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Part 8. Customizing and Managing Project Files
C hapter 2 8
Customizing Your View of Project
Customizing Views. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1062
Customizing Groups . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1124
Customizing Tables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1103
Customizing Filters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1129
Customizing Fields . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1107
Sharing Customized Elements Among Projects . . . . . 1138
Working with Outline Codes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1116
rganizations are as unique as people, and each project that an organization manages
has its own particular needs. Each step in managing a project requires a specific set
of information, as does responding to each new challenge that arises. In Microsoft
Project 2010, you can control what information you see and how it is formatted, whether
these customizations are to satisfy your own preferences or meet the specialized needs of a
particular project or situation. Almost every aspect of viewing information in Project 2010
can be molded to your specifications, including the following:
You can also customize text-based and visual reports. For more information, see “Generating Text and Visual Reports” on page 354. The ribbon interface is customizable, too. To learn
more, see “Customizing the Project 2010 Ribbon” on page 1153.
If you use codes to categorize information—for example, accounting codes to assign tasks
to budget line items or skill codes to identify resources—customized outline codes in Project
2010 can fulfill this purpose. You can adapt these codes to your organization’s standards, apply
them to project tasks and resources, and then use them to sort, group, or filter information.
When you customize Project 2010, you can choose to keep your customizations in one
project or make them available to every project you create. In addition, with the Organizer,
you can manage customized elements and copy them to share with others. This chapter
describes how to customize all these features and use them in your projects.
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The right perspective on the right data can simplify your project management tasks,
uncover potential problems, or show the way to potential solutions. Each view in Project
2010 gives you a different point of view on project information. You can specify the views
you want to see, and you don’t have to stick with the views that come with the program.
Change the tables and fields that a view displays, rearrange the organization of information, and control its appearance to peruse your project information the way you want. For
example, with Background Cell Highlighting, you can apply highlight colors or patterns
to the cells in the view tables to make key tasks stand out, similar to highlighting cells in a
Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.
For more information about working with built-in Project 2010 views, see “Using Views” on
Changing the Content of a View
Project 2010 comes with numerous standard views that present task, resource, and assignment information. When these standard views don’t meet your needs, you can customize
their content or create new views that are more suitable. For example, if you like to take
into account the amount of work that tasks require, you can change your Gantt Chart to
show a table with the Work field. In single-pane views, you can specify which screen, table,
group, and filter to apply when the view appears. For combination views, you can designate the views that appear in the primary pane on the top and the Details pane on the
Even though views such as the Gantt Chart and Task Usage view are made up of two
panes, one on the left and one on the right, they’re still considered single-pane views.
If you plan to use new tables, groups, or filters in a view, you must create those elements
before you use them in a customized view. You must also create new single-pane views
before you can include them in a combination view.
For elements that already exist, it doesn’t matter whether you customize them or
assign them to customized views first.
Customizing Views 1063
To customize the content of an existing single-pane view—for example, the Gantt Chart,
Resource Sheet, or Task Usage view—do the following:
1. On the View tab, in the Resource Views group, click the arrow next to Other Views,
and then click More Views.
2. In the More Views dialog box, in the Views list, click the view’s name. (See
Figure 28-1 You can edit an existing view, copy an existing
view, or create a completely new view.
3. To change the selected view, click the Edit button. The View Definition dialog box
appears, as shown in Figure 28-2.
To create a view that is similar to the selected view, click the Copy button in the More
Views dialog box. Type a new name in the Name box of the View Definition dialog box.
When you edit an existing single-pane view, the View Definition dialog box displays
the screen used, such as Gantt Chart, but you can’t modify it. When you create a new
single-pane view from scratch, you can choose which type of screen to use.
Figure 28-2 When you customize a single-pane view,
you choose a table, group, and filter.
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Project 2010 differentiates customized views from standard ones by listing customized views at the top of a view drop-down menu under the Custom heading. Likewise, built-in views appear under the Built-In heading, as you can see in Figure 28-3.
Figure 28-3 In Project 2010, the views you create appear under the Custom heading,
while built-in views appear under the Built-In heading.
4. In the Table box, click the table you want to appear in the customized view.
5. In the Group box, click the group you want to use.
If this view doesn’t need a group, choose No Group.
6. In the Filter box, click the filter you want to apply.
If this view doesn’t need a filter, choose All Tasks (for a task view) or All Resources (for
a resource view).
