Custom Tables in Microsoft Project
If you find yourself constantly deleting and inserting columns every time you create a new project it might be time to consider creating a custom table that you can share between projects. This blog shows you how to do exactly that!

This blog is part of a complete guide to customising Microsoft Project.  Wise Owl also run classroom courses in Project.

Posted by Andrew Gould on 13 January 2012

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Custom Tables in Microsoft Project

In Microsoft Project there are hundreds of fields, or columns of data, that you can view and enter information into.  To avoid having to scroll through hundreds of columns to find a specific piece of information, Project organises its fields into tables.

A table is a preset collection of related fields that you can choose to display depending on which view you are in.  Inevitably, you'll find that you won't use every field in a particular table and that you'll hide some of them, or that some tables don't have all the fields you require and that you'll have to insert them.  You might even create your own custom fields that you want to add to existing tables.  This isn't an issue the first couple of times you do it, but if you find yourself having to insert and delete columns every time you create a new project it might be time to consider creating a custom table.

Existing Tables in Project

As we mentioned above, there are several preset tables within Project and a number of ways to switch between them:

  • In any version of Project you can right-click at the top left corner of a table and choose a different table view.
Switching tables

The options you see in the list will depend on which view you are in.

 
  • In Project 2003 and 2007, from the menu you can choose View -> Table: and then select a different table view.
Using View menu to switch table views

Here we are currently looking at the Entry table, hence the menu option reads Table: Entry.

 
  • In Project 2010, from the View tab of the Ribbon you can choose Tables and then select a different table view.
Changing tables using the Ribbon

The list of preset tables hasn't changed much over the different versions of Project.

 

Seeing the Full List of Preset Tables

The list of tables shown above is merely a shortlist of the most commonly used tables in Project.  To get access to the full list of preset tables you'll need to delve a little deeper.

  1. Right-click at the top left of the current table and choose the option shown below.
Seeing all tables

The quickest way to see a full list of tables is to right-click at the top left of the current table and choose the More Tables... option.

 
  1. In the More Tables dialog box that appears you will see the full list of available tables.
List of all tables

Click on the table that you want to see and click the Apply button to display it.

 

Creating a Custom Table

You can create a custom table using the More Tables dialog box.

  1. Display the More Tables dialog box, as described above.
  2. Click the New... button to begin creating a new table.
Choosing to create a new table.

Click this button to start defining your custom table.  Don't forget to choose whether you're creating a Task or Resource table first!

 
  1. Complete the dialog box shown below.
Creating a custom table

Complete the dialog box as described below.

  1. Type in a name for your table.
  2. Check this box to ensure that your table appears in the list of commonly used tables.
  3. Use the drop list to select the fields you want to include in your table.
  4. Fill in the other options for each field as appropriate.
  5. Click OK to create the table.

Using Your Custom Table

Once you've created a table you can choose to display it in the same way as choosing to display a preset table.

  • If you checked the box shown in Step 5 above you'll see your table in the list of commonly used tables.
Custom table in list

Simply click on your table's name to display it.

 
  • You can also see your custom table in the More Tables dialog box.
More tables dialog

Select your table in the list and click Apply to display it.

 

Using Your Table in Other Projects

When you create a custom table it will only be available in the project you are working on.  To make sure that you can use your table in other projects you'll need to use the Organizer tool to copy it into the Global project template.  This blog explains how to do this.

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