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Setting Up Your Project’s Calendars

Project 2013 uses calendars that identify working times to determine when resources in your organization are likely available to work on tasks in your project.

There are four types of calendars:

  • Base calendars: Project uses base calendars as a starting point for creating the other three types of calendars (project, task, and resource calendars). You can think of them as templates upon which other calendars are based. Use base calendars to enter things like holidays, typical working hours, or other organization-wide calendar items. When you enter a holiday or a change to working times in a base calendar, those changes are automatically reflected in all other calendars that use that base calendar
  • Project calendars: The project calendar sets the default working times for all tasks in your project. For example, if most of the work on your project happens between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, the out-of-the-box Standard calendar is the best choice for your project calendar.
  • Resource calendars: Use resource calendars to track the schedules of individual resources. For example, if a resource has a flexible work arrangement and works four 10-hour days instead of five 8-hour days, you can set that resource’s calendar to reflect that schedule without changing the overall schedule for all other resources in the organization.
  • Task calendars: Task calendars are not often used by newcomers to Project, but they can be very powerful. Use task calendars to enter special days specific to individual tasks in your project. For example, if the task must happen over a weekend but your project calendar specifies weekends as nonworking time, you can use a task calendar to call out that weekend as working time for just that task while leaving the rest of the project using the normal project calendar.

Modifying an Existing Base Calendar

Project comes with three base calendars already configured:

  • Standard: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, with a 1-hour lunch break
  • 24 Hours: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., 4 p.m. to 12 a.m., and 12 a.m. to 8 a.m., continuously, with no breaks
  • Night Shift: 11 p.m. to 8 a.m. weekdays, with a 1-hour break

You can modify these base calendars to meet your organization’s needs.

To choose which base calendar you want to modify, complete these steps:

  1. On the Project tab, in the Properties group, click Change Working Time.
  2. Click the For calendar list, and then click the base calendar you want to modify.
  3. Review the working times displayed on the right portion of the Change Working Time dialog box. Click a day on the calendar to review its working times, as shown in Figure 3.7.

    FIGURE 3.7

    FIGURE 3.7. Working times are displayed for the selected calendar day.

While on the Change Working Time dialog box, you can make several different kinds of changes to the selected base calendar.

Changing a Working Day to a Nonworking Day

To change a working day to a nonworking day (for example, to add a company holiday), complete these steps:

  1. Click the day of the holiday in the calendar.
  2. Type the name of the holiday in the Name column on the Exceptions tab, and then press Tab. By default, the Start and Finish fields for the exception are set to the days you have selected in the calendar control at the top of the dialog. If those are not the dates you want, you can enter the desired dates.
  3. Double-click the holiday, and then click Nonworking on the Details dialog box.
  4. If the holiday is observed on a regular basis, you can set a Recurrence pattern and Range of recurrence.
  5. Click OK to add the holiday to the selected base calendar.

Changing a Nonworking Day to a Working Day

To change a nonworking day to a working day (for example, for an event occurring over a weekend), complete these steps:

  1. Click the day of the event in the calendar.
  2. Type the name of the event in the Name column on the Exceptions tab, and then press Tab. By default, the Start and Finish fields for the exception are set to the days you have selected in the calendar control at the top of the dialog. If those are not the dates you want, you can enter the desired dates.
  3. Double-click the event, and then click Working times on the Details dialog box.
  4. Select the Working times radio button at the top of the Details dialog.
  5. Use the From and To columns to define the working hours for the event (see Figure 3.8).

    FIGURE 3.8

    FIGURE 3.8. Set the working times for your new working day.

  6. If the event is scheduled on a regular basis, you can set a Recurrence pattern and Range of recurrence.
  7. Click OK to add the event to the selected base calendar.

