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.

Project 2013: Burndown charts help track work

what's new in office 2013Project 2013 comes with a brand new set of pre-designed reports and dashboards to help you better understand your data. You can visualise performance and analyse resources in ways that weren’t previously possible in Microsoft Project.

The burndown report is a much-requested feature that will be especially interesting to those of you practicing agile and Scrum-based methodology. Typically updated every day, this report is a common focal point of the daily scrum meeting.

Previously to see a burndown chart you had to employ some hacks and Excel templates to achieve the desired result. From Project 2013 it’s available as a standard report type.

Burndown charts in Project 2013

Select Report > Dashboard > Burndown

Burndown in Microsoft Project 2013

Usually the chart tracks work remaining (in time, effort points or quantity of tasks) against the date. One line represents how much work has been completed, a baseline of when to complete and the ‘perfect’ trajectory of task completion.

How is this chart useful?

Instead of tracking the amount of things done, the burndown chart reports on the amount of ‘effort’ or work left in the project phase. In other words you are ‘burning down’ the work. It will also predict based on current work rate whether the project will hit the target completion date. You’ll discover very soon whether the team is working at a fast enough rate. It’s great to get advance notice of how things are progressing and be able to adapt your project or adjust expectations sooner rather than later.

It can also be used to see whether a project team is over-performing and going to finish early. While this is usually good news this information can prove very useful in your next post-mortem. Do the team need to work on their task estimations? Or was the work completed to a less acceptable standard?

Find out more great advice like this with a Best STL course on Microsoft Project training London and UK wide.