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October 1996 Reviews TOC

10/96 Reviews SW: FastTrack Schedule 4.0

Shift Scheduling to the FastTrack

By Joel T. Patz

I wouldn't call the updates to FastTrack Schedule revolutionary. However, the latest upgrade to this activity-tracking software shows careful attention to making it simple to use and customizable.

From its Gantt chart window, you can set up a project with virtually limitless phases and tasks, collapsing or expanding phases with a mouse click. You can select which columns appear, the time scale used, how taskbars are displayed, and even design the polygons used as the beginning or ending graphics on a bar.

To add an activity, enter its name, then fill in two of three key parameters: start date, finish date and duration. FastTrack Schedule calculates the third and draws the associated activity bar. Click on the link tool in the Toolbox and you can connect an activity's start or end date to another activity's start date to create a dependency. As you move activities within the task list, so go its dependencies.

The new AutoFit feature enlarges rows as you type. You can also indent and outdent activities to create hierarchies and choose from various text alignments (including font control). Linger over an activity bar, and FastTrack Schedule pops up a window showing the start and end times.

A new cursor-tracking window in the Status Bar reflects the cursor's precise location in the timeline, permitting a degree of accuracy not found in other programs.

The best timesavers of all are the schedule templates. If your business has a preferred format, once you have customized your layout you can save it as a template and use it as a skeleton for new schedules.

You're not likely to max out the program's timeline: The longest schedule can run over 8,167 years. Despite the wide latitude, it still misses some basics. For example, it lacks a standard time-sheet report that could be used to update hours spent on a task.

The precise documentation should have you up and running in less than two hours. FastTrack Schedule offers you a clean, detailed and customized view of your project. It won't be much help for complex projects requiring resource balancing and sophisticated reporting, but its effortless, straightforward approach makes it a good scheduling tool.

Info File
FastTrack Schedule 4.0
Pros: Straightforward interface
Cons: Reporting
Platforms: Windows 95, 3.1x, NT
Disk Space: 4MB
AEC Software
800-346-9413, 703-450-1980
WinMag Box Score: 3.0

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