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Size Creep RRS feed

  • Question

  • I was hoping someone may direct me in the best approach to tackle the size of my MS 2016 Project file.  

    I have a font of 16 and a lot of color coding - does this increase the file size?

    How can I reset it all, if it does contribute to file bloating

    The schedule has about 3500 line, 2 Baselines and a few formulas/custom fields

    Monday, February 4, 2019 5:35 PM

Answers

  • SmokeyJoe101 --

    There are multiple factors that impact the file size.  Some of the biggest factors are the number of tasks PLUS the number of resource assignments per task.  3500 tasks is a pretty good sized project, but how many resources are assigned to each task?  I doubt the font size or the color coding is contributing very much to the file size.  The custom fields with formulas might be contributing a little bit as well.

    Anyway, one way to shrink file bloat is to open the project, do nothing to it, and then immediately save it and close it.  That has been shown to shrink a large MPP file.  I will gladly invite others in this forum to share their sage advice as well.

    Hope this helps.


    Dale A. Howard [MVP]

    • Marked as answer by SmokeyJoe101 Wednesday, February 6, 2019 7:08 PM
    Monday, February 4, 2019 7:49 PM
    Moderator
  • Here is an idea or two. It is not exactly about the file size. If you have text in the Gantt chart view at 16 point then the whole thing will probably be unreadable and very difficult to work with on screen (I checked, it is). The default font is 11 point Calibri (just right). You can recover the original Gantt chart view from the global.mpt with file, organiser. This will over-write the one you have now. You cannot over-write the view if it is currently the active view, so before you do this switch to a different view, say the tracking Gantt or resource sheet. If you do this, you will also lose any page setup such as headers and footers, and there might be logos or graphics in them and losing them will reduce file size.

    If you are removing resource assignment from tasks and finding that the durations are changing, it is probably because task type is fixed units and effort driven is checked on. If you want to preserve the durations and remove the assignments and/or the resources themselves, first select all of the tasks, and in task information, advanced set them to fixed duration.

    Hope this helps.


    • Marked as answer by SmokeyJoe101 Wednesday, February 6, 2019 7:07 PM
    Monday, February 4, 2019 11:47 PM
  • For those who may be following this thread,

    I did get SmokeyJoe's  file and did some analysis. I found nothing obviously wrong but there were some items I suggested he review. For example, the file covers almost 8 1/2 years, which if progress is normal, a considerable amount of historical bulk is carried along as time passes. That bulk can make it difficult to see the current context (i.e. timeframe) and it can be beneficial to delete or summarize tasks that are no longer active (i.e. 100% complete).

    The file also contained 4 custom calendars of which only 3 were used. However, each custom calendar had several years of holiday exceptions, many of which were duplicate between the calendars.

    I was able to save the file as XML and then re-open in Project. It should be noted that with very large XML files, when converting back in Project, the user will likely get a "project not responding" message when in fact the process is continuing normally. Patience is a virtue.

    John

    • Marked as answer by SmokeyJoe101 Monday, February 11, 2019 7:56 PM
    Friday, February 8, 2019 7:55 PM

All replies

  • SmokeyJoe101 --

    There are multiple factors that impact the file size.  Some of the biggest factors are the number of tasks PLUS the number of resource assignments per task.  3500 tasks is a pretty good sized project, but how many resources are assigned to each task?  I doubt the font size or the color coding is contributing very much to the file size.  The custom fields with formulas might be contributing a little bit as well.

    Anyway, one way to shrink file bloat is to open the project, do nothing to it, and then immediately save it and close it.  That has been shown to shrink a large MPP file.  I will gladly invite others in this forum to share their sage advice as well.

    Hope this helps.


    Dale A. Howard [MVP]

    • Marked as answer by SmokeyJoe101 Wednesday, February 6, 2019 7:08 PM
    Monday, February 4, 2019 7:49 PM
    Moderator
  • Dale - I have been doing the open/save as routine and it will cut it down from roughly 35MB to 25MB

    Most task have about 3 resources.  This is an old schedule I really do not need them in the schedule as resources, they could just be in the schedule as a text file.  That being said I tried to start removing resources, but I was getting a mixed bag of result, such as percentages and duration's changing and with the file so large I gave up.

    Do you think it is worth it, to spend the time and remove them slowly? 

    Monday, February 4, 2019 9:49 PM
  • SmokeyJoe101 --

    If it were me, I would not bother with removing the resources assigned to the tasks.  Too much grunt work for me.  :)

    Your other option for shrinking the file size would be to export the project file as an XML file and then close the XML file.  Open the XML file again and tell Microsoft Project to create a new project from it.  I would recommend saving the new project with a slightly different name in case it does not shrink the project file the way you hope.

    After that, I am fresh out of ideas.  But I will gladly invite others in this forum to share their ideas with you as well.  Hope this helps.


    Dale A. Howard [MVP]

    Monday, February 4, 2019 9:53 PM
    Moderator
  • Here is an idea or two. It is not exactly about the file size. If you have text in the Gantt chart view at 16 point then the whole thing will probably be unreadable and very difficult to work with on screen (I checked, it is). The default font is 11 point Calibri (just right). You can recover the original Gantt chart view from the global.mpt with file, organiser. This will over-write the one you have now. You cannot over-write the view if it is currently the active view, so before you do this switch to a different view, say the tracking Gantt or resource sheet. If you do this, you will also lose any page setup such as headers and footers, and there might be logos or graphics in them and losing them will reduce file size.

