In recent weeks we’ve been hearing from a lot of customers whose multi-project OnePager files are behaving strangely. Tasks that were previously red are now blue, or are showing up in the wrong row/swimlane, etc. – it’s like OnePager has amnesia. Needless to say, this is not a fun experience, for customers or for us! But we think we have identified the cause behind most of these problems, and the solution.
What’s going on is that Microsoft Project has a weird response when a user renames a .mpp file. What often occurs is that the Project Summary Task, which appears at the top (as task 0) in every MS Project file (see below), is also renamed when the .mpp file is renamed. This confuses OnePager in a multi-project environment. If OnePager is, say, sorting swimlanes by Project Name, it relies on the Project Summary Task of each individual project to determine what each Project Name is. If OnePager goes back to an MS Project file and the Project Summary Task has been renamed, OnePager thinks that it has never seen this project and its tasks before, and as a result task sorting and formatting is thrown off.
Fortunately, the solution is simple: If you rename your .mpp file, immediately check your Project Summary Task, and if it has changed, rename it back to what it was before. To do this:
- From the Format menu of MS Project, in the Show/Hide group, check the box for Project Summary Task so it displays as task 0.
- Double-click on the Task Name of the Project Summary Task.
- In the dialog box that pops up (see below), change the “Name” field back to the original name of the project, if that name has changed.
Unfortunately we are all at the mercy of MS Project on this issue. We don’t know of any automated way to instruct MS Project to preserve Project Summary Task names when a file rename occurs. So please check your Project Summary Task carefully whenever you rename a .mpp file. And of course feel free to get in touch with our support team ([email protected]) if you have any questions, or if your project views start to look a little strange!