Project Server Tasks in Outlook: Part 2

The following is the second in a series of two posts from Jon Kaufthal, a program manager from the Project team. Click here to see the first post. 

– Melissa

For those of you new to Project and Project Server, see my first post before reading on. What follows is what tasks from Project Web Access (PWA) look like in Outlook.

When you double-click to open a Project task in Outlook, you’ll notice some differences. Here’s what a task item from Project Web Access looks like:

Some things to notice here:

·         Existing “standard” Outlook task fields—like Subject, Start (start date), Finish (due date)

·         Existing “advanced” Outlook task fields—like Actual work and Total work

·         Project Server-specific fields—like Project name, Task hierarchy, remaining work

·         The project name is set as the task’s category. You already know about the great categories improvements in Outlook 2007, so this allows you to create some powerful views by category/project in Outlook.

·         The “inner tabs” to switch between task management and timesheet. Task management is for updates going to the project manager—and might be in the form of, for example, percent complete, while the timesheet is likely going to some kind of accounting/billing process, and will be in the form of hours per day. Besides task status, PWA provides a complete timesheet where you would also track things like vacation time and sick time.

Clicking on the inner “Timesheet” tab, that section changes to look like this:

In this example, you might update your percent complete, remaining work, and some timesheet values. Once you’ve updated status in Outlook, you can:

·         Immediately update via the buttons on the form

·         Save for later (save locally to Outlook, don’t tell Project Server just yet)

·         Update this and any other changed tasks to PWA via the toolbar button

·         Cancel

You’ll only connect to PWA when importing or updating, but you can make local changes and save them for later even when disconnected. Once you’ve updated back to PWA, your status flows back through the system as if you had been logged into the PWA site—it will be incorporated back into the project plan and your organization’s reports.

So if you can do this all through PWA, what’s the point of the Project Server add-in for Outlook?

·         Lower overhead for you, the team member—use the tools you already use

·         Give you a single view of all your work—personal tasks and Project Server-based tasks

·         Management gets better reports, because they have more buy-in from team members—which leads to better data


I’ve had to gloss over some subtle points and leave out a bunch of detail to keep this high-level, but we’ll keep an eye on comments to see if there’s interest in future posts on this topic. Thanks for reading!


Some related info:

·         Project Server blogs and books

·         Project Server 2007 home page

·         Overview of Project Server 2003 Outlook integration

·         If you’re interested in Project Server but don’t want to set up your own server, some of our partners offer hosting

Comments (21)

  1. The Program Manager in Outlook (Melissa) and one of our Program Managers here in Project (Jon) collaborated

  2. Manoj Kumar (Merrill Lynch) says:

    Jon – I have 2 issues

    1.  In my Vista RC2/Outlook 2007 B2TR, only the field for Remaining Work was editable.  The Task Tracking Setting is set to Hours by Day in Project Server 2007 B2TR.  The time-phased grid is not editable either.  I switched to %Work Complete tacking setting, published a new test project, synched the tasks, same problem.  In PWA, I can edit both the Progress column for tasks set with %Work Complete and enter hours against the pop-up timephased grid for tasks set to Hours by Day tracking.  Have you seen this problem?

    2.  On an Win XP SP2/Outlook 2003 SP2, the add-in barfs with url for Project Server "looks invalid" – check spelling error.  On the same laptop, I can go into PWA using IE6 enter %Complete or Hours-by-Day as appropriate against tasks successfully.  Have you seen this one?  I have .Net Framework v1.1 on this laptop, do I need .Net Framework v2.0?  Are there any specific software component requirements for setting up with Outlook 2003 SP2?

  3. Kalpesh says:

    Is it to further customised for input data and

    Can we integrate it with Outlook Task instead of Calendar for reminder option PWA task should not appear in Caledar it should only be appeared in Outlook Task only

  4. aangas says:

    Is there any way you can report the actual start date for a task? This is a big blocker for one of our clients.

  5. eOffice says:


    The integration looks nice, but I wonder is it just as nice when combining Project Server 2007 with Outlook 2003?

  6. Randy says:

    I’ve been having trouble for a while now trying to consistently get Outlook tasks to update via the timesheet hours.  When I try to update the Project Web Access from the task I get the following error: "Updates were not accepted by the server (Exception 999)"  Additionally, it many times hangs Outlook 2003 and I have to restart outlook.  I’ve tried this on a completely fresh, updated install of Outlook 2003 as well as an updated, fresh install of Outlook 2007 with no success.  It definitly has something to do with the server but I do not know what.  Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated

  7. Tina says:

    We are having 2 main areas of issues.  We use Project & Server 2007, published on SharePoint, going into Outlook Calendar.

    1. Project task duration to allow for extra time so resources are not booked 100% each day.

    No matter how I try to setup the task type, duration, work, lag etc, the calendar is always updated to book all day each day of the duration.

    example, 20 hours of actual work scheduled over 5 days duration.  Assign to Resource, it books 8 – 5 all5 days on the Resource calendar.

    we want to see only 4 hours per day booked.

    2. Resource opens Outlook calander appointment and needs to change the date.

    change the outlook date, but is not able to be uploaded to Project.  Even if they set one of the project server fields to trigger to send an update, the date change is not sent.

    Do you have any suggestions on how to resolve or work with these issues?

  8. M. Iannini says:

    I am trying to use Outlook PWA Add-in (MOPS and Outlook 2007). I went throughout the install process with no problem, imported all my assignments which are showing just fine in

    Outlook. I tried both methods Tasks and Calendar and they worked fine.

