (such as holidays or weekends), the number is adjusted by the pre-existing holidays and weekends. For example, if 7 weather days are entered for February (assuming a traditional US workweek and standard holidays), 5 weather days will fall on working days, and 2 weather days will fall on pre-existing non-working days.

 

RELATED RESOURCES

2.8.Configuring Holidays

In NetPoint, the term holiday is used to represent national holidays as well as any user-defined non-working days and non-working periods. The latter can be useful for projects that require a non-working day more specific than weekends or weather days. When creating a holiday, you can choose between an annual, fixed-date, floating-date, or easter-relative. Instructions for adding, modifying, and deleting are provided below.

NOTE: If a holiday falls on a weekend (e.g. Christmas is on a Saturday), the following Monday will NOT be marked a holiday.

Steps

Adding

  1. Click Tools > Manage Calendars from the menu bar. The Project Calendars window will open.
  2. Click New, or select a calendar and click Modify. The Calendar Properties window will open.
  3. Click the New button under the list of Holidays. The Holiday Properties window will open.
  4. Enter a name.
  5. Choose the desired type.
  6. When finished, click the Add button. The holiday will be added to the Calendar Properties window and the Holiday Properties window will reset.
  7. To add another holiday, repeat steps 4-6.
  8. When finished, click the Exit icon to close the Holiday Properties window.
  9. Click the Add or Update button, respectively.
  10. Click the Exit icon to close the Calendar Properties window.
  11. Click OK to save and close the Project Calendars window.

Modifying

  1. Click Tools > Manage Calendars from the menu bar. The Project Calendars window will open.
  2. Select a calendar and click Modify. The Calendar Properties window will open.
  3. Select a holiday and click Modify. The Holiday Properties window will open.
  4. Make the desired changed.
  5. When finished, click the Update button. The Holiday Properties window will reset.
  6. To modify another holiday, repeat steps 3-5.
  7. When finished, click the Exit icon to close the Holiday Properties window.
  8. Click the Update button and then click the Exit icon to close the Calendar Properties window.
  9. Click OK to save and close the Project Calendars window.

Deleting

  1. Click Tools > Manage Calendars from the menu bar. The Project Calendars window will open.
  2. Select a calendar and click Modify. The Calendar Properties window will open.
  3. Select the holiday and click Delete.
  4. Repeat step 3 as desired.
  5. When finished, click the Update button and then click the Exit icon to close the Calendar Properties window.
  6. Click OK to save and close the Project Calendars window.

Notes

Holiday Properties

Type
Field
Definition
Fixed-Date A fixed-date holiday occurs on a fixed date and/or time and can be either repeating or non-repeating. A fixed-date holiday is also known as a non-working period, as the duration may be less than a day. If a fixed-date holiday is repeating, it must repeat every year. Other time options will be disabled. To make a holiday non-repeating, leave the Repeat Every field blank or set it to zero. Fixed-date holidays, if repeating, will not take place over the entire duration of the schedule’s calendar dates, but from the start date and on. NOTE: If the duration is set to less than a day but the time unit for the schedule is larger, the entire time unit will be considered a holiday. For example, if a holiday is created on December 20th with a duration of 1 hour but the time unit for the schedule is set to days, all of December 20th will be considered a holiday, even though the holiday line and shading will depict 1 hour.
Annual An annual holiday is a type a fixed-date holiday but which must repeat every year (though not necessarily on the same day of the week) and must last for at least a day or more. Many national holidays, like New Years Eve and Independence Day in the USA are annual holidays. Annual holidays will take place over the entire duration of the schedule’s calendar dates. Annual holidays have the additional feature where, if they fall on a day that is already a non-working day, they can be moved or not moved, according to the option selected.
Floating-Date A floating-date holiday occurs on a fixed day of the week, though not necessarily on the same date, and must repeat every year. Many national holidays, like Thanksgiving and Labor Day in the USA are floating-date holidays. Floating-date holidays will take place over the entire duration of the schedule’s calendar dates.
Easter-Relative An Easter-relative holiday occurs a certain number of days before or after Easter. It must repeat every year and it must last for at least one day or more. Good Friday, for example, occurs on the Friday before Easter every year. Easter-relative holidays will take place over the entire range of the schedule’s calendar dates.

2.9.Assigning Calendars

By default, all new activities, milestones, and benchmarks inherit a calendar derived from whichever country is chosen upon installation. An object’s calendar may be changed, however, at any time. There are three ways to do so. The first method described is best for assigning a calendar to a single object. The second method is best for assigning the same calendar to more than one object. The last method is best for assigning more than one calendar to more than one object.

NOTE: If an activity’s calendar is changed right after it’s drawn (before pressing OK), then the start and finish dates are held constant while the duration is recalculated. If an activity’s calendar is changed at any other point, then the start date and duration are held constant while the finish date is recalculated. If an activity has been limited by constraints, however, then user input will be needed to resolve any violations.

Steps

A Single Object

  1. With the Select Tool chosen in the toolbar, double-click the object or right-click and choose Properties.
  2. For activities, click the Dates tab. For milestones or benchmarks, located the Calendar field on the main tab.
  3. Click the dropdown to the right of Calendar and choose accordingly.
  4. When finished, click OK.

Selected Objects

  1. With the Multi-Object Select Tool icon chosen in the toolbar, select the desired activities on-by-one on the canvas. Alternatively, you can click on a blank portion of the canvas and drag a rectangular marquee box around all the desired activities
  2. Click Objects > Set Properties for Selected Objects from the menu bar.
  3. Click the dropdown next to Apply Calendar and choose accordingly.
  4. Repeat in the Milestone and/or Benchmark tabs as needed.
  5. When finished, click OK.

NOTE: For more info, see the Bulk-Editing chapter.

Multiple Objects

  1. Click Tools > Assign Calendars from the menu bar. The Global Calendar Assignment window will open.
  2. Select the desired object in the list.
  3. Once selected, click the dropdown under the Calendar Assigned column.
  4. Choose a new calendar.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 as needed.
  6. When finished, click OK.

NOTE: To filter this list, first selected the desired objects on the canvas.

2.10.Displaying Holidays

Holidays, weekends, and any user-defined non-workday days can be displayed tabularly in a list or graphically on the canvas using either vertical shading or a horizontal line. On the line, holidays, weekends, and non-working periods will be displayed as red notches or rectangles; weather days will show up as blue notches or rectangles. On the canvas, holidays and weekend will be displayed in light gray; weather days will be displayed in dark gray. Either way, all holidays will always be based on the default calendar for the schedule. For more info, see Default Properties.

Steps

In a List

  1. Click Tools > Manage Calendars from the menu bar.
  2. Select the desired calendar and click the Details button.
  3. When finished, click the Exit icon.
  4. Click OK to save and close the Project Calendars window.

NOTE: The list of non-working days will include non-working days for the entire year, even if they fall outside of the calendar start and end.

On the Canvas

  1. Click Schedule > Modify Schedule Properties from the menu bar. The Schedule Properties window will open.
  2. Click the Displays tab.
  3. Check or uncheck the box next to Holiday Line.
  4. Click OK.

Using Shading

  1. Click Schedule > Shade Non-working Days from the menu bar.

Notes

2.11.Shared Calendars (Global)

NetPoint allows a calendar to be made available to all schedules, new and existing, on a given workstation. Once shared, a global calendar cannot be edited. If deleted, and the calendar had been assigned to any objects in a given project, a copy of the calendar will be retained in that schedule, and the entire calendar name will become italicized. When a deleted global calendar has no object assignments, it will be automatically removed.

If a schedule with a global calendar is opened on another workstation, the calendar will be inherited, but it will not be global. To edit an inherited global calendar, or to make it global on the new workstation, a new calendar must be created using the inherited calendar as a template.

If a schedule with a global calendar is opened on another workstation, but the same global calendar already exists, NetPoint will automatically recognize the existing calendar and re-assign it accordingly.

If a schedule with a global calendar is opened on another workstation and the same global calendar already exists but with different properties, the inherited one will be used and the existing one will be made unavailable for that schedule. Instructions for sharing are provided below.

Steps

Sharing an Existing Calendar

  1. Click Tools > Manage Calendars from the menu bar. The Project Calendars window will open.
  2. Select the calendar from the list and click Modify. The Calendar Properties window will open.
  3. Check the box next to Share to all Projects.
  4. Click the Update button. A confirmation will open.
  5. Choose Share, Disable Editing.
  6. To share another calendar, repeat steps 2-5.
  7. When finished, click the Exit icon to close the Calendar Properties window.
  8. Click OK to save and close the Project Calendars window.

Retaining an Inherited Global Calendar

  1. Click Tools > Manage Calendars from the menu bar. The Project Calendars window will open.
  2. Click the New button. The Calendar Properties window will open.
  3. Enter a name.
  4. Click the dropdown next to Templates.
  5. Under User Defined, choose the desired global calendar.
  6. Click the Add to List button.
  7. Make any desired changes.
  8. To save the calendar, click the Add button.
    1. Click the Exit icon to close the Calendar Properties window.
    2. Click OK to save and close the Project Calendars window.
  9. To make the new calendar global, see step 5 above under Sharing an Existing Calendar.

Notes

For more info on calendars and their fields, see the notes of Adding/Modifying Calendars.

2.12.Configuring/Using a Template

NetPoint does not offer any pre-defined templates; however, any schedule can be configrued and then saved for future use.

Steps

Configuring a Template

  1. Choose landscape or portrait, page size, and print tiling, if any. For more info, see Page Size/Print Setup.
  2. Configure settings like the background color of the canvas, what calendar strips and sightlines to display, and grid spacing. For more info, see Schedule Properties.
  3. Define any holidays or non-working days unique to your projects or company. For more info, see Calendars.
  4. Add cost, labor, material, or equipment requirements which are used across multiple projects. For more info, see Resources.
  5. Customize how all new activities will look when they’re drawn on the canvas, including what data will be displayed (e.g. dates, float attributes, ID’s, etc.) and how they’re formatted (e.g. colors). For more info, see Activity Defaults.
  6. When ready, click File > Save Project As from the menu bar.
  7. On the left, browse for the location in which you want the new project to be saved, and select it in the list.
  8. After selecting the folder, a list of existing NetPoint projects will show up on the right. Enter a description next to Save Project As. This will be the name of the new template.
  9. After entering a description, click Save.

Creating from Template

  1. Click File > Open Project from the menu bar.
  2. Browse for the location of the template on the left, select the template in the list on the right, and click the Open button.
  3. Click File > Save Project As from the menu bar so as to not modify the template.
  4. On the left, browse for the location in which you want the new project to be saved, and select it in the list.
  5. After selecting the folder, a list of existing NetPoint projects will show up on the right. Enter a description next to Save Project As. This will be the name of the new project.
  6. After entering a description, click Save.

2.13.Password Permissions

NetPoint provides two options for securing a schedule with a password. The first option (Password required for READ) will prevent the schedule from even being opened unless the password is entered. The second option (Password required for Modify) will allow the schedule to be opened without a password, but it will be in read-only mode. To gain full access, the password must be entered. If you have received a schedule but do not know the password, contact the creator of the schedule. If the password is lost or forgotten, please contact support@pmatechnologies.com.

Steps

Setting a Password

  1. Click Schedule > Set Password from the menu bar.
  2. Choose the type of security from the dropdown.
  3. Enter the password text.
  4. Re-enter the password text.
  5. Click OK.
  6. Click File > Save.

Opening a Password Secured Schedule

  1. Click File > Open Project from the menu bar.
  2. Browse for the location of the project on the left, select the project in the list on the right, and click the Open button.
  3. If the schedule was secured with a password for reading, you must enter the password in the text field.
    1. When finished, click OK.
  4. If the schedule was secured with a password for modyifing, click Use Password.
    1. Enter the password and click OK.
    2. If you do not know the password, click Read-Only to open the schedule without editing permissions.

NOTE: In Read-Only mode, saving, and cut, copy, and paste will all be disabled.

Removing a Password

  1. Open the schedule using steps 1-4 above.
  2. Click Schedule > Set Password from the menu bar.
  3. Click the dropdown and choose No Password Required.
  4. Click OK.
  5. Click File > Save.

2.14.GPM, Early, and Late Dates-Modes

NetPoint is based on the Graphical Path Method (GPM®), an innovative scheduling algorithm that governs the behavior of activities and events in a network-based schedule. However, activities, and their resource histograms and curves, can also be viewed on their CPM early or late dates. This gives NetPoint the ability to schedule forward from the project start or backward from the project completion.

In GPM Planning Mode, activities can be scheduled anywhere between their early and late dates (on what are called “planned dates”) without needing to constrain them (in CPM, constrained dates reduce total float).

In CPM Early Dates Mode, all connected activities are pulled back to their traditional CPM early-start dates (activities without any predecessors will remain on their GPM planned-dates). This mode is helpful for drawing and linking activities rapidly or push-planning from the project start. Effectively, activities can be drawn on the canvas as late as desired, without needing to think about exact dates or fine-tuning their positions.

In CPM Late Dates Mode, all connected activities are pushed forward to their traditional CPM late-start dates (activities without any predecessors will remain on their GPM planned-dates). This mode is helpful for pull-planning from the project completion.

In addition to switching between modes for the entire schedule, activities can be snapped to their early or late dates on an individual basis. Instructions are provided below.

NOTE: In CPM early and late dates modes, all link gaps and drifts equal zero, and all floats equal total floats.

NOTE: Do not change from GPM to early or late modes if there are any negative gaps in the schedule or any objects beyond the project completion. Otherwise, GPM dates may no longer match.

Steps

Changing Modes

  1. Click the down arrow next to the GPM/Early Dates/Late Dates icon in the toolbar.
  2. Select the desired mode from the list.

Snapping to Predecessors/Successors

  1. With the Select Tool chosen in the toolbar, right-click on a desired activity.
  2. Choose Snap to Predecessors or Snap to Successors accordingly.

Notes

Working in Early or Late Dates Modes

It is recommended that modifications to the network always be done in GPM Planning mode. If you modify the positions of activities in early or late-dates modes, negative gaps will temporarily form until the canvas has been clicked and activities return to their calculated positions.

Additionally, when switching between modes, you may observe unexpected results. For example, when switching between early-dates and GPM modes, the later of the two dates will be kept for all activities. When switching between late-dates and GPM modes, the earlier of the two dates will be kept for all activities. In both cases, if any activity has zero total float, it will be maintained. Original dates and gaps will be restored only for those relationships that have gone unmodified. If the project start is modified, it will not revert.

Updating in Early or Late Dates Modes

During schedule updates in CPM early or late dates mode, all activities to the left of the data date (or crossing through it) must have start and finish constraints applied before a data date is placed. Otherwise, all connected activities and milestones will jump to the data date and be unable to be actualized. For instructions, see Constraining Activities and Bulk-Editing Objects.

 

RELATED RESOURCES

3.Building a Schedule

In NetPoint, a schedule is created by drawing or placing objects—such as activities, milestones, and benchmarks—on a time-scaled calendar called the canvas. Each object represents a real-world task or event. These objects can be related to one another by placing logic ties between them, which are represented by links.

Objects are scheduled wherever they are placed on the canvas, which can be anywhere within their total float range (at the time). When an activity is first added to the plan, it may be positioned on the early dates that a CPM forward pass would yield. However, once linked to predecessors and successors, stakeholders can reposition the activity to achieve a more desirable scenario. This is because GPM permits activities to be scheduled on an “as-planned” basis. This flexibility allows for a more realistic schedule.

In general, it is recommended that every GPM schedule have an uncorrupted critical path, defined as a continuous sequence of logically-connected activities terminating at, and carrying the least total float or negative total float relative to, a contractual benchmark or constrained milestone symbolizing a contract time.

3.1.Interacting with the Canvas

The NetPoint timescale is both interactive and instantaneous. When the mouse is moved over the canvas, the date and day of the week display above the cursor. As the cursor moves, the date changes to reflect the exact calendar date that the cursor is set at. If the date is a non-working period or holiday (according to the default calendar), the date text appears red.

When placing objects, the cursor will change to a cross-hairs as long as it is over the canvas. After placing an object, it will switch back to the select tool, except for with activities, delays, or shades.

When an object is selected, its dates and durations will enlarge, other fields will be hidden, and black boxes will appear at the ends and at the center. Instructions for selecting and modifying objects can be found below.

NOTE: Moving objects rapidly or suddenly with the mouse may cause negative gaps in rare instances. If this happens, click Undo and use the Gestural Interface or arrows on the keyboard instead. For more info, see Fine-Tuning/Gestural Controls.

Steps

Selecting Multiple Objects

  1. Click the Select Tool icon from the toolbar.
  2. Click the first object on the canvas.
  3. Press the SHIFT key on the keyboard.
  4. Without letting go, click the next object on the canvas.

or

  1. Click the Multi-Object Select Tool icon from the toolbar.
  2. Click the first object on the canvas.
  3. Click the second object on the canvas.

or

  1. With either the Select Tool or Multi-Object Select Tool chosen in the toolbar, click on an empty portion of the canvas.
  2. Without letting go, drag the cursor until a box is formed around the desired objects.
  3. When finished, let go.

Selecting Overlapping Objects

  1. With the Select Tool chosen in the toolbar, right-click on the object you want to select.
  2. Choose the desired object(s) until a checkmark appears to the left.
    1. To select, choose Select checked items.
    2. To open the right-click menu for a single item, choose Context menu for selected item.
    3. To cancel, left-click outside of the menu.

Modifying Positions/Durations

  1. With the Select Tool chosen in the toolbar, click the desired object on the canvas, without releasing the mouse.
  2. To change the grid position, move the mouse up or down.
    1. When finished, release the mouse.
  3. To change the start or finish, move the mouse left or right.
    1. When finished, release the mouse.
  4. To change the duration of an activity or width of a shade, release the mouse.
    1. Move the cursor over the start or finish node or over the left or right edge respectively until a double-arrow appears
    2. Click the mouse, and without letting go, drag the cursor to the left or right
    3. When finished, release the mouse.
  5. Click anywhere on the canvas to deselect the object.

 

NOTE: For other methods of modifying positions/duration, see Fine-Tuning/Gestural Controls.

3.2.Setting Defaults

Default properties can be modified before objects are placed on the canvas to avoid having to modify them afterwards. For example, if you want all milestones to have a certain shape, the desired shape can be chosen ahead of time.

In addition, the duration display format can be changed from days (the default) to any other time unit larger than the schedule’s time unit (for more info, see PolyTime/Variable Time Units).

Finally, NetPoint makes use of a scoring system for determining optimal link geometries. For a given link, each possible geometry is given point penalties based on how many grids it passes, and if it crosses over other objects or overlaps with other links. The more intersections and overlaps, the more point penalties and the higher the score. The geometry that receives the lowest possible score will be chosen when creating a link or running an automated layout. The default point penalties are intended to discourage intersection and overlap and favor shorter links. For instructions on optimizing links one-at-a-time, see Optimizing Link Geometries.

Steps

For New Objects

  1. Click Objects > Set Default Properties for New Objects from the menu bar.
  2. Choose the desired tab. For embeds, links, shades, and text objects, click the More tab.
  3. To return to defaults, click Reset.
  4. When finished, click OK.

Duration Display Format

  1. Click Objects > Set Duration Display Format for Activities from the menu bar.
  2. In the sub-menu, choose the desired time unit.

NOTE: Only Days will calculate based on the calendar of the object. Any other time unit will calculate based on total calendar days.

Link Scoring

  1. Click Schedule > Open Layout Manager from the menu bar, click the arrow to the right of the Links tab, and choose Penalties.
  2. Use the number controls to make any changes as desired.
  3. Click Save to save the settings and close the manager.

Notes

Activities

For info on individual fields, see Adding/Modifying Activities.

Milestones

For info on individual fields, see Adding/Modifying Milestones/Benchmarks.

Benchmarks

For info on individual fields, see Adding/Modifying Milestones/Benchmarks.

More

In the Embeds section, each property can be set separately for start and finish embeds. To apply one set of selections to both types, click Copy to Other Type. For info on individual fields, see Using Embeds to Create SS and FF LinksCreating FS Links, and Annotations/Markup Tools.

Link Scoring

Penalties

Field
Definition
Crosses an activity If a link crosses an activity. Default is equal to 25 points.
Crosses another link If a link crosses another link. Default is equal to 5 points.
Contains a H leg > 50% of gap If the horizontal segment of a link has a gap greater than 50% of its duration. Default is equal to 5 points.
Contains a D leg > 50% of gap If the diagonal segment of a link has a gap greater than 50% of its duration. Default is equal to 5 points.
V or D leg crosses a grid, excluding intermediate grids If the vertical or diagonal segment of a link crosses a gridline, excluding “intermediate” grids (empty grids with no objects that are added to increase spacing). Default is equal to 2 points.
Opposing H, V, or D legs overlap If any segment of a link overlaps with any segment of another link that’s going in the opposite direction. Default is equal to 10 points.
Coinciding H, V, or D legs overlap If any segment of a link overlaps with any segment of another link that’s going in the same direction. Default is equal to 2 points.
Scores
Term
Definition
Link Score The link score for a given geometry is equal to the sum of all its penalties. For example, if a link crosses one activity and two other links, its default score would be equal to 35 (25 penalty points for crossing the activity and 5 penalty points for crossing each link).
Sum Link Score The sum link score is equal to the sum of the link scores for all links in the network.
Net Sum Link Score The net sum link score is equal to the sum of the link scores for all links in the network excluding links between swim lanes if present
Mean Link Score The mean link score is equal to the sum of the link scores for all links divided by the number of links in the network.
Activity Score The activity score is equal to the sum of the link scores for every valid (not redundant) link connected to that activity divided by the number of links connected to that activity.
Mean Activity Score The mean activity score is equal to the sum of the activity scores for all activities in the network divided by the number of activities in the network.
Layout Score The layout score is a measure of layout optimization. The lower the score, the tidier the layout relative to link/activity crossings, link overlays, and link length in terms of number of grid crossings. The layout score is equal to the sum link score plus additional point penalties for any of the following:

  • Activity/activity overlap: 50 points
  • Activity/link overlap (H leg): 25 points
  • Activity/milestone/benchmark overlap: 25 point

 

RELATED RESOURCES

3.3.Activities and Delays

Activities are the building blocks of a schedule. They have a start date and a finish date, represented by end nodes, and they span a certain period of time. In addition to a regular activity, there is also a delay/gain object, which is unique in that it can have a duration of zero. If the duration is zero, both the start and end nodes align to the start of the day (or whichever time unit has been selected). Delays are useful for showing positive or negative impacts to the schedule or for atypical activities. Unlike regular activities, delays cannot have an embedded node or any resources assigned. Delays can be distinguished from regular activities by their bar, which includes vertical gaps from the top to the bottom.

