Import Microsoft Project

July 16, 2018

Information on how to import Microsoft Project data.


You can import Microsoft Project data into your project. This function is intended for use in situations where you have not been using i-lign to manage your project and want to upload exsting project information rather than populate your project in i-lign from scratch. We don’t recommend you continue to use Microsoft Project to manage your schedule once you have done the initial upload as this is likely to lead to confusion over which version is current and adds unnecessary overhead to your project.

The import will load the following project information from a Microsoft Project file:

  • Tasks
  • Milestones
  • Dependencies
  • Resource allocation

The import will replace any existing tasks, milestone, and timeline data that previously existed within your i-lign project.

MS Project 2002 or higher is required.

While the Gantt charts of both applications are of similiar appearance and function, task dates, summary tasks, milestones and resourcing are treated differently. These differences will cause some data to be lost during your import process if you don’t follow the recommended clean-up steps below.

Prepare Microsoft Project file for export

In Microsoft Project, open the file that you wish to export and clean up the following elements.

Required steps (So the the import process works):
  • Ensure duplicate resource entries are removed so there is only one Microsoft Project resource entry for each real world person.
  • Ensure there are no blank entries in between tasks, and where there are remove these.
  • Ensure any placeholder resources (eg business analyst) have matching placeholder resources in i-lign. If a matching placeholder resource does not exist in i-lign, assign the tasks to a real person resource (e.g. Chris Brown) or ask your i-lign admin to add the relevant placeholder resources.
  • Ensure no dependencies or constraints exist with one or both ends attached at summary task level. In this situation remove the end of the dependency from the summary task and place it against a task or milestone from within the summary task that signifies the required start or end of the event for the summary task.
  • Ensure individual resources do not have multiple allocation rates within a single task. (Note: If a resource does have multiple allocation rates for a task then i-lign will import the last allocation rate listed and apply it against the resource for the full length of the task.)
  • Ensure individual resources have a task allocation rate greater than zero percent.
  • Ensure there are no summary tasks that have been set up to be milestones. To check: select Insert/Column and in Field Name choose Milestone. If the summary tasks has a Yes value in the Milestone column, change this value to No. (Note: Summary tasks which are set up as milestones and then imported will be imported as milestones and will not have i-lign summary task features.)
  • Remove any resources displayed in the resource sheet who you do not want to have access to the project. (Note: All resources listed are imported into the project and given default access permissions.)
  • Check the dependencies used. i-lign supports finish to start, start to start, and finish to finish dependencies. All other dependencies (such as start to finish) or constraints (such as start no earlier than) should be removed. (Note: i-lign will ignore non-supported constraints and dependencies and will assign them to start as soon as possible.)

Prepare i-lign for Microsoft Project file import

Ensure that all resources in the Microsoft Project resource sheet have a corresponding resource set up in the i-lign. These resources don’t need to be assigned to the project before loading the Microsoft Project file.

Load Microsoft Project File into i-lign

  • Within the appropriate i-lign project select MS-Project Import from the Functions dropdown box.
  • Browse for the MPP file required and click Next.
  • After a short processing time, i-lign will display a list of all of the Microsoft Project resources on the left.
  • In the fields provided on the right, select the corresponding i-lign resource for each Microsoft Project resource. (Note that you will need to select a separate resource in i-lign for each Microsoft Project resource. i-lign will reject the import if you select an i-lign resource more than once.)
  • Select to continue.

There will be a short processing time. A message will appear when the file has been successfully loaded. The import will automatically add the appropriate tasks, milestones, resources into your project. Note that the import will replace any existing tasks, milestone, and Timeline data that previously existed within the i-lign project.

Check

Check the resulting i-lign Timeline against the original Microsoft Project Gantt. If the recommended clean-up tasks have not been carried out, there may be variations in dates and some manual tweaking may be necessary if the Microsoft Project timings need to be retained in the i-lign project. If the calendars in the Microsoft Project file differ from the i-lign project and resource calendars then dates may be different. (Note that i-lign does not import the MS Project calendars, but instead uses calendars which have previously been setup in i-lign.)