Monday, August 07, 2006

Free Microsoft Project Viewers

Ever wanted to view some Microsoft Project (.MPP) files without having to buy the application? No, neither have I but I got a phone call today from one of our team in the other office with just that question.

Strangely Microsoft don't provide a free viewer as they do for some of their other Office applications and a market has sprung up with third-party publishers selling that very thing. However, if all you want to do is occasionally view a Project file, then you really don't want to be paying for it do you? Besides you might have a Macintosh or are running Linux so the option to buy just isn't there anyway.

Having had a quick ferret around the net, I came up with this lot…

ILOG Project Viewer Windows Compatible is a free application for viewing Microsoft Project files. It reads Project files saved as XML data and supports Gantt, resource and calendar views.

Unfortunately that means that it won't open normal Project files directly but it could be useful in an environment where the file's creator can be asked to save the document as XML.

HD Projette Windows Compatible is a shareware application for viewing Microsoft Project 2000 and above .MPP files. Running unlicenced has the restriction that printing is disabled and it's reputed to have a few quirks accessing files on network drives but aside from that it looks like a reasonable utility.

Afinion Project Viewer Apple CompatibleLinux CompatibleWindows Compatible is a Java based Microsoft Project file viewer and it runs on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Solaris and Unix which, if it works, would be a useful utility for giving to non Windows users in a project team. It comes in three versions - full, lite and free but there's no description of the differences in these versions.

It reads .MPP files directly and is compatible with Project 2000 and above. It can even open Microsoft Access files and SQL Server databases.

Smartworks Project Planner Reader Windows Compatible is another free application that claims to be able to view Microsoft Project .MPP files. However, you have to convert the files to their own proprietary Project Planner Reader format first but a free converter is provided.

Project Viewer Central Online Demo Online  Service is yet another way to let non Windows users view Microsoft project files. This is a demo of a web server product that provides an online viewing service to corporate customers. However, it's free and may well do the job if you want to view small (up to 400k) project files and/or are running non-Windows systems.

Net-It Windows Compatible isn't a Project file reader as such but it provides another route to disseminate Microsoft Project files to non Microsoft Project users. Basically Net-It Now is a print driver that converts output files to a proprietary CSF format and the brava! reader can read those CSF files. The brava! reader can also read TIFF and PDF files.

Okay, you could do the same thing using Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Reader but that route costs money and this is free.

Well, question answered I think! It didn't take too long to find these six possible ways to read Microsoft Project files and all for free too.


Allan Ogg said...

Now that OpenProj is available, I suspect it'll fill in nicely as a Project viewer as well as it can open Project files.

Taras Matyashovsky said...

Why don't You try Ganttzilla - free online MPP, MPX, Planner documents viewer.

There are few advantages of Ganttzilla in comparison to other poducts.
1. is online viewer - You don't need to install it. It is compatible with all operating systems, cause all You need is a web browser - Mozilla Firefox or Safari or IE or Opera or Google Chrome. Ganttzilla supports all of them.
2. is free - if You have small team You don't need to pay. No free trial, no big restrictions.
3. supports not only MPP files. It supports also old MPX, project files in XML format (known as MSPDI format), Planner project plans. In future we will support much more.
4. is a tool for sharing Your Gantts with colleagues
5. can be used as a storage for Your Gantts.


Anonymous said...

You should also add MOOS Project Viewer:
It is freeware and running on Windows, Mac and Linux

Allan Ogg said...

Shoud've said this ages ago but thanks for the info on GANTTZzilla and MOOS project Viewer. Both are good, cross platform solutions to those without MS Project.

Allan Ogg said...

Another online Project viewer with a free user plan is

Allan Ogg said...

There's also Gantter, a free web-based project management applicationthat integrates with Google Docs.

Allan Ogg said...

...and another one...Liveproject, a free Project Viewer application for Microsoft Project files.

Allan Ogg said...

RationalPlan Project Viewer is a free, cross-platform(Mac, Linux, Windows) application for viewing MS Project files.

Allan Ogg said...

On a roll today - AmiProject, a free online viewer for Microsft Project files.