Create amazing Reports with Microsoft Project

When managing a project using Microsoft Project, stakeholders often need to receive progress updates. Because not everyone can read a Gantt chart, MS Project comes with a set of pre-designed reports and dashboards to help you better understand your data. You can easily create amazing reports with Microsoft Project. Below is an explanation of the different types of report that can be created.

Dashboard Report Types

Project Reports


How much is completed on a project and what’s left to be done.

Cost Overview

The current status of top level tasks showing planned, remaining costs and cumulative costs.

Project Overview

How much of your project is complete, upcoming milestones, and tasks that are past due.

Upcoming tasks

The work that has been done in the current week, the status of any remaining tasks that were due, and what tasks are starting in the next week.

Other Report Types

Cash Flow

The cost and cumulative cost per quarter for all top level (summary) tasks.

Resource Cost Overview

The cost status of work resources showing cost details in a table and a chart showing cost distribution.

New Reports from templates

A chart for your project data, showing actual work, remaining work, and work by default.

A table for your project data, showing the Name, Start, Finish, and % Complete fields.

Two charts side-by-side, showing the same project data.

Visual Reports

View visual reports instantly in Excel or Visio

In MS Project, you can also view specific project data as a visual report in Excel or Visio, if you have those programs installed. Select Reports, Visual Reports, select an Excel or Visio report for your project data, and click View. Excel builds a local Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) cube file and shows your data in an Excel PivotChart or Visio PivotDiagram. This is a legacy feature from MS Project 2010 and earlier.

MS Project Visual Reports

Examples of Reports

Here are a few visual examples based on a sample project.

Cost Overview

Create amazing Reports with Microsoft Project

The Cost Overview report shows the following:

  • Costs, Remaining Costs and % complete.
  • A chart of cumulative costs.
  • A chart of cost status for top level tasks.
  • A cost status table for top level tasks.
Reporting changes to a project

In the same example, the first two phases of the project were completed as planned. There is a delay of 4 days with excavation due to bad weather.  The project plan shows which tasks are complete.

Gantt Chart

The Cost Overview Report now reflects the changes made and shows the project as 14% complete. The Cost Status table identifies the cost variance for the Foundation phase.

Create amazing Reports with Microsoft Project

Project Statistics


Select Report, Dashboard, Burndown to show graphically how much work and how many tasks are completed as well as what’s left to be done.

Create amazing Reports with Microsoft Project

Overallocated Resources Report

Select Report, Resources, Overallocated Resources to identify which resources are overallocated and at what points in the project. This is a great way of seeing where unnecessary costs are being lost.

Overallocated Resources

Cashflow Report

Being able to report and analyse your cash flow visually is a great way to track the spend of a project. It also makes the data digestible and ideal for sharing with clients and colleagues via email or PowerPoint presentation.

Select Reports, Cost, Cash Flow to see a chart and table of the project cash flow.

To change the timescale of the report from quarters to months:

Select the chart, click the Edit button for the Time category in Field List and choose Months.

Cash Flow

To learn how you can create amazing reports and project plans with Microsoft Project, why not consider an STL training course on Microsoft Project.

Multiple Timelines in Project 2016

Multiple Timelines in Project 2016

How to add Multiple Timelines in Project 2016

One of the new features of Project 2016 is being able to add more than one Timeline for a project.


If the Timeline is not displayed just select the View tab and click Timeline.

What is a Timeline?

The Timeline was introduced with Project 2010 and has become a popular feature.  It is visually appealing and can be easily to formatted and copied to other applications such as PowerPoint or Word. Not everyone understands Gantt Charts so the Timeline offers an alternative way to present a high level project summary.

Now with Project 2016 you can add multiple timeline bars to represent different sections of a project. Here is a simple example where each phase is colour coded.

Adding to the Timeline

Step 1 – Display the Timeline (View, Timeline)
Step 2 – Click within the Timeline and select the Format contextual tab.
Step 3 – Click Existing Tasks and tick the first summary task in the list.


Adding new Timeline Bars

To add further Timeline bars click the +Timeline button. Then after clicking inside the second Timeline choose Existing Tasks as before and click the summary tasks to display.

Colouring Timeline tasks

Each Timeline can be formatted by choosing the Format tab and selecting a colour from the Background Color tool from the Font section.



Adding further tasks to the Timeline

To add milestones or other tasks click in each Timeline and choose Existing Tasks.


Copying a Timline

Once completed you can copy the Timeline into PowerPoint or Word by selecting:
Copy Timeline, For Presentation.


Multiple Projects

A handy feature of MS Project is to be able to insert several projects into on master program. This allows different teams to see the bigger picture and see how they are functioning within it.

Recap: How do I insert multiple project?

Step 1 – Open a blank project and click in the first row of the Gantt Chart
Step 2 – Click Project, Sub Project and select the first project to insert
Step 3 –  Click the next row and repeat step 2
Step 4 – Expand the projects and display fully by selecting View, Entire Project

The following example shows 3 very simplified projects inserted into one blank master programme.


Multiple Project Timelines

Adding a Timeline bar to represent each project gives a simple view of the whole programme.


Hint: To select and colour more than one Timeline task at once:
Press the Ctrl key then click each task then select Background Color