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Make Saturday a Working Day in Microsoft Project

Background

There was an interesting question recently in the Tech Community Project user forum. A user asked how to change the default working calendar to allow Saturday as a working day. The question was specifically related to Project Online, but both the question and the answer relate to the Microsoft Project desktop application as well.

Because the user provided very little details in his question, the responses from a fellow Project MVP and I dealt with two possible situations the user might be facing:

  • The user wants to schedule every task in a project using a standard 6-day work week that includes Saturday.
  • The user wants to schedule only certain specific tasks with an alternate 6-day work week schedule that includes Saturday.

In this newsletter article, I will show you how to address both of these situations.

Schedule Every Task Using a 6-Day Work Week

To schedule every task in a project using a standard 6-day work week that spans from Monday through Saturday, complete the following steps:

  1. Open the project in which you want to create the calendar.
  2. Click the Project tab to display the Project ribbon.
  3. In the Properties section of the Project ribbon, click the Change Working Time button. Microsoft Project displays the Change Working Time dialog with the Exceptions tab selected, such as shown in Figure 1.
An example of of changing standard project calendar

source: MPUG

Figure 1: Change Working Time dialog – Exceptions page

By default, the Change Working Time dialog displays the built-in Standard calendar. This calendar is automatically set as the Project Calendar (which controls the schedule of the project) and the Nonworking Time Calendar (which displays nonworking time as gray shaded bands in the Gantt Chart screen) in your project. To provide the most accurate project schedule, I recommend that you add all of your organization’s company holidays in the Exceptions grid for the Standard calendar. For example, notice in Figure 1 shown previously that I entered all of my organization’s company holidays as exceptions in the Exceptions grid.

  • In the Change Working Time dialog, click the Work Weeks tab. Microsoft Project displays the Work Weeks page of the dialog, such as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Change Working Time dialog – Work Weeks page

The [Default] item in the Work Weeks data grid defines the default working schedule for the Standard calendar.  By default, the working schedule defined by the Standard calendar is Monday through Friday, from 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM, with Saturdays and Sundays marked as nonworking time.

  1. In the Change Working Time dialog, leave the [Default] item selected in the Work Weeks data grid, and then click the Details button. Microsoft Project displays the Details dialog, such as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3: Details dialog

  1. In the Details dialog, select the Saturday item in the Select day(s) list.
  2. Select the Set day(s) to these specific working times option and then enter the working schedule for Saturday in the From and To data grid. For example, notice in Figure 4 that I set the working schedule for Saturday as 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM.

Figure 4: Set the Saturday working schedule

  • Click the OK button to close the Details dialog. The Change Working Time dialog displays the new default working schedule for the Standard calendar as Monday through Saturday, such as shown in Figure 5.

Figure 5: New schedule for the Standard calendar

  • Click the OK button to close the Change Working Time dialog.

Microsoft Project will automatically update the working schedule for every task in the project to follow the new Monday through Saturday working schedule. In the Gantt Chart screen on the right side of the Gantt Chart view, you will also notice that the software only displays a gray shaded band on each Sunday, which means that Sunday is the only nonworking day each week, such as shown in Figure 6.

Figure 6: Gray shaded bands shown only on Sundays

After updating the Standard calendar, you also need to update one particular scheduling option in the Project Options dialog.

  • Click the File tab and then click the Options tab in the lower-left corner of the Backstage.
  • In the Project Options dialog, select the Schedule tab.
  • On the Schedule page of the dialog, change the Hours per week option to 48, such as shown in Figure 7.

Figure 7: Change the Hours per week option

  • In the Project Options dialog, click the OK button.

The reason you need to change the Hours per week option is so that if you enter a Duration value in Weeks for a task, Microsoft Project will then correctly schedule the task using a 6-day work week and not a 5-day work week. For example, if you enter a Duration value of 2 Weeks, the software will schedule the task as 12 working days, not 10 working days.

Schedule Specific Tasks Using a 6-Day Work Week

If you need the normal work week for tasks in your project to be 5 days/week, but you need to schedule certain tasks to follow a 6 days/week working schedule, then you will need to create a new base calendar for this purpose. To create this new base calendar, complete the following steps:

  1. Click the Project tab to display the Project ribbon.
  2. In the Properties section of the Project ribbon, click the Change Working Time button. Microsoft Project displays the Change Working Time dialog, such as shown in Figure 8.