This chapter includes details for the following:

  1. Adding/modifying
  2. Constraining activities
  3. Text annotations
  4. Splitting
  5. Dissolving
  6. Info objects/attachments

 

3.3.1.Adding/Modifying

Due to the visual nature of NetPoint, adding and modifying activities is best done graphically on the canvas. When the cursor is moved over the canvas, the date and day-of-the-week display above the crosshairs. As the cursor moves around the canvas, the date changes to reflect the exact calendar date that the cursor is at. If the date is a non-working period or holiday (according to the default calendar for the schedule), the text will appear red. If the default calendar were the Calendar Day calendar, the date will appear black.

Steps

Adding to the Canvas

  1. Click the Activity or Delay/Gain icon in the toolbar.
  2. Move the cursor to the desired date, indicated by the text above the crosshairs.
  3. Left-click with the mouse.
  4. Without releasing, drag the cursor to stretch the duration (displayed in blue) until the intended finish date.
  5. Release the mouse. The Activity Object window will open.
  6. Enter a Description.
  7. Click OK.

Modifying Dates/Durations

  1. Click the Select Tool icon in the toolbar.
  2. Select the desired activity on the canvas.
  3. To change both the start and finish date simultaneously, left-click with the mouse and drag it to the right or left.
    1. Release the mouse.
  4. To change the duration, hover the mouse over the start or finish node until a double-arrow appears.
    1. Click and drag the node earlier or later until it lands on the desired date.
    2. Release the mouse.

NOTE: Dates can also be modified using the arrow keys on the keyboard or in the Dates tab. To do so, double-click the desired object, or right-click and choose Properties.

Converting Between Activities to Delays

  1. Click the Select Tool icon in the toolbar. right-click on the desired activity or delay.
  2. Choose Convert to Delay or Convert to Activity, respectively.

NOTE: If an activity has an embedded node or resources have been assigned to it, the option to convert to a delay will be disabled.

Editing the Description

  1. With the Select Tool chosen in the toolbar, double-click the description directly on the canvas. A text box will open.
  2. Edit as desired.
  3. When finished, click anywhere outside the text box on the canvas.

Positioning Fields on the Canvas

  1. Begin at step 1 of Through GEM Mode.

Notes

Properties Tab

The Properties tab is where general settings are changed.

Field
Definition
Description A text field for describing the milestone/benchmark. To stack, use the ENTER key. Descriptions must be less than 120 characters for P6 and less than 100 for Open Plan. Otherwise, they’ll be truncated upon export.
Abbr. Description A text field limited to 48 characters to be displayed on the canvas if the description is too long.
ID A user-entered unique identifier. By default, the ID is not displayed, but it will display before the description, surrounded by brackets, if it is turned on. NetPoint internal ID displayed below.

Delay Type*

A field for categorizing the type of delay. *Only available for delay activities.
Codes A window for adding or modifying code assignments.
Resources A window for adding or modifying resource assignments.
Progress Whether or not the activity has been started. An activity can only be actualized if a data date has been set. For more info, see ➦Data Dates.
Calculated Complete* The amount of progressed duration divided by total duration. *Only available for actualized activities.
Estimated Complete A user-entered estimate of work completed.

Dates Tab


The Dates tab contains all date related fields, such as the start and finish, duration, calendars, and constraints.

Field
Definition
Calendar The schedule that work on the event can take place. For more info, see Project Calendars.
Duration The amount of time the activity takes to complete.
Start The date and/or time the activity begins.
Finish The date and/or time the activity will be finished.
Start Constraint An optional boundary preventing the activity from finishing any later than the date selected. For more details, see step 1 of Constraining Activities.
Finish Constraint An optional boundary preventing the activity from finishing any later than the date selected. For more details, see step 1 of Constraining Activities.
Work Type A field for capturing the type of work the activity is representing. If physical work is chosen, a duration formula may be entered.
Quantity The amount of units represented by the activity.
Rate The number of units performed per day, or unit of time.
Formula Duration The duration, computed as quantity x rate.

Displays Tab

The Displays tab contains checkboxes for hiding or showing different fields on the canvas.

Field
Definition
Description The description of the activity. Only one of the description fields can be displayed at any given time..
Abbr. Description A shorter description for viewing on the canvas if the description is too long.
ID A user-entered unique identifier. If no description field is displayed but the ID is, then the ID will inherit the formatting of the abbreviated description.
Calc. Complete The amount of progressed duration divided by total duration. Only available for actualized activities.
Est. Complete A user-entered estimate of work completed.
Duration The amount of time the activity takes to complete. When actualized, Duration is replaced by Progressed and Remaining durations.
Start Date The date the activity begins.
Start Time The time the activity begins; only enabled if the schedule time unit is smaller than days.
Finish Date The date the activity will be completed
Finish Time The time the activity will be completed; only enabled if the schedule time unit is smaller than days.
Drift Buffer The amount of time an activity can gain before advancing the finish of its nearest predecessor.
Drift The amount of time an activity can gain before advancing the start of the project.
Float The amount of time an activity can be delayed before delaying the completion of the project.
Buffer The amount of time an activity can be delayed before delaying the start of its nearest successor.
Total Float Drift + Float.

NOTE: Drift, float, buffer, and total float are displayed in that order below the milestone on the same line. They may be distinguished from one another by the shape of their bounding boxes: drift points to the left, or project start; float and buffer point to the right, or project completion; and total float points in both directions. Either buffer or total float may be displayed, but not both at the same time. To customize the position of the fields on the canvas, see Repositioning Fields (GEM).

Format Tab

The Format tab contains controls for changing the look of the object on the canvas.

Bar & Nodes
Field
Definition
Size The size of the bar.
Pattern The pattern of the bar. NOTE: Patterns display best when printed. Depending on your screen resolution, page size, zoom factor, and activity sizes, patterns may show up inconsistently on screen. For best results on screen, use the large bar size.
Color The color of the event. NOTE: Avoid red, since red is used to signal criticality. For more info, see Criticality.
Node The color of the start and end nodes.
Descriptions

The description and the abbreviated description can be styled/formatted differently or the same. To make them different, choose Description from the dropdown, customize the options, and then choose Abbr. Description from the dropdown, and customize the options for it. The settings will be saved, and you can switch between the two to confirm.

To make them the same, choose Both from the dropdown, and then customize the options. Note that choosing both will only overwrite the options that receive a change. For example, imagine the description’s font has been formatted to Arial and the abbreviated description’s font has been formatted to Tahoma. If Both is chosen from the dropdown and the font is set to Calibri, then the font for both the description and the abbreviated description will be set to Calibri, but the color, alignment, style, and size will be unaffected, since they didn’t receive any change. This can be confirmed by switching between the description and the abbreviated description and reviewing them without losing any of the changes.

Field
Definition
Font The font for the description, abbreviated description, or both.
Color The color of the description, abbreviated description, or both.
Alignment The alignment of the description, abbreviated description, or both.
Style The style of the description, abbreviated description, or both.
Size The size of the description, abbreviated description, or both.

3.3.2.Constraining Activities

A constraint is a way to restrict the range that an object may move in time. If an object has been constrained, any attempt to move it beyond its constraint date will be prevented. Constraints are represented by exclamation marks to the left or the right of the date they’re constraining.

NetPoint supports two types of constraints: a no-earlier-than (NET) constraint, also called a start-no-earlier than (SNE) constraint, which defines the earliest date an object may backslide in time; and a no-later-than (NLT) constraint, also called a finish-no-later than (FNL) constraint, which defines the latest date an object may slide forward in time. In the case of activities, no-earlier-than constraints are applied to start dates and no-later-than constraints are applied to finish dates. To set constraints for more than one activity or milestone at the same time, see Bulk-Editing Objects.

NOTE: Once set for the first time, if the constraint is subsequently turned off, NetPoint continues to remember the date for future use.

Steps

  1. With the Select Tool chosen in the toolbar, double-click the desired activity, or right-click it and choose Properties. The Activity Object window will open.
  2. Click the Dates tab.
  3. To apply a NET constraint, check the box next to Start no earlier than. The constraint will default to the current start date.
  4. To apply a NLT constraint, check the box next to Finish no later than. The constraint will default to the current finish date.
  5. To change the constraint date, enter a new value or click the down arrow button. Selecting a date on the calendar closes the graphic calendar picker.
  6. When finished, click OK to exit the window and apply the constraint. An exclamation mark will show up where the constraint was applied.

3.3.3.Text Annotations

Annotations can be used to add text directly to a specific object. Text can include a note, a comment, or a custom data field. When you add an annotation to an object, NetPoint is actually just creating a text box that is permanently tied to its host. As the object is moved, the annotation moves too, along with other object data, like dates. Only one annotation may be added to an object at a time. Because annotations can be repositioned on the canvas without having to enter Global Edit Mode, it may be desirable to use them instead of descriptions.

NOTE: Annotations will also fade with their host objects.

Steps

Adding

  1. With the Select Tool chosen in the toolbar, right-click on the desired activity.
  2. Choose Add Annotation at and then Start, Center, or Finish. The cursor will change to the crosshairs, and the Text Object icon in the toolbar will become pressed.
  3. Left-click with the mouse at the desired date, indicated by the text above the crosshairs. (Dragging the crosshairs will have no consequence on the shape of the text box).
  4. Release the mouse. The edit text window will open.
  5. Begin typing.
  6. When finished, click anywhere outside the text box on the canvas.

NOTE: Once an annotation is added, Add Annotation at will go disabled, as only one annotation may be added to an object, and the anchor point may never be changed.

Modifying Annotation Text

  1. With the Select Tool chosen in the toolbar, right-click on the text and choose Edit Text.
  2. Edit as desired.
  3. When finished, click anywhere outside the text box on the canvas.

Modifying Annotation Font

  1. With the Select Tool chosen in the toolbar, double-click the text or right-click and choose Properties. The Text Object window will open.
  2. When finished making changes, click OK.

Hiding Annotations

  1. With the Select Tool chosen in the toolbar, right-click on the activity and choose Hide Annotation.
  2. Click on the canvas to deselect the activity.

Deleting

  1. With the Select Tool chosen in the toolbar, select the text on the canvas and press the Delete key, or right-click on the host activity and choose Delete Annotation.
  2. Click on the canvas to deselect the activity.

 

RELATED RESOURCES

3.3.4.Splitting

Sometimes, it might be helpful divide activity into two separate activities. For example, an in-progress activity could be split at the data date, separating the finished portion from the remaining portion as two distinct activities. Any un-actualized activity, or un-actualized portion of an activity, can be split.

After splitting, NetPoint will automatically maintain any links directly into and out of the original activity, while creating a new finish-to-start link between the new activities. if the original activity had an embedded node before the split date, it will be part of the first activity. If the embed falls after the split date, it will be part of the second activity. Either way, the embed’s date will always be maintained. The lag may or may not be recalculated, depending on its type and behavior. Any unlinked embeds will be deleted. Both activities will maintain the original bar color and node color, display settings, any code assignments, and any parent hammock. However, annotations and target information will only remain with the first activity. Any fields that were re-positioned will be reset for both.

Steps

  1. With the Select Tool chosen in the toolbar, move the cursor over a given activity, stopping at the date desired for the split.
  2. Right-click and choose Split Activity. The Split and Link Activity window will open.
  3. When finished, click OK.

Notes

Split and Link Activity Window

First Activity
Field
Definition
Description The original activity’s description, prefixed with “Start”.
Abbr. Desc. The original activity’s abbreviated description, appended with “S”.
Activity ID The original activity’s ID prefixed with “S”.
Second Activity
Field
Definition
Description The original activity’s description, prefixed with “Comp”
Abbr. Desc. The original activity’s abbreviated description, appended with “C”.
Activity ID The original activity’s ID prefixed with “C”.
“Per Duration “Resource Assignment
Field
Definition
Assign to first activity When chosen, any resources assigned “per duration” are assigned to the first activity. Resources assigner “per day” are maintained on both.
Assign to last activity When chosen, any resources assigned “per duration” are assigned to the second activity. Resources assigner “per day” are maintained on both.
Assign proportionally When chosen, any resources assigned “per duration” are assigned to both activities.  For example, if 10 carpenters were assigned per duration and it were split in 1/3, 4 would be assigned per duration to the first activity and 6 would be assigned to the second activity (if decimals arise, the first activity’s quantity will be rounded-up and the second activity’s will be rounded-down). Resources assigner “per day” are maintained on both.

3.3.5.Dissolving

If the need arises to delete an activity without deleting its logic relationships, dissolving can be useful. Dissolving an activity or delay will completely remove it from the network, while maintaining links to and from its predecessors and successors. Any resources or codes assigned to the dissolved activity, and any lags on links to or from the dissolved activity will be ignored. Any links to or from embedded nodes will be treated as FS links to or from the containing activity. If dissolving an activity results in an embedded node in either a predecessor or successor having no remaining links, that embed will be removed.

NOTE: No attempt will be made to correct any negative gaps resulting from the dissolve operation.

Steps

  1. With the Select Tool chosen in the toolbar, right-click on an activity or delay and select Dissolve Activity or Dissolve Delay, respectively.

Notes

Once dissolved, a new FS link will be created from each predecessor to each successor. None of these new links will have lags. The link geometry is chosen automatically to minimize link overlays on the display:

  • For one-to-many relationships, VH links are used.
  • For one-to-one and many-to-one relationships, HV links are used.
  • For many-to-many relationships, VDV links are used.

3.3.6.Info Objects/Attachments

Info objects are external files or attachments. Adding an info object to an activity is a way to embed a document on the activity for viewing. An activity with one or more info objects will have an “i” icon placed over the bar to indicate a file has been attached. However, if the duration is reduced sufficiently to where the end nodes begin to overlap, the icon will be hidden. Info objects can be added, viewed, and deleted from the Info Objects tab of the Activity Object window.

Steps

Adding

  1. With the Select Tool chosen in the toolbar, double-click an activity, or right-click and choose Properties.
  2. Click the Info Object tab.
  3. Click the New button. The Info Object Properties window will open.
  4. Click the Browse button. (If you’d like to attach another schedule, first select NetPoint project).
  5. Choose a file and click Open.
  6. If desired, enter a new Description.
  7. Click OK to save and close the Info Object Properties window.
  8. To add another, repeat steps 3-7.
  9. When finished, click OK.

NOTE: If the iObject is copied and linked to the project folder, the filepath shown will still display the original location, so that you can always remember where the original file was located.

Modifying

  1. With the Select Tool chosen in the toolbar, double-click an activity, or right-click and choose Properties.
  2. Click the Info Objects tab.
  3. Select the file in the list and click the Modify button. The Info Object Properties window will open.
  4. Modify as desired.
  5. Click OK to save and close the Info Object Properties window.
  6. To modify another, repeat steps 3-5.
  7. When finished, click OK.

Deleting

  1. With the Select Tool chosen in the toolbar, double-click an activity, or right-click and choose Properties.
  2. Click the Info Objects tab.
  3. Select the file in the list and click the Delete button.
  4. In the confirmation, click Yes.
  5. To delete another, repeat steps 3-4.
  6. When finished, click OK.

Opening/Viewing

  1. With the Select Tool chosen in the toolbar, double-click an activity, or right-click and choose Properties.
  2. Click the Info Objects tab.
  3. Select the file in the list and click the View button. The file will open outside of NetPoint.
  4. To view another, repeat step 3.
  5. When finished, click OK.

NOTE: If the info object is a NetPoint schedule, the current schedule will be saved automatically. If you don’t wish to save the schedule, click Cancel in the confirmation that opens.

Notes

Properties

The Properties window is where the general settings are changed.

Field
Definition
Source Determines the type of file to attach.
Filepath Displays the filepath of the original file, regardless of whether or not it’s copied to the project folder.
Description A short description for displaying on the canvas. By default, the same as the filename.
Options Provides the option to copy the file to the project folder so it’s still viewable after zipping and sending the project.

3.4.Hammocks

Hammocks are a type of activity used to represent or summarize a group of other activities, milestones, and/ or benchmarks. They are different from regular activities in that they have no attributes of their own (like dates or info objects), except for the descriptions/ID, and they don’t accept resources or embedded nodes. If an embed is added, it will display as red. Furthermore, hammocks cannot to be linked to other objects, and member objects can only belong to one hammock at a time. When exported to P6, any unconnected milestones or benchmarks will be connected to the LOE with a start-to-start or finish-to-finish relationship accordingly.

Hammocks are depicted on the canvas by a thick, diagonally hashed bar, beginning at the earliest start date and ending at the latest finish date of their member objects. The object itself will automatically reflect in realtime any changes in dates and durations to any of their member objects, and they will also display critical if any member objects are critical. Once created, hammocks can also be hidden on the canvas, and member objects can be added and removed. Instructions for all are provided below..

NOTE: If a hammock includes only delay/gain objects with total duration of zero, the hammock still displays the duration as one, because hammocks cannot have zero duration.

Steps

Creating Hammocks

  1. With the Select Tool chosen in the toolbar, select the first activity, milestone, or benchmark on the canvas.
  2. To add more objects, press and hold the Shift key and select a second activity, milestone, or benchmark on the canvas to include. Alternatively, you can click on a blank portion of the canvas and drag a rectangular marquee box around all the objects to include in the hammock.
  3. With all the objects still selected, click the Hammock icon  in the toolbar.
  4. Use the up and down arrow buttons or enter the grid number to place the hammock at and click OK. NOTE: A new gridline will be inserted for the hammock and all objects below it moved down.
  5. Enter a description and any other details.
  6. When finished, click OK to close the window and finish creating the hammock.

Adding Objects to Hammocks

  1. With the Select Tool chosen in the toolbar, select the hammock on the canvas.
  2. Press and hold the Shift key and select each activity, milestone, or benchmark to add to the hammock. Alternatively, you can click on a blank portion of the canvas and drag a rectangular marquee box around all the objects you want to add to the hammock.
  3. Click the Hammock icon in the toolbar. If one or more objects to be added already belong to a different hammock, a prompt will open. See 31.
    1. Choose Add to Hammock and click Apply for all objects you wish to remove and add. Otherwise, choose Leave in Existing Hammock.

NOTE: If multiple hammocks were selected when pressing the hammock icon in the toolbar, deselect all but one and retry the operation.

Removing Objects from Hammocks

  1. With the Select Tool chosen in the toolbar, select the first activity, milestone, or benchmark on the canvas to remove.
  2. To remove more than one object, press and hold the Shift key and select each additional activity, milestone, or benchmark on the canvas. Alternatively, you can click on a blank portion of the canvas and drag a rectangular marquee box around all the objects you want to remove from the hammock.
  3. Click the down arrow to the right of the Hammock icon in the toolbar.
  4. Click Remove Object(s) from Hammock(s). A confirmation will open.
  5. Press Remove to confirm. Hammock lengths will adjust accordingly

Hiding Hammocks

  1. With the Select Tool chosen in the toolbar, select the hammock you want to hide.
  2. To hide multiple hammocks, press and hold the Shift key and select each additional hammock on the canvas. Alternatively, you can click on a blank portion of the canvas and drag a rectangular marquee box around all the hammocks you want to hide.
  3. Click the down arrow to the right of the Hammock icon in the toolbar.
  4. Choose Hide Hammock(s).

NOTE: If no member objects or hammocks have been selected, choosing this menu option will hide all hammocks in the schedule.

Showing Hammocks

  1. With the Select Tool chosen in the toolbar, select a member activity from the hammock you want to show.
  2. To show more than one hidden hammock, press and hold the Shift key and select additional member objects on the canvas. Alternatively, you can click on a blank portion of the canvas and drag a rectangular marquee box around all the member objects of the hammocks you want to show.
  3. Click the down arrow to the right of the Hammock icon in the toolbar.
  4. Choose Show Hidden Hammock(s).

NOTE: To show all hidden hammocks, including hammocks which you may not remember the member objects of, choose this menu option without any objects selected on the canvas.

Including/Excluding from Resource Display

  1. With the Select Tool chosen in the toolbar, right-click the hammock.
  2. Choose Show Resources for Hammock ONLY or Hide Resources for Hammock ONLY.

Notes

Properties Tab

 

The Properties tab is where general settings are changed.

Field
Definition
Description A text field for describing the hammock. To stack, use the ENTER key. Descriptions must be less than 120 characters for P6 and less than 100 for Open Plan. Otherwise, they’ll be truncated upon export.
Abbr. Description A text field limited to 48 characters to be displayed on the canvas if the description is too long.
ID A user-entered unique identifier. By default, the ID is not displayed, but it will display before the description, surrounded by brackets, if it is turned on. NetPoint internal ID displayed below.
Codes A window for adding or modifying code assignments.
Resources Hammocks can not be assigned resources.
Progress A hammock cannot be actualized.
Calculated Complete The amount of progressed duration divided by total duration. Only available once any of its member objects are actualized. A warning will be shown if some member objects are not yet actualized as they will throw off the calculations.
Estimated Complete A user-entered estimate of work completed.

Displays Tab

The Displays tab contains checkboxes for hiding or showing different fields on the canvas.

