Guidelines to Convert from Microsoft Project to Primavera P6

Choosing an appropriate Resource Management software is important, but also complicated as there are vast options available, all with different functions. The most commonly used software are Microsoft Project and Primavera P6. Most businesses are shifting to Primavera P6 from Microsoft Project. Thus, it is important to follow several guidelines while converting from Microsoft Project to Primavera P6.

Microsoft Project has a different architecture as a software compared to Primavera P6. For example, the scheduled reports are more organized in Microsoft Project than Primavera P6. Also, Primavera P6 is not compatible with the linking options nor milestone types that are available in Microsoft Project.

Our team at ICM Contractors have come up with a process of conversion from Microsoft Project to Primavera P6 that addresses a lot of that compatibility issues, as there are certain steps that are to be taken to correct the differences when moving from Microsoft Project to Primavera P6.

The following guidelines will help converting from Microsoft Project to Primavera P6:

Linked Summaries to be Avoided:

If tasks are indented, Microsoft Project will retain some links among the tasks and summaries. This would affect the start dates of other tasks. If these summary tasks are on the Microsoft Project schedule, the start dates will be inaccurate if the summary was a predecessor. While the conversion is happening, the summary tasks in Microsoft Project would become WBS elements in P6 which doesn’t support links to WBS elements. These links should be removed before the conversion.

Should not have Blank Rows:

Having blank rows or blank tasks in your schedule might cause errors during conversion. It is better to remove the blank rows before submitting the file for conversion.

Don’t have Blank WBS Fields:

Microsoft sometimes leaves blank fields while generating WBS codes basing task indentation hierarchy. This would result in errors during the conversion. Therefore, it is necessary to verify that all the WBS fields are populated before the schedule submission.

Uncheck “Project Summary Task”:

Using the “Project Summary Task” might create a replica WBS element in the Primavera P6 schedule. Primavera P6 uses the project that is similar to the Project Summary Task button at the top of WBS structure. The Project Summary Task should be unchecked before sending the file.

Align Indent Structures:

You need to make sure that the indentation of task is correct so that it will display the tasks in Primavera P6 in the same way as in Microsoft Project. For big projects the impact would be huge on the overall layout of the schedule. We recommend that you make sure all the tasks are in order, have indentation and are in-line with the WBS structure in the Microsoft Project.

Milestone Differences

The milestones in Microsoft Project are different than Primavera P6. In Primavera P6 there are two milestones; start milestones and finish milestones. The start milestone will schedule at the beginning of the calendar working day and finish milestones will schedule the end of the working day. When the conversion happens from Microsoft Project to Primavera P6, all the projects are loaded as start milestones. This might affect the days in the schedule. The dates in Primavera P6 might be a day later compared to the date in Microsoft Project as Primavera P6 would place them at the start of calendar working day. One should identify all the milestones that should be finish milestones and change them accordingly.


Microsoft Project and Primavera P6 have their own ways in displaying a WBS. It depends on what you prefer to use and which of the tools would be comfortable to use. Primavera P6 emphasizes WBS’s ownership of the tasks whereas Microsoft Project emphasizes the order of the tasks created and their IDs. It comes down to personal preferences when choosing between the two.

© 2018/19 by ICM Contractors Marketing Team.

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