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Dave’s Tips 5 - Microsoft Excel Export and Import Guidance Primavera P6 Client / Server
INTRODUCTION
The functionality of importing and exporting to Microsoft Excel is widely used for numerous reasons. This document provides general guidance and guidelines for users who utilise the import functionality to change their data in a schedule using an Excel workbook.

RULES
There are many positive aspects to using a MS Excel workbook to update the data within a schedule. However, there are some rules if this data is to be imported successfully and some rules which assist the user. RULE 1 - The Row 1 Rule After the export functionality has been completed and the Microsoft Excel workbook is created, the user upon opening the file will notice that each workbook tab (excluding the USERDATA tab) has an additional row (row 1) within the table. The content of this row may not make much sense to some users as the terminology contained is unfamiliar. This row is very important if the user wants to import their data from the Microsoft Excel workbook back into Primavera P6 Client / Server. The reason for this is that row 1 contains the application database column names and in most cases this does correspond to the name displayed in the application itself.

Fig 1.0 Fig 1.0 shows us that row 1 which contains information like “task_code”, “status_code” e.t.c does not correspond to the data displayed in row 2. Also from this we can see that the application field “Actual Start” is really “act_start_date” within the database. The key point to remember here is… If the data contained in row 1 is modified in any way, Primavera P6 will not be able to import that specific data column. If you want to import from a Microsoft Excel workbook, do not change the data contained in row 1.

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RULE 2 – The Asterisk Rule Within an exported Microsoft Excel workbook the user may come across columns of data where the application title (row2) contains an asterisk before the actual column title.

Fig 1.2 Fig 1.2 contains a screen shot of an exported project with the column “Start” displayed. Before the Primavera P6 column title we can see that an asterisk e.g. “(*)Start”. The presence of the asterisk indicates that this field if updated in Microsoft Excel will not be imported during the import functionality into Primavera P6. This can be quite frustrating if the user wants to limit data modification in the application. However, if a rule of thumb is applied understanding where any limitations exist is simple. Rule of Thumb If you can change it in Primavera P6 Client / Server you can modify and import it with Excel. This rule does not apply to all iterations but to the vast majority. Also within Primavera P6 the column “Start” can be many things e.g. Actual Start Early Start, Remaining Early Start, e.t.c. So ask yourself “how does the database know which data item to update?” The answer is simple, it doesn’t. In Fig 1.2 we can see that the column “ACTUAL START” has been displayed and does not contain the asterisk, therefore it can be updated and imported. This is just one example of this scenario and many, many more exist. RULE 3 – The USERDATA tab Rule This rule is very simple indeed. The USERDATA tab created during the export contains the data format assigned and utilised in the export.

Fig 1.3 Fig 1.3 shows us that when the project was exported, the format to display duration was set to Day. Also, the units format was set to Hour. This is identified in Fig 1.4.

Fig 1.4

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RPC UK Limited 1 The Courtyard, Hawksworth Est., Thorpe Lane, Guiseley, Leeds, LS20 8LG

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In some education and training materials it stipulates that the user preferences set during the export MUST be the same as those in the import file. This is not the case as it depends on the data to be imported. For example, this rule does apply if you are importing resource units, as one users preferences may be set to days for the import but the export option is set to hours. However, for any data type where a rule is not displayed in the USERDATA worksheet the data imported is not affected (e.g. Cost Accounts, Activity codes, e.t.c.). RULE 4 – It’s an Excel Workbook Above all else the user should not lose sight of the fact that the exported file is nothing more than an Microsoft Excel workbook complete with all of the great functionality of this application. For example, Macros, formula, control panels and symbols can all be created, assigned, populated and exist within any Microsoft Excel workbook file and the results of these functions can be imported into Primavera P6 Client / Server tool. This can be used to create some aesthetically pleasing interfaces where non Primavera P6 users can access, review and even post schedule, cost and resource data changes/updates.

RPCuk Knowledge Zone
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