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Microsoft Project Standard vs. Microsoft Project Professional

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Features in Both Editions with Differing Functionality
Features Only in Microsoft Project Professional
Mixed Environment

By providing a Standard and a Professional edition, Microsoft® Project 2002 tailors its flexible platform and tools to the project management needs of a specific group of users as follows:

  • Microsoft Project Standard Microsoft Project Standard is tailored to help business managers and project teams dynamically manage schedules and resources, collaborate on projects, and analyze project information. Microsoft Project Standard can be used stand-alone, or in combination with Microsoft Project Server for more advanced team collaboration.

  • Microsoft Project Professional Building upon Microsoft Project Standard functionality, Microsoft Project Professional is tailored to the needs of enterprise project and resource managers. It provides a scalable and customizable solution for organizations with powerful enterprise-wide project and resource reporting, scenario analysis, and resource management capabilities. Microsoft Project Professional is used in combination with Microsoft Project Server for successful team collaboration and enterprise project management.

Deployment and configuration of Microsoft Project Server helps you decide which edition of Microsoft Project you need to install. For example:

  • If you use Microsoft Project Server and it is installed with all enterprise-enabling components (such as Microsoft SQL Server™ Analysis Services to enable the Portfolio Analyzer for OLAP Reporting and SharePoint™ Team Services from Microsoft to enable project collaboration), you should use Microsoft Project Professional as your client.

  • If Microsoft Project Server is installed without enterprise enabling components, or if you don't use Microsoft Project Server, you should use Microsoft Project Standard as your client.

Features in Both Editions with Differing Functionality

The following table displays features available in Microsoft Project Standard and Microsoft Project Professional, and describes their differences in functionality:


Microsoft Project Standard

Microsoft Project Professional

Consolidated projects

Supports publishing of master projects and inserted projects to Microsoft Project Server.

Users can be restricted from publishing master projects to Microsoft Project Server to avoid double counting of resources and inconsistent coding.

Supports publishing of master projects and inserted projects to Microsoft Project Server.

Users can be restricted from publishing master projects to Microsoft Project Server to avoid double counting of resources and inconsistent coding.

Inserted projects of a master project must be of the same version.

Microsoft Project base calendars

Users are responsible for creating base calendars for the project.

Users can be restricted from creating base calendars, because enterprise calendars may be used across projects on Microsoft Project Server.

Currency settings

A message notifies users about currency issues when projects with different currencies are consolidated.

A specific currency setting may automatically be decided on for projects and resources on Microsoft Project Server.

Mixed mode

All workgroup mode.

Can be restricted to only enterprise mode or allow mixed mode.

Note For consistent enterprise functionality, mixed mode should be avoided.

Global files

Uses a policy or user-specific global file (Global.mpt).

Uses the enterprise global template in the Microsoft Project Server database, in addition to a policy or user-specific global file (Global.mpt).

Data storage

Supports mixed file and database formats.

Stores all data in a Microsoft SQL Server 2000 (or later) database that can be managed by your IS operations group.

Multi-user access

Users can open an already opened project as read-only.

Users can use the Open dialog box to verify which projects and resources are already checked out.

Resource sharing

Uses a shared resource pool. A shared resource pool is not scalable, because all resources are displayed when a sharer project opens.

Uses an enterprise resource pool and displays only resources of an opened project team. An enterprise resource pool can contain a large amount of resources.

Offline file access

There are no special provisions for working offline. To work offline, a project can be saved as a file on a user's computer.

Uses a cached enterprise global template that allows you to work with projects that are saved offline. Changes to an offline project can be saved online when you reconnect to Microsoft Project Server.

External dependencies

Can link to multiple copies of same project.

Maintains links within a version.

Saving a project to another version redirects external dependencies to that version.

Inactive resources

If Microsoft Project Server is used, inactive resources can not be viewed in Microsoft Project Standard.

Marked with an indicator, inactive resources are clearly displayed in resource views, and you are prompted to replace them on remaining work.

Features Only in Microsoft Project Professional

The following table displays features that are only available in Microsoft Project Professional:


Microsoft Project Standard

Microsoft Project Professional

Admin check-in commands

Not available

Used to automatically check projects, resources, and the enterprise global template back into Microsoft Project Server if they were left checked out when Microsoft Project was closed.

Enterprise global template

Not available

Used to standardize settings across an organization, the enterprise global template is stored in a special project on Microsoft Project Server. It can only be edited by someone with administrative privileges on the server.

Enterprise custom fields

Not available

Used to maintain consistency across the organization, enterprise custom fields are set up in Microsoft Project Server so that the fields and their lookup tables are the same for all projects and resources. Enterprise custom fields have specific attributes. For example, they can be required fields, so that users are prompted to enter information in that field.