Figure 8: Change Working Time dialog

  • In the upper-right corner of the Change Working Time dialog, click the Create New Calendar button.
  • In the Create New Base Calendar dialog, leave the Make a copy of Standard calendar option selected.
  • Enter a name such as 6-Day Work Week in the Name field, such as shown in Figure 9, and then click the OK button.

Figure 9: Create New Base Calendar dialog

When you are creating a new base calendar, I recommend that you create the calendar by making a copy of the Standard calendar. This recommendation is based on the assumption that you have added your company’s holidays as nonworking time exceptions on the Standard calendar. Creating a new base calendar by copying the Standard calendar would copy all of your company holidays to the new base calendar.

  • In the Change Working Time dialog, click the Work Weeks tab, such as shown in Figure 10.

Figure 10: Change Working Time dialog – Work Weeks page

  • In the Change Working Time dialog, leave the [Default] item selected in the Work Weeks data grid, and then click the Details button. Microsoft Project displays the Details dialog, such as shown in Figure 11.

Figure 11: Details dialog

  • In the Details dialog, select the Saturday item in the Select day(s) list.
  • Select the Set day(s) to these specific working times option and then enter the working schedule for Saturday in the From and To data grid. For example, notice in Figure 12 that I set the working schedule for Saturday as 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM.

Figure 12: Set the Saturday working schedule

  1. Click the OK button to close the Details dialog. The Change Working Time dialog displays the new default working schedule for the custom base calendar as Monday through Saturday, such as shown in Figure 13.

Figure 13: Change Working Time dialog shows the new
schedule for the custom base calendar

  1. Click the OK button to close the Change Working Time dialog.

Applying the New Base Calendar as a Task Calendar

At this point you may be wondering, “So how do I apply the new custom base calendar as a Task calendar to override the schedule of the task with a 6-day work week?” Complete the following steps to do so:

  1. Double-click any task whose schedule you want to override with the new custom base calendar. Microsoft Project displays the Task Information dialog shown in Figure 14.

Figure 14: Task Information dialog

  • In the Task Information dialog, click the Advanced tab.
  • On the Advanced page of the dialog, click the Calendar pick list and select the custom base calendar with the 6 days/week schedule, and then select the Scheduling ignores resource calendars checkbox, such as shown in Figure 15.

Figure 15: Task Information dialog – Advanced page settings

  • In the Task Information dialog, click the Notes tab.
  • On the Notes page of the dialog, add a note to document the reason for applying the base calendar to the task, such as shown Figure 16.

Figure 16: Task Information dialog – Notes page

  • Click the OK button to close the Task Information dialog.

After applying the custom base calendar as a Task calendar, the task will be rescheduled to reflect a 6-day work week that includes Saturdays as working days.

Copying Calendars to the Global.mpt File

After updating your Standard calendar or creating a new custom baseline calendar, you should also add either the updated Standard calendar or the new calendar to your Global.mpt file. Doing so will make this calendar available in every future project you create. To copy a calendar to the Global.mpt file, complete the following steps:

  1. Click the File tab and then click the Info tab in the Backstage.
  2. In the Organize Global Template section of the Info page, click the Organizer button, such as shown in Figure 17.

Figure 17: Info page in the Backstage

  • In the Organizer dialog, click the Calendar tab to display the Calendar page of the dialog.
  • On the right side of the Organizer dialog (in your active project), select either the Standard calendar or your new custom base calendar. You will only need to select the Standard calendar if you edited this calendar.
  • In the middle of the Organizer dialog, click the << Copy button, such as shown in Figure 18.

Figure 18: Organizer dialog – Calendars page

  • If you are copying the Standard calendar to the Global.mpt file, Microsoft Project will display the confirmation dialog shown in Figure 19. Click the Yes button in this dialog to overwrite the Standard calendar in the Global.mpt file.

Figure 19: Confirmation dialog

  • Click the Close button to close the Organizer dialog.
  • Click the Save tab in the Backstage to save the latest changes to your project.

 

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Written by Dale Howard

Dale Howard is currently a Senior PPM Consultant with Arch Systems, Inc. His hair and beard have turned white because of using Microsoft’s project management tools for more than 20 years. Dale started his career using Microsoft Project 4.0 for Windows 95 and began using Microsoft’s PPM tools when they introduced Project Central in 2000. Dale is the co-author of 23 books in Microsoft Project, Project Server, and Project Online. He is currently one 0f 26 Microsoft Project MVPs in the entire world and one of only 4 Project MVPs in the United states.

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