Join Bonnie Biafore for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding custom fields, part of Advanced Microsoft Project.
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- You can set up custom fields to track info that the built-in Project fields don't. You can use formulas to calculate values or build list to pick from. Just like Project's built-in fields, custom fields come in several data types. Let's take a look at custom fields in Project. I'm gonna head up to the PROJECT tab, and then click Custom Fields. That takes me to the Custom Fields dialog box. The first thing you see is there are two options; Task and Resource.
Now, whether I select the Task option or the Resource option, the field names that I see in the list are the same. The thing is, there are two separate lists of fields. Even though they have the same names, they show up in different views. For example, if I add the Text1 field to the Gantt Chart view, it's the Task field. On the other hand, if I add the Text1 field to the Resource sheet view, it's the Resource field. The next important thing about custom fields are all the different data types they come in.
Next to the Type box, click the down arrow and you can see all those data types. You can have custom fields for costs and they have everything to do with money. On the other hand, the date custom fields hold dates. You can have custom duration fields. They hold the same kind of data as the duration field that you see here in the Gantt Chart table. The Start and Finish fields are a little bit special. They are date fields, but Project uses them to store dates for interim plans.
Remember, interim plans are like very limited baselines. They contain only start and finish dates. If you don't use interim plans, then you can use these Start and Finish custom fields for other custom dates. The Flag fields are great. You can use them to tag tasks or resources with yes/no values. Things like tasks being done at a fixed price or ones that you wanna do extra quality assurance on. Number fields store numbers other than cost and durations.
For example, you could have the square feet of roof on the house, the number of change request submitted, or the calculated average square feet of roof completed in a day. Text fields are another workhorse type. They hold up to 255 characters. You could use them for labels or even short notes. Finally, Outline Code fields are a special type of custom field. As you'll see in other movies, you can use them to set up a hierarchy of values like job codes.
Below the list of fields, there are all sort of things that you can do with custom fields. For example, there's the Lookup option where you can create lookup tables of valid values to pick from. Or you can assign a formula to a custom field and calculate values. You can also tell Project how to calculate tasks in group summary rows. For example, you could roll up the values to the summary rows, like the duration does. Or you could use the formula to calculate it.
You can go the other direction and tell Project how to calculate the values for assignment rows down from the task values. And finally, you can set up graphical indicators and show things like stoplights instead of values. That's a quick intro to custom fields.
Viewers will then learn how to customize fields and generate cool graphical and visual reports. Finally, the course shows how to share various customizations and configurations as well as best practices for managing multiple projects.
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- Recalculating duration, work, and units for assignment changes
- Adding, removing, and replacing resources
- Defining part-time resources
- Setting cost rates
- Accounting for overtime costs
- Working with earned value
- Exchanging data with other programs
- Customizing fields and reports
- Sharing customizations
- Sharing resources and linking tasks between projects