If your company maintains an external project file (e.g. MS Project, P6, Excel, etc) for tracking and managing the project tasks, you can easily import the tasks into C4 to avoid manually creating or copying those tasks.
Creating Tasks from Import File is a great way to quickly populate many task details fields without having to manually type information into the create task form.
Importing Files into C4 can also be used for updating tasks which have already been previously created from prior Import File runs - e.g. you imported 20 tasks last week and this week, you want to run the import to reflect updates in the shifted Start and Finish Dates for those tasks.
Start by clicking on the Project in C4 and then clicking the Import button. You can also use the “Import Project File” button at the top of the screen if you are already viewing the Project task list.
Supported File Types
Currently, for the C4 Import File feature, you can choose files that are:
- MS Project .mpp file
- Primavera P6 .xer file
- CSV (or Comma Separated Values) file:
- This is the standard format that can be used if you manage your tasks in MS Excel (or Google Sheets). Those programs support exporting your file into the .csv format which can then be used to import into C4.
Click on the “Upload” button to browse and select the file you want to Import.
Mapping Field Names
A new screen will appear where you will need to step through an initial Field Mapping exercise. The very first time you Import a File, you will be prompted to Map the Fields from your file to the fields in C4. You only need to do this once for each project; after that, the field mappings are saved for the next time you run the Import File.
You can choose the date format that your file uses. Please be sure that your selection matches how the dates appear in your file. Options include:
Minimally Required C4 Fields for Import
- Unique ID: This field should be the field you use to uniquely identify tasks in your project file. If you don’t have a Unique ID equivalent, you can select the drop-down option to “Auto Assign Task ID” which will automatically generate a Unique ID for each task imported into C4.
- Task Name: a short name for that task
- Start Date: the estimated Start Date for that task
- Due Date: the estimated Due or Finish Date for that Task
Additional Helpful C4 Fields
In your Import File (.mpp, .xer, or .csv), we suggest inserting some custom columns/fields which can be used to prepopulate the tasks in C4 with additional task information and save you time in manually typing information in C4. These fields will help you quickly assign tasks, allow workers to see additional task details without needing to ask for clarification, allow project managers to filter and view groups of tasks by Subcontractor, Location, or Task Type.
- Subcontractor or Responsible Party:
- If you are managing multiple Subcontractor crews who will be assigned to different tasks in your project, it will be helpful to include the name of the Subcontractor for the task or group of tasks. This allows you to quickly identify/filter tasks when reviewing or performing walk-throughs with that specific Subcontractor.
- If you already know the Project Manager, Foreman, or Worker(s) who will be assigned to the task or group of tasks, you can include this in your project file.
- Add a column titled “Assignees”
- In the task row that you want to assign workers, type in the names of those workers exactly as their name appears in the C4 Worker List.
- When adding more than 1 worker name to that field, you can use any of the following delimiters or separators for the list of names:
→ / this is the forward slash
→ | this is the pipe (or vertical slash)
→ , this is a comma
→ ; this is a semi-colon
→ : this is a colon
- Example for the Assignees field: “Joe Smith / Tim Brown / Al Davis”
- Double check spelling, accents, etc because assigning workers with misspelled names will not work if the system can’t find the worker’s name. “Sam Smith” is not the same as “Sam Smth”.
- TIP: Some company projects will assign the Foreman of the crew in the Import File. That Foreman can later on add additional Assignees from the app. Example: Joe Smith is the Foreman of DE Builders subcontractor group. The Project Manager might not know who else to assign the task to but they can add Joe Smith’s name to the Import File and later on, once Joe Smith sees the task in his App Task List, he can assign it to members of his crew.
- Task Type:
- Prefill your Task Details with any custom tag you wish so that you can easily filter for tasks with certain tags.
- Task Location:
- If you have a large job site, it may be helpful to include the Location of the task so Workers can easily identify where they should be performing the task. This is especially helpful if you have a lot of repeat/similar tasks but for different locations - e.g. 1st Floor, 2nd Floor, 3rd Floor or Tower 1, Tower 2, Tower 3, etc.
- Task Description:
- If you are using brief Task Names, you may want to include from your Import File a field/column that has additional task information. For example, your Task Name may be “Paint”, but you could have additional detail in the Description field to include the Brand, Color, etc and/or instructions.
Advanced Field Mapping Functions
In addition to the above mapping fields that will pre-fill Task Details during Task Creation, C4 also supports Field Mapping to help you more easily manage and navigate a large list of Tasks in C4.
- Outline Number:
- You may be using the Outline view in your project software to view Summary Tasks and related Sub-tasks. These typically appear in an indented tree structure view format. Summary tasks help you group a bunch of related Sub-tasks so you can visually manage those tasks.
- If you want that same Outline structure in C4, then you can map the “Outline Number” field in MS Project to the “outline_code” field in C4.
- Be sure when you run the Import File, that you also include the Summary Tasks in your import; otherwise you indented Sub-tasks may appear odd without a Summary/Parent task above.
- Archive Tasks
- If you have a large project with many tasks spanning a long timeline, and you have many tasks which have already been completed and the dates were in the past (e.g. 4 months ago), you may want to use the feature which allows you to mark tasks as “Archive Tasks?”
- Create a column in your project file called “Archive Task” and use the values “Yes” or “No”. By default, the value should be No, so you can see these tasks in your Active Tasks List. Make sure you map the field in your file to the “Archive Task?” field in C4.
- TIP: In MS Project, this custom column would be a “Flag” field type which automatically gives you the Yes or No options. You can rename the Flag to “Archive?” to make it easier to read.
- If you want to mark certain tasks as Archive, then set that field value to “Yes”.
- When you run import, only those tasks with “Archive Tasks?” set to “Yes” will be moved to the Archived view in C4. Click on the “Archived” tab in the Filters box to switch your view to only Archived Tasks. Click on the “Active Tasks” tab to go back to the tasks you’re actively managing.
- Should Import?
- Similar to Archive Tasks, if you have a large project file with many tasks spanning a long timeframe, you may want to only import certain tasks that fall within the next month, two month, or three month timeframe. This allows you to have a more manageable view of tasks in C4.
- Create a column in your project file called “Should Import” and use the values “Yes” or “No”. Make sure you map the field in your file to the “Should Import?” field in C4.
- TIP: In MS Project, this custom column would be a “Flag” field type which automatically gives you the Yes or No options. You can rename the Flag to “Should Import?” to make it easier to read.
- If you want to mark certain tasks that you want to import, then set that field value to “Yes”.
- When you run import, only those tasks with “Should Import?” set to “Yes” will be created or updated in C4. You can go to your project Task List to see those tasks.
- NOTE about Outline view:
- If you are also importing tasks using the Outline Number field, it’s important to remember to set the corresponding Summary/Parent tasks to Should Import as well. Otherwise, you may have Subtasks which do not display the Parent task when viewing in Outline Mode