Color Code Summary Bars in Microsoft Project To Improve Readability.
Gantt bars look simple enough, but they can get confusing as projects get more complex. Customizing the bars on a Gantt Chart view is often the first thing a project manager does to create clarity in a project and to help spot problem areas quickly.
You can use color code task roll up bars that can differentiate between rolled up tasks at the summary level. It can be a little challenging for large projects, but it is possible. Let’s take a closer look.
Below in Figure 1, we have our Microsoft Project ‘Pipe Repair’ project.
We want to roll up the tasks, so we right-click on the Gantt chart and select ‘Layout’ from the menu as displayed in Figure 2.
In ‘Layout’ we check ‘Always roll up Gantt bars’ and click ‘OK’, as shown in Figure 3.
Our tasks are rolled up, shown in Figure 4, but they are all the same color, therefore it is harder for us to distinguish between them.
If we color code the rolled-up tasks, this will help to differentiate among them. By entering the bar styles dialog, we insert four additional ‘rolled-up task’ bar definitions, as in Figure 5.
Each new definition copies the original, but has a unique color and flag filter. We insert the four flag columns into the task table as in Figure 6.
We set ‘Drain Piping System’ Flag1 to Yes, and note the rolled-up task updated color, as in Figure 7.
We continue to update the flag for each activity to offset the task colors. Although this is a time consuming tedious task, our resulting ‘Pipe Repair’ project is displayed in Figure 8.
It is worth noting that our ‘Insulate Piping’ has no flag. The color coding for ‘Insulate Piping’ is more effective left light blue and other respective task colors are overlaid on top.
Tasks can be rolled-up at the summary level in Microsoft Project and they can be differentiated by using the color code task roll-up bars. This color coding is feasible by creating additional rolled-up task bar-style definitions, including flags to support distributing the colors among the numerous schedule tasks. Adjusting the flag setting colors may be time-consuming but could also be advantageous in a small project.