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You can't do much in Microsoft Project without understanding how calendars work. Calendars control when work is allowed to happen, so it's important to set them up properly before you start planning your tasks. This blog teaches you how.
Posted by Andrew Gould on 02 March 2012
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Creating New Calendars in Microsoft Project 2010
If you're going to model working times for different teams of people in your organisation you won't be able to do everything on just one calendar. Instead, you'll need to create a new calendar for each different set of working times. This part of the series explains how to create a new calendar and set up its working times.
Creating New Calendars
To create a new calendar:
- From the ribbon select: Project -> Change Working Time.
- Click the Create New Calendar... button.
Click here to create a new calendar.
- Choose whether to create a new base calendar, or a copy of an existing calendar. If you copy an existing calendar you'll also get all of the exceptions from that calendar.
If you don't type in the name correctly now it's surprisingly awkward to change it later.
- Type in a name for your calendar.
- Click OK.
It's definitely worth doing things in the order listed above. If you change the order of steps 3 and 4 above Project will annoyingly change the name that you typed in for your calendar!
The new calendar's name will appear at the top of the dialog box when you click OK.
The new calendar is automatically selected, ready for you to make changes to it.
Changing the Work Week
The next step of creating a new calendar is to define its standard pattern of working times. To do this you'll need to edit the calendar's work week.
- Select the calendar you want to change.
- Click the Work Weeks tab.
- Select the [Default] work week.
There will only be one work week in the table to begin with.
- Click Details...
Use this dialog box to configure the standard working times for the new calendar.
- Select the day or days that you want to change.
- Choose whether to make the day a non-working day, or to set specific working times.
- If you've chosen to set specific working times for the selected days you can enter the start and end times in this table. For our calendar we've made Saturday and Sunday working days and the other days non-working days.
- Click OK.
When you click OK your modified calendar will be shown in the dialog box.
We've effectively reversed the standard pattern of working time so that weekdays are non-working time and weekends are working time.
You can create extra work weeks in a similar way to adding exceptions to a calendar. This is useful when you have a period in a calendar which has a different pattern of working time to the default work week.
Displaying a Custom Calendar on the Gantt Chart
When you create custom calendars they won't automatically be shown in the Gantt Chart view. To display your custom calendar in the Gantt Chart:
- Right-click in the background of the Gantt Chart and choose Nonworking Time...
Choose this option to control which calendar is displayed in the Gantt Chart.
- In the dialog box that appears, select the calendar you want to view from the Calendar drop down list and click OK.
Select your calendar from the drop down list highlighted here.
When you've clicked OK you'll be able to see your calendar's non-working time displayed in the Gantt Chart.
The effects of applying this calendar to the Gantt Chart are fairly obvious.
Assigning a calendar to the Gantt Chart doesn't actually affect the scheduling of any tasks - it's purely for display purposes.
Assigning a Calendar to a Task
If you want to change the scheduling of a task to fit in with a calendar you have created you can assign a calendar to a task. To do this:
- Double-click on the task whose calendar you want to change.
Double-click on a task to view the Task Information dialog box.
- On the new dialog box that appears, select the Advanced tab.
Use this option to assign a calendar to a task.
- Select the calendar you want to use from this drop down list.
- Click OK.
In our example, the selected task will move to match the working times defined by its new calendar:
The task has moved to start on a Saturday as this is the next available working time in the task's calendar.
The other major factor that can affect the scheduling of a task is the calendar of a resource that has been assigned to it, but that's a subject for a future blog!
Copying Calendars to Other Projects
One of the most annoying things about calendars is that when you customise or create them, the changes you've made only affect the project you are working in. The best way to solve this problem is to use the Organizer to copy calendars into the global Project template. This means that you'll have access to all of the calendars you have created in each project file that you work on.