Questions & Answers
Here we collect the most important questions and answers for you. Filter them by your product, scroll through the list of topics or use the search function.
To run Merlin products, you will need a Mac computer on which at least macOS 10.11.6 is installed.
We recommend to always use the latest version of the operating system. At the moment this is macOS Mojave (10.14).
No. Merlin products are only available for the Apple operating system (macOS, iOS). At the moment, we do not plan on extending support to other operating systems.
Yes, you can test all our products free of charge before you decide to subscribe to it or buy a license. The trial period for Merlin Project and Merlin Server is 30 days. Merlin Project Go and Merlin Project Express start with a 14 days trial.
The demo version contains all features. After subscribing to the app or buying a license, the demo will be unlocked to a unlimited version and you can continue working with the already entered data.
You will find the prices for our products as well as the links to the different online stores here.
Subscribe to Merlin Project directly from within the application. You will find the subscription management directly in the preferences of the app (more details are available in the quickguide). Additionally Merlin Project is also available in the Mac App Store.
The subscription for Merlin Project Go can be signed at the App Store.
- Merlin Server is not available on subscription, but can be purchased as an unlimited license in our online shop or directly from us.
The former version Merlin Project 4 is not available online anymore, but only upon request.
Setapp is the first subscription service for Mac Apps.
Setapp gives you a growing suite of hand-picked apps in one signup. There’s no store, just a folder on your Mac. You pay a fix monthly fee for using setapp without any hidden costs and choose the apps you like to use.
No: We have deliberately decided to offer Merlin Project, Merlin Project Express and Merlin Project Go on subscription only.
So you can constantly benefit from the improvements and enhancements in the software, without having to purchase them separately as updates.
Also, if you temporarily do not have a project to work on, you are free to cancel the subscription and re-subscribe again at a later date. Your data will be retained even without a current subscription and you can use the software in "read-only mode".
As an alternative to the annual subscription we offer a 3-year license. This is not automatically renewed. If you are interested, please email us.
Merlin Server is still available as perpetual license.
Yes, with sufficient proof, you can benefit from our research and education discount of 50% off the list price for Merlin Project and Merlin Server.
Email us your valid proof (eg photo of your student ID card) and you will receive a coupon code, which you enter when you sign up for the Merlin Project subscription or when purchasing Merlin Server licenses. The discount is automatically taken into account.
Unfortunately, Apple does not grant an edu discount on the App Store. You can not subscribe to Merlin Project, Merlin Project Go and Merlin Project Express at the reduced price. More information for education customers can be found on the Apple website.
Setapp offers a student discount of 50% for the subscription. You will need to register with your educational institution email to receive the estate for Merlin Project Express. Further information for pupils and students has been compiled by Setapp.
Do you want to equip the entire project management course with licenses for Merlin Project? We also offer free, time-limited lecturer licenses. Details can be found here.
Different discounts cannot be combined with each other.
No. We do not offer subscriptions to different Merlin products in a bundle.
Not every customer needs all versions of our software, therefore we have decided not to combine different product versions to one subscription.
Merlin Project, Merlin Project Express and Merlin Project Go are individual products for different operating systems (macOS and iOS) and scopes. They require individual subscriptions.
If you have questions regarding subscriptions in the App Store, you will find some answers on the Apple help page.
Your subscription is managed by the service you subscribed to, i. e. Paddle, App Store or Setapp. You may access your account from within the app or go to your service's account and manage the subscription there.
Open the application preferences and switch to the subscription tab. After clicking on Manage Subscription, you may
- Extend Subscription - You may add additional licenses to your subscription, so that it can be used on more then 2 devices.
- Cancel Subscription - The app can be used until the end of the subscribed period and will expire thereafter. Your data will remain available without subscription and the software can be used in "read only mode".
- Payment Information - You may adjust your credit card or PayPal details for the next payment.
Apple has summarized all details on the App Store subscription management in a support article.
Setapp answers any questions on the subscription management in the support section of their website.
The respective billing provider will issue an invoice after the subscription or purchase of the license have been processed. You can then print these out for your accounting department.
