Diverse Views in Project 2013

By Cynthia Snyder Stackpole

Finding out how to use Project 2013 views to enter, edit, review, and analyze Project data can help you focus your attention on the aspects of the project you are interested in, whether it’s resources, budget, task sequencing, or some other aspect. Don’t worry that you’ll be overwhelmed by the number of views you can use: After a while, using them will become second nature.

The most common views are: Gantt Chart, Resource Sheet, Team Planner, Network Diagram, Timeline, and Calendar.

Home base: Gantt Chart view

Gantt Chart view is similar to a favorite room in your house — the place where your family members most often hang out. It’s the view that appears first whenever you open a new project. Gantt Chart view, is a combination of spreadsheet data and a chart with a graphical representation of tasks; it offers a wealth of information in one place. The spreadsheet can display any combination of columns of data that you want.

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Gantt Chart view has two major sections: the sheet pane on the left and the chart pane on the right. In Gantt Chart view (or in any view with a sheet pane), you can use tables to specify which information is shown in the sheet. A table is a preset combination of columns (fields) of data that you can easily display by choosing View, selecting the Data Group, and choosing one of nine preset tables:

  • Cost

  • Entry (the default table)

  • Hyperlink

  • Schedule

  • Tracking

  • Variance

  • Work

  • Summary

  • Usage

You can also customize the column display of any table by displaying or hiding individual columns of data, one at a time.

Resourceful views: Resource Sheet and Team Planner

In Resource Sheet view, you add the resources that will handle the work in your project. You can type entries in cells and press the Tab and arrow keys to move around.

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Team Planner view shows you what each team member is scheduled to work on, and when. You can change an assignment by simply dragging it from one resource to another. Voilà — assignment problems solved!

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Getting your timing down with the Timeline

Your manager and the project’s client may not want to see every detail in your grand plan. If you need to share project information with a person whose eyes glaze over easily, meet your new best friend: the Project Timeline.

Appearing in its own, small pane (by default) with certain other views, it presents a simplified picture of the entire schedule. When used with a view such as Gantt Chart, the portions of the schedule that aren’t visible in the chart pane are shaded. You can also display individual tasks or milestones on the Timeline.

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Going with the flow: Network Diagram view

The organization of information in Network Diagram view represents the workflow in your project in a series of task boxes. The boxes include dependency lines that connect them to reflect the sequence of tasks.

You read this view from left to right; earlier tasks on the left flow into later tasks and subtasks to the right. Tasks that happen in the same time frame are aligned vertically above each other. Tasks with an X through them have been marked as complete. Additionally, tasks with only one line through them have been worked only partially and are less than 100 percent complete.

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Traditionally known as a PERT chart, the network diagram method was developed by the U.S. Navy in the 1950s for use in building the Polaris missile program.

Network Diagram view has no timescale; the view isn’t used to see specific timing, but to see the general logical order of tasks in a plan. However, each task box, or node, holds specific timing information about each task, such as its start date, finish date, and duration. Timeline view appears by default along the top of this view.

Calling up Calendar view

This familiar view of time is one of the many views offered in Project 2013. Calendar view looks like a monthly wall calendar, with boxes that represent days on a calendar in rows that represent the days in a week. Using this view, you can see all tasks that are scheduled to happen in any given day, week, or month.

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You can modify Calendar view to display as many weeks as you need by clicking the Custom button located directly along the upper-left side of the calendar and changing the Number of Weeks setting in the Zoom dialog box.

More than two dozen views are built into Project. You encounter many more as you work on specific elements of Project 2013.