Do you have any suggestions or tricks for printing a clear and visible Gantt chart of average size when you don't have access to a plotter? The Gantt chart I have right now is for one project which includes 70 tasks, it is printed on six separate 8 1/2 by 11 sheets that are taped together like a puzzle. So, in order to keep it legible, at least in 11 point font, are there places you can go who will print out? i.e. FedEx/Kinkos.
Blind as a Bat
Dear Blind as a Bat,
You can certainly go to Kinkos, Staples or any office supply store. But I've never needed to do so in my 20 years of managing projects. I print it out on legal paper on the office printer. But first I need to get it to the right size. There are a lot of tricks to getting it down in size from the 3 x 2 sheets you are currently using.
Start by reducing the number of pages wide to only one:
- First of all, print it on legal size paper.
- Decide how many columns you really want to display.
- By deleting a column, the data still exists and can be regenerated simply by re-inserting that column.
- When you print out a Gantt chart, you only need to satisfy the audience you are printing for
- They may not need to see the baseline start and finishes, the successors or any of the budget columns.
- You can reduce the width of columns until numbers in there are reduced to #####, then widen them slightly to display the numbers again
- When you've made the above adjustments, widen the column containing all the bars until it reaches but doesn't overlap the last column you wish to display
- If you overlap even a little, that column won't print out.
- Reduce the size of the bars to show just what you can fit on one page width.
- You do that by pressing the + and - zoom buttons located near the right on the standard menu bar.
- If you have an extremely long project, you needn't display all the dates. When you print you can select the dates that will be displayed.
- Select File - Print then select the dates that you wish to print.
- Get rid of the legend. Few people need it and it takes many lines from each page.
- Press File - Page Setup and go to the tab called 'Legend'
- Click on the choice 'Legend on' None
- Open up only the summary tasks that are relevant to those who will be reading your printout.
- Tasks that have been completed for a while or which won't be worked on for months can be rolled up to their parent summary tasks
- Do this by pressing on the '-' sign to the left of the bold summary tasks.
- You can open them back up when you need them by pressing on the '+' sign that replaces the '-' sign when you roll them up.
Can anybody else add to these tricks?
Send me your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org