Webinar Recap: Mastering Microsoft Project Visualization Part 3 – Printing in Microsoft Project Demystified

Please find below a transcription of the audio portion of Erik van Hurck’s Mastering MS Project Visualization Part 3 webinar being provided by MPUG for the convenience of our members. You may wish to use this transcript for the purposes of self-paced learning, searching for specific information, and/or performing a quick review of webinar content. There may be exclusions, such as those steps included in product demonstrations. You may watch the live recording of this webinar at your convenience.

Kyle: Hello everyone, and welcome to the third and final session in MPUG’s training series on Mastering Microsoft Project Visualization. Today’s half-hour session will demystify printing in Microsoft Project. My name is Kyle, and I’ll be the moderator today. Today’s session is eligible for half a PMI PDU in a technical category and the MPUG activity code for claiming that is on the screen now. That’s mpugwebnlearn102319. If you have any questions during today’s presentation, please send those over at any time using the chat question box on the GoToWebinar control panel. We do plan to answer those for you at the end of the session today, and we’ll go ahead and begin.

Very happy to welcome back Erik van Hurck today. Erik is a senior PPM consultant for Projectum, a European Microsoft partner with offices in Denmark and the Netherlands. He is also a Microsoft MVP. As such, Erik assists Enterprise customers to adopt the new Project Online cloud solution for PPM. Erik has a personal blog at theprojectcornerblog.com, and is also a very popular contributor to MPUG and most recently contributed to the latest version of MPUG’s Microsoft Project Dos and Don’ts book, which is now available on Amazon. So with that said, I’ll welcome back Erik for part three, and now I’ll hand it over to you to get started with today’s session.

Erik van Hurck: Thank you very much for the kind introduction, once again. So let’s try and share my screen. So let me know when that comes through.

Kyle: It looks good, Erik.

Erik van Hurck: All right. All right, let’s start. So welcome back everyone. Welcome everyone, and welcome back everyone who was here for part one and part two as well. Today I’m going to take you on a road to demystifying printing because, as the introduction also says, in this day and age with wearables and all the fancy tech, some people still need to have a printed-out version of your schedule. But just a brief recap. This is a series in which we looked at mastering project visualization and we took that apart with part one being views and tables for the active Microsoft Project interaction, and part two was creating nice reports. Both are going to be available as recordings on MPUG soon, if not already there. Today we’re going to demystify printing because printing can be a hassle within Microsoft Project.

I’ll glaze over who I am. This is a nice picture of me taken in Kiev when I was there presenting. I do webinars like this one or I’m a frequent speaker at conferences, and I have been around 10 years-plus in Microsoft Project and Project Online. So what is on the agenda? We have a short session, half an hour, so we’re going to take questions at the end, but what do we do? We never default print a Gantt chart, and I’ll have a nice picture of that coming up. But if we look at that default print, what does it actually contain? Because there’s a number of items in there that we can manipulate and we’re going to do that by using the Page Setup menu. I’m going to take most of this session diving into how to use that Setup menu because there’s a lot that you can do, but you need to know the tweaks and where to push the buttons. And if printing and using the Page Setup is a hassle, I want to give you an easy alternative to printing. Then we’re going to wrap up, ask maybe some questions, and I’ll hope to see you again on another webinar.

So never default print a Gantt chart. Why? Well, this is what you see if you do a Print Preview. And as you can see on the on the right side, it kind of tears apart your Gantt chart. There’s whole pages where you don’t even see your schedule or the bar charts, but just text, and it’s a pretty unusable view. What happens is it looks at a A4 size of the page, but it tears it apart into 12 pages. Well, if you click on that and you look at the printer, this is what you get, and it’s not quite useful.

Now zooming in one of those pages, you can see that it takes a part of the schedule or the large amount of your page will be taken up by what we call the legend, and there’s also a footer within that print. You might only be interested in the top section where the actual schedule is, but you can do a lot by changing the legend or changing the settings here. So let me briefly go to our familiar testing schedule. And what I want to do is I want to have the printing and the printing preview in an easy way, quick to have that under the button here. I open up the quick access toolbar and I click on Print Preview. And there will also be a quick print here. I would say never use this one because then you would not have that Print Preview, and you might have 12 useless pages in your printer, but let’s click on the Print Preview now. And here is that, yeah, horrible print. And if we look into one of those pages, you’d see that a large section of that page is taken up by information that is repeated on each and every page, and it takes up a lot of information and a lot of real estate on that page. So this is, yeah, practically useless.

