- 1. GanttPRO — Imports data directly from .mpp files with the exception of comments, attachments, and descriptions.
- 2. ProjectManager.com — Follow import guidelines to import .mpp files into this feature-rich PM tool.
- 3. Project Plan 365 — MS Project type planner available on PC, Mac, and mobile phones.
- 4. Steelray — Windows-only project viewer with Microsoft and Oracle support.
- 5. Project Reader — Supports five MS Project views and file formats that go all the way back to the 90s.
- 6. Seavus Project Viewer — Robust viewer with Skype integration, and an online viewer of mpp files.
- 7. MOOS Project Viewer — User-based licensing with functionality that exceeds a traditional viewer.
- 8. Project Viewer 365 — Project viewer that works on any device, including Mac.
- 9. ClickUp — Best for importing CSV files into a work management platform
- 10. Smartsheet — Scalable work management platform for the price of a viewer.
In this article, I want to start by talking to you about a Microsoft Project viewer saving costs for your organization. I’m sure reducing expenses is of interest to anyone in business, but only a few know that those savings can come from the PMO's software licensing.
Once we choose a project management software to use, we ask ourselves who should have access to it. Our project managers! is the first answer to this question. So far, so good, but now project managers need to give access to the teams they work with. Although this normally goes as a headcount that turns into a license purchase or usage of our license limit within a paid plan, this is where we should stop for a moment and reflect.
Naturally, all people involved in a project need access to the plan. However, not all people need the same access. A project viewer is a tool you can use to give read-only access to people who need to follow the plan but do not contribute with any information other than what is discussed during the planning phase of the project.
Below, you will find a list of Microsoft Project viewers that will help you save on expensive Microsoft licenses and maybe pay a fraction of the cost for a viewer that will be good enough for some team members.
What Is A Microsoft Project Viewer?
A project viewer is a tool that you can use to open and read native MPP files and all the details of a Microsoft Project plan without having to install Microsoft Project on your computer.
GanttPRO is a project management tool that has much more than a viewer. Among the top features are resource planning, task management, and time management. I wanted to include it in the list because its price point is low, and works with MS Project.
Uploading your .mpp file to GanttPRO is easy. You just click on the ‘+’ button on the menu and select ‘new project’ > ‘import.’ That will send you to a window where you can upload the file from your computer. A few seconds later (maybe more if it’s a large project), voilà, you can see your project in GanttPRO.
Note: The tool does not import task descriptions, comments, and attachments. Everything else should be there.
GanttPRO integrates with JIRA Cloud but does not list any other native third-party connections.
Pricing starts at $7.99 and has a 14-day trial.
ProjectManager, at first glance, is a tool that looks like MS Project and has task, resource, and financial management features. The beautiful thing about this tool is that you can import your .mpp files with just minor tweaks during the process, and you’ll have a powerful tool at your disposal.
When you import a file, make sure you follow the ‘import guidelines’ link. This will download a .xlsx file on your computer containing a demo import with the exact field sequence you need to follow and the field descriptions.
Note: The free version will let you see the task view only. You will have to upgrade if you want to see a Gantt chart.
ProjectManager integrates with MS Project, Excel, Office 365, Salesforce CRM, QuickBooks, Xero, Dropbox, Desk.com, JIRA, Hubspot, Slack, Zendesk, Evernote, OneLogin, OneDrive, and the complete Google Suite. They also have a powerful REST API to help you build against internal or external tools.
ProjectManager has a free plan for up to 3 users. Paid plans start at $11.50/user/month and have a 30-day trial.
Gather around kids; it’s story time! Project Plan 365 is a project management tool developed by Housatonic Software. After developing one of the world’s first MS Project viewers, Project Viewer 365, Housatonic wanted a full platform inspired by Microsoft’s product, 100% compatible with .mpp files, and cloud-ready. This is it!
Since this platform is so similar to Microsoft’s tool, it is easy to navigate around it and looks exactly like their viewer (also on this list). Remember it is 100% compatible with .mpp files, so just go to your computer files and open them with Project Plan 365. Easy!
