Microsoft Project Trivia: Options Settings – Where Are They Stored?
I answered in question recently in the Project Online General Questions and Answers user forum. The user asked a question was about the leveling options found in the Resource Leveling dialog and how to distribute those leveling options settings to other Microsoft Project users in his organization. I thought the question was interesting, and in response, I decided to share a bit of Microsoft Project trivia with you.
Warning: The information about Microsoft Project in this blog post article is so trivial that reading this article might put you to sleep! Please drink a big cup of coffee or a can of Jolt Cola before proceeding!
Many years ago I was teaching a Microsoft Project desktop class to a group of project schedulers in New Orleans, LA. I loved that class because my students had many years of experience working with Microsoft Project to manage projects in the petrochemical industry. During the class, a “know it all” student asked me where Microsoft Project stored the options found in the Project Options dialog. I told him that some of the options are project-specific and are stored in the active project. And I told him that application-specific options are stored in the Registry. He immediately exclaimed, “That’s wrong! Those options are stored in the Global.mpt file.”
I knew he was trying to “show me up” in front of his fellow schedulers, so I said, “No. They are stored in the Registry. Let me show you.” I changed a bunch of application options, such as the Date format option on the General page of the Project Options dialog shown in Figure 1, and then I exited Microsoft Project. I said to him, “So if I delete the Global.mpt file and restart Microsoft Project, would you agree that doing so should reset all of those options back to their default settings?” He said yes.
Figure 1: Date format option in the Project Options dialog
I launched my Windows Explorer application, navigated to the folder where Windows stores the Global.mpt file for Microsoft Project, and then I deleted the Global.mpt file. By the way, when you delete the Global.mpt file and then relaunch Microsoft Project, the software automatically creates a new Global.mpt file for you. When I launched Microsoft Project again and returned to the Project Options dialog, my options settings were exactly the way I left them, which proved that those options were not saved in the Global.mpt file. My “know it all” student was thoroughly embarrassed, especially when his fellow schedulers started ribbing him saying, “Dude, you just got busted!” After this little demonstration, I showed the class where the Windows system actually stores the application-specific options for Microsoft Project.
About the Registry
As I mentioned previously, Microsoft Project stores application-specific options in the Registry. You can find application-specific options in two different dialogs: in the Project Options dialog shown previously in Figure 1 and in the Resource Leveling dialog shown in Figure 2. To access the Resource Leveling dialog, by the way, click the Resource tab to display the Resource ribbon, and then click the Leveling Options button in the Level section of the Resource ribbon. In the Resource Leveling dialog, all of the options are application-specific except for the Leveling range option, which is project-specific.
Figure 2: Resource Leveling dialog
The Registry is a database file used by the Windows system to manage the settings for both Windows and for all of the software applications installed on your computer. To view the Registry and its many settings, click the Start button, type regedit on your computer keyboard, and then press the Enter key to launch the Registry Editor application.
Warning:Do not attempt to change Registry settings using the Registry Editor application, as doing so can damage the application for which you changed the Registry settings.
In the Registry Editor application, you can locate the application-specific options for your copy of Microsoft Project by navigating to the following folder:
Figure 3 shows the Options folder for Microsoft Project in the Registry Editor dialog. Notice that the Options folder contains a number of subfolders, such as the Calculation, Calendar, and Edit subfolders. Each of the subfolders maps to a specific area of either the Project Options dialog or the Resource Leveling dialog.
Figure 3: Registry Editor – Options folder for Microsoft Project
For example, the Leveling subfolder maps directly to the options found in the Resource Leveling dialog. If you select the Leveling subfolder, for example, the Registry Editor reveals the settings found in the Resource Leveling dialog, such as shown in Figure 4.
Figure 4: Registry settings in the Leveling subfolder
If you double-click one of the Registry settings on the right side of the page, the Registry Editor displays the Edit DWORD (32-bit) Value dialog with the current value for that setting. For example, Figure 5 shows the current value for the Leveling Period Basis option.
Figure 5: Leveling Period Basis option setting
The Leveling Period Basis option maps to the Look for overallocations on a _____ basis option at the top of the Resource Leveling dialog. In the Edit DWORD (32-bit) Value dialog for the Leveling Period Basis option, you can correlate the value displayed in the Value data field with the option setting in the Resource Leveling dialog as follows:
Microsoft Project Setting
Minute by Minute
Hour by Hour
Day by Day
Week by Week
Month by Month
After all of this Microsoft Project trivia, are you still awake? If so, remember that Microsoft Project stores the application-specific options in the Registry and not in the Global.mpt file.
And speaking of the Global.mpt file, what exactly does Microsoft Project store in this file? To see the data stored in the Global.mpt file, click the File tab and then click Organizer button in the Organize Global Template section of the Info page in the Backstage. Figure 6 shows the Organizer dialog.
Figure 6: Organizer dialog
Notice in the lower left corner of the Organizer dialog that the Views available in field displays the Global.MPT value, which allows you to see all of the objects stored in the Global.mpt file. Always think of the Global.mpt file as your “library” of default and custom objects such as Views, Tables, Filters, and Groups in your copy of Microsoft Project The tabs across the top of the dialog show you exactly which objects are stored in the Global.mpt file. Notice that these objects include Views, Reports, Modules, Tables, Filters, Calendars, Maps, Fields, and Groups.
Dale Howard is the Director of Education for PROJILITY. He has used Microsoft Project since version 4.0 for Windows 95 and he has used the Microsoft PPM tool since the first version of released as Project Central in the year 2000. He is the co-author of 23 books on Microsoft Project, Project Server, and Project Online. He is currently one of only 26 Microsoft Project MVPs in the entire world and one of only 4 in the United States.
PROJILITY is a Microsoft PPM and CRM services leader and product innovator. Our Hammerhead products have helped organizations around the world save hundreds of thousands on Microsoft Project Server training, customization, and support costs.