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.
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.
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.
Yes. We support Non-profits and charities with a discount of 50% off the list price for Merlin Project and Merlin Server.
As soon as we have received proof (send to email@example.com), we will mail you a coupon code. Please enter it when subscribing to Merlin Project or purchasing a Merlin Server license in order to receive the discount.
The discount is only available for subscriptions via our store operated by Paddle. If you prefer subscribing at the App Store, you need to contact Apple directly for any kind of discounts.
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.
No. You can use Merlin Project Go on two iOS devices at the same time. The app is designed for both devices and can be downloaded to all personal devices under the licensing terms of the iTunes App Store.
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.
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.
Some project templates are already integrated in Merlin Project:
- General Project Management Plan
- HR Interview Plan
- Product Localization
- Product Roadshow
- Project Kick-Off
- Simple Milestone Basis
- Single Family Home
- Software Development
- Software Selection and Implementation
- Strategic Plan
In Merlin Project on macOS, the templates are available via "File > New from Template".
Merlin Project Go on the iOS device, offers the templates when you tap on '+' in the Documents list and select afterwards 'New Document…'
Yes, in Merlin Project. This is controlled by the resources contained in a project file. Just declare a resource as a user (by enabling its 'is user' option) and you may define a password and/or access permissions.
A password-protected file will prompt you for a user-resource name and password even if opened in Merlin Project, Merlin Project Express or Merlin Project Go.
Currently, all Merlin products are 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. The application starts in the language you configured in the system preferences.
If using Merlin Project on your mac, you can however select to run the application in another localization. To do so, select the desired application language in the Merlin Project preferences.
Merlin Project Go always runs in the system language of the iOS device, or defaults to English.
There are numerous cloud storage services. Most popular services among iOS users are iCloud Drive, Dropbox, GoogleDrive, Box.com and OneDrive. In a perfect world Merlin Project Go would be able to open and edit files from all available services. Due to technical limitations - mainly because of the way the cloud storage services are implemented - not all services can be used for all kinds of file exchange.
So which cloud storage can be used for a round trip and which for import or export?
For a round trip to the Merlin Project file - that is for open, read and write access to the same file from a cloud storage - Merlin Project Go supports following cloud services:
- iCloud Drive by Apple, Inc.
Note: To open a file from your iCloud Drive, start your Merlin Project Go app, switch to the Documents list, tap on '+', then on 'Load Document…' and finally on 'iCloud drive'.
To open a file from Dropbox, you proceed similar. You need however to add a Dropbox account first. To do so, tap on '+', then on 'Load Document…', afterwards on 'Manage Accounts…' and 'Add Account' to select 'Dropbox', where you enter your credentials in the next dialogue.
To import a file from another cloud storage - that is to open a file and save changes on the local iOS device - Merlin Project Go can access following cloud services in addition:
- Google Drive (as zip archive)
Note: Box.com or the GoogleDrive aren't listed in the popover which comes when you tap on 'Load Document…'.
To open a file from Box.com or the GoogleDrive, you need to tap on 'iCloud drive', then on 'Locations' and select Box, Drive or any other cloud service you have configured on your iOS device.
To export a file to a cloud storage - that is to share saved information from the local device to a cloud storage - Merlin Project Go supports:
- Google Drive
Why not supporting Box, GoogleDrive, etc for the round trip?
One main difference among the various cloud services is whether or not they support file open or just import mode.
Important: File open mode is required for reading/writing changes from/into the same file.
File import mode allows you to read information from the file, makes it impossible to write the changes on the same file over the iOS app.
Further reason is that Merlin Project documents are so called bundles, which is actually folders containing several other files comprising the document. With the exception of iCloud Drive, cloud services do not know or fully support this concept. That means, some cloud solutions show a Merlin Project file as a folder with sub files, others zip the bundle file automatically.
Do you want to edit a file in multiuser mode?
When a round trip for one user isn't enough, the iCloud Drive/Dropbox synchronization cycles do not suffice, or your security policy does not allow you to use cloud services, you require a Merlin Server for Merlin Project. Merlin Server does not need a specific cloud storage service and syncs automatically changes from/to the various devices.
Is there another way to forward a file without cloud or Merlin Server?