After collecting the payment, Paddle will send you an e-mail confirmation. This includes a link to your receipt. You can access it online and add your billing details.
MyCommerce will e-mail you the order confirmation and invoice, as well as the license file as soon as the order has been processed.
- As usual, the invoice from the App Store will be issued and sent directly from Apple.
You can activate up to 2 personal devices with one subscription. However, the software can only concurrently run on one single device at the same time.
Subscribe for Merlin Project or Merlin Project Express from within the application.
- Afterwards you may unlock the second device with your credentials (e-mail and password) via "Manage Existing Subscription"
To cancel your subscription you need to contact the service you subscribed to the software, i. e. Paddle, App Store or Setapp. This can be done from within the application's preferences or you go to your service's account and cancel the subscription there.
After cancellation, your subscription will run until the end of the subscribed period and will expire thereafter. There will be no partial refund.
Your data will remain available without subscription and the software can be used in "read only mode".
The cancellation period for your Paddle subscription is 48 hours before the next billing date.
We are continually working on further developing our software and we publish these developments in the form of maintenance updates. These updates are free of charge for licensed users and already included in the subscription fee.
No, there is no crossgrade from the subscription for Merlin Project Express to Merlin Project.
To switch from Merlin Project Express to Merlin Project, end your existing subscription and start a new subscription for Merlin Project directly out of the app.
The latest software version is available for download on the respective product page.
There is no difference between the test version and the full version apart from the restriction that you can only read projects after the trial period expired.
With subscribing to the product or buying a license you will unlock the demo to a full version. This lets you continue editing data you entered while demoing the software.
The following quick guides are available in the Merlin Project Express documentation area:
- First steps with new projects
- Creating content
- Project structures
- Creating dependencies
- Given values
Adjustments and Configuration
Some project templates are already integrated in Merlin Project Express:
- Big birthday
- Online advertising campaign
- Road trip
- Simple activity plan
- Start of self employment
The templates are available via "File > New from Template".
In some predefined 'Work breakdown' and 'Report' views and in the 'Plan' inspector, Merlin shows Status information. The status is presented in form of traffic light-colored shapes which are abstract but easily identifiable even to those with vision problems:
Black = check mark
Red = square
Yellow = triangle
Green = circle
No colour = empty circle
The activity status can not be assigned manually, as it is a calculated value. These are its possible states:
Black: Activity is complete
Red: Activity behind schedule (>10%)
Yellow: Activity slightly behind schedule (=<10%)
Green: Activity on time
No colour: Future or unscheduled activity, activity pending
Currently, Merlin Project Express is available in English, German, French, Spanish, Japanese and simplified Chinese; additional languages are to follow.
You don’t need to load a specific language version. Merlin starts in the language you configured in the system preferences.
New activities are per default assigned to the Default Resource. Financial values or Available Units defined on the Default Resource apply to all unassigned activities. That lets Merlin calculate expected costs and scheduling information.
Also… when restricting permissions to a project by using user-resources, Default Resource is the user-resource which allows "Guest access" to the file. To disable "Guest access", you can simply disable the 'Is User' option of the Default Resource.
That being said, no… you are not allowed to delete the Default Resource from a project.
Yes, you can style any element of your project. That could be bars, cards or circles in the mind map, text of the rows, headers, separator lines between columns or rows, etc.
To style your bars simply perform a secondary click onto them and select 'Style and Content > Bars' to enter the Styles inspector.
To style the bars of the currently selected row(s), just use the options of the For Selection tab.
If you need to style multiple bars matching a specific condition, use the options of the By Rules tab and select first a matching condition, before performing any style changes.
Discover more about styles in the styles quick guide.
According to Apple GUI recommendations scrollbars are invisible per default and appear in a window when there’s content that doesn’t fit into the window’s current size.
You may choose however overwrite this preference option. Just open the 'General' system preference and enable 'Show Always'.
Please find more information on how to use scrollbars in macOS on the Apple Support website.
