Every project has issues and comes with risks. Just as often, you will find yourself in need of associating checklists, events or files with activities. Meet Attachments, a feature unique to Merlin Project. Attachments are management features that won’t change the duration or timing of a project, but that bear much needed information about an activity. Compare them to e-mail attachments in Apple Mail. In Merlin Project, they can be checklists, calendar events, files, risks and issues, and information. You can have Merlin Project show you these Attachments in a dynamic secondary View.
You can view Attachments in the main working panel too by going to the View > Attachments menu or by selecting from the Work Area toolbar icon. In the main View, you can select an Attachment and via the context menu see the associated activities. However, your most effective way to view Attachments is by either clicking the Details icon in the Toolbar or selecting the View > Details > Attachments menu item.
There are six of them:
- Checklists — Use these to list steps that you need to take for an activity to complete, repeating items, “shopping lists”, etc.
- Events — These are a lot like Calendar entries, but they live inside Merlin Project only. They do not adjust or interfere with project dates. Examples: meetings, delivery dates, etc.
- Files — Can be any file linked to or copied into Merlin Project, ranging from photographs to PDF documents, etc. This feature includes basic revision management!
- Information — Consider this as your project’s CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system. Use this to enter phone calls and email messages that you want to keep on file with the project to document its progress, problems and more. The Notification date is the date the information was created. It has no association with OS X’s Notification centre.
- Issues — Every project has issues. This Attachment enables you to maintain and manage them.
- Risks — Professional-grade risk management.
You insert Attachments by going to the Insert > Attachment > Attachment type menu. However, the File Attachment type can be added to a project by dragging a file to the Activity as well. Merlin Project will ask you if you want to link to the file or copy it to the project.
If you choose the former, Merlin Project will insert the file as an Information snippet. If you choose the latter, the original file will be copied to Merlin Project’s File Attachments folder and this file will be updated in Merlin Project — if you agree — when you edit the file with its associated editor.
Note that if you drag a URL or a file from your Mac Desktop (or from a folder) to an Activity, the reference will not be listed under the Files category, but under Information.
We will discuss a more in-depth overview of Attachments and their characteristics in the next article.