Primavera P6 Professional allows you to perform a wide variety of workflows. Depending on your workflow, you might want different information to display. For example, when scheduling activities, you might want to see Start and Finish dates. On the other hand, when cost loading activities, you might want to instead track costs and units. To jump from one workflow display to another, you can use layouts.

Layouts adjust how data displays within Primavera P6. A layout consists of any adjustments made to a screen that are then saved globally, to a User, or to a Project. You can create new layouts to customize the display of any P6 screen, for any type of work.

This article will outline how to open, create, and save layouts in Primavera P6 Professional. The following examples are from Primavera P6 Professional 18. However, this process is the same for all versions of P6 Professional.

Opening a Layout

By default, Primavera P6 installs with a variety of layout options. Also, if you’re using a shared database, other users may have created layouts for you already. It is not uncommon for an administrator to create a series of layouts for users.

First, let’s take a look at the layouts currently available by opening up the layout menu. To open a previously saved layout, select Layout > Layout > Open.

A popup will open to ask you if you would like to save adjustments to the current layout. Pressing Yes here would save any changes over the currently opened layout. It is extremely easy to make changes to the layout without meaning to. Even something as inconsequential as adjusting the size of the Gantt Chart can affect the current layout. Because of this, I recommend pressing No here. In most cases, it’s useful to keep layouts in their default form, as you may want to use the layout later on.

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The Open Layout window allows you to apply a new layout to the open screen. There are sections here for Global, Project, and User layouts. Global layouts are ones that are available to everyone. In this list, you’ll find all of the preinstalled default layouts. You can also create and access Project layouts, which are layouts available to any user within the open project. Lastly, User layouts are only available to one specific user.

The layouts available to open here are contextual to the page you’re on. If you open the Open Layout window in the Activities screen, you will only be able to see Activities layouts. Most screens, including Projects and WBS, allow you to open and save layouts.

To apply a layout to the current screen, select it from the list and press Open.

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Creating a Layout

Beyond the default layouts, you can create new custom layouts for any workflow. In this demonstration, we will focus on creating a custom layout for the Activities screen. However, you can use this same process for creating WBS and Project layouts as well.

To create a new layout, you will want to make adjustments to the current P6 interface. From both the Layout menu and the View menu, you’ll find a variety of tools to help you do this. In this article, we won’t have time to go over every customization tool. Instead, we will just touch upon some of the more popular options. It’s recommended to take a closer look at the View menu for a full list available layout tools.

Grouping Activities by WBS

Within the Activities table, you can set up Grouping. This allows you to add colored bands to the table to group similar activities together. You can set up Grouping to group activities by any field, such as Type or Code. Most typically, however, you’ll see activities grouped by WBS. Grouping by Work Breakdown Structure layers lets you view your activities by project phase.

To adjust the activity grouping, select Layout > Group and Sort

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The Group and Sort window lets you choose both how to group activities and the appearance of the grouping bands. First, select the dropdown next to Group By to choose how to group your activities. In this example, I’ll select WBS.

To change the appearance of a grouping band, select the Font & Color cell. A new window will open, letting you choose a font, font style, text size, and color for each WBS layer level. You may want to have higher levels in a larger font, and lower levels in a smaller font for easy accessibility.

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Sorting Activities

From the Group and Sort window, you can also adjust the sorting order of activities. If you add Grouping, sorting will work with it. Activities will sort only within their set grouping bands.

To adjust the sort order or create a new sort order rule, select Sort. Under Field Name, you can choose from a variety of fields to sort by. Under Sort Order, you can choose to sort in either Ascending or Descending order. Once you’ve adjusted your sorting, select OK to exit the window.

It’s important to note that you can also change the sort order of activities from within the table. If you select a column header, activities will sort by that value.

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Adding and Removing Columns

Another thing you’ll want to do for your layout is customize the columns that display in the table. This ultimately determines what activity data displays. You will often need to view different activity data for different workflows. For example, when cost loading, you’ll want to see resource data, such as costs and units. On the other hand, when updating the schedule, you’ll need to see activity progress data, such as remaining duration.

To adjust the displaying columns in the table, select Layout > Columns.

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The Columns window displays two sections: Available Options and Selected Options. Available Options will show all possible columns that you can add to the table, divided into expandable categories. Selected Options will show the columns that are currently displayed in the table. From either section, you can move columns using the single arrow icons. If you want to remove a column from the table, select it from Selected Options and press the left facing arrow. To add a column, select it from Available Options and use the right facing arrow. Once added, you can rearrange your Selected Options using the up and down arrows.

When you are done adjusting the columns, press OK. The column selection will automatically apply to the Activities screen.

