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Microsoft Project 2010 : Setting Up Project for Your Use - Defining Custom Fields

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11/25/2014 3:35:14 AM

Every project is unique. Accordingly, Project 2010 enables the use of custom fields in addition to its extensive selection of default fields.

The following sections discuss the tactics and logic behind customizing fields.

The Custom Fields Concept

Project has dedicated predefined fields for the user to customize in a variety of ways. All the fields are accessible on the Project tab, Custom Fields. This command opens the Custom Fields dialog box shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Define custom fields in the Custom Fields dialog box.


There are two categories of customizable fields: task fields and resource fields.

Note

Both Project Professional and Project Standard contain custom fields that each project manager can customize within his project. When connected to Project Server, Project Professional also includes enterprise-level task and resource custom fields (as well as a third class of project-level custom fields) that allow an organization to standardize the fields they capture for all projects.


In each of these categories, you can do the following:

  • Rename the custom fields permanently so that the new name appears wherever the field name appears.

  • Add a value list to a custom field.

  • Add a formula to a custom field.

  • Designate graphic indicators to appear in a custom field in place of the data.

There are nine types of custom fields, as shown in the Type drop-down list: Cost, Date, Duration, Finish, Flag, Number, Start, Text, and Outline Codes. Within these types, there are designated numbers of fields. These are detailed in Table 1.

Table 1. The Custom Fields Types (excludes Enterprise fields associated with Project Server)
TypeNumber of Available FieldsDescription
Cost10Can contain currency data you want to enter in your project.
Date10Can contain dates you want to enter in your project.
Duration10Can contain duration or work values you want to enter in your project.
Finish10Can contain finish dates you want to enter in your project.
Flag20Can contain yes/no flags you want to enter in your project.
Number20Can contain numeric (positive or negative) values you want to enter in your project.
Start10Can contain start dates you want to enter in your project.
Text30Can contain textual information you want to enter in your project alphanumerically, up to 255 characters.
Outline Code10Create an alternate structure for your project that you can use to sort, filter, or group tasks or resources (in other words, alphanumeric outline structures).

Custom fields can be used in many, many ways. Perhaps you need to identify the status of a task as something other than percentage complete, such as approved/not approved. Perhaps you want to create a stop-light style status field to show whether the project is on schedule and on budget. The following section will explain how to define custom fields for your project.

Note

Custom field names appear in any drop-down list in which the predefined fields are accessible. For instance, if you are inserting a new column on a table, the field choices for the column include all the custom field names you define, even if they have not yet been used for data storage.


Using Custom Fields

All changes to a custom field are done in the Custom Fields dialog box (Project tab, Custom Fields). To work with a particular field, select the general type (Task or Resource) first. Then select a particular category of custom field (such as Cost or Duration) from the Type drop-down list. The list of available fields for that particular category will appear in the box; click on the one you want to customize.

Renaming, Deleting, and Importing Custom Fields

To avoid having to change the name label every time you open a new table or display a custom field, you can give the generic name provided in Project an alias that is a more accurate description for your purpose. After you have selected your general type and custom field category, highlight the custom field you want to rename. If you have not renamed any of them yet, their names all appear as the category type and a number after (such as Duration1).

When you have the custom field highlighted, click the Rename button, which opens the Rename Field dialog box. Type in the name you want, and click OK. Notice that the new name appears in the box with the old name in parentheses. The new name will now appear any place the custom field is used instead of the generic custom field name.

If you want to delete a custom field alias, click the Rename button, highlight the alias, and click the Delete button.

You can also import a custom field from your project, another project, or from a template. The imported custom field is imported with all its attributes, such as formulas or indicators, associated with it.

Click the Import Custom Field button to open the Import Custom Field dialog box. From there you can import the custom field using the drop-down list in the Project field as your source, selecting the field type and the field. All open projects will appear in the Project field drop-down list. The Field drop-down list displays all available custom fields from the source you selected. Click OK to import the custom field, or click Cancel to cancel.

 
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