Yes. To enable the time line for the Gantt Chart of a Merlin Project file, just click any Gantt Chart ruler and enable the ‘Time Line' option in the time scale inspector.
In this same inspector you will also find an option to enable the coloring for the ‘Current Time Unit’ if required.
In Merlin products on mac you have 3 labels for Gantt bar elements. The default view in Merlin Project shows the titles on the left and assigned resources on the right side of the Gantt Chart bars. In Merlin Project Express you get one label on the right side.
To enable the left labels on your Gantt…
- You ctrl-click in the left area of a Gantt Chart bar and select ‘Style and Content > Labels'
- Switch to the 'General' tab of the Styles inspector
- Select the 'Title' column from the available list of 'Content'.
Should you have clicked something else, maybe the middle label, to get access to the left or right labels, just click the right label in the sample of the bar model before you do any changes.
Yes. You can position your logo in the print out. Just call File > Print > Show Details and use the 'Watermark' print options.
Yes. To view Merlin Project documents download and use Merlin Project on your mac. Upon the start of the application you may decide whether you like to subscribe, start the 30 day trial or use it only for reading.
Select 'Only Use for Reading' to have it as a free viewer for Merlin Project documents.
In case you do decide to start the demo, after the demo period expires, you can still use Merlin Project as a viewer and open existing documents but you can not do any changes or export the file in any way which includes printing.
Again, to have the app as a free viewer for Merlin Project documents, you need to click onto 'Only Use for Reading'.
To view Merlin Project Express documents, just use the app without starting any subscriptions. More about Merlin Project Express.
Yes, some of our support article in the blog and the questions and answers section already contain video tutorials, more will follow. You will find them all in the Merlin Project YouTube channel.
The following topics have already been handled:
- Which Merlin version do I have?
- First Steps
- Basic scheduling
- Show time line or current unit
- Limit date range
- Style your bars
- Color bars by construction trades
- Monitoring risks
- iCloud Drive syncing
- Hammock task
- Merlin Project Mind Map
In addition, our partner LGO Knowledge has published some instruction videos on the following topics:
- Customizing the calendar
- Using the library
- Creating users
- Using templates
- Connecting to Merlin Server
But there are more to follow.
You are missing a topic? Contact us. We will gladly add it to the list for you.
Currently you will find information on the following topics (in alphabetical order):
Although the Gantt chart takes its name from Henri Gantt, it was probably first used in a project by a Swiss named Joseph Priestley.
Within the diagram, the project is represented on a time axis by individual elements (bars). In addition to the bars, additional information has now also become established in the Gantt chart:
In Merlin Project the Gantt diagram is integrated in many views, for example in the "Structure plan / Input" or the "Target/actual comparison (time)".
In this context, many terms are used for one and the same purpose. For example: operation, task, activity, etc. You can make it easy on yourself and say that it's all the same. But it is also possible to derive a structure, which is quite OK.
An example: There are several phases in the project. For example, preparation, implementation and completion. Each phase contains different work packages. Depending on the size of the project and the individual style of the project manager, these work packages can be further broken down into individual tasks. This brings us to the tasks and activities.
Two or more activities are set in one of four possible ways. You use this link to specify that both operations were planned in a particular sequence and are to be carried out in the same way. Further details can be found at Wikipedia.
- End to Start: Normal sequence
- Start to Start: Start sequence
- End to end: End sequence
- End to Start: Jump sequence
In addition, a buffer can be specified as the duration between the linked operations. This can also be negative. The buffer is not explicitly displayed in Merlin Project in the Gantt chart, but only as a modified link line.
In project management, there is the concept of buffer times. According to Wikipedia the buffer time is a time margin for the execution of an operation, so-called time reserves. This latitude can be used by shifting the process and/or by extending (stretching) the process duration. Additionally, in Merlin Project at dependencies a buffer can be specified. The resulting times are stored in the following attributes:
- Expected end buffer time: Contains the duration between early and latest end.
- Expected start buffer time: Contains the duration between early and latest start.
- Expected free buffer time: Contains the duration by which an operation can be delayed without the start of subsequent operations being delayed. If an operation has no successors, it is equal to the total float.
