Project 2010: Introducing the Backstage view

Hi, it’s Jon K again. In this post, I’ll introduce Project 2010’s new Backstage view. The Backstage view is the new experience seen when you click on the File tab in Project 2010. While the other ribbon tabs focus on things you do in your project (add tasks, edit resources, change formatting), the Backstage view is focused on things you do to your project as a whole—for example, save, print, and share.

The Backstage view is new across all Office apps for 2010, whereas the ribbon was a part of other Office applications for Office 2007 but is also new for Project 2010. In this post, Clay provides some background on the thinking behind the introduction of the Backstage view. His comments there apply to Project  as well, so I recommend you take a break from this post and go read his post first if you’re new to the Backstage view. Don’t worry, I’ll wait…

OK, welcome back. When you click the File tab in the ribbon to enter the Backstage view, you’ll see a new list of tabs down the side: Info, Recent, New, Print, Save & Send, Help. Additionally, there are single-click “fast commands” for frequent options like Save, Save As, Publish, Open, and Close. Below these tabs you’ll also find a button to configure Project options.

When you first click the File tab in Project, you’ll see Project’s Info tab:


The Info tab is where you can get high-level status about your project and make related changes. A few things to notice:

  • The Backstage view is full screen. Since you’re not working with the content of your document, the Backstage takes over the screen and allows for more screen space to describe the relevant features
  • “Temporary” sections provide status about special conditions such as a Read-Only file as shown above.
  • The info tab also provides:
    • A convenient place to reference the location of your document, and copy it to the clipboard
    • A place to manage your connections to Project Server (if any)
    • A link to the Organizer, where you can move project elements
    • A thumbnail view of your project, which you can click to exit the Backstage view
    • A place to view and edit key properties of your project. For example, you can click on the Status Date to directly edit inline

When you’re connected to Project Server, you’ll see a number of new Info tab options “light up” as shown here:


As you can see, a number of Project Server-dependent features are now shown, such as:

  • A convenient link to your Project Web App home page
  • Date/time of your last publish to PWA, and a button to publish again
  • Buttons to check for updates, manage permissions, and work with the enterprise global

The right-side pane now also lets you control the tracking method, edit custom fields values, and link to related information like documents, issues, and risks.

I won’t go into as much detail on the other tabs here, but here’s a quick overview:

  • The Recent tab provides quick access to your recently opened projects, and lets you pin the projects you want to always keep on the list
  • The New tab brings together a number of ways to start a project, including:
    • Blank new project
    • Recent templates, local templates, and Project Server templates
    • New from existing project, from Excel workbook, or from a SharePoint task list
    • Templates from, which you can now navigate and open directly in Project without having to open a Web browser
  • The Print tab combines print preview with changing common print settings, providing a convenient all-in-one interface for printing. I’ll come back to this in a moment.
  • The Save & Send tab (this was called “Share” in the Beta) is where you go to publish to Project Server, sync a list to SharePoint, change your file format, save as PDF or XPS, send as an email attachment, and more
  • Project’s Help tab is similar to that of the other Office apps and is described here.
  • Finally, Options takes you to Project’s options interface, which we’ve redesigned for 2010 and perhaps we can cover that in more detail separately.

The Print tab is a good example of the benefits of the full-screen experience in the Backstage. Where before you might have had to toggle between setup dialogs and preview, the new print experience lets you change the common settings and immediately see the impact in the preview. So you can easily change your printer, number of copies, page layout, date range, and the like and then hit Print once you’re ready. Here’s what this looks like:


There’s more to discover, but I hope this overview gives you a sense of what’s new with the move to the Backstage view and why we hope you’ll find it useful.

Finally, if you’re interested in programmatically customizing the Backstage view, see here.

Comments (10)

  1. Robert Happy says:

    Well done – an excellent overview of the Backstage place (oops I mean view). Very quick and easy to consume…

  2. Feda Hankic says:

    It’s nice to see this additon to Project. Unfortunately it falls short compared to some of the other Office 2010 Applications.

    You still have to open the old style outdated page setup to get most of your formating done instead of having those fully availble Backstage and updated to the new standards set in Office 2010.

    Exporting to PDF/XPS provides poor results and no formating options. This feature should be merged with the printing section.

  3. Feda, thanks for the feedback!

    While I’m excited about the improvements we’ve made to the Print experience, and we’re getting a great response from customers–no question we can do more here in the future. Due to technical and schedule constraints, we had to focus on the most common formatting options like changing the printer, number of copies, paper orientation, printing range of dates/pages, etc.

    For other more "advanced" print setup, as you noted this is available in the Page Setup dialog, directly linked from the Print tab in the Backstage. Your feedback on which of the remaining options you most value and would like more immediate access to will help us improve future versions of Project.

    Regarding PDF/XPS export–to maintain consistency with the other Office applications (and because these format are not just for printing), we’ve put this command under Save & Send. Of course if you rely heavily on these formats–and especially if you’re seeing better results from Print–you may just want to change your printer driver to a PDF/XPS print driver and generate PDF/XPS docs via Print.

    Regarding "no formatting options"–this is somewhat of a hidden feature, but in some cases the Print settings will actually carry over to the PDF/XPS document generated. You may want to try that and see if it helps.

    And I’m sorry to hear you’re seeing "poor results" with PDF/XPS export. If you can provide more details we can try to troubleshoot.

  4. Feda Hankic says:

    For PDF/XPS export:

    – No margins

    – Print Setup doesn’t transfer to PDF/XPS results

    I created a PDF without changing print settings and received a 3 page document with 111.39"x45.7" sheet size where half of each page was blank.

    When I created a single page 24"x36" print layout, PDF result was a single page 39.77"x26.14" sheet without margins.

    Ohh, I just noticed, there is a typo for "Print Entire Project" option in the print page. It says "Enter instead of Entire.

    Scaling like in Excel with Fit Rows to One Page and Fit Colums to One Page would be a great addition to the Backstage View print page.

    Thanks for responding to my comments.

  5. Feda, thanks for the addiitonal details. I can’t confirm 100% for certain without knowing more about your exact configuration and project plan(s) data, but these sound very much like issues that were fixed after the release of the 2010 public beta–and so those fixes will be in the final version of Project 2010.

    And yes, we have also fixed the "enter"/"entire" typo 🙂

  6. NS says:

    I am looking for a fix to some printing issues when opening existing project 2007 files within project 2010 – the print preview removes all headers & footers be this using the inbuilt save as PDF or to the local network printer.  The same file under 2007 on another workstation prints as expected.. ie with headers & footers

  7. MARIANNE says:


    where do i chose custom size? really prefer the 2007 version….

  8. Kasper Malmskov-Hartvig says:

    In page setup I’ve found that I can’t choose a paper size (A1) if it’s not part of the chosen printers’ paper opportunities. In MS Visio you have the possibility to choose a paper size different from the printer size.

    This feature would be highly beneficial in order to create a page setup regardless of what printer is used to make the print and to make a good possibility to do a page setup for the PDF / XPS that is not reliant on the printer paper sizes.

  9. MS hater says:

    Seriously why doesn't project let you make a single page PDF to send to someone without have to buy other software. This is junk.

  10. Jane Hawkins says:

    I have to say that the Printing backstage view for Project is not very user friendly.  I used to use Print Preview extensively to get a readable printout in Project.  Now with less than half a screen to view Print Preview I am wasting a lot more paper with unreadable plans.  Why do I need so much room for Print options?  If some people need the room and some like myself do not why can we not change the room available but dragging the split bar across?

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