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Preparing Gantt Charts with Turbo-Chart

Turbo-Chart can be used to prepare Gantt charts for any project schedule with simple and creative use of the coding used to produce Time Location / Linear Schedules.

This article outlines the method to produce Gantt charts using Turbo-Chart to represent any task from schedules prepared in Primavera P6 . The same method is also applicable to schedules prepared in MS ProjectAsta Powerproject, Safran Planner/Risk or in fact, any spreadsheet ready data.

Step 1 – Data Preparation

Ensure your schedule can include the additional data required by Turbo-Chart

  1. ShapeCode – a text field  that is used to define how tasks will be displayed on the Gantt chart
  2. Location Start – a numeric field used to position the start of a task on the location axis
  3. Location End – a numeric field used to position the end of a task on the location axis

Step 2 – Task ShapeCodes

ShapeCodes in Turbo-Chart are used to define the display properties for tasks, the shape, the colour, the style of the pattern etc. Apply the same ShapeCode value to tasks that will have common display properties. And, only apply ShapeCodes to the tasks to be displayed on the Gantt chart (Turbo-Chart can ignore tasks with no ShapeCode)

In the image below, ShapeCodes have been applied such that similar tasks will be shown with the same display properties in Turbo-Chart

Step 3 – Defining Locations

Unlike linear projects, where the position of works along the linear alignment are used, to produce Gantt charts, the location values define

  • Where a task is positioned, and
  • The thickness, ie. the width of a task

By rotating the axes in Turbo-Chart, such that the Time axis is horizontal, and Location axis is vertical, the start of an activity defines where it is positioned, and the end defines the width.

By positioning similar tasks into “Swimlanes” it is possible to show multiple tasks in sequence on the Gantt Chart, or if required overlapping (Applying transparency values to the ShapeCode may assist in this case)

Step 4 – Import into Turbo-Chart

Follow the method to import into Turbo-Chart and define the display properties for each ShapeCode. Adjust the location and time axes as required, and if required, use Highlighters to emphasis selected dates, periods, values on the location aes, or entire bands of locations. Annotations can be added to the chart as usual also.

Step 5 – Making the Gantt chart meaningful!

Once the Gantt chart is set up in Turbo-Chart, updates from the source schedule can be easily synchronised – so that the Gantt chart is always reflecting the latest schedule dates, but the other standard features of Turbo-Chart can equally be applied to Gantt charts as used for Time Location /Linear Schedules:

  • Import multiple versions of the schedule as datasets
  • Compare datasets, ideal to demonstrate baseline vs forecast schedules
  • Display critical paths, even how critical paths have changed between schedule datasets

Our video below provides a quick overview of how this all works using Turbo-Chart

Download our 14day trial and find out how you can also benefit from Turbo-Chart to visualise your Linear Project schedules:

Join our LinkedIn User Group to learn more about our customers and their use of Turbo-Chart:

Project Properties and Page Layouts

As described in our Change Log , V1.2.0.2 of Turbo-Chart introduces a new feature called Project Properties, that allows user defined fields and values to be displayed on page layouts. Allowing title boxes, or variable text to be displayed anywhere on a Chart.

This article provides an overview on how to use this new feature

Project Properties

Turbo-Chart can now let users defined custom project property fields, and enter the values that will be displayed for these fields. Turbo-Chart provides a few default values, but users may edit these as required.

Using Project Properties in Page Layouts

When defining text annotations in page layouts  fields form Project Properties can now be used rather than fixed text values.

Select FILE>PAGE LAYOUT from the menu to view and edit the page layout.

  1. Select an existing text cell or create a new text annotation
  2. In the text definition area, type an opening curly bracket “{“
  3. This will display a list of all available Project Property Fields, select the field to be used and press enter.

 Note that you may use a combination of fixed text and project properties, for example you could use “Owner: {ProjectOwner}

Press Close when finished.

Viewing Project Properties

When in the main chart view, ensure that print Preview is enabled from the WINDOW > PRINT PREVIEW MODE menu.

The Page Layout will now display the values set for Project Properties. To change any value, simply edit the value from DATA>PROPERTIES menu.

Time Location Charts for Vertical High-Rise Building Schedules


This article will demonstrate how location-based techniques typically used on horizontal linear infrastructure construction projects (Such as Highways, Railways or Tunnels) can also be applied to vertical high-rise building projects, to graphically represent project schedules in Time Location format.

Vertical high-rise building construction is typically a series of trades or disciplines of work progressing vertically through the floors of the building, the elevation (or Relative levels, RLs) of the floors can be treated as discrete linear locations, analogous to the continuous linear locations of those horizontal projects mentioned earlier.

High-Rise building elevations can represent the linear locations for schedule tasks

Traditional representations of a high-rise building project schedules use Gantt or Bar charts with time for the horizontal axis, and the vertical axis represents a form of Work Breakdown Structure, such as floors, trades etc. 

Time Location charts can use the elevation/relative levels of a building’s floors as the vertical axis, and time as the horizontal axis. The main grid area represents the schedule tasks succinctly indicating where and when they occur.

Time Location chart uses location and time as axes

The benefits offered for schedule communication and analysis for a high-rise building project schedule in this format include:

  1. A concise, visual and easy to understand representation of an entire project schedule on one page
  2. Clear indication of the scheduled rates of progress for varying construction elements and trades as they progress along the building elevation.
  3. A quick and easy check/validation of schedule logic to ensure no errors or clashes exist
(Click on image for full size)

Turbo-Chart for High-Rise Building Time Location Charts

To present a vertical high-rise building schedule in time location format, append the following information to the schedule:

  1. Schedule tasks associated with any floor are given the start and end Elevation / Relative Levels. A and B below.
  2. The second step is to define how to represent the different construction elements of trades on the time location chart, assigning codes to schedule tasks that are then used to define the chart shapes, colours etc, shown as C below:
Additional data appended to schedule tasks

All remaining information required to produce the chart, start and finish dates for tasks, is already available from the scheduling data.

Turbo-Chart imports the data from scheduling tools such as Primavera P6, MS Project, or any spreadsheet ready data source. Each shape code is only required to be customised once, or can re-use shape libraries previously developed, to produce a time location chart.

Turbo-Chart Shape Codes to identify the tasks shown on Time Location charts

Further customisation of the chart can be made to include text or graphic annotations, filtering for selected tasks, limiting date ranges, or creating multiple charts. Turbo-Chart can also use multiple sets of data to create schedule comparisons, such as baseline vs current.

Charts can be customised to display filtered location or date ranges
Chart focused on the tower sequence
Chart foxued on the tower foundation works.

As a project schedule is updated, Turbo-Chart can be synchronised to update the Time Location chart almost instantly, comparisons between previous schedules, or other schedules can also be displayed allowing analysis of the changes.

Turbo-Chart comparison between Schedule updates

Turbo-Chart can be downloaded as a 14day fully functioning trial from the Download Page

Contact for any further information.

LinkedIn Puzzle “Simple” Schedule.

On LinkedIn, Miklos Hajdu posted a puzzle to solve a “simple” schedule problem 

This proved to be a very elegant method of displaying Turbo Chart’s capabilities in quickly preparing time-location charts to solve planning and scheduling problems.

Using Turbo Chart’s ability to create tasks on screen and position by editing the values, or dragging visually on-screen, the possible combinations to the problem could be easily drawn.

The Turbo Chart file to produce these solutions can be downloaded here as a zip file: 3streets problem

(Click to enlarge)