Field
Definition
Description The description of the hammock. Only one of the description fields can be displayed at any given time.
Abbr. Description A shorter description for viewing on the canvas if the description is too long.
ID A user-entered unique identifier. If no description field is displayed but the ID is, then the ID will inherit the formatting of the abbreviated description.
Calc. Complete The amount of progressed duration divided by total duration. Only available if at least one member has been actualized.
Est. Complete A user-entered estimate of work completed.
Duration The amount of time the hammock takes to complete. When actualized, Duration is replaced by Progressed and Remaining durations.
Start Date The date the earliest member object begins.
Start Time The time the earliest member object begins; only enabled if the schedule time unit is smaller than days.
Finish Date The date the latest member object will be completed.
Finish Time The time the  latest member object will be completed; only enabled if the schedule time unit is smaller than days.
Drift Buffer The amount of time the hammock can gain before advancing the finish of its nearest predecessor. Equal to the lowest of all member objects’ drift buffers.
Drift The amount of time  the hammock can gain before advancing the start of the project. Equal to the lowest of all member objects’ drifts.
Float The amount of time  the hammock can be delayed before delaying the completion of the project. Equal to the lowest of all member objects’ floats.
Buffer The amount of time  the hammock can be delayed before delaying the start of its nearest successor. Equal to the lowest of all member objects’ buffers.
Total Float Drift + Float. Equal to the lowest of all member objects’ total floats.

NOTE: Drift, float, buffer, and total float are displayed in that order below the hammock bar on the same line. They may be distinguished from one another by the shape of their bounding boxes: drift points to the left, or project start; float and buffer point to the right, or project completion; and total float points in both directions. Either buffer or total float may be displayed, but not both at the same time. If too many fields are being displayed for the duration of the activity, the data may stack under and perpendicular to the bar. To customize the position of the fields on the canvas, see Repositioning Fields.

Format Tab

The Format tab contains controls for changing the look of the object on the canvas.

Bar and Nodes
Field
Definition
Pattern The pattern of the bar. NOTE: Patterns display best when printed. Depending on your screen resolution, page size, zoom factor, and activity sizes, patterns may show up inconsistently on screen. For best results on screen, use the large bar size.
Color The color of the bar.
Node The color of the start and end nodes.
Descriptions

The description and the abbreviated description can be styled/formatted differently or the same. To make them different, choose Description from the dropdown, customize the options, and then choose Abbr. Description from the dropdown, and customize the options for it. The settings will be saved, and you can switch between the two to confirm.

To make them the same, choose Both from the dropdown, and then customize the options. Note that choosing both will only overwrite the options that receive a change. For example, imagine the description’s font has been formatted to Arial and the abbreviated description’s font has been formatted to Tahoma. If Both is chosen from the dropdown and the font is set to Calibri, then the font for both the description and the abbreviated description will be set to Calibri, but the color, alignment, style, and size will be unaffected, since they didn’t receive any change. This can be confirmed by switching between the description and the abbreviated description and reviewing them without losing any of the changes.

Field
Definition
Font The font for the description, abbreviated description, or both.
Color The color of the description, abbreviated description, or both.
Alignment The alignment of the description, abbreviated description, or both.
Style The style of the description, abbreviated description, or both.
Size The size of the description, abbreviated description, or both.

Copy/Paste

Format options can be copied and pasted between hammocks and activities/delays, and hammocks can be used as sources for target data element positioning in Global Edit Mode (and vice versa). For more info, see Repositioning Fields.

3.5.Milestones and Benchmarks

Milestones and benchmarks are zero duration events that are used to represent key dates or moments in the schedule. Two types are available: a start milestone/benchmark, and a finish milestone/benchmark. The start type aligns to the beginning of the day or time unit (by default, 9:00 am), and should be used for events which will precede an activity or represent an initiation; the finish type aligns to the end of the day or time unit (by default, 5:00 pm), and should be used for events which will succeed an activity or represent a termination. In addition, both milestones and benchmarks can be represented by a variety of shapes; however, each one has its own set of behaviors.

Milestones, like activities, will track along with the network, once they’ve been linked to any predecessors or successors. In addition, a start milestone will snap to its earliest successor and a finish milestone will snap to its latest predecessor, always maintaining a zero gap link. If a start milestone has no successors (for example, if it’s been linked to an activity that precedes it in time), it will not snap and erase any gap, but it will continue to track. If a finish milestone has no predecessors, it will also not snap but continue to track. While such relationships are discouraged and illogical, they may serve as a workaround snapping, where desired.

Benchmarks, unlike activities and milestones, will remain fixed at whatever date they are placed, regardless of whether or not they’ve been linked to any predecessor or successors. This means that even as an activity is pushed earlier or later than it, a negative gap link will open up as it passes. Although by default, benchmarks show up red, they are not and cannot be critical. This is because they do not have any float or drift themselves. In fact, any activities connected to the benchmark will have their float and drift calculated to the benchmark rather than to the project start and completion. This allows benchmarks to be used to divide up float and allocate it to different stages instead of having it accumulate undisturbed from schedule completion.

NOTE: If you’re planning on running a GPM risk analysis, benchmarks should be converted to milestones for best practice. For more info, see Converting Between Milestones and Benchmarks.

This chapter includes details for the following:

  1. Adding/modifying
  2. Constraining milestones
  3. Text annotations
  4. Info objects/attachments

3.5.1.Adding/Modifying

Due to the visual nature of NetPoint, adding and modifying milestones and benchmarks is best done graphically on the canvas. When the cursor is moved over the canvas, the date and day-of-the-week display above the crosshairs. As the cursor moves around the canvas, the date changes to reflect the exact calendar date that the cursor is at. If the date is a non-working period or holiday (according to the default calendar for the schedule), the text will appear red. If the default calendar were the Calendar Day calendar, the date will appear black.

Steps

Adding to the Canvas

  1. Click either the Start Milestone , Finish Milestone , Start Benchmark icon or Finish Benchmark icon  in the toolbar.
  2. Move the cursor to the desired date, indicated by the text above the crosshairs.
  3. Left-click with the mouse. The Milestone Object or Benchmark Object window will open.
  4. Enter a description.
  5. Click OK.

Modifying Dates

  1. Click the Select Tool icon in the toolbar.
  2. Select the desired event on the canvas.
  3. Left-click with the mouse, and without releasing, drag it to the right or left until it lands on the desired date.
  4. Release the mouse.

NOTE: Dates can also be modified using the arrow keys on the keyboard or in the Dates tab. To do so, double-click the desired object, or right-click and choose Properties.

Converting Between Milestones and Benchmarks

  1. Click the Select Tool iconin the toolbar.
  2. Select the desired event on the canvas.
  3. To convert between start and finish events, choose Convert to Start or Convert to Finish accordingly.
  4. To convert between milestones and benchmarks, choose Convert to Milestone or Convert to Benchmark accordingly.

NOTE: Any existing constraints will be removed before converting. Once converted, the date is adjusted to maintain the current position of the object. For example, when a start milestone at 3/30/2010 is converted to a finish milestone, the date is adjusted to 3/29/2010, as the start of 3/30 and the end of 3/29 are at the same position on the schedule. This also allows the type of a benchmark to be changed without affecting float or drift calculations.

Editing the Description

  1. With the Select Tool chosen in the toolbar, double-click the description directly on the canvas. A text box will open.
  2. Edit as desired.
  3. When finished, click anywhere outside the text box on the canvas.

Positioning Fields on the Canvas

  1. Begin at step 1 of ➦Through GEM Mode.

Notes

Properties Tab

The Properties tab is where general settings are changed.

Field
Definition
Description A text field for describing the milestone/benchmark. To stack, use the ENTER key. Descriptions must be less than 120 characters for P6 and less than 100 for Open Plan. Otherwise, they’ll be truncated upon export.
Abbr. Description A text field limited to 48 characters to be displayed on the canvas if the description is too long.
ID A user-entered unique identifier. By default, the ID is not displayed, but it will display before the description, surrounded by brackets, if it is turned on. NetPoint internal ID displayed below.
Codes A window for adding or modifying code assignments.
Estimated Complete A user-entered estimate of work completed.

Dates Tab

The Dates tab is where date-related settings are changed.

Field
Definition
Calendar The schedule that work on the event can take place. For more info, see ➦Project Calendars.
Date/Time The date and/or time the event starts or finishes (depending on the type). The date can be made actual by clicking Actualize, but only if a Data Date has been set. For more info, see see ➦Data Dates.
Start no earlier than/Finish no earlier than* *Only available for milestones. An optional boundary preventing the event from starting/finish any earlier than the date selected. For more details, see step 1 of ➦Constraining Milestones.
Start no later than/Finish no later than* *Only available for milestones. An optional boundary preventing the event from starting/finish any later than the date selected. For more details, see step 1 of ➦Constraining Milestones.
Contract Date The date of the event according to a contract.
Change Log (Contract Date) A history of changes to the contract date, with the following columns – Description: a text field for naming the version of the contract date. Contract Date: the date of the version of the contract date. Variance: the difference between the planned date on the canvas and the version of the contract date. Date Logged: the date/time the version of the contract date was modified. Associated Target: the most recent target created after the version of the contract date was modified. Associated Data Date: the most recent data date that existed on the canvas at the time the version of the contract date was modified.

Displays Tab

The Displays tab contains checkboxes for hiding or showing different fields on the canvas.

Field
Definition
Description The description of the milestone/benchmark. Only one of the description fields can be displayed at any given time.
Abbr. Description A shorter description for viewing on the canvas if the description is too long.
ID A user-entered unique identifier. If no description field is displayed but the ID is, then the ID will inherit the formatting of the abbreviated description.
Est. Complete A user-entered estimate of work completed.
Date The date the event starts or finishes.
Time The time the event starts or finishes; only enabled if the schedule time unit is smaller than days.
Contract Shadow A visual depiction of the most recent contract date, if any, that was entered.
Drift Buffer* *Only available for milestones. The amount of time a milestone can gain before advancing the finish of its nearest predecessor.
Drift* *Only available for milestones. The amount of time a milestone can gain before advancing the start of the project.
Float* *Only available for milestones. The amount of time a milestone can be delayed before delaying the completion of the project.
Buffer* *Only available for milestones. The amount of time a milestone can be delayed before delaying the start of its nearest successor.
Total Float* *Only available for milestones. Drift + Float.

NOTE: Drift, float, buffer, and total float are displayed in that order below the milestone on the same line. They may be distinguished from one another by the shape of their bounding boxes: drift points to the left, or project start; float and buffer point to the right, or project completion; and total float points in both directions. Either buffer or total float may be displayed, but not both at the same time. To customize the position of the fields on the canvas, see ➦Repositioning Fields (GEM).

Dates Tab

The Format tab contains controls for changing the look of the object on the canvas.

Field
Definition
Size The size of the event on the canvas.
Shape The shape of the event. A start event will be filled in on the left (or point to the left if it’s a flag); a finish event will be filled in on the right (or point to the right if it’s a flag). NOTE: Any pattern in-use by a milestone will be unavailable for use by a benchmark, and vice versa.
Color The color of the event. NOTE: Avoid red for milestones, since red is used to signal criticality. For more info, see Criticality.
Text Location The default position for the ID, description, and date/time.
Tail Length (0-1)* *Only available for milestones. An optional line extending from the bottom of the milestone down the canvas, with 0 being no line and 1 being to the bottom of the canvas.

 

Shape Definition
Hourglass
Vertical Diamond
Horizontal Diamond
5-point Star
4-point Star
Flag
Triangle

Descriptions

The description and the abbreviated description can be styled/formatted differently or the same. To make them different, choose Description from the dropdown, customize the options, and then choose Abbr. Description from the dropdown, and customize the options for it. The settings will be saved, and you can switch between the two to confirm.

To make them the same, choose Both from the dropdown, and then customize the options. Note that choosing both will only overwrite the options that receive a change. For example, imagine the description’s font has been formatted to Arial and the abbreviated description’s font has been formatted to Tahoma. If Both is chosen from the dropdown and the font is set to Calibri, then the font for both the description and the abbreviated description will be set to Calibri, but the color, alignment, style, and size will be unaffected, since they didn’t receive any change. This can be confirmed by switching between the description and the abbreviated description and reviewing them without losing any of the changes.

Field
Definition
Font

The font for the description, abbreviated description, or both.

Color

The color of the description, abbreviated description, or both.

Alignment

The alignment of the description, abbreviated description, or both.

Style

The style of the description, abbreviated description, or both.

Size

The size of the description, abbreviated description, or both.

3.5.2.Constraining Milestones

A constraint is a way to restrict the range that an object may move in time. If an object has been constrained, any attempt to move it beyond its constraint date will be prevented. Constraints are represented by exclamation marks to the left or the right of the date they’re constraining.

NetPoint supports two types of constraints: a no-earlier-than (NET) constraint, also called a start-no-earlier than (SNE) constraint, which defines the earliest date an object may backslide in time; and a no-later-than (NLT) constraint, also called a finish-no-later than (FNL) constraint, which defines the latest date an object may slide forward in time. In the case of milestones and benchmarks, no-earlier-than constraints are applied to start types and no-later-than constraints are applied to finish types. To set constraints for more than one activity or milestone at the same time, see Bulk-Editing Objects.

Tip: Instead of constraining a milestone, consider using a benchmark. Benchmarks are constrained to the date that they’re set at and allow negative-gap to measure movement beyond the set date.

NOTE: If a milestone is constrained to a non-working day based on its calendar, it may be subject to having extra float or drift that can never be zeroed out. For example, a start milestone whose earliest successor starts on Monday but whose no-later-than constraint is set to Saturday will be forced to start on Friday and have one day of float even though it’s snapped.

Steps

  1. With the Select Tool chosen in the toolbar, double-click the desired milestone, or right-click it and choose Properties.
  2. To apply a NET constraint, check the box next to Finish no earlier than (or Start no earlier than for a start milestone). The constraint will default to the current date.
  3. To apply a NLT constraint, check the box next to Finish no later than (or Start no later than for a start milestone). The constraint will default to the current date.
  4. To change the constraint date, enter a new value or click the down arrow button. Selecting a date on the calendar closes the graphic calendar picker.
  5. When finished, click OK to exit the window and apply the constraint. An exclamation mark will show up where the constraint was applied.

 

RELATED RESOURCES

3.5.3.Text Annotations

Annotations can be used to add text directly to a specific object. Text can include a note, a comment, or a custom data field. When you add an annotation to an object, NetPoint is actually just creating a text box that is permanently tied to its host. As the object is moved, the annotation moves too, along with other object data, like dates. Only one annotation may be added to an object at a time. Because annotations can be re-positioned on the canvas without having to enter Global Edit Mode, it may be desirable to use them instead of descriptions.

NOTE: Annotations will also fade with their host objects.

Steps

Adding

  1. With the Select Tool chosen in the toolbar, right-click on the desired event.
  2. Choose Add Annotation at and then Start, Center, or Finish. The cursor will change to the crosshairs, and the Text Object icon  in the toolbar will become pressed.
  3. Left-click with the mouse at the desired date, indicated by the text above the crosshairs. (Dragging the crosshairs will have no consequence on the shape of the text box).
  4. Release the mouse. The edit text window will open.
  5. Begin typing.
  6. When finished, click anywhere outside the text box on the canvas.

NOTE: Once an annotation is added, Add Annotation at will go disabled, as only one annotation may be added to an object, and the anchor point may never be changed.

Modifying Annotation Text

  1. With the Select Tool chosen in the toolbar, right-click on the text and choose Edit Text.
  2. Edit as desired.
  3. When finished, click anywhere outside the text box on the canvas.

Modifying Annotation Font

  1. With the Select Tool chosen in the toolbar, double-click the text or right-click and choose Properties. The Text Object window will open.
  2. When finished making changes, click OK.

Hiding Annotations

  1. With the Select Tool chosen in the toolbar, right-click on the event and choose Hide Annotation.
  2. Click on the canvas to deselect the activity.

Deleting

  1. With the Select Tool chosen in the toolbar, select the text on the canvas and press the Delete key, or right-click on the host event and choose Delete Annotation.
  2. Click on the canvas to deselect the activity.

 

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3.5.4.Info Objects/Attachments

Info objects are external files or attachments. Adding an info object to a milestone or benchmark is a way to embed a document on the event for viewing. An event with one or more info objects will have an “i” icon placed over the bar to indicate a file has been attached. However, if the duration is reduced sufficiently to where the end nodes begin to overlap, the icon will be hidden. Info objects can be added, viewed, and deleted from the Info Objects tab of the event’s Object window.

Steps

Adding

  1. With the Select Tool chosen in the toolbar, double-click an event, or right-click and choose Properties.
  2. Click the Info Objects tab.
  3. Click the New button. The Info Object Properties window will open.
  4. Click the Browse button. (If you’d like to attach another schedule, first select NetPoint project).
  5. Choose a file and click Open.
  6. If desired, enter a new Description.
  7. Click OK to save and close the Info Object Properties window.
  8. To add another, repeat steps 3-7.
  9. When finished, click OK.

NOTE: If the iObject is copied and linked to the project folder, the filepath shown will still display the original location, so that you can always remember where the original file was located.

Modifying

  1. With the Select Tool chosen in the toolbar, double-click an event, or right-click and choose Properties.
  2. Click the Info Objects tab.
  3. Select the file in the list and click the Modify button. The Info Object Properties window will open.
  4. Modify as desired.
  5. Click OK to save and close the Info Object Properties window.
  6. To modify another, repeat steps 3-5.
  7. When finished, click OK.

Deleting

  1. With the Select Tool chosen in the toolbar, double-click an event, or right-click and choose Properties.
  2. Click the Info Objects tab.
  3. Select the file in the list and click the Delete button.
  4. In the confirmation, click Yes.
  5. To delete another, repeat steps 3-4.
  6. When finished, click OK.

Opening/Viewing

  1. With the Select Tool chosen in the toolbar, double-click an event, or right-click and choose Properties.
  2. Click the Info Objects tab.
  3. Select the file in the list and click the View button. The file will open outside of NetPoint.
  4. To view another, repeat step 3.
  5. When finished, click OK.

NOTE: If the info object is a NetPoint schedule, the current schedule will be saved automatically. If you don’t wish to save the schedule, click Cancel in the confirmation that opens.

Notes

Properties

The Properties window is where the general settings are changed.

Field
Definition
Source Determines the type of file to attach.
Filepath Displays the filepath of the original file, regardless of whether or not it’s copied to to the project folder.
Description A short description for displaying on the canvas. By default, the same as the filename.
Options Provides the option to copy the file to the project folder so it’s still viewable after zipping and sending the project.

 

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3.6.6.Treating Redundancies

The simplest case of a redundant link is a start-to-start (SS) or finish-to-finish (FF) link between two activities that are already finish-to-start (FS) connected. The more complex case of a redundant link is an SS link, FF link, or no-lag FS link connecting an activity to a successor, which, topology constant, cannot acquire a zero gap under any combination of durations and lags, because the successor is inevitably driven by a successor to the activity. The reverse of a redundant link is a valid link.

Redundant links can be hidden, displayed, faded, or shown. You can also tell if a link is redundant by opening its object property window. In the bottom left, it will display if it’s redundant or valid.

NOTE: Redundancy options through the menu bar are continually checked; rather, these are one-time operations, which must be done periodically as the schedule evolves.

Steps

All at once

  1. Click Objects > Redundant Links from the menu bar.
    1. To hide all redundant links on the canvas, click Hide.
    2. To show all redundant links on the canvas, click Show.
    3. To fade all redundant links on the canvas, click Fade.
    4. To spotlight all redundant links on the canvas, click Spotlight.

One-by-one

  1. Click Schedule > Open Layout Manager… from the menu bar.
  2. Click the down arrow next to the Statistics icon and choose Links.
    1. To spotlight a link on the canvas, select it in the list.
    2. To hide a redundant link on the canvas, check the box under the Hide column next to the link.
    3. To fade a redundant link on the canvas, check the box under the Fade column next to the link.
    4. To delete a redundant link on the canvas, select it in the list and click Delete.
  3. Click Save or Close to close the manager. The list will be saved automatically regardless.

 

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3.6.7.Overriding Logic

Logic is a mode whereby object relationships are enforced. When turned on, NetPoint will heal a negative-gap link as it forms to preserve the logic of the original relationship. For example, if an activity is moved earlier in time, NetPoint will move any zero-gap predecessors along with the activity in real-time (until reaching an actualized object or constraint). Additionally, if the activity has any zero-gap successors, they will be moved earlier to maintain the zero-gap link (unless they were actualized or constrained).

Likewise, if an activity is moved later than in time, NetPoint will move any zero-gap successors later along with the activity (until reaching an actualized object or constraint). In this case, however, all predecessors will remain fixed, even if connected by a zero-gap link, allowing the activities to break open. The same rules also apply when crashing or extending an activity’s duration. In short, logic mode will propagate a change throughout a network. Without logic mode on, a change will be localized to the affected object itself.

This process by which predecessors and successors are moved automatically is known as self-healing. By default, logic mode is turned on but can be turned off if desired. It is helpful to save the plan before using this option.

NOTE: If a milestone is assigned a calendar that’s different from that of its predecessors or successors, and the network is pulled backwards, gaps may open up as the chain crosses a weekend or non-working days, despite logic being on. As such, it is recommended to always keep milestones on the same calendar as their predecessors/successors.

Steps

  1. Click the Logic Mode  icon in the toolbar.
  2. Adjust the network as desired.
  3. When finished, turn Logic Mode back on.

NOTE: Negative-gap links will not be corrected by the system until Logic Mode is turned back on and one or more of the activities impacting these links are moved (either the predecessor or successor of the link with negative-gap or an activity which falls on the same path as the link with negative-gap).

Notes

Logic Loops

NetPoint does not allow an activity to have the same activity as a predecessor and successor (or in the predecessor and successor chains (for example, activity A linked to activity B, linked to activity A). This is known as a logic loop. However, it is still possible to open a schedule that was created before loops were prohibited. In this case, a window will open, the links in the logic loop will be highlighted, and one of the links must be deleted before proceeding. If multiple loops are present, the window will open for each loop.

 

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3.7.Markup Tools

NetPoint provides a number of non-planning objects for adding extra information to the canvas. Such objects do not contribute to the logic of the network but are used merely for providing supplemental information.

