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Creating dependencies in your project tracker
Creating dependencies in your project tracker

Got a complex project with lots of moving parts? Learn how to account for dependencies in your doc

Updated over a week ago

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 relation 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 relation column - referencing other tables.

The relation 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:

Image 2021-04-27 at 6.58.15 PM

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 relation column format, check out this article.

How to create dependencies in your project tracker

Where relation 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 column type icon (in this case, the "T") in the column header, then "Change Column Type" and then "Relation" (towards the bottom!) as your column 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!

Screen Recording 2021-04-27 at 07.12.05 PM

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 dependent 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 "options" button above the table and then select the "Conditional Formatting" section. Then you can add a conditional format rule based on the Dependency Status column:

The formatting rule in action:

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 relation 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 relations. 

  • 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

The formatting rule in action:

  • And, to keep your table clean, you use the same "options" button above the table and then select "Columns" where you can click on the eye icon to hide columns (and the crossed eye column to unhide columns).

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 icon to open the column settings menu

  • Choose Group > 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

  1. From your timeline display settings, click on the select list under “Dependency” (beneath the start and end date select lists)

  2. Select “+ Add a New Column”

  3. 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 relation column in your table

  1. Before converting your table to a timeline chart, make sure the column with your tasks is set as the display column

  2. Add a relation 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 relation column that references “Table A”

  3. Give this column a memorable and accurate name, such as “Dependencies”

  4. For rows that have dependencies, select the dependency in your new column

  5. When you’re done, open the table options menu by hovering over your table and clicking “Options”

  6. Click the 3 dot ellipsis menu, and then Timeline

  7. Enter the Timeline set-up wizard, or select Timeline display

  8. After selecting your Start and End dates, choose your dependency column

Dependency FAQs

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 on the "Allow multiple selections" option in the "Relation Options" menu. Just a heads up, if you group your dependency column, you'll see each dependency group as an individual unit:

The setting:

Now you can select multiple dependencies:

Note, for formatting purposes, you will want to use [Dependency Status].Contains rather than equals:

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