Creating an Unusual Scheduling Calendar in Microsoft Project

In the Microsoft Answers User Forum dedicated to Microsoft Project, a fellow user asked if there is a way to create a recurring calendar that would show a resource is available for 5 days, unavailable for 5 days and keep repeating. This is an unusual scheduling calendar for sure but the answer to the question is yes, this can be done. Here is how to create this unusual calendar in either Microsoft Project 2010 or 2013:

1.  Open the project in which you want the recurring staff calendar.

2.  Click the Project tab and then click the Change Working Time button in the Properties section of the Project ribbon. Microsoft Project displays the Change Working Time dialog shown in Figure 1.

Change Working Time dialog

Figure 1: Change Working Time dialog

3.  In the Change Working Time dialog, click the Create New Calendar button. The software displays the Create New Base Calendar dialog shown in Figure 2.

Create New Baseline Calendar dialog

Figure 2: Create New Base Calendar dialog

4.  In the Create New Base Calendar dialog, select the Create a New Base Calendar option and then enter a name for the calendar in the Name field, such as 5 Days On 5 Days Off or something like that.

5.  Click the OK button.

6.  In the calendar grid at the top of the Change Working Time dialog dialog, select the first day of the next 5-day nonworking time period, such as November 17, for example.

7.  In the Exceptions grid at the bottom, enter a name for the nonworking time, such as Off Time or No Work, and then press the Right-Arrow key on your computer keyboard.

8.  With that row still selected, click the Details button. Microsoft Project displays the Details dialog for the custom calendar, as shown in Figure 3.

Details dialog

Figure 3: Details dialog

9.  In the Details dialog, select the Weekly option in the Recurrence Pattern section.

10.  Set the Recur Every _____ Weeks On value to 2.

11.  Select the check boxes for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

12.  Select the End After option and select 5 occurrences.

13.  After doing this, now click the End By pick list and select a Friday that is in the distant future, such as 5 years in the future from the date shown in the field.  For example, I selected November 22, 2019 as shown in Figure 4.

Details dialog - completed calendar

Figure 4: Details dialog – completed

14.  Click the OK button.

Completing the preceding steps will create a calendar that meets these unusual scheduling needs.  At this point, you would only need to specify this calendar as the Base Calendar for resources who will work the 5 days on, 5 days off work schedule. Figure 5 shows the schedule of the completed calendar for December 2014. Notice that the calendar shows a repeating schedule of 5 days of work followed by 5 days of no work every two weeks.

December 2014 schedule

Figure 5: Completed calendar shows December 2014 schedule


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