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Reading a Microsoft Project file (mpp) in C#

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

I was recently presented with the need to read the tasks from a Microsoft Project file and to my surprise there is not a large number of information on doing so.

There is an open source project on source forge called MPJX which claims to support .NET as well, but upon further investigation I realized that it was actually embedding a virtual Java processor in .NET and then calling
the Java-native version... yuck.

So I decided the way I would go is to use .NET Interop to invoke Microsoft Project and pull the information I required. The only downside to this approach is that you most have Project installed on the box, but for me this was not an issue.

You will need to add a reference to Microsoft Project in your Visual Studio project, and it will be under the COM tab, not under the .NET tab.

So without further ado, here is how I went about reading a Microsoft Project file in C#:

using Microsoft.Office.Interop.MSProject;
using System.Reflection;

ApplicationClass projectApp = new ApplicationClass();

// Open the file. There are a number of options in this constructor as you can see
projectApp.FileOpen("C:\myfile.mpp", true, Missing.Value, Missing.Value, Missing.Value,
Missing.Value, Missing.Value, Missing.Value, Missing.Value, Missing.Value, Missing.Value,
PjPoolOpen.pjDoNotOpenPool, Missing.Value, Missing.Value, Missing.Value, Missing.Value);

// Get the active project
Project proj = projectApp.ActiveProject;

// Enumerate the tasks
foreach (Task task in proj.Tasks)
string name = task.Name;

// Project stores the number of minutes in a workday, so 8 hours per workday * 60 = 480. 480 is a project "day"
int duration_in_days = Int32.Parse(task.Duration.ToString()) / 480;

DateTime start = DateTime.Parse(task.Start.ToString());
DateTime finish = DateTime.Parse(task.Finish.ToString());
double percent_complete = Double.Parse(task.PercentComplete.ToString());
DateTime actual_finish = DateTime.Parse(task.ActualFinish.ToString());

// Do something with each task here

// Make sure to clean up and close the file

A pretty simple example, but I could not find a single example of doing this online.

Projectin' Tom Out.


Howto CSharp

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Cathy said on Thursday, October 24th, 2013 @ 11:54 PM

There is a .NET/C# Library available now known as Aspose.Tasks for .NET for not only reading MS Project Files (MPP/XML) but creating, modifying and converting MPP files to many other formats. Check out this Library to know more its features:

Asit Aithal said on Friday, January 8th, 2010 @ 8:29 AM

Great stuff. How can I iterate thru' all the fields and display the values?

Tom said on Tuesday, November 17th, 2009 @ 12:44 PM

Hi Rob,

Glad to hear it helped, I myself had quite a tough time finding documentation during the process.


rob said on Tuesday, November 17th, 2009 @ 12:37 PM

Thanks! This saved me a tonne of time. You are correct in that there isn't much documentation out there regarding opening MS Project files using interop.

Tom said on Sunday, October 11th, 2009 @ 6:02 PM

Hi Hugonne,

I never had to try using the Interop assembly without Project installed, so I'm not sure. This is probably a possibility but you would have to be careful with licensing. You may also have to fight with a number of system DLL dependencies as I'm sure Project has a number of them if it is anything like the other Office Products.

Hugonne said on Wednesday, October 7th, 2009 @ 3:50 PM

My bad, I just read that indeed you have to have it installed. Too bad. Could there be a way to deploy with just the Interop assembly, so thah Project isn't needed? Thanks.

Hugonne said on Wednesday, October 7th, 2009 @ 3:48 PM

Hey, great article. I have a question though: When this application gets deployed, does the production machine need a copy of Project installed? See, we're developing an utility to load to a Sql Server db Excel and Project files, but we wouldn't like to have Project (or Excel, but that can be solved with ODBC) installed on the production server. Thanks.

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