Its hard to believe, but there might be times when Project just doesn’t do everything you need. For example, you may need to track information that Project doesn’t have a field for want to view or enter information in a way that doesn’t match any of the forms predefined in Project 2000. Fear not, Project comes packaged with nearly 400 custom fields and the tools to create your own custom forms. In this chapter, we’ll look at how to create, modify, and manage custom fields and custom forms in Project. We’ll begin by defining and locating Project’s custom fields and forms. We’ll show you ways that custom fields and forms can enhance your work in Project, and then customize fields and include the fields on custom forms. Finally, we’ll rook.at managing your forms u~ing the Organizer.
Introducing Custom Fields and Custom Forms
Afield contains one kind of information and is either part of a table, a form view, or the time-phased-area of the usage views. In Microsoft Project 2000, there are several cate Igories of fields: task and time-phased task fields, resource and time-phased resource fields, and assignment and time-phased assignment fields.
Project 2000 isn’t a database management tool, such as Access, so you can’t create new tables and add new fields at will. To allow customization, Project includes groups of predefined fields that are assigned. The fields are already assigned to the task, resource, and assignmerit tables. Each field in .a group has a similar placeholder name, such as Task Cost Task Cost 2, through Task Cost 10, to allow up to 10 custom Task Cost fields.
When you customize one of the fields, you change its placeholder name and set to feld’s properties. You can’t, how ever, add fields to the tables-customization is limited to’ the predefined fields. Tables 23.1 through 23.3 show the custom fields included in the Task, Resource, and Assignment tables.
Custom Task Fields
The task fields are used in the task views, such as the Gantt Chart, Task Sheet, and Network Diagram views, to display specific information for each task. Table 23:1.shows each custom field located in the task tables, the field type, and an example of how you
might use the fields in the group
Custom Resource Fields
The resource fields are all the custom fields you can use in the resource views, surh as the Resource Sheet and Resource Usage views. These fields show summarized information for each resource (but not individual assignment information). Table 23.2 show each custom field located on the resource tables, the field type, and an example of how it might be-used.
Custom Assignment Fields
The assignment fields can be viewed only at the bottom of the Task Form and Resource Form and is the Task Usage and Resource Usage views. They show information about each assignment. You can change the assignment field that appears at the bottom of the Task Form or Resource Form view by pointing to Details on the Format menu, and then clicking a command. Each command shows a different set of assignment fields. Table 23.3 shows each custom field located on the assignment tables, the field type, and an example of how it might be used.
Creating Custom Fields
Creating 3 custom field is actually “customizing a custom field” by renaming an existing Project field. You can insert a custom field, as in any sheet i=w, by inserting a column. Custom fields can be part of a calendar bar, Gantt Chart, 0;Network Diagram task box. You can also sort and search on custom fields. Follow these steps to create a custom field. The attributes, calculation method, and display options are discussed in depth in the text that follows the steps.
1. Select Tools >- Customize >- Fields. The Customize Fields dialog box is displayed, as shown in Figure 23.1.
2. Select Task or Resource to choose the table in which you want to customize a field.
3. Select the field type from the Type drop-down list.
4. Select the field you want to customize.
5. Click the Rename button to retrun e the field
Setting Custom Attributes for a Custom Field
The custom attributes specify the way values are entered in the custom field. You can specify a list of values or construct a formula used to calculate the field value. The custom animate choices are as follows:
• Value List
Creating a Value List
Use Value List to create drop-down list of values that users:
select from. The Resource Type field in the Resource Sheet and the Task Type field on the Advanced tab of the Task Information dialog box are two of Project’s many value list fields. Users appreciate the convenience of selecting from a drop-down list if the following situations are true:
• Choosing from the list is faster than typing the full entry.
• The list is organized in a logical way so users can locate their item
To create a value list for the custom field, click the Value List button in the Customize Fields dialog box to open the Value List dialog box shown in Figure 23.2.
Click the Import Value List button to import a value list already defined for another field into this custom hold. To create a new list, enter the values and optional descriptions in the value table. Se~the default value by enabling the Use A Value From The List AsA Default.Entry For The Field check box, selecting the default field, and clicking the Set Default button-The field you set as the default is displayed in red. If you limit the entries to the values already defined in the value list, you’ll see this warning:
The message box appears, even if there are no existing entries in this field: Click 01<to proceed. Click Cancel if you want to verify the Value List. Click the Allow-Additional Items To Be Entered Into The Field check box to not restrict the field to only those items on the list. Finally, choose the order in which the value list drop-down list will be displayed .
Creating a Calculated Field
Calculated fields display results based on a formula.
Some of the fields in Project 2000 (such as those listed below) use code to simulate calculated fields, but the results of the calculation can be over writter by the user:
• Task Start Date, Finish Date, Total Cost
• Duration, Work, Units Assigned
Custom calculated fields are read-only-you can’t overwrite a value in a custom calculated field
In the Customize Fields dialog box, select the Formula option to open the Formula dialog box shown In Figure 23.3. Enter the formula you want to use to calculate the custom field. You can type in a formula a la Microsoft Excel. Or, Project will build a formula as you select fields from the Field drop-down list, functions from the Function drop-down list, and operations using the operator buttons. Click the Import Formula button to import a formula already defined for another field into this custom field .