Every consultant has their own preferences for how to view data when managing a project. Many of us take our personalized views for granted, but once we’re away from the office and on a customer-supplied machine, we long for those views we’ve so diligently crafted on our own desktops or laptops. So how can you use your views while on the road?

There are a couple of ways you can use Microsoft Project to load your views, macros, and reports onto a host machine:

  • You can create a “holder” project file that contains your views or other items, then use the Organizer to manually move the items to the project files you will be viewing.
  • You can create a VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) macro that will move the items from the holder file to the project files automatically.

The option you choose might depend on the number of items you need to bring over, your client’s policies, or simply the particulars of your situation.

Naming your view
Using a unique, personalized file name for your views, etc., makes it much easier to transfer them to different projects.

Project does not allow two objects to have the same name, so if you use the default name ‘Gantt Chart,’ for example, you will not be able to import it into any other plan without overwriting the existing Gantt Chart view. I would suggest placing your initials just before the view name, i.e., “BK-Gantt Chart.” This naming convention will prevent you from overwriting an existing file, and also make it easier to find your views in their new file.

The manual method
The manual method is pretty easy. Open your source file (the one that contains the views you want to transfer) and the target file (the one you wish to copy your items into.) Now go to the Tools | Organizer menu item. This brings up the Organizer dialog box.

Project 2000 Organizer Dialog

At the bottom of both sides of this dialog is a pull-down menu labeled “Views available in.” Select your source file on one side and select your target file on the other. Now you can select the tabs in the dialog box that contain the objects you wish to copy. Select those objects from the List on the Source side, and click on the Copy button. This will add the selected object to the target file.

When you complete this process, you’ll have access to your objects from within the target project. Remember: you need to copy the View, the Table, the Filter—and with Project 2000—the Group as well.

Creating a macro
You can also write a macro that will automate this process. You can do this yourself, even if you don’t know VBA, by using the Macro Recorder feature in Project. Click on Tools | Macro | Record New Macro. This will bring up the Record Macro dialog box shown below. Here, you can enter a name and a short description of what you will be doing. Select This Project from the Store Macro In pull-down menu. Click OK, and then follow the above Organizer instructions for each object you want to copy. When you are finished, click Tools | Macro | Stop Recorder.

Project 2000 Record Macro dialog box

Now you can use this file to move your macros. Click Tools | Macro | Macros and from the dialog box, select the macro you recorded, and VBA will move it for you.

Something to remember when you are working with objects in the Organizer is that some objects are made up of other objects. Views, for instance, are really containers for a Table, Filter, and Group. If you copy a View with the process above, make sure you copy the table, filter, and group that the view refers to or you’ll get an error message when you try to open the view. A Report also relies on a filter. A Toolbar can often contain buttons that refer to VBA macros or custom forms. Be sure to include these items when transferring objects.
Does MS Project help you customize views when you’re working at multiple client sites? Post a comment below or send us a note.