In Project 2007, copying data from Project to Word was quite painful, resulting in some funky formatting that was hard coded to whatever colors, fonts, etc. you had in your project file. In addition, when you copied dates, the default format was 9/8/2010 12:00pm which unless your plan is VERY time sensitive is not typically want you want to show in a word document.
So in Project 2010, the Microsoft team seems to have fixed some things but broken others in an effort to improve these problems in 2007.
So take this dummy project plan I created:
I want to move this into Word so that I can include it in a Statement of Work, Project Charter, etc. What I want is this data in a simple table – I don’t need GANTT charts or anything else…just a basic list of tasks and durations.
So now if I copy this into Word, this is what I get:
Not a bad representation of the plan – certainly better than the output in Project 2007. However, the biggest challenge here is the indenting – Task 1.1, 1.2, etc. are indented using 4 Spaces instead of a TAB, a proper Word paragraph indent, etc. If you want to change the size of the indent in word, you’re now stuck with doing a search and replace for 4 spaces and either replacing them or converting them to TABs or Word paragraph indents.
In Excel, there is a further problem – date formatting. In Excel, the same plan looks like this:
Again, not bad and certainly an improvement over MS Project 2007. However, let’s suppose that you want to change the date format to a simple date without the day in it, e.g. 8-Sept-10. In order to convert the cell into a proper date, you have delete the "Wed " from the dates for each day of the week. Then you can format your dates anyway you like in Excel. In addition, you have the same problem with indents as Word – indents are handled with 4 Spaces instead of real indent marks, making them tough to remove.
So from my perspective, while the formatting is prettier when copying data from MS Project 2010, its actually less useful and harder to convert to something I can manually format and change in Word or Excel myself. This is ultimately what is needed – if you are copying and pasting into another document, you will want to use the parent documents fonts, indenting, date formatting, etc. and not Project’s default settings.