Highlighting multiple date ranges in Project 2013 RRS feed

  • Question

  • I would like to highlight various date ranges on my project plan.  These dates are normal working days, however, they represent dates on which the development teams are prohibited from moving code/objects to production - i.e. blackout dates.  I would like to either highlight these date ranges with multiple vertical shaded bars down the entire task list of the plan.  Alternatively, having a task that spans from the begin to end date of the project, but with the task bar broken so that I can depict where these blackout dates are (or are not) would also work.

    Is there a way to accomplish this?


    Tuesday, June 21, 2016 8:28 PM

All replies

  • davecarIsOn,

    I'm not real sure what you want to do. The first sentence says "various date ranges" but the third sentence talks about the "entire task list". So, which is it, a selected group or everything?

    There are potentially several ways to highlight tasks or dates. One is to select the task cells and then set the cell background color via Task/Font group/Background color icon. Another might be a highlight filter. And if you want to highlight a whole task line for select tasks, you could use the Marked field and then use text formatting (Format/Format group/Text styles).

    Or, if the desired dates are not too bunched up, you could use a rollup of task bars to the Project Summary task by selecting the Rollup field for both the Project Summary Task and each individual task.

    Hope this helps.


    Tuesday, June 21, 2016 11:25 PM
  • First, the blackout dates themselves can be input as 1 day "events" simply by inputting them as tasks with 1 day duration and a must start on date constraint, or as a range of dates just by the same way with duration covering the range of dates.

    Alternatively, make a task called "move code/objects" and give it a task calendar which has the prohibited dates as nonworking days exceptions.

    Alternatively, make a task spanning the entire duration, and use a status date along with move incomplete parts to the status date to break the bar. This part is hard to explain so I will do an example.

    Tuesday, June 21, 2016 11:32 PM
  • John and Trevor,

    Thank you for the ideas.  Let me try to clear up my goal.  Lets say I have a one year project that goes from Jan 1st 2017 to Dec 31st 2017.  I may have 500 tasks with milestones sprinkled throughout.  Also, our company may have 8 blackout periods during the year lasting from 7-14 days each, where we cannot move code/objects to a production environment.

    So, if June 1-14 is a blackout period, it would be nice to highlight a vertical bar on the gantt chart from top to bottom between June 1st and 14th.  Then I could see any important tasks or milestones that are falling in that date range that may need to be looked at more closely to determine if they should be delayed or compressed into an adjacent time period so as not to impact the overall schedule. 

    I could simply place a task in the plan with those specific start and end dates, and then I get a single horizontal task bar spanning that 14 say period.  On a small plan with limited tasks, that may work fine.  But with 500+ tasks with so many overlapping activities, the shortcoming is that with a single horizontal task bar placed in the plan, it is not readily apparent where I have tasks and milestones that interfere with that blackout period, since I may need to scroll up and down several screens (causing the blackout task to roll off the screen) to see all of those tasks.

    I think I could also place vertical lines on the start and end dates mentioned above.  But the limitation there is that a few of these blackout periods are very close to each each other.  So I think just having vertical lines would not be very clear in terms of when I was IN/OUT of a blackout period.

    If I cannot do a vertical shaded bar that spans the start and end dates of a defined period, perhaps I can do some conditional highlighting of just those milestone tasks that fall within a blackout date range?  My question here would be how I go about defining those highlighting rules when I have multiple date ranges.

    Does this make more sense?

    Thanks again for any advice!


    Wednesday, June 22, 2016 3:42 AM
  • Dave,

    Okay, yes that helps to more clearly identify what you want. I can come up with a couple of ways to do what you want, I'm sure there are others.

    At first I thought it might be possible to use Project's drawing feature to set up either a block-out or vertical lines but after testing, found out Project is limited to a max line height of 22 inches. Don't know why, but it is and therefore this approach would only work for smaller files

    One method might be to create a custom calendar (Project calendar) that designates the black-out periods as non-working, since that seems to be what your after as the end goal (i.e. no work in those periods). If the black-out only applies to select tasks, then you could use that as the task calendar for those specific tasks.

    Another approach would be to use some VBA to automatically examine all tasks, or selected tasks, for start and/or finish dates within a black-out period and set a flag so a filter could easily isolate those with issues.


    Wednesday, June 22, 2016 3:49 PM
  • John's calendar approach is best. Create a new calendar (based on your standard calendar which hopefully already has all standard holidays entered -Eg Xmas) with every blackout period entered as non-working.

    Right-click the Gannt Chart and select nonworking times. Select the new calendar as the Calendar for displaying non-working time and you have what I think you are asking for.

    But wait. There's more!

    Assign the same calendar to all move to production tasks and they will automatically avoid those dates.

    Rod Gill
    Author of the one and only Project VBA Book

    Thursday, June 23, 2016 1:29 AM