3.7.1.Shades

Shades are custom-drawn rectangles of color. They are more flexible than the basic shapes and can be re-sized more naturally. Shades can be used to create a key or legend, show horizontal lanes, show vertical windows, or even spotlight an activity or area of the network. Both shapes and shades are added through the same toolbar icon.

Steps

Adding a Shade

  1. Click the Shapes icon  on the toolbar.
  2. Move the cursor to the desired location.
  3. Left-click with the mouse.
  4. Without releasing, drag the cursor to create the desired shape.
  5. Release the mouse. The Shade Object window will open.
  6. To make the shade entirely horizontal or vertical, click the dropdown next to Orientation and choose accordingly.
  7. When finished, click OK.

Locking/Unlocking a Shade

  1. Click the Select Tool icon  in the toolbar.
  2. Double-click the shade or right-click and choose Properties.
  3. Click the dropdown next to Behavior and choose Canvas Background to lock or Regular Object to unlock.
  4. When finished, click OK.

NOTE: Even when unlocked, a shade will never be included when dragging to select other objects. To include one or more shades, first select the other objects, and the press the SHIFT key on the keyboard, clicking each shade individually.

Rearranging a Shade

  1. Click the Select Tool icon  in the toolbar.
  2. Left-click with the mouse on the desired shade.
  3. Click Objects > Arrangement (Shades and Images) from the menu bar.
  4. Choose Bring to Front or Send to Back accordingly.

NOTE: Shades can only be moved in front of/behind one another, but not in front of/behind other shapes or images.

Moving/Resizing a Shade

  1. Click the Select Tool icon  in the toolbar.
  2. Left-click with the mouse on the desired shade.
  3. To move, drag the shade without letting go to the new desired location.
  4. To resize, move the cursor over any of the black boxes until a double-arrow appears.
    1. Left-click with the mouse.
    2. Without letting go, drag the box until the new desired size is achieved.
    3. Release the mouse.

NOTE: If a horizontal or vertical shade is resized so that one of the edges no longer spans the entire width or length of the canvas, the shade’s orientation will automatically adjust to be Variable.

Notes

Shades

Properties

The Properties tab is where general settings are changed.

Field
Definition
Orientation Determines the overall shape of the shade. Variable shades take the exact shape that is drawn on the canvas. Horizontal shades span the entire width of the canvas, maintaining their upper and lower edges that are drawn. Vertical shades span the entire height of the canvas, maintaining the left and right edges that are drawn.
Edge Type Determines what the edges of the shade correspond to. Snap to Period will align the left edge and the right edge with the beginning and end of each day (or time unit, when using PolyTime). Absolute will allow the left edge and right edge to fall in between the beginning and end of each day (or time unit).
Behavior Determines whether or not a shade can be selected via left-click on the canvas. Regular Object enables selection via left-click on the canvas. Canvas background will lock it, and thus prevent selection.
Formatting

The Formatting section contains controls for changing the look of the object on the canvas.

Field
Definition
Color The color of the shade.

 

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3.7.2.Shapes

Shapes are low-fidelity, black and white symbols for annotating the canvas. These include arrows, brackets, lines, rectangles, and a circle, for example. Both shapes and shades are added through the same toolbar icon.

Steps

Adding Shapes

  1. Click the down arrow to the right of the Shapes icon  and choose the desired shape.
  2. Move the cursor to the desired location.
  3. Left-click with the mouse.

Locking/Unlocking Shapes

  1. Click the Select Tool icon  in the toolbar.
  2. Right-click on the desired shape.
  3. Choose Set as canvas background to lock or unlock accordingly.

NOTE: Even when unlocked, a shape will never be included when dragging to select other objects. To include one or more shades, first select the other objects, and the press the SHIFT key on the keyboard, clicking each shade individually.

Rearranging Shapes

  1. Click the Select Tool icon  in the toolbar.
  2. Left-click with the mouse on the desired shape.
  3. Click Objects > Arrangement (Shades and Images) from the menu bar.
  4. Choose Bring to Front or Send to Back accordingly.

NOTE: Shapes and images can be moved in front of or behind other shapes or images, but not in front of or behind shades.

Moving/Resizing Shapes

  1. Click the Select Tool icon  in the toolbar.
  2. Left-click with the mouse on the desired shape.
  3. To move, drag the shape without letting go to the new desired location.
  4. To resize, move the cursor over any of the black boxes until a double-arrow appears.
    1. Left-click with the mouse.
    2. Without letting go, drag the box until the new desired size is achieved.
    3. Release the mouse.

NOTE: To resize a shape asymmetrically, right-click on the shape and uncheck the option Preserve Aspect Ratio While Resizing before attempting to resize.

3.7.3.Text Boxes and Notepads

Text boxes are notes that show up directly on the canvas. Notepads are notes that do not show up on the canvas. Instead, they are represented by an icon and viewed by double-clicking the icon. Text boxes and notepads are unique in that they can exist on the canvas irrespective of dates. This is useful for creating a header, footer, or watermark—the text box will not move with the network when the page size is changed or the canvas is stretched. Only text boxes and notepads possess this capability.

Steps

Adding

  1. Click the Text Box  icon or Notepad icon  from the toolbar.
  2. Move the cursor to the desired location or date on the canvas.
  3. Left-click with the mouse at the desired location or date, indicated by the text above the crosshairs. (Dragging the crosshairs will have no consequence on the shape of the text box or notepad).
  4. Release the mouse. The edit text window will open.
  5. Begin typing.
  6. When finished, click anywhere on the canvas outside the text box or notepad.

Modifying Text

  1. With the Select Tool  chosen in the toolbar, right-click on the text box or notepad and choose Edit Text.
  2. Edit as desired.
  3. When finished, click anywhere on the canvas outside the text box or notepad.

Modifying Font

  1. With the Select Tool  chosen in the toolbar, double-click the text box or notepad or right-click and choose Properties. The Text Object window will open.
  2. When finished making changes, click OK.

Notes

Properties and Formatting

The Properties and Formatting  section is where general settings as well as controls for changing the look are changed.

Field
Definition
Description A text that will show up on the canvas or in the notepad.
Color The color of the text.
Font The font for the text.
Font Style The style of the text.
Font Size The size of the text.
Alignment The alignment of the text.
Positioning Determines how the text box or notepad will behave when the page size is changed or the canvas is stretched.
Effects Options for striking or underlining the text.

Positioning

Positioning options determine how the text box or notepad will behave when the page size is changed or the canvas is stretched. This is useful for creating a header, footer, or watermark.

Field
Definition
Fix Position to Determines whether or not the text object or notepad is tied to dates (like all NetPoint objects), or not. To create a header, footer, or watermark, choose Canvas Border. The Canvas Border Reference Point section will become enabled. See below.
Text Box Reference Point Determines which corner of the text box is anchored to a date (or the canvas border, if chosen above). Options include Top Left, Middle Left, Bottom Left, Top Center, Middle Center, Bottom Center, Top Right, Middle Right, or Bottom Right. For example, if Dates and TR was chosen for a text box and the page size was changed or the canvas was stretched, the top right corner would move along to maintain the same date. Likewise, if additional text was added, the text box would increase down and to the left.
Canvas Border Reference Point Determines which corner of the canvas the text box is anchored to (only when Canvas border is chosen above). Options include Top Left, Middle Left, Bottom Left, Top Center, Middle Center, Bottom Center, Top Right, Middle Right, or Bottom Right. For example, if Canvas Border and TR was chosen for a text box and the page size was changed or the canvas was stretched, the distance between the text box and the top right corner of the schedule would remain fixed. To create a header, set the Text Box Reference Point and the Canvas Border Reference Point to TC. To create a footer, set the Text Box Reference Point and the Canvas Border Reference Point to BC. To create a watermark, set the Text Box Reference Point and the Canvas Border Reference Point to MC.

 

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3.7.4.Info Objects/Attachments

Info objects are external files or attachments. Adding an info object to the canvas is a way to embed a document for viewing. The toolbar icon is only for placing info objects onto the canvas. To attach info objects to activities, milestones, and benchmarks, open their object windows and choose the Info Objects tab.

Steps

Adding iObjects

  1. Click the Info Object icon  from the toolbar.
  2. Move the cursor over the canvas to the desired location.
  3. Left-click with the mouse. The Info Object Properties window will open.
  4. Click the Browse button. (If you’d like to attach another schedule, first select NetPoint project).
  5. Choose a file and click Open.
  6. If desired, enter a new Description.
  7. Click OK to save and close the Info Object Properties window.

NOTE: If the iObject is copied and linked to the project folder, the filepath shown will still display the original location, so that you can always remember where the original file was located.

Modifying iObjects

  1. With the Select Tool chosen in the toolbar, double-click the desired iObject, or right-click and choose Properties.
  2. Modify as desired.
  3. Click OK to save and close the Info Object Properties window.

Opening/Viewing iObjects

  1. With the Select Tool chosen in the toolbar, double-click the desired iObject, or right-click and choose Properties.
  2. Click the View button. The file will open outside of NetPoint.
  3. When finished, click OK.

NOTE: If the info object is a NetPoint schedule, the current schedule will be saved automatically. If you don’t wish to save the schedule, click Cancel in the confirmation that opens.

Notes

Properties

Info Objects

The Properties window is where the general settings are changed.

Field
Definition
Source Determines the type of file to attach.
Filepath Displays the filepath of the original file, regardless of whether or not it’s copied to the project folder.
Description A short description for displaying on the canvas. By default, the same as the filename.
Options Provides the option to copy the file to the project folder so it’s still viewable after zipping and sending the project.

3.7.5.Images

Images may be inserted onto the canvas from Windows Explorer or other applications that are an OLE compatible drag source. The following formats are supported: JPEG (.jpg), PNG, TIFF (.tif), GIF, EMF, and BMP.

Steps

Adding Images

  1. Click File > Insert Image Files from the menu bar (or drag and drop an image into NetPoint directly from an open Windows Explorer window).
  2. Browse for the file and click Open.

Rearranging Images

  1. Click the Select Tool icon  in the toolbar.
  2. Left-click with the mouse on the desired image.
  3. Click Objects > Arrangement (Shades and Images) from the menu bar.
  4. Choose Bring to Front or Send to Back accordingly.

NOTE: Images can only be moved in front of/behind one another, but not in front of/behind shades or other shapes.

Moving/Resizing an Image

  1. Click the Select Tool icon  in the toolbar.
  2. Left-click with the mouse on the desired image.
  3. To move, drag the image without letting go to the new desired location.
  4. To resize, move the cursor over any of the black boxes until a double-arrow appears.
    1. Left-click with the mouse.
    2. Without letting go, drag the box until the new desired size is achieved.
    3. Release the mouse.

 

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3.8.Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) and Codes

A work breakdown structure (WBS) is a hierarchical decomposition of work that breaks down the schedule into manageable sections. It allows for more than just one subcategory, or level, and can be thought of as an overall outline of the project.

Codes are also used for organizing or sorting but have limitations that the WBS does not. For example, codes can only have 1 level of sub-categories, or “values”. Also, values can be assigned to activities, but not codes themselves. Take a project with a code called “Area” with the values “North,” “South,” “East,” and “West”. An activity could then be assigned to “North” but not to “Area” itself. (If desired, an activity could be assigned to “North” AND “South” by choosing the assignment behavior Multiple). In general, codes are not necessarily related to one another and are optional; the WBS is a single cohesive hierarchy which effectively summarizes the project.

Both the WBS as well as codes can be used as a basis for swimlanes to lay out the network, and they can be exported or imported from Excel. This chapter includes details for the following:

  1. The Codes Manager
  2. Configuring the WBS
  3. Adding/modifying codes
  4. Making Assignments
  5. Creating swimlanes
  6. Exporting/importing from Excel

3.8.1.The Codes Manager

The Codes Manager is a hub for codes functionality, such as defining defining the work breakdown structure (WBS), adding codes, and making assignments. The window itself is non-modal, meaning that you can navigate to other menus or make modifications on the canvas without having to close it.

In each view, the bottom list can be filtered using the search field provided above it, and both lists can be customized by having their columns sorted, added and removed. In the bottom list, the canvas will be scrolled and the item spotlighted as you select different items, but this can be disabled. In addition, both lists can be individually exported to Excel. Instructions provided below.

NOTE: Sorting is not saved and will refresh when changing views or leaving and coming back.

Steps

Sorting, Adding, and Removing Columns

  1. Click Tools > Open Codes Manager from the menu bar. The Codes Manager will open.
  2. To sort by a certain field, click once on the column’s label to sort from top to bottom, or click twice to sort from bottom to top.
  3. To add or remove a column, right-click on any column.
    1. Choose the desired field. A checkmark will appear or disappear and the list will refresh.
    2. To close the menu, click anywhere outside of it.
  4. Repeat step 3 as desired.
  5. To remove a column graphically (bottom list only), left-click on the desired column.
    1. Without releasing the mouse, drag it up or down until a black “X” appears.
    2. Release the mouse.
  6. Repeat step 5 as desired.
  7. To rearrange a column, left-click on the desired column
    1. Without releasing the mouse, drag it left or right until two red arrows appear to indicate where it will be placed.
    2. Release the mouse
  8. When finished, click Close. Any changes will be automatically saved.

NOTE: Any customization is tied to the computer (not to the schedule) and will be reset upon re-installation of NetPoint.

Exporting a List to Excel

  1. Click Tools > Open Codes Manager from the menu bar.
  2. Right-click on the columns at the top of either list.
  3. Choose either Export Displayed Rows & Columns or Export All Rows & Columns.

Filtering Lists

  1. Click Tools > Open Codes Manager from the menu bar.
  2. Click in the search field above the lower list.
  3. Begin typing, and the list will adjust to display any matches.
  4. Select an activity in the list and it will be indicated on the canvas.
  5. When finished, click Close.

NOTE: Any alphanumeric characters can be entered, and the results will include anything that matches, starts with, or contains what has been entered, pulled from every column currently being shown. For example, if searching for a duration, make sure the Duration column is being displayed.

Enabling/Disabling Canvas Scroll

  1. Click Tools > Open Codes Manager from the menu bar. The Codes Manager will open.
  2. Click the List icon  in the upper-right corner
  3. Click Scroll Canvas with Manager Selections. A checkmark will appear or disappear accordingly.

NOTE: This setting will also apply to the NetRisk and Targets managers, and will be saved after the manager is closed.

Notes

Manager Views

Icon
Definition
The Codes view is for adding codes and values and assigning them to activities. For instructions, see Adding/Modifying in the Codes chapter.
The WBS view is for organizing WBS levels and assigning them to activities. For instructions, see Adding/Modifying in the Codes chapter.

3.8.2.Configuring the WBS

The work breakdown structure can have an unlimited number of levels, or nodes. Instructions for adding, renaming, reordering, changing levels, and deleting are included below.

Tip: All nodes and their children can be expanded and collapsed by right-clicking on a node with at least 2 levels of children.

Steps

Adding Nodes

  1. Click Tools > Open Codes Manager from the menu bar. The Codes Manager will open.
  2. Click the Add button. The new node will be added at the same level of whichever node was selected.
  3. Begin typing to rename the level.
  4. When finished, press ENTER.
  5. To add a node at a different level, select a node and click the Add Child button. The new node will be added 1 level deeper.
  6. When finished, click Close. Any changes will be automatically saved.

Tip: Nodes can be added directly above or below the selected node by right-clicking and choosing accordingly. 

Importing/Exporting Nodes

  1. Click Tools > Open Codes Manager from the menu bar. The Codes Manager will open.
  2. Click the list icon  in the upper-right corner and choose Import WBS from XML File or Export WBS to XML File.
  3. Browse and click Open or Save accordingly.

Renaming Nodes

  1. Click Tools > Open Codes Manager from the menu bar. The Codes Manager will open.
  2. Double-click the desired node in the list.
  3. Begin typing to rename the node.
  4. When finished, press the ENTER.
  5. When finished, click the Close button. All changes will be automatically saved.

Reordering Nodes

  1. Click Tools > Open Codes Manager from the menu bar. The Codes Manager will open.
  2. Left-click on the desired node.
  3. Without releasing the mouse, drag it up or down until a red line with two arrows appears to indicate where it will be placed.
  4. Release the mouse.
  5. When finished, click the Close button. All changes will be automatically saved.

NOTE: Nodes cannot be reordered to different parents or to different levels. To do so, see Changing Node Levels below.

Changing Node Levels

  1. Click Tools > Open Codes Manager from the menu bar. The Codes Manager will open.
  2. Left-click on the desired node.
  3. Click the Move button.
  4. Choose In Level or Out Level accordingly.
  5. When finished, click the Close button. All changes will be automatically saved.

Modifying Node Colors

  1. Click Tools > Open Codes Manager from the menu bar. The Codes Manager will open.
  2. Click the Settings icon  above the upper list.
  3. Click the down arrow next to the desired level.
  4. Choose a preset or click Other.
    1. To enter an RGB value, click the Custom tab.
    2. Enter the desired values and click OK.
  5. Click OK to save the settings.

Deleting Nodes

  1. Click Tools > Open Codes Manager from the menu bar. The Codes Manager will open
  2. Select the desired node in the list. To delete multiple nodes, press and hold the SHIFT or CTRL key on the keyboard.
    1. Select additional nodes.
    2. Release the key
  3. Click the Delete button.
  4. When finished, click the Close button. All changes will be automatically saved.

Viewing the Roll-up

  1. Click Tools > Open Codes Manager from the menu bar. The Codes Manager will open
  2. Click the dropdown next to Viewing and choose Roll-up.
  3. When finished, click the Close button. All changes will be automatically saved.

Notes

WBS View

The WBS view contains two sub-views.

Assignments

The Assignments sub-view is for adding and editing WBS nodes and making assignments.

Tip: to view a larger version, click the Expand icon  above the list. Any customization of the columns will be lost upon closing and reset to that of the Codes Manager.

Column
Definition
Name The text field for describing the node.
ID An automatically generated identifier for each node.
Roll-up

The Roll-up sub-view is for analyzing and displaying summaries of WBS nodes and their children. Any activities, milestones, or benchmarks that have not been assigned will show up under an unassigned node at the bottom.

Tip: to view a larger version, click the Expand icon  above the list. Any customization of the columns will be lost upon closing and reset to that of the Codes Manager.

Column
Definition
Type An image representing the type of object.
Name The text field for describing the object.
ID The user-entered unique identifier.
Start Date The date and/or time the object begins.
Finish Date The date and/or time the object will be finished.
Duration The amount of time the activity takes to complete.
Resource Consumption The amount consumed of the chosen resource.
# Activities The number of activities assigned to the node.
Cost The cost according to the chosen resource.
Total Cost The cost across all resources.
Drift The amount of time the object can gain before advancing the start of the project.
Float The amount of time the object can be delayed before delaying the completion of the project.
Total Float Drift + Float.
Grid The gridline or row number that the object is drawn on.
Calendar The calendar assigned to the object..

3.8.3.Adding/Modifying Codes

Codes and their values are added and modified through the Codes Manager.

Steps

Adding Codes

  1. Click Tools > Manage Codes… from the menu bar. The Codes Manager will open.
  2. Click the Codes icon.
  3. Click the New Code button.
  4. Begin typing to rename the code and press ENTER.
  5. Double-click the default value and begin typing to rename it.
  6. When finished, click Close. Any changes will be automatically saved.

Adding Values

  1. With the Codes Manager open, select the desired code (or one of its values).
  2. Click the New Value button.
  3. Begin typing to rename the code and press ENTER.
  4. When finished, click Close. Any changes will be automatically saved.

Modifying Codes/Values

  1. Click Tools > Manage Codes… from the menu bar. The Codes Manager will open.
  2. Click the Codes icon.
  3. To rename a code or value, double-click its name in the list.
  4. To modify a code’s assignment behavior, select it in the list and click the Behavior button. The Advanced Code Properties window will open.
    1. Choose accordingly and click Save.
  5. When finished, click Close. Any changes will be automatically saved.

NOTE: Once an assignment has been made, the Advanced Code Properties window will still open but the assignment behavior will not be able to be modified.

Deleting Codes/Values

  1. With the Codes Manager open, select the desired code or value in the list.
  2. Click the Delete button.
  3. When finished, click Close. Any changes will be automatically saved.

NOTE: If an attempt is made to delete a code or value that has already been assigned, the system will prompt you first.

Notes

Codes View

The Codes view contains two list boxes. The main list on top displays all codes and values; the secondary list on bottom displays all activities, milestones, and benchmarks. As you click through the list on top, the bottom list refreshes and shows which objects are assigned to which values. If the item in the list on top is a code, then the bottom list will aggregate all objects assigned to ALL of its values. For more info, see Making Assignments.

Upper List

Column Definition
Description The text field for describing the codes and values.
Behavior Whether or not more than one value of a code can be assigned to the same activity (Multiple). Default as Single. For more info, see the Advanced Code Properties at the end of this section.

3.8.4.Making Assignments

An activity, milestone, or benchmark can only be assigned one WBS node at a time. Making a new assignment will therefore erase any prior assignment, which can be verified in the Assignment column.

For codes, assignments actually take place at the value level. Property windows allow you to see which code values have been assigned to a specific object. The Codes Manager allows you to see which objects have been assigned to a different code valuesAnd finally, the Set Global Properties window allows you to edit assignments in-bulk for multiple objects. Instructions for each are provided below.

Steps

Assigning a WBS Node

  1. Click Tools > Manage Codes from the menu bar.
  2. In the list on top, select the desired node.
  3. In the list on bottom, check or uncheck the desired objects.
  4. When finished, click Close. Any changes will be saved automatically.

Assigning a Code via Property Window

  1. With the Select Tool  chosen in the toolbar, double-click the desired object, or right-click and choose Properties.
  2. Click the Assign button next to Codes. The Assign Codes window opens.
  3. Check or uncheck the desired values in the list.
  4. When finished, click Save.
  5. Click OK.

NOTE: Single-assignment codes are highlighted in green. Multiple-assignment codes are highlighted in orange. Codes may be clicked to hide or show their values.