- Expected total buffer time: Contains the smallest value of the expected start buffer time and the expected end buffer time. It describes the duration of work by which a process can be delayed without delaying the end of the project.
There are two basic planning methods in project management: resource-based planning and time-based planning. Merlin Project supports both planning methods. The fields"... work..." are responsible for the former. In the latter case duration fields are brought to bear.
Resource-based planning is carried out with work units, i.e. the total amount of work to be done is entered. Depending on the resource, this can be specified in Merlin Project in time units or in units of measure.
In Merlin Project these fields are used for resource-based planning:
- Default work: takes the quantity of planned work for an operation. Percentage values can also be specified that refer to the specified work of the superordinate group.
- Default work absolute: contains the same information as the default work. However, the percentage values specified there are converted to absolute values.
- Planned work: Contains the total work that results for an operation after complete calculation of the planning.
- Expected work: Specifies the total work expected for an operation.
- Maximum planned work: contains the maximum amount of work that can be done between the planned start and the planned end of an operation, taking the calendar into account.
- Remaining work: displays the amount of work not yet done.
- Real work: takes up the amount of work already done.
With regard to resource-based planning, however, information from the areas of overtime, costs and evaluation (in particular earned value analysis) can also be used.
A distinction is drawn in project management and consequently also in Merlin Project between two planning methods: resource-based planning and time-based planning. For the former, the fields "Work..." are responsible. In the latter case, permanent fields are used.
Time-based planning can be used in the following cases, for example:
- If the effort for a resource cannot be determined
- if external resources are used and no detailed financial calculations are performed for them
- if the workload is to be modified by different values for work and duration
A stakeholder is a person or a group who has a particular interest in the course or outcome of a project.
Sometimes referred to as stochastic scenario analysis, the term Monte Carlo Simulation or 'Monte Carlo Methods' is certainly more familiar to project managers. And this is for good reason. On the basis of the probability theory, an attempt is made to calculate a problem which cannot be solved - or is very difficult to solve - using a very large number of similar but random experiments.
In project management, this technique is sometimes applied to the question of all questions: "When will my project end?". The Atlantic Systems Guild created a freely available simulation based on MS Excel for this application many years ago. Under the name Riskology you can download the simulator and the manual for free. And don't let the design of the website fool you; the software works like a charm ;-)
Risk management defines the general philosophy and procedure for dealing with project risks. Risk analysis and risk management deal with the mutual concern of client and project team that the characteristics of the developed system correspond to the project goals with regard to technical functionality, costs and deadlines.
The risk management approach comprises a continuous and iterative process of risk identification, risk planning and risk controlling throughout the project. Risk management is already initiated in the preparatory phase of a project and is continued throughout the entire project life cycle. Risk management is one of the core elements of project planning and at the same time one of the most important factors for the success of any project.
Risk management itself is an ongoing and continuous process from the definition, planning and implementation phases of the project. The approach used in risk management comprises a number of interrelated tasks. They are summarized below and are described in more detail in the following sections.
The tasks are:
- risk identification
- risk assessment
- risk prioritisation
- action planning
- Risk monitoring and tracking
Risk management is primarily the responsibility of the project manager (or the bid manager during the bidding phase). Nevertheless, the involvement of project team members, clients and subcontractors is essential if all potential risks are to be identified and managed. In large projects it is appropriate to appoint another team member as responsible risk manager in order to relieve the project manager of this time-consuming task.
— Translated from Source: Projektmanagement mit Merlin, Germany, Hanser-Verlag 2009
In short, a time window is the amount of time that an activity can be delayed without causing a delay to other activities or even the project completion date. In Merlin Project, the name we give to the time window is slack.
Earned Value Analysis (short: EVA) is a project controlling tool. It is used to assess the progress of projects. The current schedule and cost situation is described by key figures. The key values are planned value, actual costs and earned value. By tracking the key figures, a trend analysis is possible (from Wikipedia).
Thus Merlin Project provides a model to control project progress and involved costs. These fields are active:
- Target costs of calculated work (SKBA): The degree of completion (also planned value, PV) in euros at the time of the report.