When you apply a filter to a view, by default Project 2010 hides the tasks or resources
that don’t meet the filter’s criteria. If you want the view to show all tasks or resources
but emphasize the filtered tasks, select the Highlight Filter check box. This setting displays all tasks and resources but uses blue text for the ones that pass the filter tests.
Customizing Views 1065
Tired of clicking More Views?
By default, the view drop-down menus on the Task, Resource, and View tabs include
the views used most frequently by the majority of Project 2010 users. However, if you
take the time to customize views or simply prefer other standard views, such as the Task
Details Form, you might get tired of clicking a tab on the ribbon, clicking the arrow
next to a view button, and then clicking More Views every time you want to use them.
You can also modify the order in which views appear—for example, you can move the
Task Sheet to the top of the list. By default, task views appear first in alphabetical order,
followed by resource views in alphabetical order. Custom views appear above built-in
views. In the More Views dialog box, click the view you want to move and then click
Edit. In the Name box, change the view name in some way. This copies the original view
and adds it to the top of the list under the Custom heading. Note that your custom
views appear in alphabetical order. By using certain letters or numbers, you can control
the order in which the views are listed.
To customize the content of an existing combination view—for example, the Task Entry
view or Resource Allocation view—follow these steps:
1. On the Task tab, in the Task Views group, click the arrow next to Gantt Chart, and
then click More Views. (You can also click the arrow next to any view button on the
Task tab, the Resource tab, or the View tab, and then click More Views.)
2. In the More Views dialog box, in the Views list, click the name of the combination
view you want to customize.
3. To change the existing view, click the Edit button.
To create a new view based on the existing view, click the Copy button. In the View
Definition dialog box, in the Name box, type a new name for the view.
4. In the Primary View box, click the name of the view that you want to appear in the
top pane. (See Figure 28-4.)
Fortunately, the views that appear on the view drop-down menus are within your control. To include a view on a view drop-down menu, click the arrow next to any view
button on the Task tab, the Resource tab, or the View tab, and then click More Views.
Click the view you want to add, and then click Edit. In the View Definition dialog box,
select the Show In Menu check box. To remove a view that you don’t use, clear its Show
In Menu check box.
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Figure 28-4 For combination views, you specify which single-pane view appears in the
top pane (Primary View) and which appears in the bottom pane (Details Pane).
5. In the Details Pane box, click the view you want to appear in the bottom pane.
Change the table and view definition
When you are using a view and choose a different table to display, you also change the
table for the definition of that view. In Project 2010, applying a group or filter to a view
also changes the group or filter applied in the View Definition dialog box. The next
time you display that view, the table uses its new table, group, and filter .
Creating a New View
If none of the existing views comes close to meeting your needs, you can craft an entirely
new single pane or combination view. To do this, follow these steps:
1. On the Task, Resource, or View tab, click the arrow next to one of the view buttons,
and then click More Views.
2. In the More Views dialog box, click New.
Customizing Views 1067
3. In the Define New View dialog box, select either the Single View or Combination
View option and then click OK.
The View Definition dialog box for the type of view you selected appears and fills in
the Name box with a default name, such as View 1.
4. If you are creating a new single-pane view, in the View Definition dialog box, choose
the type of screen you prefer—a built-in view layout or form such as Gantt Chart or
The only time you can choose the screen for a single-pane view is when you create a
new one. When you edit a single-pane view, the View Definition dialog box displays
the type of screen, but you can’t modify it.
5. Specify the rest of the contents of the view, as described in the previous section,
“Changing the Content of a View.”
Automatically Add New Elements to the Project Global
Project 2010 includes an option that automatically adds new views, tables, filters, and
groups to the project global template, which makes them available to other project
files. If you want new items to be available only in the project file in which you create
them, you must turn off this option. To do this, on the File tab, click Options, and then
click Advanced. Under Display, clear the check box labeled Automatically Add New
Views, Tables, Filters, And Groups To The Global.
Apply a View Quickly
Keyboard fans can choose a view from a drop-down view menu by assigning a keyboard shortcut. In the View Definition dialog box for the view, type an ampersand (&)
before the letter in the view name that you want to use for the shortcut and then save
the customized view.
When you want to use your keyboard shortcut, press Alt to display keyboard shortcuts
on the ribbon. Press the shortcut letter to select the ribbon tab. For example, press H
to select the Task tab, press G to display the drop-down menu of task views, and then
press the shortcut letter for the view you want, such as N for the Tracking Gantt view.
This works for built-in views as well as your custom views.
