Learn how to create a schedule template from scratch.

Important update, January 2019: Our new, flexible to-dos functionality is live, and as discussed on our Community forum (client log in required) we encourage you to use those instead of the more formal and high-maintenance schedules described in this article. Read about how to get started with to-dos. You can start from scratch or we can also migrate your tasks data over for you: email support@consonance.app. Note that user feedback suggests we will be retiring the old schedules functionality completely from the system during 2019, so please get in touch if you need to discuss.

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1. Generate a new schedule template

  1. Go to Workflow > Schedule templates
  2. Click the Add button
  3. Fill in the name of your new template
  4. Click Save to open your Gantt chart

2. Create tasks on your template

  1. In the Name column, fill in the name of the project to create a parent task e.g. ‘Production plan’ or ‘Critical Path’

Why do I need a parent task?

All of your tasks live under one umbrella task. This enables you to collapse all the tasks down using the minus sign and see the total duration of the project.

  1. On the second row, type the name of your first task or parent task, e.g. ‘Acquisition’

  2. Press enter to create further tasks

  3. Notice that each task automatically has a start and end date of today, and a duration of ‘1’ day.

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3. Create further parent tasks and subtasks

  1. Choose a task to promote or sub-promote.
  2. Click the right arrow to promote it to parent or the left to make it a child.

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To add a task in the middle, use the two icons third and fourth from the left.

The icon on the left inserts a task above the one currently selected.

The icon on the right inserts a new task under the one currently selected. By default the new task will be a child of the selected one – use the left arrow to make it a sibling instead of a child.

4. Set your dependent tasks

You may want to make tasks dependent on others. For example, ‘proofreading the manuscript’ is only possible after ‘copyediting’. The benefit of the Gantt chart is that it makes this clear.

  1. Find a task that pre-dates another one, e.g. ‘copy-editing’ and check the row number (e.g. ‘2’)
  2. Find the task that follows, e.g. ‘copy-editing’
  3. In the ‘Dependency’ column, insert the row number ‘2’
  4. Repeat for all dependencies.
  5. You see your tasks are linked with arrows in the Gantt view

5. Reorder your tasks

  1. Choose a task to move up or down
  2. Click the up arrow to move it up by one row, or the down arrow to move it down
  3. Notice any dependencies are also reordered

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Optionally, set certain tasks as Key tasks. Three to five is a good number. Any schedules based on this template display these key tasks on the Schedules page, with their dates.

6. Edit your dates and durations

The Gantt chat automatically excludes weekends. When you add a task, notice the start dates, end dates and durations auto-correct to avoid weekends and make use only of weekdays (Monday to Fridays).

Each task is automatically given a start and end date of today, and a duration of ‘1’. Edit either the duration or the dates. (E.g. increasing the duration to ‘2’ days will modify the end date accordingly).

  1. To edit the start date, overwrite the date in the Start column
  2. To edit the end date, overwrite the date in the End column
  3. To edit the duration, overwrite the number in the Duration column
  4. Notice that the tasks elongate in the Gantt view.

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About milestone dates

In a Gantt chart, dates can either move automatically (due to dependencies between tasks) or be set in stone as milestones. Fix either or both of the start and end dates for any task.

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Milestones are useful if you have any hard deadlines in your workflow such as a publication date. Once you’ve created a milestone, it will not slip back if the preceding tasks run late. It will only change if you amend it manually. However, notice that any preceding tasks shorten to account for the slippage.

7. Create a milestone date

  1. Click the Edit icon next to the relevant task
  2. On the pop-up window, tick the checkbox next to either the Start date or the End date, or both
  3. Click Save to return to the Gantt chart.

8. Assign someone to a task

If you know that the same team members do the same kinds of tasks, assign roles to the template.

  1. Click the Edit icon next to the relevant task
  2. On the pop-up window, under Assignments, click the Add icon
  3. Choose a Consonance username and role from the dropdown
  4. Click Save to return to the Gantt chart.

9. Exit the Gantt chart

  1. To exit, first click Save. When there are changes to be saved, this button will flash.
  2. Click the Exit Gantt link
  3. Click the back button on your browser to return to the Gantt chart.

10. Apply your template to a work

Please see these instructions to create a complex schedule from a complex template.

11. Print your chart

The chart appears on two pages: one for the task list and another for the Gantt display. No matter how large your Gantt chart is, it can only be printed on two pages (it won’t separate out any further).

  1. Click the zoom out icon a few times until your entire Gantt chart is visible on the screen.
  2. Click the Print icon.
  3. Choose your printer and the ‘landscape’ option and press print.

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