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Working with a Project Offline in 2010

 

 

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Some Microsoft Project users need to be able to work on a project when they are not able to connect to Project Server such as when they are traveling, working in the field without a connection or at home without the ability to login to the system.

Experience: Most of our customers tell us that this is important functionally that is funky at best. If you have a lot of project managers taking projects offline you will need to clearly train them on how to do this correctly so that a lot of support time is not consumed by having to address the situation in which a project manager spent an entire weekend working with their project offline up at a cabin in the mountains and now that they are back in the office they can't get it back online. In addition, going offline with a project and working with cache under a particular profile is confusing and counter intuitive to many users. Technically, cache has not worked well historically and there is not a reasonable way to deal with problems associated with bringing a project back online if not taken offline correctly, saving backups, etc. 

User experience with taking a project offline in 2010Technical evaluaiton of  taking a project offline in 2010

Most users place a high value on being able to take a project offline and work with it away from the office.

Essentially, working with a project offline involves checking out a project (opening the project from Project Server), taking the project offline, and working offline under the same account that the project was taken offline.

Steps to  taking a project offline in 2010

Initially, do this:

  1. Check with your Project Server Administrator to make sure that you have the permission to take a project offline.

  2. Make sure you can choose how you connect to Project Server. To work with a project offline, you have to be able to "Work Offline" under the same Project Server Account that you were originally logged in under when you took the project offline.

  3. In the Project Server Accounts dialog box select Choose an account (File | Info | Manage Accounts | Choose an account).

Taking  a project offline in 2010

To take a project offline.

  1. Login to Project Server. Start Microsoft Project, select the correct profile and then click the OK button.

Login to Microsoft Project Server 2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note: If you select the Computer profile, Microsoft Project is opened without being connected to Project Server. Use this profile when you want to just work with *.mpp files. Using the Computer profile is not how you work with a project offline from Project Server or how to open enterprise projects that are in your local cache. 

 

  1. Open the project you want to take offline.

  2. Take the project offline. (File | Info | Manage Accounts | Work Offline)

Work Offline in Project Server 2010

You can also take a project offline by clicking on the Connection button on the status bar and selecting Work Offline.

Work Offine with a project in Microsoft Project Server 2010

 

 

 

 

Once you have taken a project offline you need to close the project. This is a critical step; make sure you keep the project checked out. At this point it makes no sense to us why the software asks the user to check in a project or not. In offline mode, it is technically checked out from Project Server, but if you do not keep it checked out, even though it is checked out, you will not be able to make changes to the project offline.  If a project has been taken offline and then checked-in it will mean that the project can be opened but only as read only. The Read-Only status is easy to miss since your only indication of read-only mode is in the title bar.

If you take a project offline and then check it in, you will get the following obscure and confusing message. Perhaps it should read "We apologize for asking you if you want to check-in a project that is in offline mode and technically checked-out. Checking-in the project that is offline means that you can no longer work with that project offline and then go back online with the changes."

Checking-in an offline project in Project Server 2010

Note: If you wanted to take a project offline, make changes and then save the project to Project Server as new project, you might check-in the project. However, a better practice would be to save the project as an *.mpp file, make your changes and then import the project to the enterprise. If you wanted to take a project offline to work on it not connected to Project Sever, and then save it as an enterprise template when logged in to Project Server, then checking-in the project while in offline mode would be considered a good practice.

Read-Only project in Microsoft Project 2010

To work with a project offline:

  1. Login under the same profile but Work Offline under that profile; don't actually login to Project Server. This will allow you to open the project you put in offline mode from the cache on your computer.

Login to Project Server 2010 to Work Offline

Note: You are not connected to Project Server when working offline. However, working offline under a profile allows you to open what you have in cache. Opening a project in cache is always opened as read only and you can not save changes back to Project Server. However, if a project in cache is in offline mode, you can sync those changes when you reconnect to the server.

  1. Make and save your changes as you normally do.

To bring a project back online:

  1. When you are ready to bring the project back online, login to Project Server.

  2. Open the project. The system will bring the project back online automatically.

  3. Save and or Publish the project. 


Exercise

  1. In this exercise you are going to be making changes to a project so we recommend you not do this exercise in your production environment.

  2. Login and open any project.

  3. Take the project offline (File | Info | Manage Accounts | Work Offline).

  4. Close the project but do not check-in the project.

  5. Exit Microsoft Project and then open Project again. This time, select the same profile you were using when you took the project off-line, and click the Work Offline button.

  1. Open the project and add a new task. Save and close the project and do not check it in.

  2. Exit Project and then open Project and select the same profile you were just using and then click the OK button.

  3. Open the project that was offline. The project is now online. Save and/or publish your changes.

 

 

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