A user asked an interesting question recently in the Project Standard and Professional General Questions and Answers user forum about how to create a project calendar with alternate Saturdays as nonworking time. It was my good fortune to answer the user's question, and it is your good fortune to read this blog post and learn how to create such a calendar. To create this calendar, you must follow a two-step process:
- Set every Saturday as a working day.
- Create a recurring exception to set alternate Saturdays as nonworking time.
Here's how to create this custom calendar in either Microsoft Project 2007 or 2010 in set every Saturday as a working day:
1. Open any project in Microsoft Project.
2. Display the Project ribbon and then click the Change Working Time button.
3. In the Change Working Time dialog, click the Create New Calendar button. Microsoft Project displays the Create New Base Calendar dialog shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Create New Base
4. Enter a name such as Standard with Alternating Saturdays in the Name field and then click the OK button.
5. Click the Work Weeks tab in the lower left corner of the dialog. Microsoft Project displays the Work Weeks page of the Change Working Time dialog shown in Figure 2.
Figure 2: Work Weeks page in the
Change Working Time dialog
6. Select the [Default] item in the data grid, if not already selected, and then click the Details button.
7. In the Details dialog, select Saturday in the Select Days list and then select the Set Days To These Specific Working Times option.
8. In the From and To data grid, enter the working time for every Saturday, such as 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM, as shown in Figure 3.
Figure 3: Completed Details
for [Default] dialog
9. Click the OK button.
By completing this first set of steps, you make every Saturday a working day, which completes the first step in the two-step process. Next, you must set every other Saturday as nonworking time by completing the following steps:
1. Click the Exceptions tab in the Change Working Time dialog.
2. In the calendar grid at the top of the dialog, select the date of the next nonworking Saturday in the future, such as February 4, for example.
3. In the Exceptions grid at the bottom, click the first blank line.
4. Enter a name such as Nonworking Saturdays in the Exceptions data grid, and then press the Right-Arrow key on your keyboard to navigate to the Start cell, as shown in Figure 4. Notice that the system marks only the selected Saturday as nonworking time and activates the Details button.
Figure 4: Nonworking Saturdays exception
in the Change Working Time dialog
5. Make sure the Nonworking Saturdays line item is still selected and then click the Details button.
6. In the Details dialog, leave the Daily option selected, and then set the Every option to 14 days.
7. Set the End After option to as many nonworking Saturdays as you need, such as 26 for example. Figure 5 shows the completed Details dialog.
Figure 5: Completed Details dialog
8. Click the OK button to close the Details dialog.
Figure 6 shows the Change Working Time dialog with every other Saturday marked as nonworking time on the Standard with Alternating Saturdays custom calendar. Notice that the system marked February 4 and 18 as nonworking days, but left February 11 and 25 as working days.
Figure 6: Nonworking Saturdays recurring
exception in the Change Working Time dialog
9. Click the OK button to close the Change Working Time dialog.
To make this new calendar the Project calendar for your project, click the Project Information button in the Project ribbon. Click the Calendar pick list, choose the new calendar you just created, and then click the OK button. By completing this step, you tell Microsoft Project to schedule all unassigned tasks using the schedule on this new calendar. If your resources also work this custom alternating Saturday schedule, you should apply the Resource Sheet view of your project and specify this calendar as the Base Calendar for every resource.
If you set this custom calendar as the Project calendar for your project, you should also make this new calendar the Non-Working Time calendar for the project as well. To do this, double-click anywhere in the gray area of the Gantt Chart on the right side of the Gantt Chart view. In the Timescale dialog, click the Calendar pick list and select the new calendar. By the way, selecting the custom calendar as the Non-Working Time calendar causes Microsoft Project to show the recurring non-working Saturdays as gray shaded bands in the Gantt Chart. Notice in Figure 7 that the Preview section of the dialog shows Saturday, February 4, as a nonworking day, but shows the previous Saturday and the next Saturday as working days (as expected).
Figure 7: Timescale dialog with the new calendar
selected as the Non-Working Time calendar
10. Click the OK button.
You should now see alternating Saturdays as nonworking time, shown in the Gantt Chart as gray shaded bands. If you want to use this special custom calendar in other projects, click File > Info > Organizer > Calendars and copy the new calendar from the right side of the Organizer dialog (from the project) to the left side of the dialog (into the Global.mpt file) and then click OK.
Perhaps the ideas in this blog post will inspire you to create your own custom calendars in Microsoft Project 2007 or 2010!