How to use the resource calendar in Project

Jan 27, 2022 | Project Hints and Tips

Every work resource that is added to Microsoft Project has a calendar assigned.  By default this is the standard project calendar.  This assumes that everyone working on the project is working from 8 until 12, then 1 until 5 from Monday to Friday.  There are 2 other preset calendars covering 24 Hours and Night Shift but these are used far less frequently. 

If you are creating a very basic timeline for your project then this might be fine but to get a much more accurate plan you will need to consider changing this.  Imagine how far out a long project could end up being if every day is 1 hour shorter than you have set in Project, and if you don’t take into account bank holidays or company shut downs either the difference can be huge.  And that’s without considering that individuals may be working different hours, less days per week or have vacations booked. 

Changing the Working Hours for the Standard Project Calendar 

This is something I would suggest changing before you add any tasks to your project to see an accurate picture of timings from the start. 

  1. Select Change Working Time from the Project Tab 
Change working time icon

2. Go to the Work Weeks Tab 
3. Click on default which is the default hours for the whole project unless the dates are changed 

Work weeks tab

4. Click on Details 

Work weeks details

5. Initially project will be using the default times for all days. Which is 08:00 to 12:00 and 13:00 to 17:00 Monday to Friday with Saturday and Sunday being nonworking. 
6. Select the days that need to be changed. 
7. If these are now going to be non working then Set days to nonworking time.  If it’s just the timings for the day that need to be altered then select Set Days to these specific working times.  The From and To times will now be available and can be altered as required 
8. Click on OK 

Changing the Working Days for the Standard Project Calendar 

It is also a good idea to add any bank holidays or company shut down when initially setting up your project. 

  1. Select Change Working Time from the Project Tab 
  2. Go to the Exceptions Tab 
  3. For each exception from the default working hours enter a Name, Start and Finish date 
  4. This could be bank holidays, company holidays, early finish on Christmas eve but NOT changes in working times for individuals. 
  5. By default anything added is assumed to be nonworking time but if it is just a change in hours for that day then the Details button can selected to set specific times for that day and even set up recurring entries if required. 

Changing the Working time for a Specific Resource 

These should be set up on an individual basis taking into account standard working hours with specific changes added on a regular basis such as when holidays are booked.  Once a resource has been created their calendars will appear and able to be modified.  By default a resources calendar is based on the Standard calendar and is then modified from there. 

  1. Select Change Working Time from the Project Tab 
  2. At the top of the dialog box where it says For Calendar: Standard (Project Calendar) click on the drop down arrow 
  3. A list of all work resources will show along with Standard already discussed and 2 other default calendars of 24hrs and night shift. 
Resource Calendar

4. Select the resource calendar to be changed and amend the Work weeks and Exceptions as already described.
5. Click on OK 

Changing the working times for the tasks 

The working hours for the tasks don’t automatically update when the calendar is changed and will normally need to be set to be in sync with the calendar otherwise odd discrepancies will occur. 

  1. Select Change Working Time from the Project Tab 
  2. Click on the Options button 
Calendar options

3. Change the default start and finish times, hours per day and hours per week. 

NOTE: These changes are for this project only but the standard calendar can be transferred to other projects using the Organiser and the working times for the tasks can be changed for new projects too from the options. 

Further Reading

If you’ve enjoyed reading about how to use the resource calendar in Project, there’s some other blogs below that you might find useful:

Want to learn more about Microsoft Project? Then email to discuss how I can help or have a look at the Microsoft Project Courses I run.