My suggestion is you download this instead of the viewer. After the download, you can select if you want to stay in read-only mode or activate the free trial. That way, you can have a viewer that is one click away from becoming a full-on project management platform.
Note: This app lives on your devices, not online as a browser app.
Project Plan 365 integrates with popular cloud services, such as Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, OneDrive, and more. It also connects to SharePoint, Microsoft Project Server, and BaseCamp.
Project Plan 365 plans start at $10.99/user/month and offer a 30-day free trial.
Invented in the year 2000, Steelray viewer is a tool that wants to help you reduce the costs of using Microsoft Project in your organization. As not all your users will need the full functionality that Microsoft offers, this viewer is there for all team members who just need to take a look at the project file.
Steelray allows you to properly scale and print your plan if you need to. It also helps you handle massive projects through its search functionality that lets you search through task information, resource names, and dates.
Steelray can open files from MS Project’s 2019 version and all the way back to 1998. Additionally, it supports Oracle Primavera project portfolio management software files.
Steelray subscriptions start at $19/user/year and offer a free trial.
Project Reader will make you think you are using MS Project as their software supports the Gantt chart, tracking Gantt, task usage, resource usage, and resource sheet views. All this support is a result of their 16 years in the market.
For those of you dealing with large projects, the tool offers search functionality to help you find data. Also, you can filter information by either selecting from predefined filters or making your own. Unfortunately for Mac users, this software is Windows only!
Project Reader supports multi-language at runtime in Spanish, English, Portuguese, Italian, German, and French. Regarding MS Project, it supports files from the 1998 version all the way to 2019.
Project Reader has licensing options for many company sizes. However, their single workstation license starts at $29/year and offers a 30-day trial.
The Seavus Project Viewer is a standalone application and comprehensive viewer for reading native .mpp files of any Microsoft Project version. The interface looks pretty similar to the one of Microsoft Project, so learning to work with the project plans shouldn’t take much of your time.
The software supports all MS Project views and can be installed on Windows and Mac computers. Their latest product development includes an online project viewer through the PPM Core project and portfolio management platform. This viewer helps you open .mpp files directly from a browser (no installation required).
Seavus supports .mpp files from 2007 to 2021. The viewer integrates with Skype for Business to let you view the presence status & contact cards of team members and start Instant Messaging (IM) with anyone in your team.
Seavus’s licensing for Mac is available upon request. However, Windows licensing starts at $29.50/perpetual license and offers a 15-day free trial.
MOOS Project Viewer is a user-based licensing software that lets you do more than just view a Microsoft Project file. The advantage of having user licensing is that you can purchase one, install it on multiple computers, and log in with the same account at different times.
Regarding functionality, the tool gives you the chance to look at your project’s critical path, deadlines, and baselines. Additionally, you will have different views like Gantt, resource, and task views to show you different information. Because this tool is Java-based, it works on Windows, Mac, and Linux systems where Java is enabled.
With this software, you can open any Microsoft Project file type (.mpp, .mpt & .xml) and all Microsoft Project versions from 2000 to 2019.
MOOS Project Viewer is priced at $25/user/year and offers a 30-day free trial.
Project Viewer 365 offers a free version of their software that lets you view your .mpp projects with a couple of clicks. The tool has a look and feel that resembles Microsoft Project, so it won’t be difficult for you to navigate through.
This software works on Windows, Mac, and mobile devices. Besides the free version (only view), you can pay to be able to edit, share, and print your projects. As a viewer, though, the free version is more than enough to display tasks for your team.
Project Viewer 365 works with any 2021, 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, and earlier .mpp file format.
Pricing for this tool is based on 2 paid tiers. Advanced features start at $25.49 per year.
ClickUp is a work management platform that can be used in place of Microsoft Project. It has task management, time tracking, collaboration, and document management features. Whiteboards and live chat support team collaboration on projects directly in the platform. Reporting tools help track progress and monitor goals and KPIs.
This software is intended to go beyond project management to become a central hub for every team's work planning, collaboration, and monitoring. Users can upload .CSV and .XLSX files or extract data from tools like Trello, Jira, and Asana to migrate to the platform.
