Merlin – Importing a checklist

Merlin is very powerful and sophisticated piece of project management software on MacOS X. It allows not only to attach checklist elements onto your projects, activities, activity groups or resources, but also supports  importing such lists created and saved by other applications. To import a checklist into your project just follow the next simple steps:

  1. Ask for a checklist saved in .opml format.
  2. Create a checklist element in your project; enable the display of elements area and add a new checklist element.
  3. Use the elements inspector and press the ‘import’ button.
  4. Select the .opml file with the checklist and you are done.

Wanting to forward  your checklist entries to someone not having Merlin? Simply use the export button and save in an .opml format, which can be opened by outline software.

You would like to transfer checklists from one project to another and wonder whether there is an easier way than export/import? Of course, just select the element in the elements area, copy, open your target project, select a position onto which you would like to checklist to get attached and paste.

Need a report of your currently selected checklist? Just click onto the ‘report’ button and see Merlin  creating the desired report containing just the selection.

You may want to watch the relevant video on YouTube.

Merlin import of EXCEL files

Merlin can import  lots of file formats, here a list of the currently supported formats:

  • MS Project (.mpx, .mpp, .xml)
  • OmniOutliner (.ooutline, .oo3)
  • OmniPlan (.omniplan)
  • NovaMind (.nmind)
  • MindManager (.mmap)
  • Merlin 1 (.merlin)
  • Merlin 2 (.xml)
  • Text files (.txt, .csv, .tsv)
  • OPML files (.opml)

So you look at the list above, have project WBS saved in MS EXCEL and don’t know how to proceed?

Import from EXCEL is also possible, it cannot work however seamlessly. Merlin cannot know where project related information is contained in any particular EXCEL file, which EXCEL columns contain which Merlin column information or how contained values are to be interpreted in each and every case.

An MS Project, Merlin, OmniPlan, Mindmap file contains data in a predefined way. That means, a developer know exactly where to find  the value of task’s title or task’s duration and map it to Merlin title and duration of a newly created task. So when considering importing EXCEL files into Merlin to create tasks out of the sheet, you have to keep in mind that you will perform some additional configuration steps. EXCEL is not a project management software after all, isn’t so?

So, first step is to open your EXCEL file in Microsoft EXCEL and save the sheet as a text file. It can be a comma separated values (.csv) or tab delimited text (.txt) file. As next you open this file with Merlin, select correct separators, quotes, line endings, map your information to Merlin columns and let Merlin create the new tasks for you.

The workflow in detail:

Lets suppose you have an EXCEL sheet. Continue reading

Merlin: CSV duration units

Duration unitsThere is a new feature in Merlin 2.7.6 and its CSV reading & writting possibilities.

You can now define the unit for the durations and choose one of the following: Seconds, Minutes, Hours, Days, Weeks, Calendarweeks, Months and Years.

This is very practical in case you want to import project information in spreadsheets of MS Excel, Numbers, etc and need further calculations referencing duration data.

In this case simply choose the appropriate unit when exporting. Merlin will recalculate project durations if necessary in the output.

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