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Add a New Enterprise Custom Field

Create a new enterprise custom field in Project Server or Project Online

This article will quickly show you how to use the Project Web App (PWA) to add a new enterprise custom field to your Project Online or Project Server environment.

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Basic Setup Instructions

  1. Launch a web browser and navigate to your Project Web App site. This is the web version of Project Online or Project Server, and is where you can change settings such as your enterprise custom fields:

    Log into PWA through your web browser.

    In this example, our Project Online URL is https://mycompanysite.sharepoint.com/sites/pwa/default.aspx but you'll need to change it to your real URL.

  2. Enter your username and password to log into PWA.
  3. Once logged in, click on the gear (Settings) icon in the upper-right of the PWA window, and then choose the PWA Settings option from the dropdown:

    PWA Settings.

  4. On the PWA Settings screen, locate the Enterprise Data heading, and click on Enterprise Custom Fields and Lookup Tables:

    Enterprise Custom Fields and Lookup Tables.

  5. If there are aleady enterprise custom fields set up in your Project Server or Project Online environemnt, you'll see them listed here. To add a field, click on New Field:

    PWA Enterprise Custom Field New Field Button

  6. On the PWA New Custom Field page, begin by giving your enterprise custom field a name:

    Enterprise Custom Field Name

    When naming your enterprise custom field, there are a few important things to keep in mind. First, the name needs to be unique. It cannot be a duplicate of any other enterprise custom field that you have already created. To avoid confusion, it should have a name that is similar to any of your other fields, either.

    You should be careful with spaces, capital/lowercase, and other special symbols in your field name. When referencing this enterprise custom field, it will have to match exactly, so you want to give your field a name that isn't prone to typos.

    Keep your field name short enough to be easy to remember, but long enough to be descriptive!

  7. Next, you can give your field a description. The description is optional, but it is a good way to help yourself and others remember what the field is for, especially if the field name itself is short.
  8. Next, you need to assign your new field to an Entity in Project Server. There are three options:

    Enterprise Custom Field Entity (Task, Project, Resource)

    The Project Entity means that the field applies at the overall project level. So, if you want to track budget at a very high level, you can create a project-level enterprise custom field. This is Microsoft's default selection, though in our experience, it is not the most widely used, so you may not want to simply accept this default option.

    The Task Entity means that you will be able to give a value to your field for each task in your project plan. So, if you need to assign a status or percent complete to multiple tasks in your project plan, you will want your enterprise custom field to be at the task-level. This is the most common entity that Project Online users choose for their new enterprise custom fields, even though it is not Microsoft's default.

    The Resource Entity applies to the resources who are assigned to your project plan. Resources can be people, teams, or pieces of equipment. If you need to understand allocation, usage, availability, or cost of a resource, then you can associate your enterprise custom field at the resource-level.

    Not sure which to choose? Start with the Task Entity, which works for most project managers.

  9. After assigning the Entity, you need to assign the Type. The are six datatypes in Project Server that you can use:

    Enterprise Custom Field Entity (Task, Project, Resource)

    The Cost Datatype is used to represent project cost and budget information. It is a specially-formatted number with two decimal places and a currency symbol in front of it.

    The Date Datatype is used to represent dates. It is a good way to track deadlines, key project dates or milestones, as well as alternate baselines.

    The Duration Datatype is a hybrid field that contains both a number and some calendar units. For example, a duration can be "3 days" or "4 months". We generally advise against using durations, since it can be hard to format them, use them in formulas, or convert them into other data types given their hybrid nature.

    The Flag Datatype is a simple Yes/No selector, which is sometimes called a Boolean. If you need to quickly mark certain items as meeting a condition, or being True/False, flags are a good way to do this.

    The Number Datatype is a general numeric field that can be used anywhere that you need to perform mathematical calculations. It is more broadly-applicable than the cost datatype because it does not always have to be formatted as a currency.

    The Text Datatype is the most commonly-used type of enterprise custom field and can contain any combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. This is sometimes called a string field. Text fields are very flexible because they do not restrict what you can enter into them, so are good general-purpose fields for comments, categorization, and the like. Keep in mind that if you enter numbers into a text field, those numbers will be treated as text, not as true numbers. This means that you can't sort, add, or subtract these numbers the same way that you would with a numeric field.

    Not sure which to choose? Start with the Text Datatype, which works for most project managers, and is the default anyway.

Advanced Setup Instructions

The instructions above show you the bare minimum settings that you need to create a new enterprise custom field. The more advanced settings below are optional, but are useful when you need to have more flexibility in how your enterprise custom field is configured.

  1. Custom Attributes allow you to decide how the values of the enterprise custom field will be populated:

    Enterprise Custom Field Entity (Task, Project, Resource)

    Choose None if you want complete control over the values in your field, and would like to be able to type in anything you'd like.

