Custom Reports in Microsoft Project
Part two of a two-part series of blogs

Reporting on progress is an essential part of running a successful project. It's a shame that the preset reports in Microsoft Project are so limited. This blog explains how to create your own custom reports so that you can see the data you need.

  1. Custom Reports in Microsoft Project
  2. Creating Custom Reports (this blog)

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

Posted by Andrew Gould on 13 January 2012

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Creating Custom Reports

The first part of this blog series showed you how to view the existing reports in Microsoft Project.  This part shows you how to build your own reports from scratch.

Choosing to Create a Report

You can choose to create a report from the Reports dialog box.

Choosing to create a report

Double-click the Custom... category to get started.

In the dialog box that appears click the New... button to start creating a custom report.

Creating a custom report

Click New... to create a custom report.


Choosing a Report Type

In the next dialog box you'll be asked to choose which type of report you want to create.

Report type dialog box

You need to choose one of the four types on offer.


The four report types generate quite different results, so it's important to know what each type of report shows:

  • Task - this report type creates a simple list of tasks.  You can choose which fields are included, how the tasks are sorted and filtered, and any additional details you would like to show, such as task notes.
A Task report

Not the most exciting report you'll ever read.

  • Resource - this report type allows you to create a list of resources.  You can customise it in a similar way to the Task report type.
Resource report

Another hugely exciting report.

  • Monthly Calendar - this report type prints each month on a separate page in a calendar format.  You can apply filters to change which tasks appear on the calendar and apply some basic formatting to change the way tasks are drawn.
Calendar report

Monthly Calendar reports look more interesting but require more space to show the same amount of information.

  • Crosstab - this type of report is similar to the Task Usage and Resource Usage views.  You can choose to display a list of tasks or resources with a timescale running across the top of the report.
Crosstab report

Crosstab reports don't look particularly exciting but they do show a lot of useful information.

Defining a Report

Once you've chosen the type of report you'd like to create you can use the next dialog box to define the details of the report.  The dialog box is slightly different depending on which type of report you've chosen but contains similar options.  The example below uses a Task report to demonstrate the principle.

Report definition

Complete the dialog box as described below.

  1. Give your report a title.
  2. Use the Period and Count options to group your report items into sensible increments of time.  Here we're grouping the tasks in each calendar month.
  3. Use this option to determine which fields appear in the report.  Here we're using a custom table that we created earlier.
  4. Use this option to apply a filter to control which items will appear in the report.  Here we're choosing to view all of the tasks in the project.

Depending on which report type you've chosen to create, the dialog box may contain extra tabs.  In the case of Task and Resource reports you will see a Details tab and a Sort tab.

Details tab

The Details tab allows you to show extra information for each task or resource in the report. Simply tick the boxes next to the items you'd like to see.

Sort tab

The Sort tab allows you to sort the tasks or resources in the report by up to three fields.

Basic Report Formatting

On the same dialog box that allows you to define your report is a button that allows you to apply basic formatting to it.

Choosing to format

Click the Text... button to start formatting the report.

The exact options you'll see on the next dialog box will depend on which version of Project you're using.  There's a fairly limited list of things you can do in any version however.

Formatting reports

This version of the dialog box appears in Project 2010.

  1. Choose the type of report item that you'd like to format.
  2. Use these tools to apply basic font formatting options.
  3. Use this area to preview the effects of your changes.
  4. Click OK when you've finished formatting.

Viewing Your Report

You can view your report using the Custom category of the Reports dialog box.

Viewing a custom report

Locate your custom report in the list and double-click on it to view it.


Using a Custom Report in Other Projects

A custom report is only available to the project in which you created it, unless you use the Organizer tool to copy it into the Global Project template.  This blog explains how to do this.

  1. Custom Reports in Microsoft Project
  2. Creating Custom Reports (this blog)
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