Ask the Expert: Importing Data from Excel into Project

Richard J. writes, I’m using Microsoft Project 2000 to import data from Microsoft Excel but some of the data isn’t appearing in Project, seemingly at random. This may be because there are 305 rows of data to import. Is there a limit to the amount of data you can import into Project from Excel or can you think of another reason why seemingly random data won’t be imported

Answer: I’m sure there’s a limitation regarding the number of rows that can be imported from Excel into Project, but it’s in the thousands, not the hundreds. (No, I don’t know the exact number; if somebody else does, let us know!) Therefore, your current issue is probably unrelated to product limitations.

When importing data from Excel into Project, check two things:

1. Spaces that appear in front of the first word of each line (” John Smith”) can lead to export failure.
2. Special characters such as & or % may be causing the problem.

Look to see if your rows have something like that in common. I hope this helps.

Addendum added Mar 18, 2009 from reader Jill Baird: “The maximum number of tasks that can be imported from Excel seems to be 65,536 (if your Excel file has no headers), depending on PC memory. Excel 2007 contains 1,048,576 rows in a sheet, but my Project 2007 only imports .xls files (not Office 2007 .xlsx files), and xls files can only contain 65,536 Excel rows. Importing additional columns should take more memory, and I’m guessing importing data that goes to different tables, such as text, numbers, flags, etc.adds to the memory consumption. BTW: Importing Excel data into a new file, rather than into an existing open file also works a lot faster.”


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Written by Marc Soester

Marc Soester is the Managing Director of i-PMO, an organisation dedicated to successfully implement Microsoft’s Enterprise Project Management (EPM) solution throughout Australia. Marc and his team have extensive expertise in the implementation of Microsoft Project Server and Portfolio Server as well as conducting training in Project. He has more then six years of experience implementing EPM solutions and is Australia’s first and currently only Project MVP (Most Valuable Professional). You can contact him at

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