Have you ever gotten ready to print your Microsoft Project schedule only to find that the appearance of the print preview is basically destroyed by a chaotic and unorganized Microsoft Project legend taking up the entire bottom portion of the print preview, just like the one below?

Back in my early days of project scheduling, I would hide the legend to remove it from the print preview. While this got rid of the chaotic default Microsoft Project legend appearance, it wasn’t ideal. Then I learned how to modify the legend so that I could make it more organized and only displays the items that I am using in the project schedule. And that is what I am going to show you here in this blog. I will show you how to modify the Microsoft Project legend so that it is clean and organized.

Gantt Bar Style Options

To modify the legend, we actually need to modify the Gantt chart bar style configurations of the view that we want to print. The legend includes all of the bar styles that are included in a view. By default, Microsoft Project includes dozens of items and bar styles that really aren’t necessary. Microsoft did this intentionally. They gave us everything. We simply need to take out the items we don’t want.

To modify the bar styles associated with a view and take out the items we don’t want, move your cursor into the Gantt area of the screen and right-click your mouse button or click the right button of your computer touch-pad. A window will then open. You will then need to click on the Bar Styles option as shown below.

Once you click the Bar Styles option, the Bar Styles properties window will open. It should look very similar to the one below.

A quick scroll through the window will reveal that there are likely dozens of items listed that you have no intention of every using. But don’t worry, you are not alone. I often only use a few of the items myself.

The reality is that the legend will display all of these items that you see displayed, with one exception. The legend will not display items that have a * in front of them. So if an item has a * in front of the name, it will not be displayed in the legend.

We will need to either delete the items that we don’t want to include in the legend or add a * in front of the item name to clean up the legend. Personally, I prefer to delete the unused items.

Take a look at the screen capture below. You will see several items with a * in front of them. These items do not appear on the legend.

There are only a handful of items that I regularly include in my Gantt charts. These include summary task bars, task bars, task progress bars, milestones, deadlines, and split tasks. Nice and simple. And this is probably the ideal starting point for your project as well.

Below is a screen capture of how I typically configure my Bar Styles window.

And if I try to print my project schedule with my Bar Styles configured like this, I will find a clean and organized legend with no extra items taking up valuable space and making our print preview chaotic.

And that is how we get a clean and organized legend when printing our project schedules…