How to generate a Project Id automatically?

In many companies there is the requirement to define a unique number for each project in order to identify it in the project portfolio. In Project Online there’s a out of the box feature for it. If you want to use the same functionality within Project Server you’ll need to do a little bit more of configuration work, e.g. with the help of SharePoint Designer workflows.

How does it work in Project Online?

The setup of the project number can be configured for each enterprise project type individually. It contains a prefix, a starting number and a postfix. Solely numbers and letters are allowed, it is not possible to enter fomulas (e.g. [Current Date]). The minimum digit padding is per default one, but can also be changed.

Go to PWA Settings -> Enterprise Project Types -> Select the respective EPT and scroll to the section Project Id:

Note: Within Project Online you have to generate a Project Id, it is not possible to deactivate the feature. However, you could still exclude the field in the view configuration within the project web app.

How does it work with Project Server?

Like always there are are several ways to do it – in this case we’ll develop a short workflow to achieve nearly the same result as above.

  1. First create a custom list on site collection level, e.g. called “Project Numbers”:
  2. Rename the title into “Project Number” and add another text-field called ‘Project Name’. Also place the first entry with the starting number of your Project Numbers:
  3. Create a new enterprise custom field within the PWA Settings called “Project Number”:
  4. Open the SharePoint Designer and connect to your PWA. Create the following site workflow (you’ll need at least one workflow stage):Please ensure the following values (abstract):
    then Set Variable: varProjectID to Project Numbers:Project Number
    then Set Project Number in the project to Variable: varProjectID
    then Update item in Project Numbers
    then Create item in Project Numbers

Link this workflow to the respective enterprise project type and create some test projects. Both will be updated, the list and the respective projects:To summarize: Once again Project Online offers extended functionality with in-box configuration options. However, we can achieve same results with an on-premise environment, but customizing is necessary.

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  1. I’ve been searching for several weeks now for a way to do this in our Project Web App 2013 environment. I walked through your steps very closely but still not having much luck. Will this work in PWA 2013?

    1. Hello Tonya, in Project Server 2013 for an automatic solution you‘ll need a workflow or custom development. Hope you‘ll find a way to achieve it. Otherwise get some external help. This can be implemented pretty fast. BR, Julian

  2. Hi Julian,

    This is post is valuable and I agree with you that project numbering can be achievable with other methods like SharePoint workflow.

    Best Wishes,

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