Last month we had a look at using Views which we customized with our own Filters and Tables. Having created our own view, it can be printed out from File/Print, though I would always recommend going via Print Preview, so that we can adjust the layout, put in headers and footers, etc, before committing to paper. Basic printing was covered in Microsoft Project: Lesson 8 - Printing Reports and Views. This month we’ll concentrate on how we can customize the built-in Reports or create our own to meet specific needs.
As usual, I always recommend that when you need a new report, it’s best to make a copy or create a new one rather than change an existing report, as this will leave the built-in report alone. As the process of copying or creating a new report is similar, I would suggest you copy the nearest looking report, rename it and then make the changes. Let’s have a go.
Again, as usual, we need something to work with, so download my Bridge 24 file here: http://www.mousetrax.com/pub/Bridge24.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 Reports in Project 8. You might like to refresh your memory by reading it through again. It covered the main reports included in the View/Reports menu. Let’s start with the View/Reports…/Custom… In the Custom Reports dialog, select Critical Tasks and Copy…
Note the Name: defaults to Copy of Critical Tasks, and that the Report is based on the Entry Table and the Critical Filter.
Following the pattern of the last couple of months, let’s use the Department Table…
…and the Critical/Resource Filter…
…and then change the Name of the report to Critical/Resource/Department.
Click OK, note the new name of the Custom Report is highlighted and Click Preview.
As we should have expected from last week, our Critical/Resource filter requires us to select the resource we’re interested in – so select Arthur.
The preview shows the title of our new report as of today’s date (1 Aug 05 in my case). It reports using the Department table and for the selected Resource: Arthur.
Now that was easy, wasn’t it?
Let’s go back to edit our report: Close/Custom/Select/ click on the Critical/Resource/Department report we created and then Edit.
In the Task Report dialog with the Definition tab showing, see the name of our report, and then, in the Period: box, note that we can select a variety of periods we might wish to cover. We’ve seen the Entire Project default setting, so select Weeks/OK/Preview/Arthur/OK to see the result.
Be careful to select Preview as you will note at the bottom of the report (with my printer and page set up) it will result in 183 pages! Always preview before printing otherwise you might print out a book unintentionally!
Summaries and Bands
Back to the Task Report and you will see we have the option of showing the Summary tasks and also Gray bands. Select the Gray bands to see the effect…
…they help in reading across the columns.
Go back to the Task Report dialog and click to show the Details tab. I won’t bore you with going through the options as the names are self-explicatory. However, note the Text… button which allows you to change the font used for the text of the report. You might like to try them all out to see the effect.
Finally, the Sort tab allows you to used Project’s sorting capability in the output for Reports
We’ve seen how to create our own reports to our own requirements, preferably by using the Copy routine. Be aware that if you change the Details or Sort actions via the Edit button, you will have created a new version of the Report which will overwrite the original. Think again if you want a different set of reports based on, for example, this one that we created, by making copies of each with the different settings.
We now have all the possibilities available within Project to see what we want on screen and to print out as a report for others to see. These tailor-made reports are invaluable when you frequently wish to send a particular sub-set of the data a paper copy. Note that Reports are purely paper copies of the data. If you want send reports electronically, then you will have to resort to an add-on product. Discussion of this (along with much other information you might find useful) is in the MVP Project web site here: FAQ Item: 16. Project Viewer
In the next month’s issue we’ll make a start at progressing projects by looking at Tracking.