Assigning a Code via Codes Manager

  1. Click Tools > Manage Codes from the menu bar.
  2. Click the Codes icon.
  3. In the list on top, select the desired value.
  4. In the list on bottom, check or uncheck the desired objects.
  5. When finished, click Close. Any changes will be saved automatically.

NOTE: If an attempt is made to assign an object to another value of the same single-assignment code, the system will prompt you first.

Assigning a Code to Multiple Selected Objects

  1. With the Multi-Object Select Tool  chosen in the toolbar, select the desired activities on-by-one on the canvas. Alternatively, you can click on a blank portion of the canvas and drag a rectangular marquee box around all the desired activities.
  2. Click Objects > Set Properties for Selected Objects from the menu bar.
  3. Click the dropdown next to Change Codes and choose a desired code.
  4. Click the next dropdown to the right.
    1. To assign a value, click twice until a black check appears.
    2. To unassign a value, click once until blank.
    3. To leave unchanged, click until the minus sign appears. For more info, see Setting Properties with Check boxes in the Bulk-Editing chapter.
  5. Repeat steps 3-4 as desired in either the Activity, Milestone, or Benchmark tabs.
  6. When finished, click OK.

NOTE: When a value of a single-assignment code is checked, all other values of the same code will be automatically unchecked.

Notes

WBS View

Lower List

By default, the list on bottom will be automatically ordered with any objects that have been assigned on top. This can be changed by clicking any of the columns. As you click through the list, the canvas will be scrolled and the item spotlighted. For more info on how to turn off scrolling, see Enabling/Disabling Canvas Scroll in The Codes Manager section

Tip: to view a larger version, click the Expand icon  above the list. Any customization of the columns will be lost upon closing and reset to that of the Codes Manager.

Column
Definition
Assign Controls whether or not the object is assigned to the value from above. NOTE: This column will be disabled if the item selected in the list at the top is not a value.
Type An image representing the type of object.
Description The text field for describing the object.
Assignment The currently-assigned node, if any.
Abbr. Description The text field limited to 48 characters to be displayed on the canvas if the description is too long
ID The user-entered unique identifier.
Start Date The date and/or time the object begins.
Finish Date The date and/or time the object will be finished.
Duration The amount of time the activity takes to complete.
Drift The amount of time the object can gain before advancing the start of the project.
Float The amount of time the object can be delayed before delaying the completion of the project.
Total Float Drift + Float.
Grid # The gridline or row number that the object is drawn on.

Codes View

Lower List

By default, the list on bottom will be automatically ordered with any objects that have been assigned on top. This can be changed by clicking any of the columns. As you click through the list, the canvas will be scrolled and the item spotlighted. For more info on how to turn off scrolling, see Enabling/Disabling Canvas Scroll in The Codes Manager section.

Tip: to view a larger version, click the Expand icon  above the list. Any customization of the columns will be lost upon closing and reset to that of the Codes Manager.

Column
Definition
Assign Controls whether or not the object is assigned to the value from above.
Type An image representing the type of object.
Description The text field for describing the activity.
Abbr. Description A text field limited to 48 characters to be displayed on the canvas if the description is too long.
ID The user-entered unique identifier.
Start Date The date and/or time the activity begins.
Finish Date The date and/or time the activity will be finished.
Duration The amount of time the activity takes to complete.
Drift The amount of time an activity can gain before advancing the start of the project.
Float The amount of time an activity can be delayed before delaying the completion of the project.
Total Float Drift + Float.
Grid # The row number of grid location of the object on the canvas.

Advanced Code Properties

Assignment Behavior

By default, all codes have an assignment behavior of Single, meaning that only one value of the same code can be assigned to the same activity. This is required for exporting to P6 or using for swimlanes in the Layout Manager. If desired, a code can have an assignment behavior of Multiple, meaning that more than one value of the same code can be assigned to the same activity.

NOTE: Behavior cannot be changed unless all assignments are removed.

 

3.8.5.Creating Swimlanes from Codes

Once assignments have been made, a code or the WBS can be used to organize a schedule into lanes, with one lane being created for each of the code’s values or WBS nodes. A lane is represented by a horizontal shade extending the entire width of the canvas, and a name (which may or may not be displayed). The height of the lane is determined by the number of activities in the lane and if and how they overlap.

Steps

  1. See Setting up Swimlanes in the Automated Layouts chapter.

3.8.6.Exporting/Importing from Excel

Codes can be exported as part of a linked Excel report or as a single standalone spreadsheet. The WBS can be exported as a standalone spreadsheet. Instructions for both are provided below

Steps

Exporting the Linked Excel Report

  1. Click Tools > Open Codes Manager from the menu bar. The Codes Manager will open.
  2. Click the List icon  in the upper-right corner of the Codes Manager.
  3. Choose Export Linked Excel File (Default Report).

NOTE: For a detailed explanation of this report, see Object Data and Tables in the section Exporting Linked Reports.

Exporting a Standalone Spreadsheet

  1. Click Tools > Open Codes Manager from the menu bar. The Codes Manager will open.
  2. Right-click on the columns at the top of any list.
  3. Choose either Export Displayed Rows & Columns or Export All Rows & Columns.

3.9.Costs and Resources

NetPoint allows users to define the resources needed to execute the planned project. A resource can take the form of a skilled human resource (individuals, groups, or crews), equipment, capital/costs, or material. Cost-loading a schedule is done through the resource feature. Follow the steps below for instructions.

Any NetPoint plan may be resource-loaded to calculate resource usage, to level resource overages, and to visually illustrate how resources are used throughout a project. Resources are displayed as a set of histograms and curves at the bottom of the schedule.

There are four steps related to adding resources: defining the project resources, assigning resources to activities, adjusting resource display settings, and applying resource limits.

3.9.1.Defining Resources

To define project resources, click Tools > Manage Resources… from the menu bar. The Project Resources window opens. To define resources via Excel, see Adding and Modifying Resources via Excel.

Click the New… button.

The Resource Properties window opens, offering several resource fields.

Properties

The Properties section is where basic settings are changed.

Name

The name is a description of the resource. If cost-loading the schedule, enter a name like Budget or Cost. This field is required.

Category

The category describes the type of resource. All categories have the same functionality in NetPoint, but they export to external software with different functionality. To choose a category, click the down arrow button to display a dropdown menu. If cost-loading the schedule, choose Cost.

Cost/Unit

Cost/unit is the cost of the resource per unit of resource. This field is not currently used in NetPoint, but can be used when exporting to Excel. If cost-loading the schedule, enter the cost as 1. This field is required.

Displays

The Displays section contains aesthetic properties that can be turned on or off. Control is achieved via the dropdown.

Plot

Plot refers to whether or not the resource will be displayed in the profile at the bottom of the schedule. This setting may also be changed directly from the Project Resources window under the plot column by checking or un-checking the boxes next to the desired resources.

Formatting

The Formatting tab contains aesthetic properties that are not strictly on/off controls, like colors.

Histogram Pattern

A pattern can be added to differentiate between resources. By default, resources display as solid colors. Click the down arrow button next to Histogram Pattern to display a dropdown menu and then click to select the desired pattern. This is very effective for distinguishing between different resources.

Color

This field represents the color of the resource in the histogram. By default, it will be gray, but choosing a unique color is recommended.

To change a color, click the down arrow button anywhere the Color field shows up and choose from the list. Any colors already used in the schedule will appear. To choose from a palette or define a custom color, select More.

After clicking More, the custom color palette window will open.

To create a custom color, click in the rainbow color area; the selected color displays below in the Color/Solid box.

To select a darker or lighter tone, move the arrow up and down along the vertical slider bar to the right.

Click the Add to Custom Colors button. The new color displays in the Custom Colors area and is ready to be selected just the same as the basic colors above.

Click OK to apply the color and exit the function.

Once chosen for the first time, any basic or custom color will be displayed in the dropdown list for future selections.

Color Intensity

This number represents the darkness of the histogram bars. Click the down arrow button to display a dropdown menu of percentages.

Finalizing Resources

After entering the fields, click the Add button. The new resource will be added to the Project Resources window and the Resource Properties window will reset.

Additional resources may be defined consecutively by repeating the steps above. When finished, click the Exit icon  to close the Resource Properties window.

NOTE: The Add button must be clicked each time to define a resource before clicking the Exit icon . Otherwise, the resource will not be saved to the list of Project Resources.

 

RELATED RESOURCES

3.9.2.Modifying an Existing Resource

To modify a resource that has already been defined, click Tools > Manage Resources… from the menu bar. The Project Resources window opens.

Select the resource from the list of Existing Resources. At this point, theModify… and Delete buttons become enabled.

Click the Modify… button.

The Resource Properties window opens, showing the several resource fields filled in according to the current properties of the resource.

After making any changes, click the Update button and the Resource Properties window will reset.

Click the Exit icon to close the Resource Properties window.

NOTE: The Update button must be clicked before clicking the Exit icon . Otherwise, the change will not be saved.

 

RELATED RESOURCES

3.9.3.Deleting an Existing Resource

To delete any resource, open the Project Resources window, select a resource from the list of Project Resources, and click the Delete button. Click the Exit icon to close the Project Resources window.

 

RELATED RESOURCES

3.9.4.Assigning Resources to Activities

Once resources have been defined for the project, the next step is to assign them to specific activities. Each resource assignment approach requires the activity to be selected and the planned units and distribution for the activity to be entered.

There are two ways to assign resources. The first method described is best for assigning multiple resources to a single activity. The second method is best for assigning a single resource to multiple activities.

Steps

A Single Activity

  1. Double-click on the activity or right-click on the activity and select Properties.
  2. Click the Assign button next to Resources.
  3. Click the checkbox next to the desired resource.
  4. Click in the Distribution column to change to per Duration; otherwise, leave as per Day.
  5. Click in the Planned Units column and enter the amount of resource required.
  6. When finished, click OK.

NOTE: If the Planned Units column is left blank, no assignment will take place.

Notes

Activity Resource Assignment

Column
Definition
Assign Controls whether or not the resource is assigned.
Description The text field for describing the resource.
Category The type of resource.
Distribution How the resource is used by the activity. Options include per time period (e.g. per Day if the schedule is in days) or per the entire activity duration (i.e. Per Duration). If a resource is assigned per period, the rate of consumption will remain fixed while the total amount will fluctuate with the activity duration. For example, if activity A has been assigned 10 carpenters per day with a duration of 10 days, then activity A will require 100 carpenter-days. If the duration is reduced to 5 days, activity A will still require 10 carpenters per day but the total amount will be reduced to 50 carpenter-days. If a resource is assigned per duration, the total amount will remain fixed while the rate of consumption will fluctuate with the activity duration. For example, if activity B has been assigned 10 carpenters per duration with a duration of 10 days, then activity B will require 1 carpenter per Day. If the duration is reduced to 5 days, activity B will still require 10 carpenter-days total but the rate of consumption will increase to 2 carpenters per day. NOTE: If any resources have been assigned per period and the schedule time unit is changed, they may not properly convert. For example, 48 widgets per DAY would become 48 widgets per HOUR instead of 2 widgets per HOUR.
Planned Units The amount of the resource required. Resources may be assigned using up to 5 decimals. Note, however, that they will be rounded to the nearest 100th in Excel and for display purposes only, to the nearest 10th place in the Global Resource Assignment window..

Multiple Activities

To assign a resource, one at a time, to multiple activities, click Tools > Assign Resources… in the resource section of the dropdown menu.

The Global Resource Assignment window opens. Every activity in the schedule will be listed in the box. (If any objects are selected on the canvas, only those will be listed in the box).

Activities may be ordered by description, ID, start date, finish date, or grid number by selecting from the Order List Bydropdown button.

The first column lists the description of the activities.

The second column lists the activity ID.

The third column lists the rate.

The fourth column lists the distribution.

At the top is a dropdown button containing all the resources in the project. To populate the rate and distribution columns, click the down arrow button and select the desired resource.

The rate and distribution columns will populate according to the resource selected. Only one resource may be viewed at a time.

To modify resource assignments, click on the row of the desired activity to enable the rate and distribution columns.

Enter the amount or number of the resource required in the rate column. In the distribution column, choose from the dropdown button.

When finished, click the Exit icon .

NOTE: If the rate column is left blank, no assignment will take place.

 

RELATED RESOURCES

3.9.5.Viewing the Resource Profile

Once resources are defined and assigned to activities, the histogram and curves (i.e. resource profile) will be displayed on the canvas.

Choosing Resources to Display

From the menu bar, click Tools > Manage Resources… from the resource section of the dropdown menu. The Project Resources window opens.

To control which resources are being displayed, check or uncheck the box under the plot column next to the desired resource.

NOTE:  By default, all resources will be displayed unless the plot is turned off during definition of that resource.

Removing Activities

Individual activities can be removed from the resource profile by selecting them on the canvas and then clicking Objects > Set Properties for Selected Objects.

In the Set Global Properties window, under the Displays section, click twice to uncheck the box next to Resource Profile. When finished, click OK.

The selected activities will be removed from both the histogram and cumulative curve calculations.

Hiding or Showing

To hide the histograms and curves on the canvas, click the Resource Display Mode icon in the toolbar.

Modifying Individual Display Settings

To adjust how the histogram is calculated, how to display the plots, or which plots to display, the resource display settings may be modified.

Click Tools > Modify Resource Display Settings… from the menu bar. The Resource Display Settings window opens with a number of fields.

Calculate Histogram By

This field determines the period over which the histogram is distributed. To change it, click the down arrow button to display a dropdown menu.

The histogram may be calculated based on Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly or Yearly totals. If PolyTime is enabled, the histogram may only be calculated based on the schedule time unit or above. For example, if the schedule time unit is set to months, then only Monthly, Quarterly or Yearly totals are available.

The histogram will display the resource usage based on the time unit selected.

Position of Plots

The resource profile can be anchored to the bottom of the canvas or slide automatically as the canvas scrolls.

If Auto-Scroll is selected, then the resource profile is always visible. Scrolling to any specific vertical point on the chart keeps the display of resources constant.

If Fixed at the bottom is selected, then the resource profile always anchors at the bottom of the chart, which might not be seen in the current displayed page but can be seen by scrolling to the bottom of the chart. This option will cause the screen display of resources to exactly match with the printed schedule.

Height of Plots

The resource profile can cover as much of the vertical height of the window as desired, with 1 being the maximum.

Limits

If this box is checked and resource limits have been applied, then any resource which is being consumed over its allowable maximum will be displayed at the cursor when hovering over the histogram on the canvas.

Plots

There are four available plots: the Histogram plot, the Baseline plot, the Early Dates plot, and the Late Dates plot.

Click the checkbox under the plot column to display the corresponding graph on the canvas.

NOTE: By default, all graphs are plotted unless turned off.

The Histogram plot displays as a color-coded bar chart.

The Baseline curve displays as a green (cumulative) resource curve.

The Early Dates curve displays as a blue (cumulative) resource curve.

The Late Dates curve displays as a red (cumulative) resource curve.

Histograms represent the daily consumption of resources (or weekly, monthly, etc. as long as it’s greater than the schedule’s time unit) for each activity.

Baseline represents the total cumulative consumption of resources for every activity. Baseline can be calculated as RESn = RESn-1 + Ri, where “n” denotes every day between the planned dates for activity “I” and Ri denotes the resource daily-rate for activity “I”.

Early Dates represents what the total cumulative consumption of resources would look like if all activities were on their early-dates.

Late Dates represents what the total cumulative consumption of resources would look like if all activities were on their late-dates.

Plot Rulers

Each plot has it’s own plot ruler. The plot rulers correspond with the list of plots to the left. They may only be displayed if their corresponding plot is displayed.

To display a desired ruler, check the corresponding checkbox.

When checked, the increment of the ruler can also be adjusted.

Plot Ruler Increments

To adjust the increment of the plot ruler, enter the increment value desired in the field. This value refers to the amount of resources between each horizontal line. For example, with an increment of 50, every line represents an additional 50 resources. If the increment were 25, there would be twice as many ruler lines, with the difference between each line being only 25.

Reading the Resource Graphs & Curves

When measuring consumption for individual resources, make sure only that resource is displayed in the resource profile. For example, to measure the cost for a particular schedule, all resource except for Budget would be turned off. This is most easily done by opening the resource key.

To view the resource key for resources being displayed, choose View > Resource Key…. The Resource Key window opens, displaying all resources currently on screen.

To temporarily display or hide a resource’s histogram, uncheck the box to the left of the resource name.

Any displayed resources hidden through the resource key only remain hidden until the Resource Key window is closed.

At that point, all previously hidden resources will display as set in Tools > Manage Resources….

In the following example, Activity A requires 15 units each day of a combination of resources: about 10 of those are carpenters and about 5 of those are widgets.

We know this by measuring the height at which each resource coincides with the histogram plot ruler. This is what the histogram does: it makes it quick and easy to see graphically which resources have been assigned to which activities and how much are required each day.

In this example, the Activity’s duration has been changed from 10 days to 5 days.

Note that it still requires 10 carpenters per day even after the duration has changed, which means that it must have been assigned 10 carpenters per day. The amount of widgets, however, has increased from 5 to 10, which means that Activity A must have been assigned 50 widgets per duration.

The resource curves show the total cumulative consumption of resources for every activity. For Activity A, the total consumption is derived by multiplying the histogram (i.e. daily consumption) by the total duration of Activity A. From example 1 to example 2, you can see that the total consumption drops from 150 to 100 as the duration decreases.

Add the total consumption for every activity together and the result is the baseline curve, colored green. The early-dates curve, colored blue, shows what the total consumption would look like if every activity were on its early-dates. The late-dates curve, colored red, shows what the total consumption would look like if every activity were on its late dates.

 

RELATED RESOURCES

3.9.6.Limiting Resource Consumption

A limit is an object that restricts how much of a resource may be used at any given time. It is drawn on the canvas, like an activity, with a certain height and “duration”. The height at which the limit is drawn corresponds to the maximum value activities can consume of that resource when overlapping with the limit.

After defining resources, assigning resources to activities, and adjusting the resource display settings, the user may set resource consumption limits for specific time periods. Any resource overage appears as a red portion of the histogram over each of the displayed resources.

NOTE: A limit can never overlap on the timescale with another limit. As a result, a new limit cannot be added to a period that already has a limit. The original limit must be deleted, moved, or crashed in duration before a new one can be drawn.

Adding Limits

First, make sure that at least one resource plot is displayed on the canvas. To set a resource limit, click Tools > Manage Resources… from the menu bar. The Project Resources window opens.

Click the Limit button. The Resource Limits window opens.

First, select the resource for limit definition by clicking the resource name in the list. The following fields will fill accordingly. They may be modified or left as default.

Ceiling

This is the ceiling, or upper bound of the ruler, up to which resource limits may be drawn. It cannot be greater than 2x the highest daily assignment of that resource to any given activity. In other words, for any given day, the ceiling cannot be more than twice the requirement for that day. Limits may only be drawn beneath this ceiling. This is a required field.

Increments

This value refers to the amount of resources between each horizontal line. For convenience, the number of segments this corresponds to is also displayed below.

Height of Plots

This is how much vertical height the resource profile will cover, with 1 being the maximum.

After modifying the fields or leaving them as default, click Start and the canvas ruler will be laid over the histograms. This ruler is provided as a system of measurement for drawing.

Click the Limit icon to toggle the cursor between the Select Tool and the crosshairs.

To add a limit object, click and drag the crosshairs, paying attention to both the grid level, or height, as well as the time period, or duration of the limit object. Limits may be drawn at any height beneath the maximum.

Once placed, the limit start date and end date are shown and the limit quantity displays under the bar.

Click the Done button to finalize the limit. Additional limits may be assigned by repeating the steps above or concurrently before finalizing.

In this example a maximum resource limit of 8 is set for a selected resource from 10/1 to 10/30.

If any resource limits were assigned before for the selected resource, the limits corresponding to previous assignments are shown as purple bars.

Modifying or Deleting Limits

To modify or delete a resource limit, open the Assign Resource Limits window by clicking Tools > Manage Resources…from the menu bar and clicking the Limit button.

Select the desired resource from the list.

Click the Start button.

At this point, a purple ruler spanning the canvas, or gridlines, will be laid over the histograms as well as any existing limit objects.

To graphically modify a limit, hover over the end of the bar to access the double arrows or select the bar and use the arrow keys.

To delete a limit, select it using the Select Tool and click Delete.

When finished, click the Done button.

Displaying Limit Overages

After applying resource limits to selected resources, the out-of-limit portions can be highlighted. To display this warning, click the Resource Limit Mode icon on the toolbar. Overages are displayed in red.

NOTE: Limit overages will only be displayed when the histogram is plotted in the same time unit as the schedule. To adjust how the histogram is calculated, see Modifying Individual Display Settings.

 

To see specific overages, select Tools > Modify Resource Display Settings… from the resources section of the dropdown menu.

The Resource Display Settings window opens.

Select the checkbox under limits and click the Save button.

Once this option is selected, it will display current and maximum resource consumption levels when the mouse cursor moves over any red portion of the Histogram.

3.9.7.Noting Changes in Consumption

NetPoint has the capability to send email notifications to designated users regarding changes in resource consumption. These notifications may be sent using HTML (recommended) or in TEXT (provided to allow reading on devices which do not support HTML formatting).

Defining Email Recipients

Before this feature can be used, a list of potential recipients must be created. For each recipient, a full name, email address, and email format must be specified.

To define email recipients, click Tools > Manage Notification Recipients… from the menu bar. The Project Members window opens.

Click the New… button.

The Recipient Info window opens with the following fields.

Name

Enter a person in the Name field. This field is required.

Email Address

NetPoint will only check for a valid format. As a result, be sure to enter the Email Address correctly.

Email Format

This field determines the format of the email message sent. HTML is the recommended format. Text should only be used when the email client does not support HTML. Choosing Both creates a message containing both formats, and allows the email client to determine which format should be displayed.