Use a different letter for each keyboard shortcut. If you choose a letter that is already in
use by another menu entry, you might have to press the letter more than once to apply
the view you want.
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Saving a View
You might alter a view in several ways—for example, by changing the table that appears,
modifying the contents of the table in the view, applying a filter, applying a group, or some
combination of all of these. In Project 2010, you can quickly save these customizations to a
new view and a new table. To do this, follow these steps:
1. On the Task, Resource, or View tab, click the arrow next to one of the view buttons,
and then click Save View. The Save View dialog box appears.
2. In the Name box, type a name for the new view. Click OK.
Project 2010 saves the new view. The program also saves the new table, adopting
its name from the name of the new view. For example, if you named the new view
MyNewView, the table name would be MyNewView Table1.
If you choose the Save View command again while the same view is displayed, the
Save View dialog box appears with two options. To update the current view with the
changes you made, select the Update Current View option. To save the view as another
new view, select the Save As A New View option, and then, in the Name box, type the
name for the view.
Changing Text Formatting in Views
By default, the font used throughout Project 2010 views is 8-point Arial. If your reading
glasses nudge you toward a different font or larger size for text, you can adjust both the
font and size for one or more elements in a particular view. By changing the formatting
for a text style, you can alter the appearance of entire categories of elements in a view. For
example, you can change the text for critical tasks in a sheet view to bold and red. In addition, you can customize the formatting for individual instances of text, such as the text in a
single row or even a single table cell, to emphasize a few key pieces of information.
Changing Text Formatting for a View
By modifying a text style, you can adjust both the font and size for one or more elements
in a particular view. To select the elements to change and the font and size to use, follow
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1. On the Format tab, in the Format group, click Text Styles.
2. To change the characteristics for all text, in the Item To Change box, be sure that All is
This changes the font for all text elements in the current view in this project, including
column and row headings, Gantt bar text, and all field data such as task and resource
names. If you want to change the text for a specific element, such as Summary Tasks, in
the Item To Change box, click the element. If you want the text displayed on all critical
Gantt bars to be 16-point red type, start by clicking Critical Tasks in the Item To Change
box. To specify the text style for text at a specific position on all bars, in the Item To
Change box, choose the position, such as Bar Text-Left or Bar Text-Inside.
3. In the Font list, choose the font you want.
4. To apply bold or italic to the text, in the Font Style list, choose the formatting you
5. In the Size list, choose the font size for the text.
You can also apply a color to the text, which can emphasize important tasks. For
instance, you might apply a bright blue or maroon color to the text for critical tasks
so that they stand out in the task list as well as in the Gantt Chart.
6. To apply the changes, click OK.
Highlight the Background in Cells
You can revise the background color of cells, for example, by choosing a light red background color to make critical tasks in a table stand out.
In the Text Styles dialog box, in the Item To Change drop-down list, choose the category of task to highlight, such as critical tasks, summary tasks, or changed cells. You
can choose the font, font style, and size of the text for the selected item, such as Arial
Italic 8-point. To choose a color for the text, choose the color in the Color drop-down
list. Then, to highlight the cell background, in the Background Color drop-down list,
choose the color you want, and Project 2010 highlights cell backgrounds with that
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No way to set an overall default font style
Suppose you have used the Text Styles dialog box to apply specific fonts to row and
column titles in the Gantt Chart, used another style to milestone tasks, and yet another
to critical tasks. When you switch from the Gantt Chart to the Task Usage view, you find
that the fonts revert to their default style in that view.
Text styles apply only to the current view in the current project. If you want those text
styles to appear in other views, you need to make the same changes in each view in
which you want them to appear.
If you take the time to make all those text style changes, you can increase the benefit
by making them available to all your projects. To do this, use the Organizer to copy
your modified views to the global template (global.mpt).
For information about copying views to the global template for use in other projects,
see “Copying Customized Elements” on page 1140.
Changing the Format of Individual Text
When you want to adjust the font and size for text that doesn’t fall into a specific category,
you can select the text you want to format and change its font, size, and other types of formatting. You can format the text for several rows in a table, all the cells in a single row of a
table, or even a single cell. To select the text to change and the font and size to use, follow
1. To format a single cell of text, right-click the cell. To format more than a single cell,
select all the text that you want to format, and then right-click somewhere within the
A mini-toolbar appears above the cell you right-click. (See Figure 28-5.)
Figure 28-5 In Project 2010, right-clicking text displays a mini-toolbar with commands
for formatting individual text elements.