If you just love the capabilities that PivotTable reports in Excel and Visio offer, you'll be glad to know that the same capability has come to Project 2007 in the form of Visual Reports. Pivot tables allow you to view data from a variety of perspectives beyond the Project standard report capabilities. Pivot tables offer perspectives that are especially useful for data analysis.
The Visual Reports feature allows you to select the fields you want to view and to modify your reports on the fly.
Getting an overview of what's available
Project offers six categories of Visual Reports as well as custom reports that you can build yourself. Some are based on timephased data (data distributed over time, such as allocations of resource time or costs), and some aren't. The report categories include
^ Task Usage: Based on timephased data for tasks, this category of report gives you a peek at information such as cash flow and earned value over time.
^ Resource Usage: Based on timephased resource data, these reports include cash flow, resource availability, resource costs, and resource work data.
^ Assignment Usage: Also based on timephased data, this category of reports provides information in areas such as baseline versus actual costs and baseline versus actual work.
^ Task Summary, Resource Summary, and Assignment Summary: These three categories of reports provide diagram views of a variety of work and cost data. These three categories are not based on timephased data.
Generating a Visual Report is simplicity itself; you simply choose a report, decide whether you want to generate it in Excel or Visio, and view or print the report.
You need to know a couple of things before you create a Visual Report. First, to access Visual Reports, you have to have installed .NET Framework 2.0 from Microsoft (a free download) before you installed Project. Second, if you have a version of Excel or Visio that's earlier than 2007, you have to add .NET Programmability support. Visit the Microsoft Project page at www.office. microsoft.com/project to get information about both products.
If you want to customize a Visual Report, you need some knowledge of pivot tables in Excel or Visio. Because covering pivot tables in those products is beyond the scope of this book, I heartily recommend Excel 2007 For Dummies (Greg Harvey) and Visio 2007 For Dummies (John Paul Mueller; both from Wiley).
Follow these steps to generate a standard Visual Report:
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What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.