Text Format

HTML Format

Finalizing Recipients

After entering in the fields, click the Add button. The new recipient will be added to the Project Members window and the Recipient Info window will reset.

Additional recipients may be defined consecutively by repeating the steps above. When finished, click the Exit icon to close the Recipient Info window.

NOTE: The Add button must be clicked each time to define a recipient before clicking the Exit icon . Otherwise, the recipient will not be saved to the List.

 

Modifying and Deleting Recipients

To modify a recipient that has already been defined, click Tools > Manage Notification Recipients… from the menu bar. The Project Members window opens.

Select a recipient from the list of Existing Recipients. At this point, the Modify… and Delete buttons become enabled.

Click the Modify… button.

The Recipient Info window opens, showing the several info fields filled in accordingly.

After making any changes, click the Update button and the Recipient Info window will reset.

Click the Exit icon to close the Recipient Info window.

NOTE: The Update button must be clicked before clicking the Exit icon . Otherwise, the change will not be saved.

To delete any recipient, open the Project Members window, select a recipient from the list of Existing Recipients, and click the Delete button. Click the Exit icon to close the Project Members window.

Assigning Resources to Recipients

Assigning resources to recipients is a way to designate an individual recipient responsible for tracking its usage.

To assign resources to individual recipients, click Tools > Manage Notification Recipients… from the menu bar. TheProject Members window opens.

Select a recipient and click the Assign… button. The Assign Resources to Recipients window opens.

All existing resources will be listed, grouped by resource category, even if they haven’t been assigned to any activities yet. Resource categories may be minimized by clicking their title. Any resources already assigned to the selected recipient will contain a check.

To assign or unassign resources, check or uncheck their boxes respectively.

When finished, click Save to save and close the window.

Notifying Recipients

To generate and email resource notifications, click Tools > Generate Resource Change emails… from the menu bar. The Send Notification Emails window opens.

The name and email of the sender will be filled in by default.  They may be changed, if desired.

When finished, click Send. All recipients assigned resources will get an email.

The email notifications will show ALL resources assigned to the recipient and their corresponding activities with the following status options:

No change

There have been no changes since the last email.

Added

Something has been added since the last email. For example:

  • A new resource was assigned to the recipient
  • A new activity was assigned a resource which the recipient is responsible for

Deleted

Something has been removed since the last email. For example:

  • A resource was unassigned from the recipient
  • An activity was unassigned a resource for which the recipient is responsible
  • A resource assigned to the recipient was deleted
  • An activity was deleted which was assigned a resource for which the recipient was responsible

Changed

Something has changed since the last email. For example:

  • An activity has been changed (e.g. its start date, finish date, or duration) which was assigned a resource for which the recipient is responsible
  • An activity’s assignment has changed (e.g. the quantity or distribution) for a resource which the recipient is responsible

4.Optimizing a Schedule - Overview

NetPoint’s synchronous interface, which allows users to build schedules graphically, makes the user responsible for the layout of the network. This differs greatly from traditional CPM applications, where the software authors the layout of the network with little-to-no input from the user. Although this greatly enhances the presentation of the schedule, such flexibility can become overwhelming when working with larger schedules, and intimidating when importing schedules from CPM applications, such as Primavera or MS Project, or from Excel.

In these situations, we recommend running the automated layout engine. This tool greatly enhances the layout of the schedule by assisting with, or completely taking control of, the placement and layout of objects in the network. Underneath the hood, dozens of factors are taken into account, including relationships between activities, link geometries, text and description lengths and positions, and grid and canvas dimensions. For example, how many finish-to-start chains are there? Which links overlap with other links or activities? Are descriptions clashing? Answers to answer these questions and more are found in a matter of seconds.

In addition to layout, descriptions and IDs may be repositioned with the Global Edit Mode to minimize clashing; dates and durations can be adjusted by using the gestural interface to level resources; or the schedule may be analyzed for integrity or other factors. NetPoint provides a number of tools to facilitate these processes.

4.1.Layouts

In NetPoint, it’s possible to save multiple potential layouts for the same network or schedule. For example, you could have one layout where activities are organized based on work trades; another, using lanes based on WBS categories; and yet another optimized to avoid overlaps using the automated layout engine.

Layouts only store positions of objects, geometries of links, and visibility of text boxes and shades. Any other changes made to a layout – including the positioning, hiding, or showing of data elements; the adding, deleting, fading, or colors of objects; or any customization of the canvas – will apply across all layouts.

This section details instructions for the following:

  1. Creating/modifying
  2. Analyzing links
  3. Viewing statistics
  4. Exporting lists to Excel

4.1.1.The Layout Manager

The Layout Manager itself is non-modal, meaning that you can navigate to other menus or make modifications on the canvas without having to close it. The upper list of the Layouts view can be customized by having its columns sorted, added and removed. As you click through various lists, the canvas will be scrolled and the item spotlighted. In addition, all lists can be individually exported to Excel.

NOTE: Sorting, position, and selection are not saved and will refresh when changing views or leaving and coming back.

 

Sorting, Adding, and Removing Columns

  1. Click Schedule > Open Layout Manager from the menu bar. The Layout Manager will open.
  2. Click the desired icon at the top.
  3. To sort by a certain field, click once on the column’s label to sort from top to bottom, or click twice to sort from bottom to top.
  4. To add or remove a column, right-click on any column.
    1. Choose the desired field. A checkmark will appear or disappear and the list will refresh.
    2. To close the menu, click anywhere outside of it.
  5. Repeat step 4 as desired.
  6. To remove a column graphically (Layouts only), left-click on the desired column.
    1. Without releasing the mouse, drag it up or down until a black “X” appears.
    2. Release the mouse.
  7. Repeat step 6 as desired..
  8. To rearrange a column (Layouts only), left-click on the desired column
    1. Without releasing the mouse, drag it left or right until two red arrows appear to indicate where it will be placed.
    2. Release the mouse
  9. When finished, click Close.

 

NOTE: As new columns are added, existing columns will be shrunk to make more space, except for in the Layouts view, where a scroll bar will be added. Any customization is tied to the computer (not to the schedule) and will be reset upon re-installation of NetPoint.

 

Exporting a List to Excel

    1. Click Schedule > Open Layout Manager from the menu bar.
    2. In any view, right-click on the columns at the top of any list.
    3. Choose either Export Displayed Rows & Columns or Export All Rows & Columns.
    4. Repeat one by one for all lists desired.

 

Notes

Manager Views

Icon
Definition
The Layouts view is for creating, modifying, and deleting layouts. For instructions, see Creating/Modifyingin the Layouts section..
The Structure view is for applying swim lanes and locking objects on grids. For instructions, see Setting up Swimlanes and Locking Relative Positions, respectively.
The Selection view is for determining how activities are selected for automated layout processing. For instructions, see Running the Engine.
The Placement view is for configuring how activities are arranged during automated layout processing. For instructions, see Running the Engine.
The Links view is for viewing and correcting links in the network, including redundancies. For instructions, see Analyzing Links.
The Statistics view is for analyzing layout metrics. For instructions, see Viewing Statistics.

4.1.2.Creating/Modifying

Layouts are created in the Layout Manager. Once created, a layout cannot be modified and then saved again. This means any changes made to a layout can only be captured by creating a new layout (which will automatically be based on what is seen on the canvas), and then deleting the original layout. To assist you, NetPoint keeps track if any changes were made, and it will prompt you to capture a new layout, when necessary.

If an object is deleted from one layout, it will also be deleted from every layout. If an object is added to one layout, it’s position will be the same (or as close as possible, depending on the number of grids) across all layouts. Once a layout is created, a separate file with a .NPL extension is also created within the schedule’s project folder containing supporting data.

Steps

Creating New Layouts

  1. Click Schedule > Open Layout Manager from the menu bar.
  2. Under the list of Saved Layouts, click the New button. A new layout will be added to the list based on the network currently being viewed on the canvas.
  3. To rename the layout, select it in the list under the Description column and enter a new name.
    1. When finished, click outside the layout or hit Enter.
  4. Click Save or Close to both save the list of layouts and close the manager.

 

NOTE: At this time, a layout cannot be updated after it has been saved. To effectively update a layout, first apply the layout to the canvas that you want to update, make the desired changes on the canvas, save a new layout (which will automatically be based on the current network), and then delete the layout you originally wanted to update.

 

Switching Between Layouts

  1. Click Schedule > Open Layout Manager from the menu bar.
  2. Choose a layout in the list and click Apply. Alternatively, you may right-click on the layout to apply it.
  3. If the layout on the canvas contained unsaved changes, a warning will open. To save click Cancel and see Creating New Layouts above. Otherwise, click Apply, Discard Changes. The canvas will update with the network of the selected layout.
  4. Click Save or Close to both save the list of layouts and close the manager.

 

NOTE: When switching between layouts, pay special attention to shades and text boxes, because they may be positioned optimally in one layout but not make sense in another. For example, if a layout was ran with lanes, previously created shades and text boxes may clash with the lanes’ shades and text boxes. For this reason, the Layouts view includes a section at the bottom for turning on and off shades and text boxes specific to certain layouts.

 

Deleting Layouts

  1. Click Schedule > Open Layout Manager from the menu bar.
  2. Choose a layout in the list and click Delete. After deleting the layout, the canvas will still remain the same.
  3. Click Save or Close to both save the list of layouts and close the manager.

 

NOTE: Layouts will be deleted without being asked for prior confirmation. To restore a deleted layout, click the Undo icon in the toolbar immediately following the delete, and then click anywhere in the Layout Manager to refresh the window.

 

Managing Shades/Text

  1. Click Schedule > Open Layout Manager from the menu bar.
  2. Choose a layout in the list. The list on the bottom will refresh.
  3. To hide a shade or text object, select it in the list and uncheck the box under Show. The canvas will update in real-time.
  4. To fade a shade or text object, select it in the list and check the box under Fade.  The canvas will update in real-time.
  5. Click Save or Close to both save the list of layouts and close the manager.

 

NOTE: The display of shades and text will be unique to each layout; however, the position in one layout will apply to all layouts.

 

Notes

Layouts View

The Layouts view contains two list boxes.

Upper List

The main list on top displays all saved layouts. As you click through the top list, the bottom list refreshes and shows which shades and text objects are being displayed in a given layout.

Column
Definition
Description A text field for describing the layout.
Layout Score A measure of layout optimization. The lower the score, the tidier the layout relative to link/activity crossings, link overlays, and link length in terms of number of grid crossings. For more info, see Link Scoring.
Date Created The date and time the layout was stored.
Structure Criteria Checkboxes displaying whether or not certain structure criteria was used when the layout was generated (for automated layouts). For more info, see Locking Objects on Grids and Setting up Swimlanes.
Selection Criteria Displays the type of selection criteria used when the layout was generated (for automated layouts). For more info, see Selection View from Running the Engine.
Placement Criteria Displays the type of placement criteria used when the layout was generated (for automated layouts). For more info, see the Placement View sections from Running the Engine.
Link Penalty Criteria Displays the link penalty values when the layout was generated (for automated and manual layouts). For more info, see Link Scoring.
Statistics Displays statistics for when the layout was generated (for automated and manual layouts). For more info, see Viewing Statistics.
Lower List

The secondary list on bottom displays all user-created shades and text objects on the canvas. As you click through the list on the bottom, the canvas will scroll to their location and they will spotlighted in yellow.

Column
Definition
Show Controls whether or not the object will be displayed on the canvas.
Fade Controls whether or not the object is faded on the canvas.
Type Displays whether the object is a shade or text box.
Description Displays a description of the object, and the text (if it’s a text box).
Grid # The grid number or row the object is located on.
Start Date The date the object is located at on the canvas.
Color The color of the object (shades only).

4.1.4.Viewing Statistics

Whether or not one layout is “better” than another is oftentimes subjective. With the introduction of layouts, a number of new statistics are available to help you objectively analyze different aspects of your schedule. For example, the number of activities divided by the number of weeks can tell you how busy your schedule is; and the number of links divided by the number of activities can tell you how dense the logic is. Characteristics like these and other “vital-signs” can be found in the Statistics view of the Layout Manager. Instructions are provided below.

Steps

  1. Click Schedule > Open Layout Manager from the menu bar.
  2. To choose a different layout, select it in the list and click Apply.
    1. If the layout on the canvas contained unsaved changes, a warning will open. To save, click Cancel and see Creating New Layouts. Otherwise, click Apply, Discard Changes. The canvas will update with the network of the selected layout
  3. Choose the Statistics view.
  4. Click Save or Close to both save and close the manager.

Notes

Statistics

The following will always correspond to the layout currently being viewed on the canvas.

Term
Definition
Sum Link Score The sum of the link scores for all links in the network. For more info, see Setting Defaults.
Number of Redundant Links The number of redundant links in the network. For more info, see Treating Redundancies.
Number of Convoluted Links The number of links with a score beneath the indicated threshold. By default, the threshold will be set at 25 until it’s set in the Links view, at which point whatever threshold was last used there will also be used here. For more info, see Setting Defaults.
Number of Active Grids The number of grids with objects placed on them by the layout engine.
Net Sum Link Score The sum of the link scores for all links in the network excluding links between lanes if present. For more info, see Setting Defaults.
Mean Link Score The sum of the link scores for all links in the network divided by the number of links in the network. For more info, see Setting Defaults.
Mean Activity Score The sum of the activity scores for all activities in the network divided by the number of activities in the network. For more info, see Setting Defaults.
Logic Index The number of valid links between activities (i.e. excluding redundant links) divided by the total number of activities.
Average Timeline Density The number of activities divided by the number of weeks (for a schedule in days) from the first object to the last object in the schedule. For a schedule in hours, it would be per day; for a schedule in months, it would be per quarter; etc.).
2 percentile activity duration The value which 2% of all activities have a duration less than or equal to. The width of these activities on the canvas can be set in the Dimensions view of the Placement view.
100th Percentile Period Density The highest number of activities scheduled per week (for a schedule in days). For a schedule in hours, it would be per day; for a schedule in months, it would be per quarter; etc.).

 

RELATED RESOURCES

4.1.5.Exporting Lists to Excel

Any list in the Layout Manager can be exported as a single standalone spreadsheet. Instructions provided below

Steps

Exporting a Standalone Spreadsheet

  1. Click Schedule > Open Layout Manager from the menu bar. The Layout Manager will open.
  2. Choose the desired view by clicking its icon.
  3. Right-click the columns at the top of any list.
  4. Choose either Export Displayed Rows & Columns or Export All Rows & Columns.

 

RELATED RESOURCES

4.2.Automated Layouts

Automated layouts are generated by running a schedule through the layout engine. Each time the layout engine is run, a new layout is automatically created and stored in the Layouts view of the Layout Manager, alongside any other manual or automated layouts.

Running the layout engine can be as complex or as simple as needed. If you use the default or most recently saved settings, it can be run with just the click of a button. This may be useful for a novice user or for an already-optimized schedule, where, over the course of the schedule life-cycle, a particular strategy has proven to yield a consistently desirable layout. Alternatively, a variety of settings can be adjusted in the Layout Manager, isolating the effects of the minutest of changes and giving advanced users even greater control over the resulting layouts.

Any settings that are saved using the Save button will be shared across schedules and across sessions of NetPoint.

NOTE: The time it takes to run an automated layout depends on the number of objects (activities, links, milestones, etc.), the computer’s processor/clock speed, how much RAM it has, and the settings in the Layout Manager. Once a schedule reaches 250 objects, we suggest tweaking some of these settings to reduce the time required. An “Out of Memory” error may occur on schedules with over 2100 objects (700 activities + 1400 links). This should be considered an approximate upper limit. For more details, see Running On Large Schedules.

This section details instructions for the following:

  1. Running the engine
  2. Locking objects on grids
  3. Setting up swimlanes

4.2.1.Running the Engine

When you run an automated layout, every object in the schedule is analyzed, indexed, and placed back on the canvas. This analysis begins by identifying clusters of activities and other objects within the network based on certain characteristics. For example, objects may be grouped by float chains, step chains, or logic steps (defined below). Once all of the objects in the network have been identified, they’re then indexed and sorted. To determine their order, a series of rules for breaking ties is used. For example, if three step-chains have been identified, the chain with the most activities will be ordered first. In the case that two of them share the same number of activities, then the chain with the longest duration will be ordered first, and so on. These settings are located in the Selection view.

After all objects have been analyzed and indexed, they will start to placed back on the canvas. For example, placement can begin at the top or in the middle of the canvas, and grids can be added to make more space. These settings are located when viewing Rules in the Placement view. Minimum dimensions can also be changed to affect how and when activities are placed next to one another, and these settings are located when viewing Thresholds in the Placement view.

There are actually two different processes that can be performed: a “run” and a “fine-tune,” depending on the state of the schedule. “Running” will completely rearrange the network, using the settings from the StructureSelectionPlacement, and Penalties views to improve the schedule’s layout. This is best for schedules that are being imported from another application or where a significant overhaul of the layout is desired. ”Fine-tuning” will only make small adjustments based on activity and link scores from the Placement and Penalties views. This is typically best when attention has already been given to the layout, or when an automated layout has already been run before. If the resulting fine-tune cannot improve the layout (i.e. increases the layout score by more than 5%), the fine-tune will be canceled and the canvas will revert to the previous layout.

NOTE: Whether “running” or “fine-tuning,” all activities and planning objects have the potential to be rearranged unless they have been assigned to a lane, locked on a grid, or actualized left of the data date. For more info, see Setting Up Swimlanes and Actualizing Objects.

 

Steps

Run from Default Settings

  1. Click Schedule > Run Automated Layout from the menu bar, or click the Run Automated Layout icon in the toolbar.
  2. The canvas will update and a new layout will automatically be saved in the Layouts view of the Layout Manager.

Run from Custom Settings

  1. Click Schedule > Open Layout Manager from the menu bar.
  2. Click through the Structure, Selection, and Placement views to modify the available settings.
  3. When ready, click Run.
  4. The canvas will update, the manager will switch to the Layouts view, and a new layout will automatically be saved.
  5. To save the settings for future use, click Save. Setting that are not unique to the schedule will carry through when accessed from other schedules or across sessions. Otherwise, click Close.

Fine-Tune Only

  1. Click Schedule > Open Layout Manager from the menu bar.
  2. Click through the Placement and Penalties views to modify the available settings.
  3. Click Fine-Tune.
  4. The canvas will update, the manager will switch to the Layouts view, and a new layout will automatically be saved.
  5. To save the settings for future use, click Save. Settings that are not unique to the schedule will carry through when accessed from other schedules or across sessions. Otherwise, click Close.

 

NOTE: To fine-tune a layout with swim lanes, make sure > Always Fine-Tune After Running is selected in the Schedule menu. Otherwise, clicking Fine-Tune will not maintain lane configurations.

 

Running On Large Schedules (>250 activities, links, milestones, etc.)

  1. Click Schedule from the menu bar and make sure Animate When Running and Always Fine Tune After Running are turned off (they should not have a check next to them).
  2. Choose Open Layout Manager from the Schedule menu, click the Structure view, and make sure lanes are turned off (the box next to Derive Lanes from should be unchecked).
  3. Click the Placement view.
  4. Next to Start at, make sure Halfway Grid is chosen.
  5. Click Run.
  6. OPTIONAL: If you want to run with swim lanes, click the Structure view, check the box next to Derive Lanes from, and click Run again.
  7. Click Fine-Tune. Note: this step may take a few minutes with overly large schedules.
  8. In the Layouts view, click New.
  9. Select it in the list and type a new name.
  10. To save the settings for future use, click Save. Setting that are not unique to the schedule will carry through when accessed from other schedules or across sessions. Otherwise, click Close.

Resetting the Layout Manager

  1. Click Schedule > Layout Manager Settings from the menu bar.
  2. Choose Load Last Saved to reset to the last saved state or Load Defaults to reset to the default state.

 

NOTE: All settings that are not unique to the schedule will be reset; notable exclusions include lists, such as layouts, codes, links, or statistics, for example.

 

Notes

Selection View

Select Activities by

Objects may be identified and clustered based on float chains, step chains, or logic steps.

Field
Definition
Float Chains A float chain is a path of activities through the network where the total float of each successor is the same as the total float of its immediate predecessor (the critical path is an example of a float chain whose activities share a total float of zero). When chosen, a chain of activities who share the same total float with one another is selected and placed (for example, the critical path), followed by another chain of activities who share the same total float with one another, and so on. Choose this option when you want your layout to be organized in terms of float values.
Step Chains A step chain is a path of activities through the network where the logic step of each successor is exactly one higher than its immediate predecessor. When chosen, a chain of activities with consecutive logic steps is selected and placed, starting with an object that has a logic step of 1, followed by an object with a logic step or 2, and so on, ending with an object that has the highest logic step. Once complete, another chain of activities with consecutive logic steps is identified in a similar manner, and so on.  Choose this option when you want your layout to be organized in terms of relationships.
Logic Step A logic step is the numbered position of an activity in a logic chain (if in multiple logic chains, the highest of those numbers). For example, any activity in the network that is connected to the project start will have a logic step of 1, regardless of how late in time the activity is scheduled. When chosen, first all the activities with a logic step of 1 are selected and placed, then all the activities with a logic step of 2, and so on. Choose this option when you want your layout to be drawn from left to right.
FS Strings An FS string is path of three or more activities (either a float chain or step chain) that are connected in a finish-to-start relationship (each intermediate activity having only one predecessor and one successor). FS Strings can be chosen if either Float Chains or Step Chains is chosen. When selected, the chains containing FS strings are sorted after all the chains without FS strings but before individual objects are sorted. Check this option when you want FS strings to be drawn on the outside (top and bottom) of the network.
Selection Order

After clusters have been identified, they are ordered based on the following rules, which can be turned on or off or can be rearranged by clicking and dragging them up or down in the list. In any case, the clusters will always be ordered first followed by individual objects. By default, these rules have already been configured to yield the best result for the majority of schedules. It’s difficult to suggest when to apply or not apply certain rules, or to change the direction, due to the individuality of every schedule. We suggest using trial and error until you are satisfied with the layout. The following options are available for both float chains and step chains. The direction can be reversed by clicking in the cell and using the drop-down button.