Several native integrations are available including Dropbox, Figma, Google Workspace, HubSpot, Intercom, Loom, Microsoft Teams, Outlook, Slack, Toggl Track, Zoom, and more. A paid Zapier account can also unlock additional integrations.
Paid plans start from $9/user/month, and a free plan is available.
Smartsheet is a sheet-based work management platform. Although it is not your typical viewer, you might want to consider switching to this tool altogether. The enterprise-ready platform has a low price tag on it and dozens of features from task management to governance & admin.
Importing takes 2 clicks, but there are certain compatibility issues you have to address. Before you import a .mpp file into Smartsheet, you will need to remove constraints such as ‘must finish on’ and expand all columns. These 2 elements of an MS Project file will wreak havoc during import.
Note: Chrome did not work when I tried to import the file. I had to use a different browser.
Smartsheet integrations include Microsoft and Google apps, as well as development essentials like Jira and useful business apps like Salesforce, ServiceNow, Slack, Box, and Tableau.
Smartsheet paid plans start at $7/user/month and come with a 30-day free trial
Imports data directly from .mpp files with the exception of comments, attachments, and descriptions.
14-day free trial
|From $7.99/user/month (billed annually)||Visit Website|
Follow import guidelines to import .mpp files into this feature-rich PM tool.
30-day free trial
|From $16/user/month||Visit Website|
Project Plan 365
MS Project type planner available on PC, Mac, and mobile phones.
30-day free trial
|From $10.99/user/month||Visit Website|
Windows-only project viewer with Microsoft and Oracle support.
Free trial available
|From $19/user/year||Visit Website|
Supports five MS Project views and file formats that go all the way back to the 90s.
30-day free trial
|From $29/year||Visit Website|
Seavus Project Viewer
Robust viewer with Skype integration, and an online viewer of mpp files.
15-day free trial
|From $29.50/perpetual license||Visit Website|
MOOS Project Viewer
User-based licensing with functionality that exceeds a traditional viewer.
30-day free trial
|From $25/user/year||Visit Website|
Project Viewer 365
Project viewer that works on any device, including Mac.
Free viewer available
|From $25.49 per year||Visit Website|
Best for importing CSV files into a work management platform
Freemium plan available
|From $9/user/month||Visit Website|
Scalable work management platform for the price of a viewer.
Freemium version available
|From $7/user/month||Visit Website|
How I Picked The Best Microsoft Project Viewer
I first went looking for all the popular tools in the market based on user reviews and ratings. Then, I narrowed down the list based on what the tools could do as viewers and the experience I've had with them in the past. Finally, I selected the top tools and defined the evaluation criteria below.
I look at where the mpp viewer will live on your computer. Whether it’s a browser extension, online tool, or license-based installation. Depending on how you work and the other tools in your tech stack, you could prefer one over the other.
I look to see how easy it is to import and open mpp files. Some software allows simple one-click options, while others require some preparation work before importing the source file.
Some of the tools on this list are project management platforms. I will give you information on their integrations to better inform your software selection. These can include native integrations, connections through third-party connector apps, and custom integrations.
I look at pricing. I tell you which tools have a free trial or a free version. Additionally, I try to give you the monthly fees on a monthly plan so you know exactly what you would pay without committing to a yearly plan.
What key features should I look for in a Microsoft Project Viewer?
- Compatibility: It’s important for the project viewer to be compatible with different versions of the software we want to import from. If a viewer does not support the version of the file you receive, it simply won't work.
- Editing: Sometimes, we need to do more than just view a project. Maybe we want to print it, share it, or edit a few details before using it.
Is there a free project viewer?
Yes. You can find free viewers like the one from Project Plan 365. However, these free versions will only allow you to read (not edit) the files.
Why would I use a project viewer?
While project managers and schedulers create plans in Microsoft Project, other team members don’t need to edit project plans, only to open and view them. Therefore, you use a project viewer to give read access to certain project members and save on licensing costs.
As it costs much less than a standard MS Project license, your IT manager will love you for saving on Microsoft Project licensing fees.
I’m sure there are more viewers you have used and would like to recommend. Let me know in the comments if that’s the case and if having it saved costs for your organization.
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