If you have ever considered exporting a Primavera P6 Professional file you may have quickly become baffled by the number of export options. Here we explore each option.
Primavera P6 Professional has seven different ways to export a file. Why so many? Each export option serves a different function. It is useful to become familiar with each option, although you may only have one ‘go to’ export option that you use regularly.
This article explains each of the different export options in Primavera P6 Professional.
You have seven toggles in the Primavera P6 Professional export dialog. All the available export options are listed below:
- Primavera PM – (XER)
- Primavera Contractor – (XER)
- Primavera P6 – (XML)
- Spreadsheet – (XLS)
- Primavera Project Planner – (P3)
- Microsoft Project
- UN/CEFACT Format 6 – (XML)
They are also displayed in the export dialog in Figure 1.
Okay, well you might have noticed that Primavera Project Planner – (P3) is dimmed out so we cannot use that feature, which then brings us down to six options.
Primavera PM – XER
Let’s begin with the XER file export format. This format is a holdover from older versions of Primavera P6. Its advantage is its small file size. It is also backwards compatible to P6 Professional 5.0. Later versions of the XER format, for instance 15.1 and 16.1 stand for the year 2015 and 2016, and the version number within each year, version 1.
The disadvantage of the XER file is twofold: 1) you cannot import and XER file into P6 EPPM and 2) you cannot export a baseline. Not being able to export the baseline in the XER file means each schedule will have to have two files: one for the current status and another for the baseline.
Primavera Contractor – (XER)
The Primavera Contractor XER file allows you to export an XER file for future import into Primavera Contractor. Primavera Contractor has the same interface and features as Primavera Professional, and is compatible up through version 6.1. The main advantage of Primavera Contractor is its price; it cost significantly less than Primavera P6 Professional.
The disadvantages of Primavera Contractor include its need for a locally installed Microsoft SQL server database. It also does not support enterprise project structure (EPS). Files are opened using the File | Open menu option. There also are not resource roles in Primavera Contractor. But the real Achilles heel is its 2000 activity limit.
Primavera P6 – (XML)
The XML format is the latest and greatest Primavera P6 format. Its advantages include the ability to copy baselines and project layout format (PLF) files with the schedule. It also is the only format compatible with Primavera P6 EPPM. Its main disadvantage is its large file size and slow export/import speeds. Files are exported to a zip file, which one can readily extract to get the XML and PLF files into a new folder.
Spreadsheet P6 – (XLS)
This feature allows you to export Activity, Activity Relationships, Expenses, Resources and Resource Assignments into standard Microsoft Excel spreadsheets.
These can be modified and reloaded into P6 using the Import Spreadsheet feature. However the formatting of the resulting spreadsheets is a little primitive in some respects so you’ll have to be careful about what you change when updating these spreadsheets. However, this feature is popular with many schedulers who use spreadsheets to load data in built to their P6 schedules.
In newer versions of the software; i.e. P6 R16.1 or later, you are greeted by the warning message “excel import/export features require Microsoft Access Database Engine, please contact administrator”. So for many R16.1 users this export feature is unusable. In versions of P6 earlier than R16.1, this feature worked without the existence of Microsoft Access on the system and was therefore available to every user.
You can export Primavera P6 into a number of Microsoft Project versions. We do not generally recommend converting P6 schedule to Microsoft Project however, as this has proven to introduce some data issues due to the differences in the way the two tools work. So while the feature does work fairly well in most cases, you will need to go through the resulting MS Project schedule very carefully and thoroughly to be sure the dates match.
UN/CEFACT Format 6 – (XML)
The UN/CEFACT Format 6 (XML) format defines and contains integrated master schedule (IMS) data. This format was introduced into Primavera P6 as a compliance item in response to the June 2012 Integrated Program Management Report (IPMR), Data Item Description (DID) DI-MGMT-81861. This format is a ‘software independent’ .XML format that is used as part of the monthly reporting deliverables for projects that are in DCMA and/or DCAA oversight.
So you just been introduced to a number of different export format features in Primavera P6 Professional. These features are extremely helpful in moving data out of Primavera P6, to share with other P6, Microsoft Project, Primavera Contractor or even spreadsheet users.
Going forward XML is the format of the future. It is currently the only way to share data between the Primavera P6 Professional and P6 EPPM platforms. There is speculation in the market place that the XER format may eventually be phased out, although we have no specific information about this. If using the Primavera Contractor software you will want to use the Primavera Contractor XER format option. Primavera Contractor software has limited ability, but a small price tag so it may be preferred if only small projects are being loaded.