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Ask the Teacher: Export the Task List to Excel and Keep the WBS Structure

I would like to export the task list in Microsoft Project to Excel and keep the WBS structure. A cut and paste loses the WBS structure. Is there a way to accomplish this?

Answer: Yes, you can do this. The answer comes from Greg H. of Wheaton, IL, who presented his solution at an MPA meeting years ago. This export can only be done on Microsoft Project 2002 and 2003, but not earlier or more recent versions of the product.

The first decision you have to make is what you would like to export. You can export any standard or custom tables or you can select individual fields to create your own export map. For the purpose of this example, we’ll export the task entry table to Excel, keeping the WBS format intact. Here’s an example of a direct export from Project to Excel.
Ask the Teacher: Export the Task List to Excel and Keep the WBS Structure

 

  1. Open the Microsoft Project file.
  2. Choose File | Save as and select the location where you wish to put the file.
  3. Enter a filename.
  4. Specify the Save as type as Web page (*.html, *.htm).
  5. Click on Save. The export wizard will start.
  6. Choose Next (to continue).
  7. We will select a new map for this example. Choose Next.
  8. Click on Tasks in the top area. Make sure that the Export Header row is selected in the bottom area, then click Next.
  9. For this example we will use the table Entry, so click on the buttom, “Base on Table,” and select Entry.
  10. Click OK to continue.
  11. Click Finish

You have created a .html file that looks like this:

Ask the Teacher: Export the Task List to Excel and Keep the WBS Structure

  1. Right-click on the file name in Windows Explorer. Rename the file by just changing the file ending to an .xls file. You will see this error message:

Ask the Teacher: Export the Task List to Excel and Keep the WBS Structure

  1. Click “yes” to make the change.

The result will be something like this:
Ask the Teacher: Export the Task List to Excel and Keep the WBS Structure
Give it a try!

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Written by Ellen Lehnert

Ellen Lehnert, PMP, Microsoft Project MVP, MCP, is a independent consultant and trainer on Microsoft Project and Project Server. She has taught Microsoft Project over 400 times and is the author of  MS Project 2010 and

2013 published courseware. Ellen is also a contributor and tech editor for many reference books, a developer for the Microsoft Project certification tests and is a frequent meeting speaker for Microsoft, MPUG and PMI. Contact Ellen at ellen@lehnertcs.com.

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6 Comments
  1. You are correct. This article was written in 2008 and was for MSP 2007. In the current version you can use copy from MSP and paste to Excel achieve the WBS indentions in Excel.

    Reply
  2. You can’t control the export format. In Excel you can right click the date columns and select an alternative format.

    Reply
  3. As of MS Project 2010 you could copy and paste a view from MSP to Excel and keep the outline structure. The export program will not keep the outline structure.

    Set up a table view and copy and paste it into Excel. Let me know if you still have a problem.

    I hope this helps.

    Reply
  4. If you are using MSP 2010 or higher you can put a table together the way you need the report and copy and paste the table into Excel. The outline structure will remain. You can include the outline number as a column in your table to export. I hope this helps.

    Reply
  5. If you note the date of the posting, MS Project 2010 was not available yet. The copy and paste option started with that software level. Not all articles have been updated for the current software levels.

    Since you can use copy and paste, it can only copy what it sees and paste what is copied.

    you might consider Goggling for more recent articles if you are not getting the results you want.

    Reply
  6. The Gantt chart graphic is only available in MS Project and does not export to Excel. You can export the data in the columns but not the graph.

    Reply

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