Now on the middle section, there is some more information. So here, first things that you would need to know about is printing the entire project is the default setting. You can open up this little window and you can set this to printing actually specific dates or specific pages, which doesn’t actually make sense. If you look again at the pages here, this is page seven. Yeah, very useful. So printing the entire project makes the most sense, but how do you want to print that? Or it might be that you want to print the current month until next month, then you would select the print specific dates. Custom dates and pages is a combination of these two. But this is a high-level settings change. Here you can select which pages are being printed out, and there’s dates here which typically respond to what we have selected here.

But the real magic starts to happen when we click on the Page Setup. Let me quickly return to my presentation here. The Page Setup gives you a number of taps. We have the page, we have the margins, we have a header, footer, legend and a view. And I’ll briefly touch on every one of those. But the first thing that you need to notice is on the page level, so the default page where you land when you click on the Page Setup, is the scaling. And scaling currently is adjusted to 100% which is particularly the normal size of the schedule. And you can make this fit to a specific amount of pages, and it looks at pages wide as well as pages tall.

Now you can do a lot by changing these settings, only these settings. So let’s jump into that and let’s continue on exploring the Page Setup here. So the first thing that I’m going to do is I’m going to click on Page Setup and I’m being presented by the view that we’ve already seen in the PowerPoint presentation. If I click on fit to one pages wide and three pages tall, what Microsoft Project does when I click on OK is it takes that schedule that it had on 12, I believe, 12 pages and it condenses that to three pages. And if we zoom in on one of those pages, this is particularly still readable when we have these printed out. So this might be a clean and first situation on how to create a useful print out.

So if we look back at the Page Setup, we actually see that Microsoft Project automatically adjusted the normal size of the page, and we click on adjust to, we have the option to size that down just a little bit again. We can also say, well, let’s see what happens if we want it on one A4 page. Here you see where it leaves off being readable. You could of course increase the size of that A4 to an A2 or an A1, having it on the plotter area. But this doesn’t make that much sense. So let’s return to the Page Setup and have this as being three tall. So we’re going to get three pages in our printout, and that’s going to look readable at least.

Now there is more information that you need to know about your printout. If we navigate to the Page Setup, there is these additional tabs, and you can change what is shown on a printout by changing the values here. So the margins typically is a half an inch and you can say that we want to have borders, which are these borders, on every page. Clicking on none and decreasing the inches on each side will increase the size of usable real estate. So here we see that it typically trails off being a more open Microsoft Project schedule printout. And even this bottom part looks nicer than it used to be, but the margins are just the starting point. We have a header option, and here we take a brief look at history where these buttons I believe haven’t changed since 2003, maybe even 1984. And these are ancient buttons, but they are very useful, and we have a left, we have a center, and we have a right section that we can use to add data.

So the data that we can add here is, for instance, we can start looking at the project and give it a little tap here and we can go into general and then go to the project title or maybe the project … Yeah, the project title would make sense. And then having that as clicking on add. Now what Microsoft Project does, it creates this little code snippet and it’s useful because we can use this for template purposes as well. So if we have a template where we have these default page setups, then we don’t have to have the name of that project being there in itself. But we can have different names for the different projects that we create based on that template. So what we see here is a little preview section, and I can zoom in a bit here. So here we have the preview section where we can see what actually shows up. You see a little bit of the text that I put in myself and you see that the project title actually comes in as the New Business – Webinar example.

Now for the center, I might want to have myself as the author of the project, so let’s set that here. And to the right I might be interested in percentage of completion. Let’s add the percent complete value here as one of the project fields. If we click on OK now, what I see is I see that detail information showing up on the pages of my printout, which is typically very useful if we want to have this shared out, that we don’t need to look at the level zero task that we might or might not have in our schedule, and it gives us just a little bit more information. If we click on print now we could get a PDF print of course, and it will look just a little bit nicer.

Further changing of the print can be done by instead of having that percentage complete here, I might be interested to add our logo, and that is this little ancient icon here. I can open this up and I can navigate to my MPUG articles and I have the MPUG logo here, and I would just size this a little bit better by double-tapping it. Here we see that we have a logo, making it that much more personal for anyone that gets this. This is particularly useful when you are an external consultant for an organization or in a construction situation. You might want to have your construction logo here as well, and you can resize it by using this little icons here. If you resized it, it might show up just a little nicer here in the top right corner. So changing this header would give you more information about your project without hindering the actual Gantt chart real estate.