    Now, when I open any Project Task within Outlook I see that many of the fields are grayed out. In fact the only fields I am able to modify are the Taks Health and Remaining Work. I can’t enter any time into the grid, and the Copy from Planned button is disabled. Al the buttons in the bottom part of the form are enabled and working as expected.

    I have reviewed the security templates in PWA 2007 and I am not able to see anything like the old 2003 setting "allow the user to use Outlook to update projects"; just a setting allowing users to download the Add-in.

    What am I doing wrong?


  9. Beth Walton says:

    Does anyone use a 3rd party application to track time and integrate with Project? We are looking at Pacific Timesheet (, but any other suggestions?

  10. Martin Kovac says:

    Hi Tina,

    Did you figure out that problem ? We have the same here 🙁

    If you do, please post it somewhere or send me e-mail to


  11. Jill says:

    My problem is that when I enter my hours for a task in PWA, they don’t show up properly in Outlook (I’m using Outlook 2003). When I click on Import New Assignments and then open a task, the hours I entered in PWA populate the Planned Work fields, not the Actual work fields. If I change the Actual work fields to match what’s in PWA and then save it to PWA, I get conflict emails. Am I doing something wrong? Any help is greatly appreciated!

  12. Jon Kaufthal says:

    Tina (and Martin):

    Sorry, but what you describe in your comments is not possible/supported.

    Re #1–you CAN change the free/busy settings, via Tools | Options | PWA inside Outlook. I don’t know if that helps your issue, but wanted to be sure you were aware.

  13. Jon Kaufthal says:

    Jill, when you make conflicting edits to your data in the Outlook add-in and in PWA, the add-in does its best–but with ambiguous situations, the last one in "wins", and then we show you the conflict messages you describe, in case that wasn’t what you intended. I’m not totally clear on what order you’re doing things, but you might want to try JUST changing things in Outlook (or just in PWA), and then going to PWA to submit your timesheet.

  14. Jon Kaufthal says:

    M. Iannini–does your server have reporting periods defined (from PWA server settings)? Are you able to submit a timesheet through the PWA interface?

  15. Jon Kaufthal says:

    Kalpesh, there is an option in Outlook (Tools | Options | PWA) that allows you to choose whether your PWA assignments get imported as Tasks or as Calendar items.

    I’m not sure I followed the rest of your requests/feedback–if you’re still stuck, please clarify…

  16. Jon Kaufthal says:

    eOffice – the experience is virtually identical between Outlook 2007 and 2003, except of course to changes in Outlook itself such as the ribbon user interface on the detail forms, and the ability to show tasks on the calendar.

  17. Jon Kaufthal says:

    Alex–sorry, this is currently not possible.

  18. Jon Kaufthal says:

    Re some of the mysterious conntection/error message issues, I just wanted to cross-post my earlier comments from part 1 of this post series here…

    First, thanks for reading, and for all of the great questions and feedback. Keep it coming!

    I want be sure you know that we are listening! I apologize for not responding sooner, but please understand that I and others are regularly keeping an eye on your comments. In many cases, the blogs are not well-suited to be an in-depth troubleshooting forum, but just knowing what difficulties folks are running into helps us understand where we need to improve in the future. It’s also great to see the community helping one another in many cases here.

    That said, let me take a stab at addressing at least some of the feedback:

    1. Along the lines mentioned above—the Outlook add-in can be tricky to troubleshoot in general. There are a lot of moving pieces, when you consider the Outlook COM add-in infrastructure, Project Server’s PSI interface, Project Server security settings, Exchange security settings, Outlook settings, etc. We test our products under a wide variety of configurations, and rely on extensive beta testing to get further feedback—but there may be config-specific issues we haven’t encountered. In most cases these will need to be troubleshooted via product support.

    2. Service Pack 1 is coming very soon! Some of the feedback mentioned has been very helpful to us in prioritizing our SP1 release. I can’t promise that all of your issues will be addressed, but I hope you’ll find that some of the most common issues are better with SP1. Here’s a recent story on the SP1 release schedule:

    One key fix in Project Server SP1 is to correct an issue where our timesheet API was not correctly handling custom fields. This single issue caused many problems with the add-in, in some cases making it fail to load or show some of the errors mentioned in your comments.

    Other specific comments:

    3. Susana—did you try saying “No” to this dialog? It’s hard to understand what’s going on without more information, but in some cases Outlook can fail for unrelated reasons (eg, you pull the plug out of the computer) and give this prompt.

    4. Disabled fields—a few reasons why you might see these include:

    • Protected actuals

    • Invalid timesheet periods / timesheet not created

    • Time tracking method settings

    • Already-submitted timesheet (as PMRS suggested)

    5. Changing the login URL – you can do this from within Outlook’s Tools Options interface, on the “Project Web Access” tab.

    6. Lisa, I hope you’ll give this feature a try! We hear a great deal about the issues when they come up, but please realize that there are many customers happily using the add-in. And when things go less than smoothly, your feedback is a key part of helping us improve—both in the short term with hotfixes and service packs, and in the longer term with future releases.



  19. Greg Sheehan says:

    Will it be possible in the future to update a startfinish time for a task through the outlook addin?  (I see that the answer to Alex

    s question was ~ not at this time)


  20. Melissa,

    I have searched for an international version of the Outlook add-in (French). I’m getting the famous message:

    "The language of the Project Add-In for Outlook must match the language of Outlook.  Uninstall the add-in and reinstall a matching language version"

    I read about changing the default Office language to US English and editing the registry so the language is set to 1033 decimal or 409 hex, but I still get the message.

    Is an international version of the Add-in scheduled some day? Or do I find it in some pack?

    Thanks for your help!

    Pierre Le Gallo

    Paris, FRANCE