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Thread: Import from Excel - dates changed

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    17

    Import from Excel - dates changed

    Hi,

    I'm sorry but I will have to ask another basic question. I was given an Excel spreadsheet with two columns: Start Date and Finish Date. Since the entries were over 100 rows long I thought to just copy and paste each column into its related column in MS Project. Problem is, MS project keeps changing the dates. It doesn't recognize 4/24/11 to 4/25/11 as being 1 (one) day. Similarly a date range in Excel of 4/21/11 to 12/30/11 is converted to 6/28/11 - 12/30/11 for some reason. To compound this, in my company, Saturday and Sunday are working days.

    How can I set up Project to accept what is cut/pasted? I don't want to manually fix each entry.

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    489

    Re: Import from Excel - dates changed

    Hi Nira,

    Don't apologize -- the only way we learn Project is by asking questions :-)

    To your questions:
    I was given an Excel spreadsheet with two columns: Start Date and Finish Date. Since the entries were over 100 rows long I thought to just copy and paste each column into its related column in MS Project. Problem is, MS project keeps changing the dates. It doesn't recognize 4/24/11 to 4/25/11 as being 1 (one) day.

    Entering dates into the start and finish dates, either by copy/paste or typing defeats the purpose of using Microsoft Project. Entering dates into those fields actually sets a Start No Earlier Than constraint (entering into Start date) or a Finish No Earlier Than constraint (entering into a Finish date). So, if you want to just enter dates -- I'd stick with Excel. If you want to use project there are a couple of other things affecting your use in Project.

    First -- what is the start date of your project that you care copying into? If you have tasks earlier, you need to make sure that your Project start date is set earlier to the tasks you are importing.

    Secondly, a task starting on 4/24 and ending on 4/25 isn't one day -- particularly if the task starts at the starting time of the work day on 4/24. If the task starts at 08:00 on 4/24 and its duration is 1 day -- it should end on 4/24 at 17:00.

    Third: The default calendar ("Standard") is MS Project has working days of Monday through Friday, with Saturday and Sunday being non-working days. If your projects are worked on during time other than Monday through Friday from 08:00 to 12:00 and 13:00 to 17:00, you must change both the calendar as well as the definition of days and weeks. To change your calendar it's Tools > Change Working time and modify the "Default" hours on the Work Week tab.

    To your question about dates changing from April to June -- are you also attempting to import durations? That does not sound usual -- unless you are importing durations and have an As Late As Possible constraint on the task -- those would be the only usual issue that cause Project to change Start dates.

    I hope this helps.
    Julie

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    17

    Re: Import from Excel - dates changed

    Hi Julie,

    Okay. I got what you're saying. As is sometimes the case it was a matter of a new employee (me) given multiple Excel tracking sheets and being asked to migrate the data into a consolidated MS Project plan. So cut+paste seemed to be the most facile option at the time.

    I have made the tweaks you suggested and was able to clean things up a bit.

    I do have another question, though! See new thread. :-)

    Best,
    NIRAV

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    489

    Re: Import from Excel - dates changed

    Hi Nirav,

    If you are updating tracking information (actuals) then you should be inserting the data into the Actual Start and Actual Finish fields -- not start and finish. It is perfectly appropriate to enter data into Actual Start and Actual Finish.

    Julie

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    17

    Re: Import from Excel - dates changed

    Julie,

    Great idea!

    Thanks,
    Nirav

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