How-to: Add public holidays to a Microsoft Project 2013/2016 calendar

 Sep 15, 2016

Microsoft Project comes installed with 3 basic calendars:

  1. Standard
  2. 24 Hours
  3. Night Shift

Most people are using the Standard Calendar. This calendar has Saturdays and Sundays greyed out as non-working days only. This fact can cause confusion for people looking at the Gantt Chart. Why? Because if a task is scheduled across public holidays, Microsoft Project will not show the public holiday greyed out.

For example, let’s assume a task is scheduled to start on the 23 December 2020 and the duration of the task is 7 days. The Gantt Chart will show a bar across 23 December 2020 to 2 January 2017. But 26 December 2020 is a public holidays. So realistically, the task should finish on 3 January 2021 rather than on 2 January 2017.

No public holidays added

With public holidays added

Because we do not have the Public Holidays added to the calendar, Microsoft Project does not know that 26 December 2020 is a public holiday. Therefore the Gantt Chart and the schedule will be wrong.

To accurately create a schedule we have to insert the public holidays into the project calendar.

In an earlier blog post named "How to import public holidays into Microsoft Project 2010 calendar", I described how to import public holidays in Microsoft Project 2010 using an Internet freebie. That tool only works for Project 2010 and earlier versions, but not for Project 2013 or 2016.

I imported the public holidays into a Project 2010 files which you can download here.

Make sure that this file is open in Microsoft Project. Then follow the steps below to copy the public holidays from Australia Holidays Imported file to the Global template. Global template is the master Project template that controls what you have available in each new project file, including the calendars.

  1. Click File -> Info -> Organiser (the dialog box below is displayed)
  2. Under Views available in: bottom left hand side of the dialog box, make sure Global.MPT is displayed (it should be displayed by default)
  3. Under Views available in: bottom right hand side of the dialog box, you have to select the Australia Holidays Imported.mpp (see image below)
  4. Click the Calendars tab on top of the dialog box
  5. Right hand side, select Standard and click the Copy button. You will see the message below. Project asks you if you want to replace the Standard calendar.
  6. Click the Yes button
  7. Close the dialog box
  8. Open a new blank project file
  9. Click the Project tab
  10. Go to Properties group
  11. Click the Change Working Time button

The Change Working Time dialog box displays.

The public holidays are now included in every new project file you open. The public holidays are included from now to year 2028.

For more information, take a look at New Horizons' Microsoft Project training courses.

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About the Author:

Magdalena Todor  

With over 20 years experience as a facilitator and university lecturer, Magda is one of our most senior and experienced trainers. With previous practical on the job experience as a project manager she embodies a brilliant balance of training experience and business knowledge. With every event she delivers, Magda takes a wholehearted approach to ensure every course is impactful, relevant and a genuinely positive learning experience for all.

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