    Choose Lookup Table if you want a list of predefined values, sometimes called a picklist, to define what can and cannot be entered into the field. If you plan on having a handful of values that will be repeated over and over, and are worried about typos or other inconsistencies, lookup tables are a smart option. In order to select this option, you will need to have created a lookup table prior to creating the enterprise custom field.

    Choose Formula if you want Project Server or Project Online to automatically calculate the values for your enterprise custom field based on the values in other fields. For example, you could add two number fields together, compare the earlier of two different dates, etc.

    If you're just getting started with enterprise custom fields, we recommend choosing None so that you can have a free-form field initially.

  2. With the Department selection, you have the option to limit the field so it is only visible to certain departments. We recommend skipping this initially so that everyone in your organization can make use of the field. You can always add a departmental restriction later if needed.
  3. The Calculation for Summary Rows option lets you decide how values will be assigned to your new enterprise custom field for summary tasks. Most of the time, you can leave this as None so that summary fields can be free-form just like all other fields.

    However, if you do want to perform a calculation at the summary level based on the values of subtasks, choose the Rollup option, and you'll be presented with several ways to do a rollup calculation:

    Summary Row Rollup Calculation: Minimum, Maximum, Sum, Average.

    Rollup calculations are most useful for numeric enterprise custom fields, since your rollup calculation can be a minimum, maximum, average, sum, or other types of statistical calculations.

    Finally, if the values in your enterprise custom field are driven by a formula, the Use Formula option allows you to apply that same formula to your summary tasks. If you do not have a formula in place for your subtasks, the Use Formula option will not be selectable.

  4. The Calculation for Assignment Rows applies how your enterprise custom field gets rolled down to assignments. Most of the time, you should select None, though if you prefer that values roll down to assignments, the Roll Down, unless manually specified option is available as well. This is not common.
  5. The Values to Display setting lets you determine whether you want to display actual Data in your enterprise custom field, or it you want to represent it with a Graphical Indicator such as a symbol. Most of the time, it's best to leave your enterprise custom field so that it shows actual data, especially if you are using a tool like OnePager Pro to build your reports from Project Server or Project Online. This will make it easier to see what is in your field and to diagnose any potential issues.
  6. At the bottom, the Behavior setting lets you decide whether you want to require that users always enter a value into the enterprise custom field, or if it's ok to sometimes leave it blank. The specific setting reads Require that this field has information. If you choose Yes, users will not be able to save their project plans until they populate the field. This is typically not recommended.
  7. Once all of your settings have been selected, click Save, and the new field should appear in your list of available enterprise custom fields in Project Server or Project Online.

Editing an Enterprise Custom Field

Once an enterprise custom field has been added to Project Server or Project Online, you can still change its settings, if you didn't get it right the first time around.

  1. Log back into PWA using your Project Online/Project Server username and password.
  2. Click on the gear (Settings) icon in the upper-right of the PWA window, and then choose the PWA Settings option from the dropdown:

    PWA Settings.

  3. On the PWA Settings screen, in the Enterprise Data section, click on Enterprise Custom Fields and Lookup Tables:

    Enterprise Custom Fields and Lookup Tables.

  4. All of the enterprise custom fields in your environment will be displayed here. Simply click on the name of the field that you would like to edit:

    Click on an enterprise custom field to edit its properties.

  5. You'll be taken back to the same page that you used to create the enterprise custom field to begin with:

    Edit an existing enterprise custom field.

    From here, you can change most of the simple field settings. For example, you can change the name of the field to correct a typo, and you can update the description.

    However, you cannot change the more fundamental properties of the field such as its entity (task, project, resource), or data type (text, number, flag, etc.). If you find that you need to change these properties, it's best to delete the field and create a new field with the desired settings instead.

  6. Once you've made the necessary changes, click the Save button, and your field settings will be updated in PWA.

Copying an Enterprise Custom Field

If you need to create several enterprise custom fields that will share many of the same properties, copying one field to another is a faster way to get the job done.

  1. Left-click on the field that you want to copy to select it.
  2. With the field selected, click on the Copy Field button:

    Copy an existing enterprise custom field to create a new field.

  3. A window will pop up, prompting you to give your new enterprise field a different name. We recommend changing it from the "Copy of..." default that Project Online assigns:

    Give your copied enterprise custom field a new name.

  4. Click OK and the field will appear in the grid for immediate use, or any additional edits that you need to make.

Deleting an Enterprise Custom Field

If an enterprise custom field is no longer in use, or if you need to make so many changes to a given field that it's best to start over, PWA gives you the option to delete a field and remove it from Project Server or Project Online.

  1. Left-click on the field that you want to delete to select it.
  2. With the field selected, click on the Delete Field button:

    Delete an enterprise custom field from Project Server or Project Online.

  3. A confirmation box will pop up, making sure that you really want to delete the field. Once you delete it, there's no going back!

    Give your copied enterprise custom field a new name.

  4. Click OK and the field will disappear from the grid of available enterprise custom fields.

Last Modified: May 6, 2019