Rule
Definition
Number of Locked Activities The number of locked activities in the chain.
Number of Activities The number of activities in the chain.
Total Float* The total float of the chain. *Only available for float chains.
Chain Duration The length of the chain in calendar days.
Logic Index The number of links between activities (excluding redundant links) divided by the total number of activities in the chain.
Start Date The start date of the earliest activity in the chain.
Finish Date The finish date of the last activity in the chain.

The following options are available for logic steps. Since logic steps are not chains, ordering is applied on the individual object level.

Rule
Definition
Start Date The start date of the object.
Duration The duration of the object.
Finish Date The finish date of the object.

Placement View(Rules)

Grid Placement

After the starting grid is utilized, whichever grid yields the lowest score for that object will always be chosen. In the case that no single grid yields the lowest score, the settings for Proceed and Choose active over inactive will be used as tiebreakers. For more info on activity and link scores, see Link Scoring.

Field
Definition
Start at The starting grid is where the first object (and any subsequent objects with no predecessors) will be placed when the layout engine is run. You can choose the top, middle, or bottom grid of the canvas. Choose the top grid if you want most milestones and benchmarks toward the top, and a generally top-heavy layout; the halfway grid if you want most milestones and benchmarks toward the middle, and an evenly balanced layout; and the bottom grid if you want most milestones and benchmarks toward the bottom, and a generally bottom-heavy layout. For large schedules or to reduce processing time, choose Top. For more details, see Running On Large Schedules.
Proceed If an object cannot be placed on the grid with the lowest score – for example, if the preceding relationship is start-to-start or finish-to-finish; or, if there is already an object or link in that location; or, if the grid above and below yield the same score – the direction will come into play. In these cases, you can choose to proceed up first or down first. Choose Up Before Down when starting at the bottom grid.
Choose Active Over Inactive An active grid is one that already contains an object. An inactive grid is one that is totally empty. If an object cannot be placed on the grid with the lowest score, objects will be placed on grids which already have objects (active) by default. Uncheck this rule if you have tight grid spacing or layout spacing to create a taller layout.
Replenish inactive grids when used During processing, inactive grids are added in-between active grids. In the event that an object gets placed on one of these inactive grids, two inactive grids are added to maintain the proper spacing, so long as the checkbox is selected.
Aesthetic

The following settings are visual only:

Field
Definition
Layout Spacing Layout Spacing will determine how many inactive (empty) grids are added in-between active grids after processing. Regardless of what’s chosen (SingleDouble, or Triple), one and only one grid will be added during processing. Single spacing will result in a higher layout score. For more info, see Link ScoringIncrease this setting if you want more padding in between rows of activities or a taller layout. 
Stack activity descriptions if needed By default, activity descriptions will be stacked if they begin clashing with other text or objects. Uncheck this rule if you have tight grid spacing or layout spacing and prefer to shorten descriptions manually where necessary.
Allow links with a D leg By default, diagonal links will be used when necessary. This setting also applies when creating links in NetPoint. Uncheck this rule if you do not want any diagonal links.
Hide links with gap > Controls whether or not long links (links spanning a wide period of time) will be hidden, depending on how many days of gap they have. Check this rule if you do not want links spanning a wide period of time to show up, and adjust the threshold accordingly.
Show links between lanes Controls whether or not tall links (links spanning multiple lanes) will be displayed, hidden, or faded. Only relevant if the layout is being run with lanes activated.
Include redundant links in link score calculations By default, redundant links will not be included in link score calculations, and will therefore not affect the resulting layout. Check this rule if you want the position and geometry of redundant links to be taken into account when laying out the network. For more info, see Treating Redundancies

Placement View (Thresholds)

Grid Spacing
Field
Definition
Value (inches) Grid spacing is the distance in inches between gridlines (by default, 0.35 inches). Increase this number if you want more padding in between rows of objects or a taller layout.
Zero-gap Linked Activities
Field
Definition
Allow on same grid… If the durations of two zero-gap linked activities are too small, it can be difficult to tell where one activity begins and another one ends (when they’re on the same grid). The Zero-gap Linked Activities thresholds are for deciding when such activities can be placed on the same grid. Increase these numbers if you want to increase the frequency with which zero-gap linked activities are placed on separate gridlines.
Non-linked Activities
Field Definition
Allow on same grid… If non-linked activities are too close to one another on the same grid such that any link between them wouldn’t be visible, it could appear as though they were linked. The Non-Linked Activities threshold is for deciding what distance is too little for placing such activities on the same grid. Increase this number if you want more space between non-linked activities.
Displays & Formatting
Field
Definition
Add page tiles… Controls whether or not page tiling will be added (but not removed) to ensure that 98% of all activities are at least the width specified, when zoom and stretch are 100%. Decrease this number if you have activities with extremely short and extremely long durations together in the same schedule (e.g. 1 day activities with 100 day activities).
Max width… If milestone and benchmark descriptions exceed the Max. width for milestone & benchmark names, additional lines will be added accordingly. Decrease this number if your milestones and benchmarks have long descriptions and are close to other objects.

Automated Layouts Menu

The automated layouts menu is located in both the Schedule menu as well as underneath the Run Automated Layout icon in the toolbar.

Field
Definition
Open Layout Manager This menu item opens the Layout Manager to the Layouts view.
Animate When Running If selected, the layout will be animated as it’s redrawn in real-time. For large schedules or to reduce processing time, make sure it is turned off. For more details, see Running On Large Schedules.
Always Fine Tune After Running By default, “running” and “fine-tuning” are applied separately, and the results are stored in different layouts.t. If selected, running will always include a fine-tune, and the results will be saved in a single layout in the Layouts view. For large schedules or to reduce processing time, make sure it is turned off. For more details, see Running On Large Schedules.
Run Automated Layout Select to start processing.
Layout Manager Settings Within the Layout Manager, there’s a difference between “lists” and “settings”. In short, “lists” are schedule-specific (except for the one in the Selection view), whereas “settings” can carry through from one project to another. If Load Defaults is selected, all “settings” will reset to their states when NetPoint was installed. If Load Last Saved is selected, all “settings” will reset to their states when the manager was most recently saved. To load the settings from a previously run layout, see Resetting The Layout Manager.

4.2.2.Locking Relative Positions

Locking is a way to freeze an object relative to other objects. For example, if you have activity A locked on grid 1, B locked on grid 10, and C locked on grid 20, then A will be above B, and B will be above C, but not necessarily on the same gridlines. If lanes are used and an activity is both locked and assigned to a lane, the lane assignment will override the locking. By default, actualized objects are locked, but this can be deselected.

‏Locking can be done on an activity-by-activity basis, or it can be done automatically by entering a threshold and locking all of the activities whose activity scores fall below that threshold. All activities and planning objects will be rearranged unless they have been assigned to a lane or locked on their grids. Instructions for locking individual activities and for locking multiple activities are provided below. For more info on lanes, see Setting Up Swimlanes.

Steps

Individual Objects

  1. Click Schedule > Open Layout Manager from the menu bar.
  2. Click the arrow to the right of the Structure view, and choose Locking.
  3. Check the box next to OnNOTE: If the box is un-checked, the most recent locking setup will be stored internally for future use.
  4. To lock an object, check the box next to it under the Lock column.
  5. To apply immediately, see Running the EngineOtherwise, click Save to store the changes.

Multiple Activities

  1. Click Schedule > Open Layout Manager from the menu bar.
  2. Click the arrow to the right of the Structure view, and choose Locking.
  3. Check the box next to OnNOTE: If the box is un-checked, the most recent locking setup will be stored internally for future use.
  4. Check the box next to Lock All.
  5. Type a number and press the TAB key on your keyboard (or click the up and down arrows with the mouse). All activities whose score is less than this value will be locked (milestone and benchmarks will not be included with this option). NOTE: If any objects were locked individually, they will be combined with the activities locked here.
  6. To apply immediately, see Running the EngineOtherwise, click Save to store the changes.

Notes

Locking View

The locking view consists of two list boxes.

Upper List

The main list on top shows all activities, delays, milestones, benchmarks, and hammocks in the schedule. As you click through the list on the top, the canvas will scroll to their location and they will spotlighted in yellow. As any of the objects from the list above are locked, they are copied to the list below.

Column
Definition
Type The type of object.
Lock Controls whether or not the object will be locked to its respective grid.
Score The sum of the link scores for every valid (not redundant) link connected to that activity divided by the number of links connected to that activity. For more information on scoring, see Link Scoring.
Description The text field for describing the activity.
Abbr. Description A text field limited to 48 characters to be displayed on the canvas if the description is too long.
Grid The gridline or row number that the object is drawn on.
Start Date The date the object begins.
Duration The amount of time the object takes to complete.
Finish Date The date and/or time the object will be finished.
Lower List

As you click through the list on the bottom, the canvas will scroll to their location and they will spotlighted in yellow.

Column
Definition
Type The type of object.
Score The sum of the link scores for every valid (not redundant) link connected to that activity divided by the number of links connected to that activity. For more information on scoring, see Link Scoring.
Description The text field for describing the activity.
Abbr. Description A text field limited to 48 characters to be displayed on the canvas if the description is too long.
Grid The gridline or row number that the object is drawn on.
Start Date The date the object begins.
Duration The amount of time the object takes to complete.
Finish Date The date and/or time the object will be finished.
Reason The reason the object was locked, whether by the user, from the score, or because it was actualized.

4.3.Locking Schedule Dates

To prevent unintentional changes to the horizontal positions of objects on the canvas, the Date Lock mode can be used. Date Lock mode prevents any mouse-based changes to horizontal positions of objects on the canvas; however, if need be, dates can still be changed via property boxes, and all objects can still be moved to different grids.

Steps

  1. Click the down arrow to the right of the Change Display Mode  icon from the toolbar.
  2. Choose Date Lock from the menu.

NOTE: Pressing the ALT key while moving an object will temporarily enable Date Lock.

4.4.Criticality

In GPM (and CPM), the critical path is the longest continuous path to the project completion (or an interim contractual milestone), when anticipating on-time or early completion. If anticipating late completion, the critical path is any continuous path that extends beyond the contract date for a completion milestone.

In NetPoint, criticality (if based on total float) is a signal of whether an activity’s total float is at or below a threshold (often zero, except in the case of early or late completion). For special circumstances where criticality is to be based on drift or float (rather than total float), that option is allowed within NetPoint, and the threshold can be changed to any number, positive or negative.

For example, if a project were already significantly behind schedule, a large number of activities might already be critical. To reduce the noise and identify only the most critical, the threshold could be changed to -5 instead of 0. Conversely, if a project were ahead of schedule, there might not be any critical activities. In this case, the threshold could be set to positive 5 so that even activities with total float were signaled out. By default, critical activities and hammocks are automatically turned red, but they may be outlined instead to preserve their original color.

When using outlines, actualized activities will only have their nodes outlined in red to preserve the blue outline on the bar. In-progess activities will have their progressed portion outlined in blue and their remaining portion outlined in red. Actualized milestones and benchmarks will not be outlined in red, despite the setting.

NOTE: A hammock will display as critical if at least 1 member is critical.

Steps

Changing the Criticality Thresholds

  1. Click Schedule > Modify Schedule Properties in the menu bar.
  2. Increase or decrease the number next to Criticality Threshold or Near-criticality Threshold.
  3. If desired, click the dropdown next to Criticality Factor and choose accordingly.
  4. When finished, click OK.

Using Outlines for Criticality

  1. Click Objects > Use Outlines for Critical Objects (non-actualized only) from the menu bar.

4.5.Repositioning Fields (GEM)

Fields such as descriptions, dates, and float values, also known as data elements, can be repositioned on the canvas to eliminate clashing or simply better coincide with the geometry of the network. Supported objects include activities, delays, milestones, benchmarks, links, data dates, and hammocks. If any fields end up being more than 3″ away from their host objects, they will be reset to default the next time the schedule is opened. Repositioning can be done individually for a single object or for the entire schedule using the Global Edit Mode, or GEM.

Upon entering GEM, most toolbar icons as well as the menu bar will be disabled (except for select actions within the Edit menu). In addition, most actions via right-click will be disabled, except for actualizing, fading, or hiding/showing, for example. GEM also includes a tool for aligning text boxes.

NOTE: GEM is a mode distinct from (and behaves as a toggle with) the traditional “build mode” of NetPoint, where objects and relationships are added to the canvas. Upon entering GEM, all dates become fixed, and no object property boxes are accessible. However, object descriptions can still be modified by double-clicking them on the canvas. In addition, objects can still move between grids by using the up and down arrows on the keyboard or in the Gestural Window. No canvas objects can be selected, modified, or moved, except for text objects (including annotations).

Steps

By Right-Clicking

  1. With the Select Tool chosen in the toolbar, right-click on the desired activity, delay, milestone, benchmark, link, data date, or hammock.
  2. Choose the Customize Positions of or Customize Data Positions option. The object will be spotlit in purple.
  3. Left-click with the mouse the field you wish to move.
  4. Without letting go, drag the field to its new position.
  5. Release the mouse.
  6. When finished, right-click anywhere on the canvas and choose Save Modified Positions.

Through GEM Mode

  1. Click the Display Mode (GEM/Date Lock/Normal)  icon in the toolbar, or click the down arrow and choose Global Edit Mode (GEM). All fields will be highlighted in orange.
  2. Left-click with the mouse the field you wish to move.
    1. Without letting go, drag the field to its new position. Alternatively you can use the arrow keys on the keyboard to move in increments of 1/20th of an inch.
    2. Release the mouse.
  3. To modify multiple objects of the same type, select the first object on the canvas.
    1. Press and hold the SHIFT key on the keyboard.
    2. Select one or more objects of the same type (activities, delays, and hammocks will all be considered as activities). Alternatively, you can click on a blank portion of the canvas and drag a rectangular marquee box around all of the desired objects, or use the Multi-Object Select Tool .
    3. Repeat step 2-2b. All matching fields will jump to match the new position.
  4. When finished, exit GEM by clicking the Display Mode (GEM/Date Lock/Normal)  icon in the toolbar.

Aligning Text Objects

  1. Click the Display Mode (GEM/Date Lock/Normal)  icon in the toolbar.
  2. Identify a text object that you’d like to align others to, and select it on the canvas.
  3. Press and hold the SHIFT key on the keyboard.
  4. Select one or more additional text objects. Alternatively, you can click on a blank portion of the canvas and drag a rectangular marquee box around one or more text objects or use the Multi-Object Select Tool .
  5. In the auxiliary toolbar, click the down arrow next to the Align Text Horizontal or Align Text Vertical icons.
  6. Choose from the sub menu.
  7. When finished, exit GEM by clicking the Display Mode (GEM/Date Lock/Normal)  icon in the toolbar.

Notes

GEM Toolbar

Upon entering GEM, an auxiliary toolbar will also open, offering the following options:

Icon Name Definition
Keep Dates Symmetric When selected, this icon will tie an activity’s start and finish dates together so that any changes to positions mirror each other symmetrically.
Vertical Only When selected, this icon will lock data elements to the vertical axis, preventing them from being moved horizontally.
Horizontal Only When selected, this icon will lock data elements to the horizontal axis, preventing them from being moved vertically.
Align Text Horizontally When expanded, this menu allows all selected text objects (excluding descriptions) to be aligned to their tops, centers, or bottoms. Text objects will align to whichever object was first selected. If they were selected using the rectangular drag box, they will align to whichever object was placed on the canvas first.
Align Text Vertically When expanded, this menu allows all selected text objects (excluding descriptions) to be aligned to their lefts, centers, or rights. Text objects will align to whichever object was first selected. If they were selected using the rectangular drag box, they will align to whichever object was placed on the canvas first.

4.6.Paste Format

The paste format feature allows you to copy the styling of one object and paste it to another. This includes the positioning of data elements (descriptions, dates, etc.), element displays (whether or not data are being displayed on the canvas), and formatting (size, colors, etc.). This feature is especially useful for applying the styling of one object that has already been customized to your specifications to another set of objects.

Styling can be pasted for all object types, but it can only be applied to other objects of the same type at any given time. For example, if you copy the styling of an activity, it can be pasted to other activities, but not to milestones (they will be ignored if selected). Activities, delays, and hammocks are all considered objects of the same type. If you want to edit the formatting of different types of objects simultaneously, see Bulk-Editing Objects for more info. If you want to edit the positioning of different types of objects simultaneously, see Repositioning Fields (GEM).

Steps

  1. With the Select Tool chosen in the toolbar, select the object you want to copy the styling from on the canvas.
  2. In the toolbar, click the Copy icon (or press CTRL + C on the keyboard)
  3. Select one or more objects of the same type that you want to paste the styling to on the canvas.
  4. In the toolbar, click the down arrow next to the Paste icon and choose Paste Format (or press SHIFT + CTRL + V on the keyboard).
  5. Turn on or off the application of displays, positioning, or formatting on an element-by-element basis in the tab for the type of object selected.
  6. When finished, click OK. After pasting, the objects will remain selected.
  7. To de-select and verify the results, click away in an empty portion of the canvas.

NOTE: If more than one object was selected when copying, Paste Format will be disabled.

Notes

Default Paste Format Options

The Set Default Paste Format Options window can be accessed at any time via Edit > Default Format Copy Options…. This window allows you to turn on or off the application of displays, positioning, or formatting on an element-by-element basis. All of these options are available in separate tabs for each object type.

It also provides a checkbox at the bottom in order to control the display of this window after every paste format operation. If it is set to display after a paste, the checkbox will instead allow the modified options to be saved as the new default options.

Examples

Allowing for individual control over display and position aspects of data elements gives a lot of flexibility when pasting the format to target objects. In the example below, the duration of Activity 1 has been moved to the right of the description, and the duration display has been turned off for Activity 2.

If only the display column is checked for the duration, pasting from Activity 1 to Activity 2 will yield the following result.

But if only the position column is checked, pasting from Activity 1 to Activity 2 will instead yield this result.

Even though the duration is not displayed for Activity 2, it’s position has been updated behind the scenes. If it were turned on, it would display accordingly.

In the final example, both columns have been checked, and the paste yields the following result as expected.

NOTE: Durations will not paste between partially actualized and non-actualized activities.

4.7.Fine-Tuning/Gestural Controls

When working on devices with touchscreens, or if you have to zoom way out for particularly large schedules, using your fingers or the mouse to change dates or durations can be difficult or imprecise. To make fine-tuning easier in these cases, NetPoint provides on-screen gestural controls for decreasing and increasing the duration of an activity (known as crashing and extending, respectively), and for moving one or more objects horizontally (known as pushing and pulling) and vertically (known as shifting).

Keep in mind that when you use the gestural controls (or arrow keys on the keyboard) to push or pull multiple objects, each object will move according to the working days (or time units) defined in its own calendar. If all objects have the same calendar, then using the gestural controls or keyboard arrow keys to move multiple objects can achieve expected results. However, if some objects have different calendars, those based on calendars with more working days will appear to move ‘faster’ on the canvas. In this case, using the mouse may yield results closer to your expectations. For more info, see the Notes section below.

NOTE: If a milestone is assigned a calendar that’s different from that of its predecessors or successors, and the network is pulled backwards, gaps may open up as the chain crosses a weekend or non-working days. As such, it is recommended to always keep milestones on the same calendar as their predecessors/successors.

 

Steps

Crashing/Extending (Activities)

  1. Click the Gestural icon in the toolbar.
  2. Select the desired activity on the canvas. To select multiple activities, select the desired activities one-by-one on the canvas using the Multi-Select Tool, or click on a blank portion of the canvas and drag a rectangular marquee box around all of the desired activities.
  3. Enter a number next to By or click the up and down arrows to modify the magnitude of the change.
  4. To crash or extend by percent duration (as opposed to by time), click the dropdown arrow and choose Percent.
  5. To reduce the duration (crash) of the selected activities from the start, click the innermost arrow at the start (or press Lon the keyboard + the RIGHT arrow key). To reduce the duration from the finish, click the innermost arrow at the finish(or press R on the keyboard + the LEFT arrow key).
  6. To increase the duration (extend) of the selected activities from the start, click the outermost arrow at the start (or press L on the keyboard + the LEFT arrow key). To increase the duration from the finish, click the outermost arrow at the finish (or press R on the keyboard + the RIGHT arrow key)
  7. When finished, click the red Exit icon.

Pushing or Pulling Objects

  1. Click the Gestural icon in the toolbar.
  2. Select the desired object on the canvas. To select multiple objects, select the desired objects one-by-one on the canvas using the Multi-Select Tool, or click on a blank portion of the canvas and drag a rectangular marquee box around all of the desired objects.
  3. Enter a number next to By or click the up and down arrows to modify the magnitude of the change. Positions may only be moved in increments of time.
  4. If percent is chosen, click the dropdown arrow and choose Day (or, if PolyTime is enabled, the corresponding time unit). Otherwise, pushing/pulling will be disabled.
  5. To move the selected objects later in time, click the RIGHT arrow button below the activity (or press the RIGHT arrow key on the keyboard).
  6. To move the selected objects earlier in time, click the LEFT arrow button below the activity (or press the LEFT arrow key on the keyboard).
  7. When finished, click the red Exit icon.

 

NOTE: If optimizing or performing what-if scenarios, it is recommended to use an increment of no greater than 10. Large increments should only be used in specific situations (e.g. if a window is missed and the network must be delayed a year).

Shifting Objects Vertically

  1. Click the Gestural icon in the toolbar.
  2. Select the desired object on the canvas. To select multiple objects, select the desired objects one-by-one on the canvas using the Multi-Select Tool, or click on a blank portion of the canvas and drag a rectangular marquee box around all of the desired objects.
  3. To move the selected objects up a gridclick the UP arrow button below the activity (or press the UP arrow key on the keyboard).
  4. To move the selected objects down a grid, click the DOWN arrow button below the activity (or press the DOWN arrow key on the keyboard).
  5. When finished, click the red Exit icon.