Enterprise resources

Not available

Used to share resources across projects in the enterprise, enterprise resources are part of the organization's pool of resources. Access to resources can be limited by permissions. Enterprise resources have a unique resource name and ID across all projects in Microsoft Project Server. Indicators differentiate local, generic, and inactive resources from enterprise resources in resource views and in the Build Team from Enterprise feature.

Build team from Enterprise

Not available

Used to build your team, the Build Team from Enterprise feature allows you to search for enterprise resources by any resource attribute, including availability in a specific timeframe.

Generic resources

Not available

Used primarily for resource substitution to replace them with specific resources who possess the same skills, generic resources are placeholder resources, not specific individuals.

Summary resource assignments

Not available

Summarizes the work of team members in other unopened projects in a single assignment for each project. When leveling resources in a project, summary resource assignment demands are accounted for first.

Project versions

Not available. In Microsoft Project Standard, however, users can simulate project versions by saving copies of a project in different databases or folders.

Supports archived and published versions of a project for "what-if" analysis and backup purposes. The published version is updated when it is opened in Microsoft Project with the latest enterprise global template and resource data. Unlike project baselines, versions represent a full copy of a project.

Project Data Services

Not available

Provides an extensible, secure API for solution builder access to Microsoft Project Server.

Portfolio Analyzer

Not available

Uses enterprise outline codes to analyze time-phased assignment data within a project or across projects in a PivotTable or PivotChart.

Resource Substitution Wizard

Not available

Allows you analyze the resources in the organization or within a specific department, and to make assignments based on resources' skills and availability.

Portfolio Modeler

Not available

Models different project staffing scenarios to determine the feasibility of a new project, prioritize projects and resources, or find potential problems.

Resource Center

Not available

Displays work and availability of resources across an enterprise organization.

Mixed Environment

Users of both Microsoft Project Standard and Microsoft Project Professional can use Microsoft Project Server and the Web-based user interface, Microsoft Project Web Access. Both Microsoft Project Professional and Microsoft Project Standard users can take advantage of the timesheet, status report, project views, document, and issue features of Microsoft Project Server. However, only Microsoft Project Professional users can open and save projects and resources to the server database, or use the Resource Center, Portfolio Analyzer, and Portfolio Modeler features.

Both editions of Microsoft Project can publish projects to Microsoft Project Server, so that they populate the Project Center and the detailed views of specific projects in Microsoft Project Web Access. Therefore, a Microsoft Project Web Access view (essentially, a report) can mix projects published from both Microsoft Project Standard and Microsoft Project Professional. However, publishing a project to Microsoft Project Server from both editions of Microsoft Project may create at least three problems:

  • Work assigned to any individual resource may appear under multiple resources. Microsoft Project Standard cannot access enterprise resources. Each project manager can define the resources from their project to represent a single individual in an organization. Views containing resource information will not roll work across projects correctly, because work assigned to one individual may show up under local resources with different names; views created from this information will, therefore, be inaccurate. In cases where an organization has defined an enterprise resource, projects published using a local version of the resource will create inaccurate views of the resource's availability.

  • Projects published using Microsoft Project Standard may not use standard definitions of custom fields, including outline codes. If views are created to roll up or group projects based on their use of custom fields, Microsoft Project Standard projects may not roll up correctly, because each project can use its own custom field definition, and can be published with or without values for the fields. This is particularly evident in the Portfolio Analyzer, which uses an OLAP cube built with custom outline codes as dimensions.

  • Projects published using Microsoft Project Standard can use local calendars. Because project managers can use their own calendars or change calendars during a project, views intended to compare project progress and status can be misleading.

Microsoft Project Professional includes features that simplify and increase the consistency of project and resource information published to Microsoft Project Server. Microsoft Project Standard does not include these features. When project and resource information from projects created in both editions is mixed on a single server, the accuracy and usefulness of reports can be significantly reduced.

In short, Microsoft recommends that customers deploying Microsoft Project Professional and Microsoft Project Server configure the server to support only publishing of projects by Microsoft Project Professional.

In medium to large organizations, different business units or workgroups may use different editions of Microsoft Project 2002. These organizations can use the same physical servers to support multiple instances of Microsoft Project Server. This configuration allows an organization to support, for example, one instance of Microsoft Project Server for Microsoft Project Professional users and one instance of Microsoft Project Server for Microsoft Project Standard users. The Microsoft Project Server license permits customers to create an unlimited number of Microsoft Project Server instances on a single physical server.

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