Inside this article:
- Can I name a value that is referenced elsewhere in my doc?
- What if I have multiple dependencies associated with a single task?
The lookup column format
Sometimes we have the same values shared by tables in a doc. Rather than having to retype these, or worry about keeping them up to date, Coda allows you to set a column of a table as a lookup column.
The lookup column format creates a linked select list of the display column of the table of your choice. But, how do you know which column is the display column? Easy, simply look for this icon:
If you ever want to change your display column, click the dropdown menu next to the column of your choice and select Set as display column. If you want even more details about the lookup column format, check out this article.
How to create dependencies in your project tracker
Where lookup columns become particularly helpful in the world of project management, is in tracking task dependencies. Here's how you set them up:
1) Create your base task table with task name as your display column
2) Add a column and name it Dependencies
3) Click the format icon on the left of your column and choose Lookup from Table as your format
4) Choose your base task table as the Table to pull from
5) Now you can choose from your existing tasks as the dependencies
You'll notice that these are linked so any changes you make in either location will hold true. And, what's more, you'll be able to see all of the underlying data from the dependant task in the row in question so you have the complete picture of your work and how it's put together.
Working with dependencies in your tracker
Option #1 - Formatting based on dependency status
To set up your formatting by status:
- Create a Dependency Status column with the following formula. This way, your dependency's status will be the same across your Table.
- Click the format icon and build your format choices based on the Dependency Status column
As you're figuring out your formatting preferences, keep some of the following tips in mind:
- You can bold, italicize, underline, and change font or background color
- You can also define which columns you want to formatting to apply to - it's not all or nothing
- You can show or hide any columns you like by clicking the eye icon
Option #2 - Incorporating dependency dates
Once you have a dependency lookup column, you can use Coda formulas to gain even more intelligence around your data. For example, if you want to be aware of when a dependency is causing a larger risk, you can build formulas off of your lookups.
- Create a dependency date column
- Type = [Dependency Column Name].[End Date Column Name] in one of the dependency date cells
- You can now build formatting based on proximity to dependency date
- And, to keep your table clean, you can click the eye icon to hide the dependency date column
Option #3 - Group by dependency
For an easy summary of what your dependencies affect, you can choose to group the dependency column along the left.
- Click the column dropdown menu
- Choose Group column along left
Option #4 - Shift to timeline view after grouping
Once you group your table by dependencies, you can switch to a timeline view (sometimes called "Gantt view") by choosing Timeline from your Table Options.
You'll then be able to see your dependencies in a nested and visual view.
Note that you can also add dependencies right from the timeline chart builder. There are two ways to do this.
Option 1: Enable from your timeline display settings
- From your timeline display settings, click on the select list under “Dependency” (beneath the start and end date select lists)
- Select “+ Add a New Column”
- You can add dependencies to any task by clicking on them in your timeline view or by reverting to a table view, where you’ll see the new dependency column and can select dependencies from there
Option 2: Enable via lookup column in your table
- Before converting your table to a timeline chart, make sure the column with your tasks is set as the display column
- Add a Lookup column, and select the table you’re working in as the referenced table; in other words, if you are making a timeline chart for “Table A” add a lookup column that references “Table A”
- Give this column a memorable and accurate name, such as “Dependencies”
- For rows that have dependencies, select the dependency in your new column
- When you’re done, open the table options menu by hovering over your table and clicking “Options”
- Click the 3 dot ellipsis menu, and then Timeline
- Enter the Timeline set-up wizard, or select Timeline display
- After selecting your Start and End dates, choose your dependency column
Can I name a value that is referenced elsewhere in my doc?
Yes! Check out the Controls article for a deeper dive on this topic.
What if I have multiple dependencies associated with a single task?
If you run into this situation, simply toggle the multi-select option in the column format menu. Just a heads up, if you group your dependency column, you'll see each dependency group as an individual unit:
Note, for formatting purposes, you will want to use [Dependency Status].Contains rather than equals: