Thursday, August 28, 2014

'Formula Bar' and 'Entry Bar' - Two Different Functionalities in MS Project, Not Same!

Takeaway – Frequently entry bar and formula bar are considered to be same, whereas they are completely two different functionalities in MS Project 2013. Both serve different purposes and are differently enabled in MS Project. While on former, many articles you would find on the web or other publication, the latter remains a relatively unknown item. In this post, both will be explored.

In many articles, journals and even by professionals on MS Project, you would find that Entry bar is frequently considered to be the Formula bar. They are not same! Formula Bar is a separate command available in MS Project 2013 (and also in MS Project 2010). As Entry bar looks like the Formula Bar in MS Excel and provides some functionalities of it, there is interest in finding out this bar. But, it is NOT same as the Formula Bar. Let us see.

Entry Bar in Project 2013/2010/2007:

Entry bar is long available in Microsoft Project.  As the name suggests, entry in cell of a table can be given through this bar. You can edit the contents of a selected cell in the entry bar. This gives you the functionality of a popular shortcut key – "F2", which is to edit the content of the cell. 

By default, Entry bar is not enabled in Project 2013. You have to enable it. For that: Go to File (Backstage View) – Options – Display – 'Show these elements' and enable the “Entry bar”.

Enabling Entry Bar in MS Project 2013

After you enable, it will be available below the Ribbon in MS Project. 
Entry Bar in Project 2013 - Below the Ribbon
You can enter texts in the Task Sheet below and can edit/delete it – like you do in Excel. 

How does it happen for MS Project 2010?It is similar to that of MS Project 2013. It is available under File – Options – Display – 'Show these Elements' – and then enable "Entry bar".

How about MS Project 2007? MS Project does not have the Ribbon or Backstage view concept. It is available under Tools – Option from the menu list.  Then go to the View tab in the Options dialog box.

Enabling Entry Bar in MS Project 2007

Above, left side is for selection of Option from Tools menu and right side is for enabling in the View tab. It will be shown in MS Project 2007 just below the menu options, as Project 2007 does not have a ribbon concept.

Entry Bar in Project 2007 - Below the Menus
Now let us get to Formula Bar. This is where it gets interesting. As mentioned before, it is not same as Entry Bar, but many say so!

Formula Bar in Project 2013/2010:

Formula Bar again is not available in the Ribbon by default in MS Project. However, it is one of the commands which can be added to your Ribbon or Quick Access Toolbar (QAT). Note that I have mentioned Formula Bar is available as a command – like other commands that are available in various Groups under multiple Tabs of the Ribbon,e.g., Indent, Outdent, Link, Unlink etc.

For this post, I am going to add the Formula Bar command to the QAT, not the ribbon, though that too can be done. And we will see shortly – it is a great utility. 

Go back to again File (Backstage View) – Options – Quick Access Toolbar. Now, select “Commands Not in the Ribbon” from “Choose commands from:” drop down menu. 

Formula Bar from the List of Commands - Project 2013
Now, scroll down the list of commands and select the “Formula bar” command. Add this command through “Add>>” button available as shown. And then click “OK” below in the dialog box.

Adding the Formula Bar to QAT in Project 2013
Once you do that, it will be available as an icon in your QAT as shown below. 

Formula Bar in QAT; Entry Bar Below the Ribbon - Project 2013
That is it. You are done. As you can see, both Entry Bar and Command Bar are now available for your view in MS Project 2013 and they are NOT same. So, what is the utility of Formula Bar?

Just click on it. It will launch "Options" directly! You do not have to go to Backstage view and then select option – anytime you want to make any global change. Is not that a great utility – to directly access Options in place of going through multiple clicks?

Now, how does it happen in MS Project 2010? It is quite similar to MS Project 2013. You have follow the same steps as mentioned above and you will have an icon in your QAT (or if you want to have it in your ribbon). It will look the one as shown below.

Formula Bar in QAT - MS Project 2010

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