So what is included within the general information? You get a couple of values that you know already. The page numbers is logical, the total page count, project title, but then company name, manager name, then project start date, finish date, current date, status date. We know view date and report date are easy. Filter and group we discussed in the first part of this series. File name, file path also sounds very logical and easy to understand. Then there’s subject, author and keywords. So company name, manager name, author, subject and keyword are items; where do we get that information, because it’s not under the regular buttons that we know in love within Microsoft project? They’re actually hidden quite far away within the tool.

How to access those is we go over to info. We head on over to project information, and there’s two buttons here. One gives you a key summary of your current schedule, including costs of work and baseline. And the other one gives you advanced properties. And these are not Microsoft Project schedule properties, but file properties, just like you have within Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint. So what I’ve done is I included the author, and I could even include my manager, and I can include the company.

If I click on OK now, I can use that data and … And this is nice. It says Print, but actually it’s Print Preview, right? So we can get over to the Page Setup, and now I can use that information in the center of the header. I can navigate to the manager, there it is, manager, and I can click on company name. Where is company name? Here it is. And I can have that on three different sections. Once I’ve done that and I zoom in, [inaudible 00:19:35] zoom down, and here we have that little information stated there as well.

Looking deeper in the Page Setup, we now know that there is formulas that are being used for general information as well as project fields. Now we don’t have options to include a lot, but not everything at least, but there is at least an option to include all of our custom fields that we’ve created during the life of the project as well as WBS and work variants, schedule variants, costs. Actually, there’s quite a lot that you can include in any of these headers, footers, or legends.

So let’s navigate to the footer, which currently contains just the page one. And if we remove this and we click on OK, we actually get some real estate back. So you could make the choice to only have a header or only a footer, and that will give you more real estate for the actual Gantt chart and the table. So navigating back to the footer, it typically has the same interface as the header has, so you can include the same things. Just one more note about the other buttons here. This one changes the font. This one changes the page titles at all the pages. This one navigates to the date, the time, and the file name. So these are typically very easy to use and frequently used buttons that Microsoft has put in there for your convenience.

So once again, this is the image icon and that gives you the option to include your logo. Then there is this section on the bottom, which is taking up all that real estate, and that real estate we want to use for different purposes and we want to have the Gantt chart in there. So let’s have a look at the legend. And the legend has a left side, which is this little box here. You can include a center and a right page, but that is still within that little section here. So don’t be fooled. This isn’t the same big interface as we have for the headers and the footers. This is just that little box here. Now you can say that you want to have the legend on every page, on a separate page, or no page at all. And the width here will change the size of this little box here. So we can increase this. Let’s see what happens. So here we see that it moves over just a little bit, but the legend, I typically remove this because I do find that most people aren’t interested in the naming convention or the actual input from these … Yeah, the colors of what is this? Yeah, this is a task. Everyone knows that, right? This is a summary task. Everyone knows that.

Then finally, if you have a legend page, by the way, it’s a separate page which is completely blank but just has that legend on the bottom. It doesn’t fill that page. So let’s leave this out. And on the view page, I can include a page that adds notes. And this is very useful if we have a lot of notes. Currently we just have one. We can add a separate page to print out all the notes. Another useful button here is that we can set this to print all the sheet columns. If we do that and we have a lot of columns in our table and that fills up the whole page and you might need to have additional pages for the Gantt chart itself. But let’s create that print notes. And what it does, it creates a separate page and that contains the number that we have for that task, the name of that task, and the added note itself. So typically very useful for large schedules that do have notes in there.

Yeah, we’re close to wrapping up. I want to give you an alternative to printing, and that alternative is selecting what you do want to have on a screen, and we’re not going to call it printing anymore. Clicking on task and clicking on copy and copy to picture. We click on copy to picture. We get the option to create an image. And we’re going to create that image and we can say that it is on the selected rows as shown on screen, or we can set the dates. We click on OK. I can now navigate to that location that I have here, and it would have a nice little picture of just this section that I have copied. And you can print this out again without the hassle of having to look into a legend, a footer, a header, page details and all that. So you can have a nice little print out of a section of your schedule.

Looking at the time, let’s wrap it up. And maybe half an hour is too short a time. Maybe it’s just enough. Let me know in the discussion right now. So what we’ve seen is default printing is practically useless. What we have seen is how to customize it using the Page Setup, and we’ve seen a short alternative to printing. Kyle, are there any questions?

