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Step 7 - Create a Swimlane Visualization

Swimlanes vs. Timelines

You've seen how Timelines are the best choice when you want to present a time-oriented view of roadmapped items like initiatives and objectives. But when you're working with an agile theme-based roadmap, you need a more dynamic type of visualization that allows you to plot items on a dynamic grid and pivot data in multiple ways. That's where Swimlanes come in.

Swimlanes and views

Just like Timelines, to create a Swimlane for a roadmap, you create a new view for the roadmap and then create the Swimlane visualization associated with the view. A roadmap can have multiple views and therefore multiple Swimlanes and Timelines. Each roadmap view has its own Swimlane or Timeline, filterset, and data pivots. If a roadmap has milestones, they are visible only on Timelines.

Creating a Swimlane visualization

To create a Swimlane visualization for a roadmap you create a new roadmap view, selecting Swimlane as the view's visualization.


1. On the Roadmap navbar, click the + View button.


2. In the New View dialog, enter a name for the view.

3. Select Swimlane as the Visualization Type.

4. Click Create.

Swimlanes have three main areas or sections: 1) the column header, 2) the row header, and 3) items on the Swimlanes.


1. The column header

The column header serves as the Swimlane's horizontal pivot. Unline Timelines, which have time as a fixed horizontal pivot, Swimlanes allow you to customize the horizontal pivot by selecting the field you want to use for the column header.

Change the Swimlane time period

All Swimlanes start out with a time-based horizontal pivot, with the column header set to monthly time periods. You can change the header to Weeks, Quarters, Halves, or Years. 

  1. On the View navbar, click the Format icon.

  2. In the Layout tab, click the Column Header dropdown.

  3. In the dropdown, select the new time period.

  4. Click the Format icon to close the panel.

Select a pivot field for the column header

To select a non-time-based horizontal pivot for the Swimlane, select the field you want to use for the column header.

  1. Still in the Layout tab, click the Column Header dropdown.

  2. In the dropdown, select the field you want to use for the horizontal pivot.

2. The row header

The row header serves as the Swimlane's vertical pivot. Unlike Timelines, Swimlanes have a single vertical header. Like the column header, you can select any field in the roadmap for the row header.

Add the row header

  1. Still in the Layout tab, click the Row Header dropdown.

  2. In the dropdown, select the field you want to use for the vertical pivot.

3. Items on the Swimlane

Swimlane items are color-coded and matrixed on the Swimlane's grid in alignment with the column and row headers. Before you add the row header, items are aligned in the Swimlane only horizontally.

Item Labels

The default label for items on a Swimlane is the item's Title (Items field in the Items Table).

Formatting Swimlane layout and colors

Once you've selected and added column and row headers to your Swimlane, you can format the layout and colors of the headers and items.

Format the layout

Changing header orientation

You can change the orientation of your Swimlane's row headers if you need more space to display field names. The default orientation is Horizontal.

  1. Still in the Layout tab, find the Headers label.

  2. Select the Vertical orientation icon. 

Hiding empty headers

If an item has not been assigned a field value that you are trying to pivot by, it will show up on the roadmap as a stream labeled [Field Name] : None. 

To hide empty headers: 

  1. Navigate to the Format tab.

  2. Find the Hide empty headers checkbox.

  3. Check the box to hide any empty headers on your roadmap. 

Format colors

You have two options when setting a Swimlane's colors: Color By Base Color and Color By Field. The default setting is Color By Base using a range of blues.

Changing the Base Color

You can choose a different color for the Base Color other than blue.

  1. Open the Format panel again (Format icon on the View navbar).

  2. Click the Colors tab.

  3. Below the Color By dropdown, click the paint drop and select a new color.

Setting Swimlane colors to Color by field

In addition to making your Swimlane more visually appealing, Color by Field allows you to create a color-based pivot in addition to the row and column header pivots.

  1. Still in the Colors tab, click the Color By dropdown.

  2. In the dropdown, select the field you're using for the column header pivot.

  3. In the Palette dropdown, select the color palette you want to use. For the tutorial, we're sticking with the default Citrus palette.

  4. To make the colors of the column headers match the colors you choose for the items in the Items section of the tab, select Column Header Inherits Item Color below the Palette dropdown (see step 6).

  5. In the Headers section of the tab, drag and drop the Header label onto the color you want to apply to the row headers. If you choose not to match the column headers with the items (see step 4), they will also use this color.

  6. In the Items section of the tab, drag and drop column header field values onto the color to indicate how you want to color-code the items on the Swimlane.

  7. Click the Format icon to close the panel.

You should now see the selected headers and formatting applied to your Swimlane. 


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