Mastering Custom Field Formulas in MS Project | Articles

By Ismet Kocaman



Improving the Visibility of the Group-By Summary Bars


Version 1, Published on November 3rd, 2015

Please first see Disclaimer, Copyright Notes and Trademark Notes sections on the bottom of this page. This document is related to all

standalone desktop versions of MS Project Professional/Standard supporting the custom field formulas feature.


The names shown in the group summary rows can be displayed in the corresponding group-by summary bars on the Gantt chart in order to improve visibility, while applying different groups to the schedule, as shown in the example below:



The schedule in the picture above shows task information grouped first by the start dates and then by the names of the resources assigned. It also shows the summary task information so we can conclude that the Show summary tasks checkbox is selected in the Group Definition dialog box while defining the group. Note that the checkboxes for the summary tasks in the Show/Hide group of the FORMAT tab can also be used to show or hide the summary task rows on the view.


The Text1 field’s formula extracts the name information in the group summary rows and returns the part of the text before the colon character, in uppercase:


iif( [Group By Summary], UCase( Left( [Name], InStr( [Name], ":" ) – 1 ) ) ,"" )


The Group By Summary is a flag field indicating whether or not the summary row is a group summary row, and thus it helps us to distinguish the group summary rows from the summary task rows in the formula. It is important to select the Use formula button in the section “Calculation for task and group summary rows” in the Custom Fields dialog box while entering the formula, otherwise the formula will not calculate for the group summary rows. The following steps explain how to modify bar styles:


  • Double-click any blank point on the Gantt chart to open the Bar Styles dialog box.

  • Scroll-down to locate the name *Group By Summary in the first column and click its row when found.

  • Click the Text tab in the lower part of the dialog box, and enter or select the field Text1 in the box named Left, and also remove any other field entries.

  • Click OK to close the dialog box.

  • Use the Text Styles dialog box (see the FORMAT tab) to customize the formatting of the text displayed (item to change: Bar Text – Left).


You can hide the Text1 column after completing testing on the formula. Note that the color and shape formatting of the group-by-summary bars can also be customized in the Bar Styles dialog box so that they look different than the summary task bars, as it is seen in the picture.



Revision History:

Version 1 - November 3rd, 2015 - Initial document





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Copyright Notes

All Content Copyright © Ismet Kocaman |[at] | No part of this document may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the Author (Ismet Kocaman). Do not quote/refer to the parts of the document and do not use it as training material without permission. 


Trademark Notes

Microsoft® is a registered trademark or trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. The author of this document has no affiliation with Microsoft Corporation. All other trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners. Screen captures were used with authorization from Microsoft Corporation. This document is not a product of Microsoft Corporation.