Last April we had a look at customizing Filters. These produce a powerful way to analyse what’s going on within Project. In March we looked at customizing Tables which also give a powerful way to present what project proposes. This month we are going to look at ways to combine the two to produce even more useful and powerful Views for analysing and communicating the project’s data to others.
As before, I always recommend that when you need a new view, it’s best to make a copy or create a new one rather than change an existing view, as this will leave the built-in view alone. As the process of copying or creating a new view is similar, I would suggest you copy the nearest looking view, rename it and then make the changes. Let’s have a go.
As usual, we need something to work with, so download my Bridge 23 file here: http://www.mousetrax.com/pub/Bridge23.zip . I have included more tasks in this version and I have also incorporated the new Department table that we created in Project 21 and the new Critical/Resource filter we created in Project 22. [Please don’t delve too deeply into the tasks or the data as I’m not a bridge builder and I’ve arbitrarily invented tasks and resources! Please just accept them as a vehicle for us to work on.]
We had a first look at views in Project 6. You might like to refresh your memory by reading it through again. It covered the main views included in the View menu and repeated as icons on the View bar down the left-hand side of the screen. Let’s start with the default Gant Chart view. Inspection of its layout should lead to its ingredients: a Table to the left and the Gant Chart to the right. We now know that the default Table is the Entry Table (check by looking at View/Table).
We also know that this default view also has no Filters applied as Project/Filter For: shows All Tasks, ie no filter.
If we now look at the Calendar view, we can see it has just the one element, the calendar itself. So, a View can contain a single element or a combination of elements, tables, filters, and groups.
So, using the table and filters from before, let’s create a new View which shows the critical tasks for one of our assigned resources also showing the department that contains that resource.
Copy a View
…ensure Gantt Chart is selected and Copy…
…and in the View Definition dialog you will see the default Name with a Gantt Chart Screen. Note that the view we’re copying contains the Entry Table with no Group or Filter selected.
Enter the name of the new View, let’s call it “Critical Gantt/Department/Resource”, and from the Table pick list, select the Department table that we created before.
From the Filter pick list select the Critical/Resource filter that we also created before.
Leave Show in menu selected and click OK.
You will see that our new View is now listed and highlighted in the More Views dialog.
Click the Apply button and our Critical/Resource filter asks for the resource we want to apply.
Use the pick list to scroll down to Arthur and OK to see the result.
You should be seeing a Gantt Chart with the Department table filtered for critical tasks for which Arthur has been assigned. Note that the View bar down the left-hand side of the screen now shows an icon for our new view.
If you click on this new icon, you will be presented with the Critical/Resource filter asking Which Resource? Try the resource Fred.
Project also gives you the option of using a highlight filter where the filtered tasks are presented in a different colour. Try View/More Views…/Edit…/select the Highlight filter box/OK/Apply/select Arthur.
You will see the full Gantt Chart but the filtered critical tasks with Arthur assigned are highlighted in blue (a sample is in the picture below).
Note that you can change the highlighted font via Format/Text Styles, select Highlighted Tasks and then change the Font, its Size and Colour.
Edit the filter to remove the highlighting – View/More Views…/ select the Critical Gantt/Department Resource view/Edit…/remove the Highlight filter tick.
So far, we modified an existing Gantt Chart view by using the Copy routine. This works equally well for single element views like the Calendar View or a Resource Graph view. However, if we wanted to show the Critical Gantt/Department/Resource with its associated Resource Graph in a split screen, we have to create a new view. Let’s try that. Click on the Gant Chart view icon to see the original (see how important it is not to change the built-in original views – always copy then edit rather than change these default views). Now View/More Views…
In the Define New View dialog, select Combination view and OK
Give it a name: “Critical Gantt/Department/Resource Graph”. Click the Top: pick list arrow and select our “Critical Gantt/Department/Resource” view that we’ve just created.
Similarly select the Resource Graph view for the Bottom screen, click to Show in menu and OK.
In the More Views dialog note the new view and then Apply. You will now have a combination view with our tailor-made Gant Chart view with the Department showing in the top pane and the Resource Graph view in the bottom. (Remember you need to select a task to see the graph and scroll at the bottom left to see Arthur’s graph.
We’ve seen how to create our own views to our own requirements, preferably by using the Copy routine. We’ve also seen how to create a New Views with a combination view. These tailor-made views are invaluable when you frequently wish to see a sub-set of the data. This is even more so when wanting to printout a set of tasks for a particular resource. Combine it with setting the resource’s calendar to the timescale and you have an individual’s task listing to his own working calendar. Better still, why not record a macro combining the filtered tasks with an individual calendar and the Print routine for a set of dates, then you can just click a button to get the print out. (See Project 16 for how to do this.)
In the next month’s issue we’ll continue the theme of customization by looking at creating our own Reports.
Remember that if you have Project queries, there’s a wealth of expertise at your fingertips in the Project newsgroups. Try this address to start with: http://www.mvps.org/project/faqs.htm#Project%20&%20Project%20VBA%20Newsgroups.
Note particularly FAQ #24. Project Newsgroups.