Defining outline numbers

In the preceding section, I offered a scenario in which you're working on a government contract, and you and the government have agreed to a numbering scheme. In a case like this, you don't want WBS codes to change — even if you move tasks around. So, don't rely on WBS codes in Project; instead, use outline codes, which are static.

Note You can assign both an outline code and a WBS code to a task.

Outline codes work similarly to the way that WBS codes work. However, outline codes are customizable, and they are not tied to the outline structure of your project. For example, you may want to assign a department code to a task so that you can view the project organized by department. Or, you may want to assign a company cost code to a task so that you can view tasks by cost code. And, you can create a list of valid outline codes for users to enter.

To define outline codes, follow these steps:

1. Choose ToolsOCustomizeOFields. Project displays the Customize Fields dialog box, as shown in Figure 7-26. Click the Custom Outline Codes tab.

Figure 7-26: Select an outline code to customize. Read more about customizing fields in Chapter 19.

2. Choose an Outline Code to customize.

3. To provide a meaningful name for the code, click the Rename button and type the new name. Then click OK to redisplay the Customize Fields dialog box.

4. Click the Define Code Mask button to display the Outline Code Definition dialog box, shown in Figure 7-27.

5. In the Sequence column, select the type of character that you want to use for each level of the outline code.

6. In the Length column, use the list to choose the length for the level of the outline code.

7. In the Separator column, use the list box to select period (.), dash (-), plus (+), or slash (/), or type in any character that is not a number or a letter (such as =).

8. Repeat the previous steps for each level that you want to define.

Outlire Cede Definition for 'I'en'. Code" _

Cotte pf Bvlevj: I AAAA. 1 lTT

Outlire Cede Definition for 'I'en'. Code" _

Cotte pf Bvlevj: I AAAA. 1 lTT

Code mask:

Import Outline Code...

Xj 1 Numbers

A

Level

Sequence

Length

Separator

• =

I

Uppercase Letters

4

Numbers

Numbers

Uppercase Letters Lowercase Letters

Characters

V

V only 3I0i/f codes Isted In the [ocfcup tcfcile

I- Only alcyf new codas wih values In all levels of mask

Uefp EJtUmlmTable,,, | I OK Cancel

V only 3I0i/f codes Isted In the [ocfcup tcfcile

I- Only alcyf new codas wih values In all levels of mask

Uefp EJtUmlmTable,,, | I OK Cancel

Figure 7-27: The Outline Code Definition dialog box looks and operates like the WBS Code Definition dialog box.

If you simply want to create a mask for the outline code so that users use the correct format, you can click OK. You may want to select the last check box to ensure that users enter outline codes that match the mask.

To restrict the use of outline codes to a specific list of codes, click the Edit Lookup Table button in the Outline Code Definition dialog box to define permissible codes in the Edit Lookup Table dialog box, as shown in Figure 7-28.

Figure 7-28: Use this dialog box to define the allowable lookup codes.

On the first line, type a permissible outline code for Level 1. On the second line, type an outline code for Level 2 that is permissible under the outline code that you supplied for Level 1 and click the Indent button (the right arrow) at the top of the dialog box. On the third line, type another acceptable Level 2 outline code. If you need a Level 3 outline code under a Level 2 outline code, simply type the code on a blank line below the Level 2 outline code and click the Indent button again. To supply another Level 1 code, type the code and click the Outdent button (the left arrow) as many times as necessary, depending on the last code that you entered.

Repeat the process, filling in the acceptable outline codes. If you forget to include a code, highlight the code that you want to appear below the code that you'll add, and then click the Insert Row button at the top of the dialog box. And, if a code becomes invalid at some later date, reopen this dialog box, highlight the code, and click the Delete Row button.

Click the Close button to redisplay the Outline Code Definition dialog box. If you don't want to allow outline codes that don't appear in the lookup table, select the Only allow codes listed in the lookup table check box. Then click the OK button to redisplay the Customize Fields dialog box, and click OK again to redisplay your project.

To display a column for an outline code, you follow the same process that you used to display the column for the WBS code. Right-click the column that you want to appear to the right of the Outline Code column, and choose Insert Column. In the Column Definition dialog box, open the Field Name list box and select the outline code that you defined. Click Best Fit, and Project displays the column, but it's empty. Because outline codes don't follow an "ordered" pattern (in other words, alphabetical or numerical), Project has no way of knowing what outline codes to assign to a particular task. If you didn't create list entries, you can simply type the outline codes into the column.

Tip Outline codes may need to match the mask that you created.

If you created list entries (and if you told Project to only allow outline codes listed in the lookup table), click in the column. You see a list box arrow. When you open the list box, the entries from the lookup table appear, as shown in Figure 7-29.

Figure 7-29: You can choose outline codes from the entries that are listed in the lookup table.
Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

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.

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