Yes, you can share a Merlin Project Go file over AirDrop. AirDrop does not need a specific cloud storage service or a Merlin Server installation. Just tap on 'Share' and then on AirDrop to select another device listed there.
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.
No. To work with the Merlin Project Go, you need a valid subscription.
Without a subscription, you can still access the list of your documents and export them, but you are not able to open or modify them.
How do you transfer your documents to all your Macs, iPhones, and iPads? What’s the best way to share them with other users? And how do you sync every user’s changes? Cloud services such as Dropbox and the like have become very popular for tasks like these.
These services work with your usual files, are reliable, widespread, easy to set up, and even free of charge for many applications. So do these services solve all the problems of working in a virtual team? Unfortunately not. When you’re working on one document using multiple devices you run quickly into issues. Those time-consuming changes are lost if users continually overwrite each other’s files. In some cases, cloud services spot these conflicts and create special files for this purpose. While your edits aren’t lost, they are now spread across multiple files. So you have to go through the painstaking process of identifying chances in all conflicted variants and adding them in manually.
Example of a text file with conflicts because of synchronization.
Does it have to be like this?
No. Merlin Project uses our latest technology, MagicSync, which is optimized in a variety of ways for cloud services. With the help of MagicSync, Merlin Project synchronizes the changes made by multiple users without any data going missing or generating conflicting files. You don’t even need to close and re-open your documents to see the external changes, they simply appear immediately.
The sync function works even if you’ve been working on your documents offline for a while. Next time you go online, syncing will take place, allowing you still to undo your own changes (cmd-Z) long after you last synchronized them even if you quit Merlin Project in the meantime.
Sometimes you want to keep major changes to yourself and not have them affected by other edits? No need to pull the network connector. Just switch to the 'Private Work Area' of your Merlin Project document. While the latest document version will continue to be synchronized with your own devices, other users will see your private changes only if you choose to publish them.
Smooth project management in a team thanks to MagicSync
Simply drag and drop your Merlin Project documents to your cloud directory, and off you go. This whole new way of collaboration allowed by our MagicSync technology is special and unique, so we applied for a patent and now own it.
The macOS version of Merlin Project works with all popular file sharing platforms and cloud services. We’ve tested it with the following:
- iCloud Drive
- Google Drive
- Microsoft One Drive
- Synology Cloud Station
- AFP- and SMB-file sharing
Merlin Project Go for iPhone and iPad currently supports these services:
Prefer working without Cloud services?
With Merlin Server, we also offer our own application for syncing documents which means you don’t need to use external cloud services. What other benefits does Merlin Server offer me?
- Sync as many documents with as many users as you like even over a slow Internet connection. Merlin Server is extremely fast and data-efficient.
- Control access to your documents using Merlin Project’s user and rights management system.
- Send project reports automatically.
- Allow project customers without a Mac or iPhone to view your projects via a web browser.
- Keep sensitive data under your control without entrusting it to foreign cloud services.
Merlin Server is by far the most efficient method as it only transfers the actual changes. File-based cloud services transfer entire files every time they are synchronized, which naturally eats up more of your data allowance. The cloud services we are familiar with, analyze which sections of a file have actually changed and only transfer those parts, keeping additional consumption in macOS within limits.
Merlin Project Go however does need to transfer each time entire files due to restrictions with the interfaces published by the cloud services. This is why MagicSync throttles the upload speed of changes from Merlin Project Go; it consolidates as many changes as possible into one upload as in most cases it doesn’t matter whether changes arrive immediately or with a few minutes’ delay. That said, if changes are urgent you can force Merlin Project Go to upload changes immediately.
Not at all. You can edit shared documents offline just as freely as personal documents no matter if you’re using a cloud service or Merlin Server. When you’re back online, everything synchronizes automatically.
Yes. Without any restrictions. Contrary to some other solutions, MagicSync does not lock sections of a document while other users edit them.
In this instance, the latest change always takes precedence. Some exceptional instances exist where different changes are incompatible with each other. In all of these cases, the latest change takes precedence as long as it is not undone in which case the older change becomes active again.
This is possible currently, only if you open the project under that particular user-resource’s name and call then the undo command.
Theoretically yes, if the service supports the UIDocument picker in open mode with document packages. As far as we know, this applies only to iCloud Drive. On Dropbox, MagicSync uses its native interface on iOS to communicate directly with the cloud server.
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
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.