- Target cost of completed work (SKAA): Also known as earned value (EV). This arises during the project work. It is the amount that would have been incurred if the planned resource costs had been assumed. I.e. the EV represents the total value of the trade union corresponding to the work progress / degree of completion.
- Actual cost of completed work (IKAA): The actual costs (AC) are entered using the variable IKAA. All resource costs, material costs and base costs incurred up to a point in time are added together.
- Plan deviation: In a real project, however, absolute plan fulfillment is very rare. Either one overachieves the planned goals or (in most cases) one hangs behind the plan. This results in a deviation from the planned target, which is referred to as a schedule variance (SV). A negative schedule variance (SV) indicates that the schedule for the entire project cannot be met. The SV is therefore not primarily concerned with cost differences, but with delays.
- Cost variance: The cost variance (CV) is measured against the actual costs of the project.
- Total Cost Estimate: This is the budget at complete (BAC). It corresponds to the expenditure planned at the time, i.e. taking into account all assumed resource, material and basic costs.
- Planned costs: Often also referred to as planned costs (PC), they are defined in the work packages at the beginning of the project and distributed over the duration of the project.
*1: Field descriptions according to Wikipedia
Merlin Project Express supports all key file formats for importing and exporting data.
- CSV (supports various line break, field break, and file encoding settings, etc.)
- Merlin Project & Merlin 2
- Microsoft Project (direct import of .mpp files from MS Project 2003, 2007, 2010, and 2013 as well as XML and MPX)
- MindManager / FreeMind / NovaMind 4 & NovaMind 5
- Omniplan 2
- XML (all Merlin Project fields)
- CSV (supports various line break, field break, and file encoding settings, etc.)
- Images (PDF, PNG, JPG, JPEG 2000, TIFF, BMP, GIF, all with watermarks and other settings)
- XML (all Merlin Project fields)
More import and export formats are available in Merlin Project.
Exported calendars (like iCal, Google-Calendar or others) are often saved in the ics file format. Older versions of our software, Excel or similar spreadsheet applications cannot read this file format, which makes it impossible to easily use the calendar data there.
For some time now, there is a small tool that converts files from the ics- to the csv file format on our website.
This function is also integrated into Merlin Project. It enables you to open an ics calendar and get its events converted into activities directly within the software.
The file format of Merlin Project is not compatible to 'Merlin 2'. You need to export the schedule as MS Project XML to be able to use it in Merlin 2.
No, since Merlin Project Express is subscription based, it is not possible to upgrade from a former version.
But of course you may open your Merlin 2 files with Merlin Project Express.
Our support team is effective and the service is free of charges. So just contact us. We are looking forward to receiving your email.
To better understand your question, please also provide information about the following:
- which Merlin version are you using?
- on which OS version?
Additional information in case of an issue or a crash:
- Can you describe your last steps before the issue occurred?
- Is it reproducible when you repeat your last steps?
- Is it only occurring when you work with a specific project file?
Send us a copy of the project file for us to check.
- Send us screenshots, for example those of error messages
Pay attention to send the images in a readable size and use original size with Apple Mail.
- Send us in addition the support profile.
We thank you for your understanding as phone support is not available.
We are always very grateful for receiving any related information as it helps all our users.
In preparation for the public beta phase, we have put Merlin Project through intensive testing; we cannot however simulate every possible combination of hardware and, in particular, how different software products interact with each other.
We appreciate your feedback.
Like many of our users, we also routinely use Wikipedia. This online encyclopedia includes information on a wide range of topics that we have on our mind from time to time. When considering new features for our project management software, we hunt for relevant articles which describe aspects of the particular feature from a project-management viewpoint, or we search for interfaces from third-party vendors which might be integrated into Merlin to give it great new functionality.
As it is important to us that high-quality information is provided free of charge and ad-free on a non-profit basis, we support Wikipedia – and we’d love it if you followed our lead. Donate to Wikipedia too
By the way, if you'd like to check out the Merlin Wikipedia article, you will find it here.