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Adjusting Gantt Chart Bars

In P6, the Gantt chart will display each activity as a horizontal colored bar placed on a timeline. The activity’s type, float, and progress values will determine the bar’s color, size and shape. For example, non-critical activities display in green, and critical activities display in red.

You can customize the color, shape, and pattern of Gantt Chart bars for the layout, as well. To adjust the Gantt Chart bars, select Layout > Bars.

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The Bars window will display all activity types with a preview of their current appearance. To adjust a bar, select it from the list and use the Bar Style tab. Here, you can change the shape, color, and pattern of the displaying bar. You can even add shapes to the beginning and end of the bar – such as diamonds or arrowheads.

From this same menu, you can also add labels to bars. Labels allow text to display alongside the bar – such as the Activity Name or assigned Resource. To add a label, select the Bar Labels tab. Here, select Add to add a new label – you can even add multiple labels if needed. Choose a position and then a variable for the label to display. This text will appear within the set position next to the selected bar.

You can adjust the appearance and labels for each different bar type if needed. From here, you can even turn on non-displaying bars as well – such as the baseline bars. When you’re done, select OK to apply the changes.

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Changing the Top Display

Most layouts in P6 will have a top display split into two parts. On the left, you’ll find the table, and on the right, the Gantt Chart. When scheduling, it’s useful to have both the table and Gantt Chart display. This way, you can quickly see both activity details and a visualization of dates on a timeline. However, you can customize the top layout of the screen in other ways, as well.

To adjust what displays in the top section of the page, select View > Show on Top. A dropdown menu will appear, providing a variety of options to replace the Gantt Chart. If you select Table, the layout will remove the Gantt Chart and expand the table. The other options, such as Activity Network, will replace the Gantt Chart with the selected display. Now, you can focus the top of the screen to only show the activity data needed.

If you remove the Gantt Chart and want to turn it back on, select View > Show on Top > Gantt Chart. In terms of this top display, you can not remove the table. You can only remove and adjust what displays within the Gantt Chart section.

Changing the Bottom Display

Similarly, you can also adjust the bottom half of the interface. Most default P6 layouts either have no bottom display, or show the Activity Details section. The Details section can be useful for adding metadata to selected activities.

To adjust the bottom display of the screen, select View > Show on Bottom. There’s a variety of options available for the bottom display, including spreadsheets and graphs. For most standard views, I recommend turning on the Details. The Details section will allow you to adjust activity details, without requiring you to add columns to the table.

If you want to remove the bottom display all together, select No Bottom Layout. This will expand the top section of the screen to show more of the table and the Gantt Chart.

Adding and Removing Activity Detail Tabs

With the Details section displaying, you can adjust which tabs display within it. The Details section has several tabs available to allow you to adjust different types of metadata. For example, you can use the Resources tab to assign resources and adjust units. If you need to perform status updates, you can use the Status tab instead.

Just like columns, you can add or remove tabs from the Details section. To do this, right click in the Details section and select Customize Activity Details.

The Customize Activity Details window is similar to the Columns window. It has an Available list, where you can see all available tabs that aren’t displaying. It also has a Display list, where you can see the tabs currently displaying. Use the arrows to move tabs between the two lists. If you want to add a new tab, select it from Available and use the right facing arrow. To remove a tab, select it from Display and use the left facing arrow.

Once customized, select OK to apply the changes.

Saving a Layout

When you are done customizing the screen, you can save it as a layout. Saving a layout will allow you to return to this interface configuration in the future. You can even share this layout for other users to access.

To save a layout, select Layout > Layout > Save As.

The Save Layout window will prompt you to give your layout a name. It’s useful to name your layout after the processes you’ll be performing with it – such as “Status Updates.” Under Available To, you can choose which users have access to this layout. You can make layouts available to the Current User, Another User, the Project, or to All Users. If a layout is available to All Users, it is a Global layout. These layouts will appear under the Global band with the default layouts.

Then, select Save to save the layout. Once saved, you can open this layout up at any time from the Layouts window.


In Primavera P6, layouts allow you to adjust the configuration of the screen. You can create different layouts for different purposes – such as cost loading or updating. The program provides a variety of default layouts, but you can create new custom layouts as well. From the Layout menu, you can open existing layouts and configure the screen to create a new one. You can adjust the layout by adding grouping bands, adjusting columns, and changing the Gantt Chart bars. Once you’ve customized the screen as needed, you can save the configuration as a new layout. With a layout saved, you can reopen it at any time and even share it with other users.

If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, please use the comment section on the bottom of this page. Don’t forget to subscribe to our blog to get more Primavera P6 tips & tricks directly in your inbox!

Lauren Hecker is the instructor for the Primavera P6 Professionals training courses. To see her next open enrollment course, please visit our calendar. To schedule an onsite or custom course, please contact us!


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