Changing Default Working Times

To change the default working times for the base calendar, complete these steps:

  1. Click the Work Weeks tab, and then double-click [Default].
  2. Click a day of the week in the Select day(s) box, or use Ctrl-click or Shift-click to select multiple days, and then choose which option you want to use for scheduling on the selected days:

    • Use Project default times for these days: Click this to use the calendar options from the Project Options dialog box to define the working times on the selected days.
    • Set days to nonworking time: Click this to identify the selected days as planned days off.
    • Set day(s) to these specific working times: Click this and use the From and To columns to identify the working times for the selected days.
  3. Click OK to change the default working times for the selected base calendar.

    FIGURE 3.9

    FIGURE 3.9. Change the default working times for your base calendar.

Changing Working Times for a Specific Time Period

You may have specific weeks when the working times need to be different from the default working times. For example, if your organization has a week-long training session that limits the amount of project time to half-days for that week, you can include the schedule changes for that week in the base calendar.

To change the working times for a specific time period in the base calendar, complete these steps:

  1. Click the Work Weeks tab, and then type a name for the changed period of working time in the Name column.
  2. Choose the start time for the changed period in the Start column, and then choose the finish time in the Finish column.
  3. Double-click the row you just created to bring up the Details dialog box.
  4. Click a day of the week in the Select day(s) box, or use Ctrl-click or Shift-click to select multiple days, and then choose which option you want to use for scheduling on the selected days:

    • Use Project default times for these days: Click this to use the calendar options from the Project Options dialog box to define the working times on the selected days.
    • Set days to nonworking time: Click this to identify the selected days as planned days off.
    • Set day(s) to these specific working times: Click this and use the From and To columns to identify the working times for the selected days.
  5. Click OK to add the changed working times to the selected base calendar.

Creating a New Base Calendar

If none of the default base calendars meet your needs, you can create a new base calendar to use as a starting point for the project, task, and resource calendars.

To create a new base calendar, complete these steps:

  1. On the Project tab, in the Properties group, click Change Working Time.
  2. Click Create New Calendar.
  3. Choose how you want to create the calendar:
    • Create a new base calendar: Click this to create a new calendar from scratch. Working times are set to the calendar options from the Project Options dialog box, by default.
    • Make a copy of [existing base] calendar: Click this to use an existing base calendar as a starting point for your new base calendar. Use the drop-down list to choose which base calendar you want to copy. This option can save you a ton of time if an existing calendar already has most of the settings you need.
  4. Type a name for your new base calendar in the Name box.
  5. Click OK to create your new base calendar.

Use the steps in the previous section, “Modify an Existing Base Calendar,” to do the following:

  • Change a working day to a nonworking day
  • Change a nonworking day to a working day
  • Change the default working times for the new base calendar
  • Change the working times for a specific time period in the new base calendar

Setting Up Your Project’s Calendar

When setting up your project’s calendar, you need to decide which base calendar you want to use as a starting point. If most of your tasks need to be completed during normal working hours, choose the Standard base calendar. If most of your tasks need to be completed during off hours, the Night Shift base calendar may make more sense for your project. Or, if your project needs continuous coverage, choose the 24 Hours base calendar.

Remember that when you set the project calendar you are simply choosing what the default working times will be for tasks and resources in your project. You can modify working times for individual tasks and resources to reflect exceptions to the default hours.

To set your project’s calendar, complete these steps:

  1. On the Project tab of the ribbon, in the Properties group, click Project Information.
  2. Click Calendar and choose the base calendar that you want to use for your project.
  3. Click OK.
  4. On the Project tab, in the Properties group, click Change Working Time.
  5. Ensure that the base calendar you selected in step 2 is displayed in the For calendar list.
  6. Review the working times displayed on the right portion of the Change Working Time dialog box. Click a day on the calendar to review its working times.
  7. Use the steps in the “Modify an Existing Base Calendar” section to do the following:

    • Change a working day to a nonworking day
    • Change a nonworking day to a working day
    • Change the default working times for the project calendar
    • Change the working times for a specific time period in the project calendar
  8. Click OK to save your changes.
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