The Global Template
When Microsoft Project is started it creates a new blank project file which, although it contains no Tasks or Resources, has all the standard Views, Tables and Calendars etc. This is all provided from Mircosoft Project’s Global Template, a file called Global.mpt. The first time a view, table, or similar element is displayed in a project plan, it is copied automatically from the global template to that project plan. Thereafter, the element is stored in the project file and any subsequent customisation of that element in the project plan (e.g., a change to the fields displayed in a table) applies only to that one project plan and does not affect the global template. The global template is installed as part of Project and it is not normally accessed directly. Microsoft Project training from Eident in Glasgow and Edinburgh cover these features in detail. Here our expert trainers have compiled a brief overview on working with and managing templates. For an overview of Project Planning and Project Management concepts please click here.
The list of elements provided by the Mircosoft Project’s Global Template includes:
In addition, modules (VBA macros), maps, and custom fields can be copied to the global template or between project plans.
Sharing Custom Elements Between Project Plans
When an element such as a view is customised, the customised element remains in the project plan in which it was changed. With views and tables are modified, there is an option to update the version of that element in the global template with the customised view or table. If a new element, such as a new view is created, however, the new element is copied to the global template and thereafter becomes available in all other project plans.
An exception, however, is the calendars. When a custom calendar is created, it remains just in the project plan in which it was created. A customised standard calendar which meets the need in one project plan could redefine working times in other project plans in ways which are not intended. Therefore, Project has a feature which allows custom calendars (and other elements) to be shared between project plans in a controlled way.
The complete list of elements which can be copied between project plans with the Organizer is shown above and is indicated by the names of the tabs in the Organizer dialogue box.
Project could be used extensively with no need to access the global template. However, when it is necessary to do so this is normally done using the Organiser. Some actions which can be achieved when accessing Mircosoft Project’s Global Template include:
- Create a customised element, such as a custom calendar, and make it available in all project plans by copying it into the global template
- Replace a customised element, such as a view or table, in a project plan by copying the original, unmodified element from the global template to the project plan in which the same element has been customised.
- Copy one customised element, such as a custom calendar, from one project plan to another.
The settings in the Mircosoft Project’s Global Template apply to all project plans in Project.
In the Organizer, when an attempt is made to copy a customised view, table or other element from a project plan to the global template, Project will show an alert if that element with the same name in the global template will be overwritten. If it is overwritten, that customised element (such as a customised view) will be available in all new project plans and any other project plans which do not already contain that element. If the customised element is renamed, it becomes available in all project plans but does not affect the existing elements already stored in Mircosoft Project’s Global Template. It is usually a good idea to give customised elements unique names, such as Custom Gantt Chart, so that the original element is kept intact.
Use the Organiser
It is important to remember that for the Organizer to be able to display, copy and rename any elements, the project file(s) which hold the elements of interest must be open. If any single project file is open Mircosoft Project’s Global Template is also open.
- Choose File Info and click Organizer.
The Organizer dialogue box will open.
- From the pull down lists at the bottom of the dialogue box choose the Source and Target Files required.
- Choose the category of element which is to be copied by selecting to tabs at the top of the dialogue box.
- Choose the specific element to be copied then click the Copy button.
- Click Cancel when finished.
Every tab of the Organizer dialogue box has a similar structure: elements in Mircosoft Project’s Global Template appear on the left side of the dialogue box, and the elements which have been used in the active project plan at any time (for example, views displayed) appear on the right.
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