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Custom Number Fields in Microsoft Project

Define a custom numeric field in your Microsoft Project plan

Microsoft Project provides you with 20 numeric fields to display a variety of data. If you're working on a construction project, you might want to know how many bulldozers are required for each phase. Or if you're developing a drug, you might want to know how many syringes will be needed for each step of a clinical trial.

Unfortunately, the names of these 20 fields Microsoft provides are not very descriptive: Number1, Number2, ... Number20. Some project managers shy away from using them for this reason. But did you know you can rename the fields to anything you want?

  1. To create a custom number field, first simply right-click on the column headings area, as shown with the red arrow below. When the context menu appears, select Custom Fields.

    Right-click on any column heading in Project to access the Custom Fields dialog box.

  2. The Custom Fields dialog box will appear. Initially, the Type shown in the dropdown in the upper right-hand corner will be Text. Change this selection to Number, and you will see the 20 number fields:

    The Custom Fields dialog box, showing numeric fields.

  3. From here, simply select a field and click the Rename... button below the list of fields. A smaller dialog will pop up, prompting you to specify a new name for this field. In this case, we've selected Number1 and will call it Headcount Required.

    Renaming the Number1 field to Headcount Required.

  4. Hit OK on the Rename Field dialog box, and you will see the name updated in the list of fields:

    Custom Fields dialog box showing Number1 renamed to Headcount Required.

  5. Now we can use our field! Project displays our custom name, not Number1, so it’s easier for everyone to understand.

    The renamed field as it displays in Microsoft Project.

  6. There is another, less commonly used way to choose a different name for a field in Microsoft Project: retitling. To access this feature, again right-click on the column heading area, being sure your mouse cursor is positioned over the field you wish to retitle (otherwise, this option will be grayed out). This time, instead of choosing Custom Fields, select Field Settings.

    Accessing the Field Settings dialog box.

  7. The Field Settings dialog box will appear. You will see that the Title field is blank. Here, you may retitle your field by entering any text. For illustration, we'll write People Required.

    Retitling the numeric Project field we have already renamed.

  8. This change replaces Headcount Required with People Required in our Microsoft Project plan.

    The retitling of the field overrides the earlier renaming.

Last Modified: December 10, 2020