Kyle: Thanks, Erik. We did have a couple of questions that came in. I think you actually answered a couple along the way as well, but we’ve had a couple of the viewers asking about printing reports or printing or copying the timeline itself, other aspects of the project, if you had any comments on that.

Erik van Hurck: Yes, yes. So one of the things that I do want to note is the view that you have active is to be printed. So I now have the Gantt chart active and it will print just that. Clicking on the timeline and clicking on the Print Preview now, we’ll actually change that to the timeline view. So be sure that you have the correct view selected before you click on print. There’s different options in typical views like this one. The Page Setup does still contain a couple of the values, but the view, for instance, is lost. There is no legend, but you do still have the footer and the header options here. An alternative to printing out the timeline directly is optional by copying the timeline. I right-clicked on it and there’s three options you can click on for email, for presentation. I typically use the full size and it will put that on your clipboard easily to distribute over a Word file, for instance, or any of that.

Now printing out reports, let’s have a look at that. And like we’ve seen last week, we had created our own little view. So here we are back at part two. When we print this out, we typically see Microsoft Project tearing it apart again. What we want to do is go ahead and look at the Page Setup again and say fit this to one page. And then, yeah, it just screws it up, right? So what we would do in these kinds of situations is we either copy parts of this in a Word file or in a PowerPoint presentation or we use that, or we do a print screen and copy that. And yeah, I do totally agree with anyone saying that this is not the ideal situation of printing this part out. Any other questions?

Kyle: I think that does it, Erik. That takes us up pretty close to the end point here. I would just like to say for anyone that does have additional questions or if your questions weren’t answered, you can always go to the on-demand recording of the video. We’ll send a link out later today. And there’s a comment section at the bottom there, so if you have any additional questions, please post those there, and then we should be able to get answers for you on that.

Erik van Hurck: Yes. As a final note from my side, I want to thank everyone for attending part three and the rest of the series, if you did attend. I will send out a this file that we’ve used today and throughout the series as well as the presentations themselves as PDFs to Kyle, and Kyle will distribute that to the MPUG community as he would normally do. That’s all for me for today, so thank you very much for attending.

Kyle: Thank you so much Erik, and if anyone wants to reach out to you, what would be the best way to do that?

Erik van Hurck: Ah, yep. I have a slide for that. Very good. Thanks for reminding me. So if you do have questions, reach out to me either through Twitter or using the email address that’s on the screen now. As Kyle mentioned, I do have my personal blog and this is the email that is attached to that. Thank you very much, once again.

Kyle: Excellent. Thanks Erik. And for those of you claiming the PDU code, I’ll get that back on the screen before we close out here. I just would like to thank you, Erik. That was a great session and a great series altogether, so we really appreciate that and taking the time to share your expertise with the MPUG community. That was great.

Erik van Hurck: Thank you.

Kyle: For anyone that may have missed any of the three sessions that Erik presented, or if you’d like to go back and review anything, all three sessions will be available to MPUG members on-demand, and in just a few hours you’ll receive that email that I mentioned and it’ll have a link to today’s recording, and you can also access the others through that as well. And that’s the great place for you to ask any questions that you may have that may not have been answered during the live presentation.

So everyone claiming the PDU for today’s session, that’s on the screen now, mpugwebnlearn102319 is the code, and that’s a half a technical PDU. And I just wanted to quickly mention that we do have some great sessions that are now in the calendar, recently added. November 13th, Dale Howard will return for a session covering the Cost Model in Microsoft Project. On November 20th, Tad Haas will join us on How Innovation in Portfolio Management Office Underpins Corporate Success. And we do have some other sessions that are being added as well, so be sure to check those out and reserve your seat today. I just chatted over a link that you can use to sign up for those sessions, and that does it for today’s presentation. Thanks again for joining us. Thanks, Erik, for presenting, and we hope you enjoyed the session and the series and hope you have a great rest of your day, and we’ll see you back soon. Thanks.

Erik van Hurck: Yes, bye everyone. Until next time.


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Written by Erik van Hurck
Erik van Hurck is a Senior PPM consultant for Projectum, a western European Microsoft Partner with offices in Denmark and The Netherlands. On top of that Erik is a Microsoft MVP. As such, Erik assists enterprise customers to adopt the new Power Platform cloud solutions for Project and Portfolio Management. Erik has a personal blog (www.theprojectcornerblog.com) and is also a writer for the Microsoft Project User Group (MPUG.com).
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