Notes

When multiple objects are moved with the arrow keys or gestural controls, the starting date of each object is moved by the specified number of working days in the calendar of the object. This means that objects assigned calendars with more non-working days will move ‘faster’ than objects assigned calendars with fewer non-working days. When multiple objects are moved with the mouse, the starting position of each object is moved by the same distance, and the dates are then recalculated from the new starting positions. For example, imagine two activities assigned different calendars that start and finish on the same dates:

If both “Sample Calendar Activity” and “Sample US Activity” are selected and dragged with the mouse until the starting date of the first activity is 11/8 the following is the result:.

However, if the move is performed using the arrow key four times the result is:

The difference occurs because the “Sample Calendar Activity” is moved by 4 calendar days, while “Sample US Activity” is moved by 4 working days (equivalent to 6 calendar days because the starting point of each activity moves past a weekend).

4.8.Adjusting Zoom & Stretch

Zooming and stretching can help to reduce data clashing, clarify logic relationships, or just better fit the user’s monitor size. The zoom function magnifies or shrinks the canvas proportionally. The stretch function increases or decreases the horizontal width of the canvas. Zooming and stretching will only temporarily enhance readability on a digital display. They will have no effect on the printed page and they will reset when the file is printed or saved and closed. To permanently affect the canvas, you must adjust the page size or grid spacing, or use page tiling.

Steps

By Percentage

  1. Click the Zoom/Stretch icon in the toolbar.
  2. To adjust the Zoom Factor, click the up or down arrows, or enter a desired number.
  3. To adjust the Stretch Factor, click the up or down arrows, or enter a desired number.
  4. To return to defaults, click the Reset button accordingly.
  5. When finished, click the red X in the upper right-hand corner. Any changes will be automatically saved.

NOTE: The Zoom Factor can be set from 25 to 300 percent of the default page layout. The Stretch Factor can be set from 25 to 1000 percent of the default page layout.

Using the Keyboard

  1. To zoom, press the SHIFT key on the keyboard
    1. Without letting go, scroll up (to zoom in) or down (to zoom out) with the mouse.
    2. When satisfied, release the key.
  2. To stretch, press the CTRL key on the keyboard.
    1. Without letting go, scroll up (to increase) or down (to decrease) with the mouse.
    2. When satisfied, release the key.

With the Mouse (stretch only)

  1. Click the Select Tool icon in the toolbar.
  2. Move the cursor over the calendar strips at the top of the canvas.
  3. Left-click with the mouse, noticing the percentage appear.
  4. Without letting go, drag the mouse to the left (to decrease) or right (to increase).
  5. When satisfied, release the mouse.

NOTE: If the stretch factor is reduced to a point where the width of a time unit is less than the width of a pixel on screen, the stretch factor text will turn red. Modifying the network under these conditions is not recommended, as input from the mouse could no longer translate accurately on the canvas. It is recommended to increase the stretch factor before proceeding to work on the network.

 

RELATED RESOURCES

4.9.Filters and Searching

Filters allow all objects in the schedule to be searched for based on specific sets of criteria. Filters are often used to generate a list of objects that can then be bulk-edited. For example, to maintain GPM planned dates before exporting to P6, you could filter the schedule for all activities and milestones with drift buffer greater than 0 and apply start-no-earlier constraints to all of them.

The list of objects that results from a filter can also be highlighted or faded on the canvas, and filtering can also be used to find just a single object in the schedule. If you’re just trying to find a specific activity and you know it’s description, you can use the Activity Quick Search instead. Instructions for both are provided.

Steps

Applying a Filter (Example: Objects on Planned Dates)

  1. Click Edit > Search and Filter Objects from the menu bar.
  2. Click the down arrow under Objects to Include and add or remove any objects by checking the boxes next to their names. For this example, add Start Milestones and Finish Milestones
    1. Click outside of the list to close it.
  3. Click the down arrow under Options and add or remove any criteria by checking the boxes next to them. For this example, leave them blank.
    1. Click outside of the list to close it.
  4. To activate criteria in the Properties section, click the down arrow next to a given property and change it from IgnoreFor this example, click the down arrow next to Drift Buffer and choose >. In the number control to the right of Drift Buffer, enter 0.
  5. To activate colors, resources, codes, or calendars as a criteria, select one or more items from their corresponding lists. For this example, leave all as Ignore.
  6. When finished, click Add to List.
  7. To modify the results, repeat steps 2-5 and click Refine List.
  8. To add another search to the results, repeat steps 2-5 and click Add to List again.
  9. When finished, click the red X in the upper right corner. The List of Filtered Objects window will remain open with the objects spotlighted in yellow on the canvas.

Working with Filter Results

  1. Follow steps 1-8 above.
  2. To reorder the list, click the down arrow next to Order List By and choose from the options.
  3. To locate an object on the canvas, choose it in the list. The canvas will scroll to it and the object will be boxed in black.
  4. To fade or highlight an object on the canvas, choose it in the list and press Fade or Highlight accordingly.
  5. To reset any fades or highlights, press Restore.
  6. To select one or more objects, mark the selection circle field in between the object icon and the description field, or use the Select All button to select every item in the list.
  7. To edit selected objects in bulk, click Objects > Set Properties for Selected Objects. For more info, see Bulk Editing of Objects.
  8. When finished, click the red X in the upper right corner.

Finding a Single Activity

  1. Click Edit > Find an Activity… from the menu bar.
  2. Enter any portion of the description into the box.
  3. If more than one activities results, select one in the list and click Find.
  4. The window will close and the activity will be spotlighted on the canvas.

Notes

Search Criteria

Objects to Include

By default, activities and delays will be included in the search.

Options

Criteria
Definition
No Successors/ Predecessors Check these boxes to find objects without any successors or predecessors. If both were checked, all unlinked or unconnected objects would result.
After Project Completion Check this box to find any objects that finish after the project completion date.
SNE/FNL Constraints Check these boxes to include any objects which have had their start or finish dates constrained accordingly.
Superimposed On Grids Check this box to find any objects that are overlapping on the same horizontal grid line.
Redundant Link Check this box to include any links that are redundant. For more information, see Treating Redundancies.
Properties

Criteria
Definition
Description Fields & ID Search for objects that contain, start with, or match certain characters. Not case sensitive.
Duration, Float, Buffer, Total Float, Drift, Drift Buffer, Link Gap These fields can be searched based on whether or not they are less than, greater than, equal to, or in between a given number.
Criticality Search for critical or non-critical objects.
Color Search for objects of a certain color. Multiple colors can be chosen.
Assignments

Criteria
Definition
Resources Search for objects based on what resources they’ve been assigned. Any will yield objects with ANY resources assigned; None will yield objects with NO resources assigned. Multiple resources can be chosen.
Codes/Values Search for objects based on what values they’ve been assigned. Any will yield objects with ANY values assigned; None will yield objects with NO values assigned. Multiple values can be chosen.
Calendars Search for objects based on what calendar they’ve been assigned.

Criteria Behavior

Parameters under Properties and Options behave as AND-CRITERIA, meaning that an object must match ALL of the parameters chosen to be added to the list. For example, if No Successors is chosen and Superimposed on Grids is chosen, only those objects which have both no successors AND are superimposed on grids will be added to the list.

Parameters under Colors, Resources, and Codes/Values behave as OR-CRITERIA, meaning that an object which matches ANY of the parameters will be added to the list. For example, if Carpenters is chosen and Electricians is chosen, objects which have been assigned carpenters OR electricians will be added to the list.

If you’ve selected ActivitiesNo Successors, Superimposed on Grids, Carpenters and Electricians all together, then activities that have both no successors AND are superimposed on grids that have been assigned either carpenters OR electricians will be added to the list.

4.10.Bulk-Editing Objects

Multiple objects may be edited at the same time through the Set Global Properties window. Bulk-editing objects in this way can be instrumental in saving time. The process involves first selecting all objects you want to edit on the canvas and then making the desired changes in each relevant tab in the Set Global Properties window.

If you already know exactly which objects you want to modify, they can be selected one-by-one or in groups on the canvas. In other cases, you may not be able to identify or locate all of the objects on the canvas, and filtering may be required. For example, to maintain GPM planned dates before exporting to P6, you could search for all activities and milestones with drift buffer greater than 0 (via the Apply Filters window), and then apply start-no-earlier constraints in bulk.

Objects that can be bulk-edited include activities, delays, embeds, links, milestones, benchmarks, shades, and text boxes. Each object type has its own tab that contains the available properties that can be modified. Notable exclusions include properties unique to individual objects, such as descriptions and IDs. Any change made will override the individual settings for all objects selected, but only for the type of object in a given tab. For example, if the box next to Float were checked in the Activity tab, every activity selected would have its float displayed on the canvas, but milestones would not be affected. In order to display float for every milestone selected, the corresponding box would have to be checked in the Milestone tab as well.

Steps (Example: Applying SNE Constraints)

  1. With the Multi-Object Select Tool chosen in the toolbar, select the desired objects one-by-one on the canvas. Alternatively, you can click on a blank portion of the canvas and drag a rectangular marquee box around all of the desired objects. For this example, see Applying a Filter to make the selection.
  2. With the objects still selected, click Objects > Set Properties for Selected Objects from the menu bar.
  3. Choose the tab for the type of object you want to modify. For this example, stay on the Activity tab. 
  4. To make a change, click the control next to the property you want to modify. For this example, under the Constraints section, click twice in the box next to Start no earlier than until a check appears, and then click once in the box next to Use Planned Dates until a check appears.
  5. If more than one type of object was selected, repeat steps 3-4 for each object type. For this example, click the Milestones tab and repeat step 4.
  6. When finished, click OK. Changes from across all tabs will be applied at once.

NOTE: If the outcome is not as desired, click Undo or press Ctrl+Z on the keyboard to cancel the last set of changes.

 

Notes

Setting Properties with Check Boxes

A property with a minus sign next to it indicates mixed assignment and will be left the way it was before the Set Global Properties window was opened.

If a check box showing a minus sign is clicked, it becomes blank. In the case of displays, a blank box means that the property will not be displayed. In the case of actualization, a blank box means that an actualized activity would be de-actualized.

If a blank check box is clicked, it becomes checked. In the case of displays this means the checked property will be displayed. Clicking once more will cycle the check box back to the mixed state, which will leave the property for all applicable objects the way it was prior to entering the Set Global Properties window.

Constraint Behavior

Applying no-earlier-than (NET) or no-later-than (NLT) constraints may have a different effect depending on whether or not any of the selected activities or milestones currently have or previously had constraints set in the past. For example, for NET constraints:

If an activity or milestone…
…and…
…then…
Has NEVER HAD a no-earlier-than constraint before… Start-no-earlier-than is checked… No constraint will be set.
Has NEVER HAD a no-earlier-than constraint before… Both Start-no-earlier-than and Use Planned Dates are checked… An NET constraint will be applied at its current start date.
Currently HAS a no-earlier-than-constraint… Start-no-earlier-than is checked… No change will be made.
Currently HAS a no-earlier-than-constraint… Both Start-no-earlier-than and Use Planned Dates are checked… The existing NET constraint will be reset to the current start date.
Once HAD a no-earlier-than constraint… Start-no-earlier-than is checked… An NET constraint will be applied at whatever date the constraint was last set at unless the current start date is earlier than its last constraint date, in which case no constraint will be set.
Once HAD a no-earlier-than constraint… Both Start-no-earlier-than and Use Planned Dates are checked… An NET constraint will be applied at its current start date.

If both Start-no-earlier-than and Use Planned Dates are unchecked, the objects will be unconstrained but their most recent constraint dates will still be remembered internally.

Text Style

The description and the abbreviated description can be styled/formatted differently or the same. To make them different, choose Description from the dropdown, customize the options, and then choose Abbr. Description from the dropdown, and customize the options for it. The settings will be saved, and you can switch between the two to confirm.

To make them the same, choose Both from the dropdown, and then customize the options. Note that choosing both will only overwrite the options that receive a change. For example, imagine the description’s font has been formatted to Arial and the abbreviated description’s font has been formatted to Tahoma. If Both is chosen from the dropdown and the font is set to Calibri, then the font for both the description and the abbreviated description will be set to Calibri, but the color, alignment, style, and size will be unaffected, since they didn’t receive any change. This can be confirmed by switching between the description and the abbreviated description and reviewing them without losing any of the changes.

NOTE: If both the description and the abbreviated description have been turned off but the ID is turned on, then the ID will inherit the formatting of the abbreviated description. Otherwise, it will inherit the formatting of whichever description field is being displayed along with it.

 

Activity Tab

For info on individual fields, see Adding/Modifying Activities.

Milestone Tab

For info on individual fields, see Adding/Modifying Milestones/Benchmarks.

Benchmark Tab

For info on individual fields, see Adding/Modifying Milestones/Benchmarks.

Embed Tab

For info on individual fields, see Using Embeds to Create SS and FF Links.

Link Tab

For info on individual fields, see Creating FS Links.

Shade Tab

For info on individual fields, see Markup Tools.

Text Tab

For info on individual fields, see Markup Tools.

RELATED RESOURCES

4.11.Split-Screen/Multiple Canvases

NetPoint allows you to divide each window into more than one canvas for the same schedule. This can be useful when you have a large schedule that can’t fit within view all at once. The window can be split vertically, horizontally, or both, the latter of which produces four canvases.

Each canvas can be independently zoomed and scrolled, and each canvas can have the resource plots and Date Lockmode turned on and off independently. Everything else applies to all canvases, including the GEMLogic and Planningmodes, canvas formatting, grid spacing, and stretch factor. Any modifications to the network performed in one of the canvases will be immediately reflected in the others. Please refer to the following steps.

Steps

  1. Open the desired project via File > Open Project from the menu bar.
  2. To split the window into two side-by-side canvases, choose View > Vertical Split.
  3. To split the window into two canvases stacked on top of each other, choose View > Horizontal Split.
  4. To split the window into four canvases, apply steps 2 and 3 (in either order).
  5. To switch focus and control from one canvas to another, click the Select Tool icon from the toolbar and left-click with the mouse on an empty portion of the canvas.
  6. To resize the canvases, move the cursor over the dividing line between canvasses.
    1. Click-and-drag the double sided arrow that appears in the desired direction.
  7. To remove the split,  move the cursor over the dividing line between canvasses. .
    1. Click-and-drag the double sided arrow that appears to any edge of the application window. Alternatively, click View from the menu bar and uncheck the split you wish to remove.

Notes

The Active Canvas

At any given time, only one canvas can be active per window. Changes made in the active canvas will be reflected in the other canvases for the same window; the time it takes will depend on the size of the schedule. Always change the active canvas before adding or making any modifications to it; otherwise, the cursor may not update and the date will not follow along.

Vertical Split:
Horzontal Split:
Double Split :

RELATED RESOURCES

4.12.Schedule Statistics

NetPoint tracks a number of statistics for each plan, such as the number of activities, types of links, and float distributions.

Steps

  1. Click Schedule > View Statistics… from the menu bar. The Schedule Statistics window will open.
  2. When finished, click the red X in the upper right to close the window.

Notes

Metric
Definition
Activity Count The number of activities in the schedule.
Hammock Count The number of hammocks in the schedule.
Link Count The number of links in the schedule.
Redundant Link Count The number of redundant links in the schedule.
Logic Index The number of valid links divided by number of activities in the schedule.
Start Embeds The number of start embeds in the schedule.
Finish Embeds The number of finish embeds in the schedule.
Start Milestones The number of start milestones in the schedule.
Finish Milestones The number of finish milestones in the schedule.
Start Milestones The number of start benchmarks in the schedule.
Finish Milestones The number of finish benchmarks in the schedule.
Zero-gap Links The number of zero-gap links in the schedule.
Project Duration in Calendar Periods The number of days (or, if PolyTime is enabled, number of minutes, hours, etc.) between the project start and project completion, including holidays, non-working periods, and weekends.
Project Duration in Work Periods The number of days (or, if PolyTime is enabled, number of minutes, hours, etc.) between the project start and project completion, excluding holidays, non-working periods, and weekends (based on whichever calendar has been selected as default).
Longest Path in Calendar Periods The chain of linked objects that lasts the most number of days (or, if PolyTime is enabled, number of minutes, hours, etc.) including holidays, non-working periods, and weekends.
Longest Path in Work Periods The chain of linked objects that lasts the most number of days (or, if PolyTime is enabled, number of minutes, hours, etc.) excluding holidays, non-working periods, and weekends.
Hard-Links Count The number of hard links in the schedule.
Soft-Links Count The number of soft links in the schedule.
Resource-Links Count The number of resources links in the schedule.
External-Links Count The number of external links in the schedule.
Contractual-Links Count The number of contractual links in the schedule.
Float Distributions The percentile rank for different float values.

 

RELATED RESOURCES

4.13.Predecessors and Successors

As objects become linked, they form chains. For any object in a chain, its predecessors are those that are connected by a link that terminates at the given object, and its successors are those that are connected by a link that emanates from the given object. A list of an object’s predecessors and successors can be viewed in NetPoint, and predecessor/successor data can also be exported to excel. Instructions for both are provided.

Steps

Viewing and Breaking Links

  1. Right-click on a desired object and choose View Predecessors and Successors from the menu. The Predecessor and Successors window will open.
  2. To remove the link between the selected object and a given predecessor or successor, select it in the list and click Break Link. The link will be removed upon closing the window.
  3. When finished, click the red Exit icon.

Comparing Resources

  1. With the Select Tool chosen in the toolbar, right-click on a desired object and choose View Predecessors and Successors from the menu.
  2. To view assignments for a given resource, click the dropdown button next to Compare Resources and choose from the list.
  3. To add, modify, or remove a resource assignment, select the desired activity in the list.
  4. Under Rate, click in the box and enter, edit, or remove the value. NOTE: If the rate column is left blank, no assignment will take place.
  5. To distribute the assignment over the entire duration of the activity, click the drop down button under Distribution and choose /Duration.For more info, see Assignment Options.
  6. When finished, click the red Exit icon to close the window. Changes will be saved automatically.

Exporting to Excel

WARNING: When a template is exported to Excel, the new Excel file will automatically overwrite the last-exported Excel file unless the last one was renamed or moved. To avoid losing the previous Excel file, rename it or move it to a different location before doing the next export.

  1. With the Select Tool chosen in the toolbar, right-click on a desired object and choose View Predecessors and Successors from the menu. If desired, the predecessor/successor data that’s exported can be customized first. To do so, skip to step 1 of Modifying/Exporting an Existing Template instead and choose “Defaults – Logic, Predecessors & Successors” from the dropdown.
  2. Click the Export button. Excel will open with the exported data. NOTE: On export, the Excel file will be automatically saved in the schedule’s project folder and become linked to the schedule for updating. This new file will automatically overwrite the last-exported Excel file (for that schedule) unless it was renamed or moved.
  3. If you plan on exporting additional templates in the future, then we suggest renaming the file or moving it to a different location to avoid having it being overwritten. Click File > Save As from the menu bar, enter a name, and click SaveNOTE: If you DO rename or move the file, you can ONLY initiate an update from it from within Excel. For more info, see Updating from Linked Reports.

 

NOTE: For more info, see Predecessor and Successor Data in the Exporting Linked Reports section.

 

Notes

Predecessors and Successors Window

Column
Definition
Type The type of object, such as activity, link, milestone, benchmark, delay, or hammock.
Description The object’s description field, used to describe the object.
ID The object’s ID. The ID is a unique identifier.
Rate The amount or number of the resource required.
Distribution How the resource is used by an activity. Resources may be assigned per time period or duration.
Float The float of the object. The float is the amount of time an object can be delayed before delaying the completion of the project.
Relation The relationship with the selected object, such as start-to-start (SS), finish-to-finish (FF), finish-to-start (FS), or start-to-finish (SF). If the relationship is SS or FF, it’s followed by the lead or lag of the embedded node.
Gap The duration of the link to the selected object.

 

RELATED RESOURCES

5.Schedule Risk Analysis

NOTE: The full chapter is available with the purchase of the license.

It is said that building a schedule is often more art than science. Imagine then for a moment that you are looking at a painting. In this painting, there is a married couple sitting at a table and a waiter carrying a bottle of wine. To the side, a boy is chasing a ball. But what happens in reality? Does the waiter bring the the bottle of wine to the table? Or does the boy’s ball roll in front of the waiter and cause him to trip? The painting doesn’t tell us which scenario might occur or what happens when one does – it only serves to get us thinking about the scene and to analyze what it might mean.

The painting is what we call a deterministic schedule. Activities are given single-point estimates – for durations, start dates, logic relationships, etc. – often considered best guesses or most likely scenarios. As more activities are added to the schedule, a web of objects begins to form called a network diagram. But the resulting picture is often inadequate; like the painting, the image we see fails to tell us what happens if one activity takes longer than depicted, or if another one doesn’t occur on time. What we see is only a single possible outcome, a blueprint for how the project might proceed.

In a stochastic schedule, inputs are given ranges (upper limit, lower limit, intermediate values, etc.) as opposed to a single estimate. These inputs are then arranged according to a distribution shape, and the outcome (e.g. activity duration, float value, risk impact, etc.) is sampled from its range for every iteration in the simulation. The goal of the simulation is to run enough iterations until the data converge and the results appear conclusive. This is when you reach the point where you could run another ten thousand iterations and the results would be the same. At this point, it becomes possible to conclude what chances different values have of occurring and to make scheduling decisions based on these probabilities.

6.Updating a Schedule - Overview

Once a schedule has been created, it may be updated to track and monitor progress. In NetPoint, entering actual dates and durations (also known as “statusing”) is done just like drawing activities or leveling resources—graphically on the canvas. The entire process involves setting a data date, storing a target, statusing activities, and then actualizing statused activities. An update is complete once all activities left of the data date have been actualized.

Unique to NetPoint is the ability to calculate float attributes forensically. As the schedule is revised right of the data date, drifts, floats, and total floats continue to refresh for actualized activities left of the data date, reflecting any re-planning of the network.

Tip: To maintain a record of date-specific as-built forensic float attributes, save each update individually. Also, the user may choose to further secure the data. See