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MS Project: Understanding Tables and Views within Microsoft Project
Posted on Sunday, June 17 @ 13:56:41 EDT by webadmin

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Many people realize there are both Tables and Views within MS Project, but they may not fully understand the difference or the relationship between the two.

Let's start off with definitions:

Table - Tables within Microsoft Project are made up of sets of columns containing fields of information describing the tasks or resources within each row of the table.   Tables can be applied to Sheets or Views.  There are separate tables for tasks and for resources (for example, there is an Entry table for tasks and an Entry table for resources).   A table within MS Project would be similar to a sheet within MS Excel that has defined columns.

To see the basic set of Tables within MS Project, click on >View, >Tables.  You should see something like this:

To see the entire list of tables, click on >View, >Tables, >More Tables.  You should see something like this:


From this Table Library, you will find roughly 17 predefined Task Tables.  If you click on the Resource radial button, you will find roughly 10 predefined Resource Tables.  (Note that the Entry table is highlighted in both screenshots)

View - Views within Microsoft Project determine how information is displayed.  A View actually contains a Filter, Group, Table and a Screen.

So every View references a Table.  The View may then manipulate the data within that Table by Grouping it, and / or Filtering it and specifing which screen gets displayed.

To see the basic list of Views, click on View.  You should see something like this:

 The basic Views are highlighted in Red.

To see all of the views that are available, click on >View, >More Views. 

You should see something like this:

  You should see that roughly 24 different Views are available.

Here is what most people don't know:

When you modify (Insert or Hide) the columns in a View, you are actually modifying the columns within the Table.  If that Table is used by another View, you just modified the columns in that View as well.

No, you say...Watch this:

Take a look at the Gantt Chart View.  By default, it leverages the Entry Table.

And that Entry table causes the following columns to be displayed in the Gantt Chart View:

Now look at the Tracking Gantt View

Notice that by default, it too calls upon the Entry View.  The following fields are displayed in the Tracking Gantt View (notice that they are exactly the same as the Gantt Chart view...because they are the fields within the Entry Table!)

Let's remove the Duration column from the Tracking Gantt View by right clicking on the column Duration and then click on Hide.

  Notice that the Duration field is no longer displayed in the Tracking Gantt View.

Now let's examine the Gantt Chart.

Notice that the Duration Column is no longer displayed in the Gantt Chart View.  This is because when we removed it from the Tracking Gantt View, we actually removed it from the Entry Table that is being leveraged by the Gantt Chart View also.

The moral of this story:

Use caution when adding or removing columns within a View.  You are ultimately impacting any other View that calls upon the Table that you are modifying!

As a matter of fact, it might be beneficial to learn "Create Custom Tables and Custom Views in MS Project".  This link will show you how.

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