MS Project import – User defined fields

If you have MS Projects containing user defined columns and need to edit them in Merlin, simply save those files in the MS Project XML exchange format. Open the XML file later on in Merlin, click any activity in your project and check the ‘User Defined Fields’ tab. You will find them all listed there displaying their contents.

Please note:

MS Project will not save the custom titles into the XML file, so Merlin displays their column identifier.



  • If you have only one user defined field simply edit its title in the ‘User Defined Fields’ tab
  • If you have imported various user defined fields at once, you may want to display first the columns on the outline to know which column title fits which content.

Isn’t great?  Not only seamless import of MS Project  files but also to such a deep extent.  Merlin never ceases to amaze me 🙂

Was Merlin a project manager? (part two)

There is usually a long story behind a successful product. This applies for Merlin and my first visions about it in 2003.

Here is how the drama started.

Was Merlin a project manager? (part two)

….We were looking for alternatives. Someone in the company started to [ab]use MS Excel as a project management tool. In the beginning I found this to be a good idea, and followed willingly. Some weeks later we had scripted a great amount of data sheets with innumerable charts. It was fine for separate projects but made our overview on all running projects smaller day by day. When colleagues began again to do their job manually, bypassing the scripts and their automations, it became clear to me that we needed yet again another, better solution.

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Was Merlin a project manager? (part one)

There is usually a long story behind a successful product. This applies for Merlin and my first visions about it in 2003.

But first things first. Back in 2002, founding ProjectWizards, I decided to switch to Mac OS X. It was a relatively new operating system based on NeXTSTEP, which Apple bought and developed further. The excellent quality that Apple machines had, and still have, was one of the main reasons for switching. With MS Office X, we had a good basic software package for daily work. And even though Word, Excel and PowerPoint on Mac were always a step behind their Windows versions, they contained the functions we needed. Last but not least they offered a relatively good compatibility to Windows files. All this was necessary for our job at ProjectWizards; Project management. And here is where the drama starts.

We tried at first FastTrack Schedule by AEC. It was the only Mac OS X application for project management available, with all limitations and problems of a classic OS 9 application. The software had some inconsistencies making its professional use by ProjectWizards impossible.

The next step wasn’t any easier. Virtual machines were not performing well on PowerPC based Macs, so MS Project on MacOS X was not an option. We had tested Windows machines with terminal server, accessed by “remote desktop”. But this was not really a better solution either…

– To be continued –