Home > Features > Product Review: FastTrack Schedule 9.2

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FastTrack Schedule 9

In our last review we asked for greater integration with other calendar systems. In the latest version FastTrack Schedule 9.2 supports direct export to iCal -- Apple's calendar application -- and you can also publish to Apple's .Mac web services applications. In "week view" your FastTrack Schedule "multi-day" activities appear across the top of iCal. (see image 07). When you publish to .Mac you can choose your .Mac account (zero config setup) or you can optionally publish to your own .ics supported server. (see image 08).

07 - Publishing your FastTrack Schedules to iCal on your Macintosh computer is easy.
08 - Publish your FastTrack Schedules to an iCal server or Apple's .Mac web services.

In terms of sharing your project data, version 9 makes substantial improvements in exchange with Microsoft Project due to improvements in XML and MPX. You can actually open .mpp (MS Project) files directly or exchange data in both directions via XML or MPX file formats.

Another option is to use AEC Software's Project Converter (a free web service) that converts Microsoft project files to FastTrack Schedule format.

09 - Using a master FastTrack Schedule file, you add files to Consolidate schedule information. From this window you can do an "update" to update from a menu option.
10 - In this Consolidated file subordinate files are indicated by the FastTrack Schedule file icon directly in the Info column. Changes in a subordinate file can reflect in the master.

Another major new feature is project Consolidation. New is the ability to consolidate multiple FastTrack Schedule files into a single file to view multiple projects or a multi-phased project. This gives a senior level person an "overview" position, enabling staff to manage projects in discreet files while an overview can be gained from the consolidated file. Once file saves are made to subordinate files all of those changes can appear in the master consolidation file through the update process. (see QuickTime movie, QT-3)

Mac users will especially love the new Spotlight search support, enabling them to search the detailed content of their project schedules.

QuickTime : QT-3 - This movie shows how Consolidation works between multiple files in a master file.
QuickTime : QT-4 - This movie shows how to provoke the Information form from right-clicking on bars.

Linking activities are both enhanced and simplified in version 9. FastTrack Schedule 9 supports linking in accordance with the Project Management Institute (PMI) practices, supporting up to eight "constraint" types and four standard link types.

Version 9 also has new custom datelines and project datelines. You can create up to 10 of them, each with their own unique appearance qualities, as well as use and the Project Start and Project Finish lines.

Autofit Calendar and Calendar view enhancements further improve the interface. (see image 11). Autofit Calendar works the same as in Schedule view, auto adjusting the overall width, grid width and height attributes to better display all project information.

11 - AutoFit Calendar expands or contracts your calendar view to make room for information, just as in schedule view.
12 - AutoArchive is a new preference for backup and archival of documents.

Lastly, rounding out the big new features, AEC Software has improved saving and archiving your project scheduling files with a new AutoArchive and AutoSave preference setting. You can auto-archive your documents on, say, a 4 day interval. (see image 12).

Other nice improvements include the ability to double-click on bars, arrows and the like to pop-open the Information form. You can double-click on bars even in Calendar and Resource views. (see image 13). The new iCal layout lets you input notes, location and attendee information so this travels to your iCal calendars. Notes can be quickly added to activities to further load your schedule with useful information (see image 14).

13 - Double-clicking on any bar opens the Information form appropriate to that view context where you can edit bar information.
14 - The iCal view allows for additional Notes information which you enter in a popup window form.


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Home > Features > Product Review: FastTrack Schedule 9.2




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