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Ask the Teacher: How to Get Consistent Duration Label Values

Pat M. asks: In my project schedule I have the duration default value set to days. However, it seems that my duration values are in weeks, days and hours. This becomes difficult when I am trying to create consistent reports. Is there an easy way of having these values become consistent?

Answer: This is a great question and a situation that everyone will run into using any version of Microsoft Project software. The default value in options is the value used when duration is entered, but this value can change as a result of other entries or calculations using the duration fields. It’s a condition that’s not really preventable but very fixable. In fact, Project has a built in macro that can help you out of this sticky situation. In the example in Figure 1 you see durations of weeks, months, days and hours. Unless the reader is reading carefully, they’ll miss the differences of the values represented.

An example that uses weeks, months, days and hours as duration

Ask the Teacher: How to Get Consistent Duration Label Values
To create consistencies run the Format_Duration macro, go to Tools | Macro | Format_Duration | Run.

Go to the Format_Duration macro…

Ask the Teacher: How to Get Consistent Duration Label Values
Select the value that will be the value all durations will be translated into. In this case, I select “Days” and click OK. Below is the result of this change.

…And select the duration you want, such as days.

Ask the Teacher: How to Get Consistent Duration Label Values
When reports are run, they’ll be interpreted more consistently. If this is an occurrence that you feel needs to be corrected frequently, you can also place a toolbar button on a toolbar for convenience:

View | Toolbars | Customize | Commands | All Macros | Drag Format_duration to toolbar of choice.

Create a toolbar button to obtain the behavior you want frequently.

Ask the Teacher: How to Get Consistent Duration Label Values
Note: The update to the toolbar affects your installation of Project on your desktop. This change should be available to all projects you open on your system. However, if you’re using Microsoft Project Server, you may have to create a local custom toolbar for your own settings.

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