    If you are removing resource assignment from tasks and finding that the durations are changing, it is probably because task type is fixed units and effort driven is checked on. If you want to preserve the durations and remove the assignments and/or the resources themselves, first select all of the tasks, and in task information, advanced set them to fixed duration.

    Hope this helps.


    • Marked as answer by SmokeyJoe101 Wednesday, February 6, 2019 7:07 PM
    Monday, February 4, 2019 11:47 PM
  • SmokeyJoe101,

    Dale and Trevor both gave some good suggestions and advice but I do take exception to the statement Dale made about font and color coding not having much effect on file size. My experience is that lots of text customization can greatly add to file size. However, using the XML process Dale mentioned should also take care of that as font customization is lost with that process.

    Just for reference, you might want to take a look at the following Wiki article. Two of the methods mentioned in the article were already proposed by Dale, but there is a third.

    https://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/32054.ms-project-clearing-file-corruption-andor-bloat.aspx

    Hope this helps.

    John

    Tuesday, February 5, 2019 5:54 PM
  • Dale - Trevor = Thank you both - sop far I have shaved off 10MB!.  Going to take a look at the link John Provided now.

    Saving to XML and getting Project to open it failed.  The XML will not open and if I try to re-open it a second time I get an error stating it failed to open last time....

    Wednesday, February 6, 2019 4:05 PM
  • SmokeyJoe101,

    Failure of the XML process is indicative of file corruption. Hopefully you can clear that using method 3 in the Wiki article I referenced.

    John

    Wednesday, February 6, 2019 8:43 PM
  • SO I used step three in the link above and now I am down another 12MB making the file 12MB total.   I am happy with this and can go back and put the colors in that I absolutely need.  

    Big to-do now is linking all of thos new UID's back into my third party software for charts.  Ouch this is going to be painful!

    I thank all of you for the direction

    Wednesday, February 6, 2019 10:25 PM
  • SmokeyJoe101,

    Failure of the XML process is indicative of file corruption. Hopefully you can clear that using method 3 in the Wiki article I referenced.

    John

    Probably is corrupt
    Wednesday, February 6, 2019 10:25 PM
  • SmokeyJoe101,

    Okay, so did method 3 clear it?

    John

    Wednesday, February 6, 2019 10:51 PM
  • SmokeyJoe101,

    Okay, so did method 3 clear it?

    John

    So I am not sure how to answer that.

    1. Method 3 definitely reduced my file size by ~65%

    2. Method 3 makes opening the file easier/quicker

    3. Method 3 when I create an XML of the file and try to open it in MS Project still fails

    So not sure if this means there is corruption or not... 

    Thursday, February 7, 2019 2:13 PM
  • SmokeyJoe101,

    Interesting, so you still get a failure when you save the new file created using method 3 as XML and then try to open that again in Project? If so, what exactly happens? Do you get an error message?

    How big is your file in terms of size (e.g. MB), number of tasks, and number of resources after using all the bloat reduction methods suggested my myself and others? Are you able to share the file with me?

    John

    Thursday, February 7, 2019 3:34 PM
  • Hi John

    Yes - the failure to open the XML file on first attempt, then on second attempt I get a pop up that says this file failed to open last time do you still want to try and open it "Yes or No".  Of course I select yes and nothing ever happens.

    The file is now right at 2880 lines and went from ~36MB to 12MB

    I got rid of all inactive task and copied over the resources to a text field and then went through and removed the resources (nearly line by line), made adjustments as need to get dates/percentages back in order.

    I could sanitize the file and just give the Task Names new generic names.  I do not know how to reach you to send it though. 

    Thursday, February 7, 2019 8:49 PM
  • SmokeyJoe101,

    The file sounds like a reasonable size. If you are still having problems then yes, I'd like to see the file. You can send it to me at the address below, I will ask some questions.

    John

    jmacprojataticlouddotdotcom

    (remove obvious redundancies)

    Thursday, February 7, 2019 9:35 PM
  • File sent - let me know if you don't get it

    Thanks

    Thursday, February 7, 2019 10:08 PM
  • For those who may be following this thread,

    I did get SmokeyJoe's  file and did some analysis. I found nothing obviously wrong but there were some items I suggested he review. For example, the file covers almost 8 1/2 years, which if progress is normal, a considerable amount of historical bulk is carried along as time passes. That bulk can make it difficult to see the current context (i.e. timeframe) and it can be beneficial to delete or summarize tasks that are no longer active (i.e. 100% complete).

    The file also contained 4 custom calendars of which only 3 were used. However, each custom calendar had several years of holiday exceptions, many of which were duplicate between the calendars.

    I was able to save the file as XML and then re-open in Project. It should be noted that with very large XML files, when converting back in Project, the user will likely get a "project not responding" message when in fact the process is continuing normally. Patience is a virtue.

    John

    • Marked as answer by SmokeyJoe101 Monday, February 11, 2019 7:56 PM
    Friday, February 8, 2019 7:55 PM