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Understanding Item Placement in Roadmap Views

Terms to know

  • Header - The selected field whose field values act as titles to organize the plotting of items. In the timeline view, headers are on the left side and are pivoted against a timescale along the top. In the swimlane view, both rows and columns have headers.

  • Sub-header - A sub-header is like a header, but it only appears on the timeline view. It creates an additional data pivot for viewing items by specifying a second field through which to plot items.

  • Stream - Refers to all items within a given header or sub-header.

  • Track - The thin grey line where items live within a stream.

The order of items and sub-items on your roadmap matters. Even with headers and sub-headers, it’s often desired to have a specific order of items on the visualization. This article will help to understand the item placement logic, and how you can attain your desired ordering.

Default Placement

By default, items are plotted using an auto-layout formula to maximize usage of space against items start and end dates within a given stream. Each item is positioned one at a time, and is added to the highest track where it does not overlap an existing item. The goal of this algorithm is to fit the most number of items on-screen at once, and the initial layout is based on item creation order.

Changing Item Placement

If you would like to change the placement of your items after they are initially plotted, you are able to do so by dragging and dropping them on your roadmap visualization. However, do note that this manual move will not be preserved with formatting changes (header or sub-header changes, ect). 

Other ways to make items stand out and connect them:

Text Placement for Items

If the Theme on your timeline is set to text outside of the item box, text will go on the top of the track by default. When the view is full of many items close together, Roadmunk will begin to alternate the text above the track, below the track, to optimize for a clean and organized visualization. If it’s preferred to have the text always above the track, adding a Key Date will align them all to be on top (one required per view).



  • Will parent and sub-items be grouped together? If they are created one after the other, and have a common field that is used as the sub-header, then yes. However if not, parent and sub-item relationships are not considered for the layout

  • Do new items reposition the order? No, new items would be positioned without repositioning existing items

  • Does changing the rank of items reposition the order? No, layout is based on item creation order and would not change if items were re-ordered in the items table

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