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John Paul Cook

Adding a comma to a resource name in Microsoft Project

Microsoft Project does not allow a comma to be added to a resource name. In healthcare, the norm is to refer to people using the pattern of Name, Title which in my case is John Cook, RN. Not all commas are equal. By substituting a different comma for the one Project doesn’t like, it’s possible to add a comma to a resource name.

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Figure 1. Error message after trying to add a comma to a resource name in Microsoft Project 2013.

The error message refers to “the list separator character” that is commonly known as a comma. The comma that we can’t use in Project resource names is technically known as U+002C, which is its number in the Unicode character set. There is another comma known as U+201A. They look the same, but they aren’t treated the same internally.

Microsoft Project doesn’t provide a way to directly enter Unicode characters, but the Character Map tool included with Windows gives you a way to copy a Unicode character to your copy/paste buffer. To invoke the Character Map utility, you can use the search box to find it.

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Figure 2. Finding the Character Map utility.

Once the Character Map is visible, there are four quick and easy steps to follow:

1. Check the Advanced view checkbox.

2. Enter 201A in the Go to Unicode: textbox.

3. Click the Select button.

4. Click the Copy button.

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Figure 3. Using the Character Map utility.

Now the special comma is stored in your copy/paste buffer ready to be pasted into the Resource Information dialog box.

Position your cursor where you want the comma to be and paste it using whatever technique you prefer. I used Ctrl-V.

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Figure 4. Resource name field with a U+201A comma pasted after my name and before my title.

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Figure 5. Assign Resources dialog box with commas and titles added to all resources.

When there is only one resource with a comma and a title, the workaround looks perfect. When there are multiple resources, the commas that are resource separators do not have a preceding space, which causes things to appear slightly jumbled up as shown in the screen capture below.

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Figure 6. How the comma separated titles appear on the project chart.

Published Saturday, June 22, 2013 11:42 PM by John Paul Cook

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About John Paul Cook

John Paul Cook is a Technology Solutions Professional for Microsoft's data platform and works out of Microsoft's Houston office. Prior to joining Microsoft, he was a Microsoft SQL Server MVP. He is experienced in Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle database application design, development, and implementation. He has spoken at many conferences including Microsoft TechEd and the SQL PASS Summit. He has worked in oil and gas, financial, manufacturing, and healthcare industries. John is also a Registered Nurse who graduated from Vanderbilt University with a Master of Science in Nursing Informatics and is an active member of the Sigma Theta Tau nursing honor society. He volunteers as a nurse at safety net clinics. Contributing author to SQL Server MVP Deep Dives and SQL Server MVP Deep Dives Volume 2.

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