Ever found yourself scratching your head trying to add new activity bars in P6, but it just doesn’t work out? You’re probably looking to step out of the P6’s default bar chart zone and spice up your graphs, right? So, let’s chat about what kind of activity bar you’re dreaming of!

In my book, there are two main goals you’re likely shooting for:

  1. Colour It Up : Sometimes, you want to highlight certain project activities with a bar colour and style that’s totally different from the usual.
  2. Team-Inspired Changes : Other times, you’re looking to tweak the bar chart’s look to match what your project team is asking for.

Guess what? You can totally nail these tasks with a few cool tips and tricks I’ll share today. Ready to dive in?

Custom Bars with UDF (User Defined Field) Criteria: To display selected project tasks with your choice of bar colour and style, UDF is your go-to tool. UDF lets you stand out from the standard bars with ease.

For Example:

How about showing mechanical tasks with a UDF code (like “mech“) as a snazzy blue bar?

And for electrical tasks (think UDF code “elect“), go for an eye-catching orange bar, especially useful for spotting SIMOPS (simultaneous operations).

Imagine This: You want to label some project activities as “critical” in your P6 schedule. A Little Note: P6 usually sorts out critical activities, but you might want to have your own take on it.

Here’s How in Just Three Easy Steps:

Step 1 – Setting Up Your UDF

    • First off, head over to Enterprise > User Defined Fields.


    • When you’re in the User Defined Fields window, pick “Activities”, then select “Text” for the Data Type.
    • Give your UDF a name, like ‘Text 1’ – something easy to remember.



Step 2 – Assign Your UDF Code

    • Now that ‘Text 1’ is ready, plug in your UDF code (let’s say, “Critical”) into the activities you’ve got your eye on.
    • Make sure ‘Text 1’ is visible in your activity table. If it’s already there, skip ahead to Step 3. If not, no sweat, keep reading.


If you’re ready to add a UDF code, first make sure the UDF column you created is showing up where you need it. Let’s say you’ve named your UDF “Text 1” and you want it to pop up in your activity table. Here’s how you can make that happen:

    • Head Over to View > Columns. This will open up the activity “Columns” box. It’s like the control center for what you see in your columns.
    • In that box, you’ll find “Text 1” hanging out under the User Defined section. It’s waiting there just for you!
    • Once you spot “Text 1”, give that forward arrow button a click. This is like saying, “Hey, ‘Text 1’, join the party!” And just like that, it’ll move into your selected options.

And there you go! “Text 1” is now all set and ready for action in your activity table.



Step 3 – Bringing in Your Custom Bar

    • With your UDF code set, it’s time to add that special activity bar. Let’s say you’re going for a bold red colour bar for activities tagged “Critical”. Here’s how:
      1. Create a filter with “critical” in “Text 1”.
      2. In the bar dialogue window, add your new bar with the (+ sign) button.
      3. Name it “Critical Works”, uncheck the default critical bar.
      4. Pick the “Remain Bar” Timescale.
      5. Apply the filter you created and go for a striking red bar style.



There you go! Your schedule should now proudly display the activity bar with your UDF code as a vibrant red bar.

Highlighting Activities with Activity Codes

Not into UDF codes? No problem! You can also use Activity Code criteria for a different bar format.

Imagine This: You want to make certain activities pop, like those for “engineering”, “purchasing”, and “construction department”.


    • Just follow these steps: define the activity codes, assign them to your chosen activities, and then start adding those new bars.
    • Before using any activity codes that aren’t already in your code library (or dictionary), you need to define what they are.
    • Change the bar styles, set the Timescale to “Current Bar”, and use specific filters for each department’s bar.
    • Put a specific filter on each bar to make them distinct. For instance, use the ‘Engg Department‘ filter for the bar representing the ‘Engineering Department’.



See How Easy That Was?

Now, it’s your turn to play around and add those custom bars to your schedule. You’ve got this! Just follow the steps above, and you’ll be a P6 customising champ in no time. Happy scheduling!

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