Creating a Visual Report in Microsoft Project 2007

If you just love the capabilities that PivotTable reports in Excel and Visio offer, you'll be glad to know that the same capability has come to Microsoft Project 2007 in the form of Visual Reports. Pivot tables enable you to view data from a variety of perspectives beyond the Project standard report capabilities. Pivot tables offer perspectives that are especially useful for data analysis.

The Visual Reports feature allows you to select the fields you want to view and to modify your reports on the fly.

Looking at what's available

Project offers six categories of Visual Reports, as well as custom reports that you can build yourself. Some are based on timephased data (data distributed over time, such as allocations of resource time or costs), and some aren't.

The report categories include

  • Task Usage: Based on timephased data for tasks, this category of report gives you a peek at information such as cash flow and earned value over time.
  • Resource Usage: Based on timephased resource data, these reports include cash flow, resource availability, resource costs, and resource work data.
  • Assignment Usage: Also based on timephased data, this category of reports provides information in areas such as baseline versus actual costs and baseline versus actual work.
  • Task Summary, Resource Summary, and Assignment Summary: These three categories of reports provide diagram views of a variety of work and cost data. These three categories are not based on timephased data.

Creating a Visual Report

Generating a Visual Report is simplicity itself; you simply choose a report, decide whether you want to generate it in Excel or Visio, and view or print the report.

You need to know a couple of things before you create a Visual Report:

    To access Visual Reports, you have to have installed .NET Framework 2.0 from Microsoft (a free download) before you installed Project.
    If you have a version of Excel or Visio that's earlier than 2007, you have to add .NET Programmability support.

The Microsoft Office Project page offers more information about both products.

Follow these steps to generate a standard Visual Report:

1. Choose Report --> Visual Reports.

The Visual Reports dialog box appears.

2. Use the check boxes in the Show Report Templates Created In area to specify whether the report should be shown in Excel or Visio.

3. Click a report to select it.

4. Click the View button.

The report is generated in the selected application.

You can modify the Visual Reports templates or create your own templates by using the New Template and Edit Template buttons in the Visual Reports dialog box. Editing a template allows you to add or remove fields from it; creating a new template involves specifying the format (Excel or Visio), choosing the data you want to report on, and selecting fields to include.

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