Project Online: Server Settings

This is a follow up post to the one on Project Server 2013 Server Settings and covers the Server Settings options in Project Online.  If you are new to Project Online and never used Project Server 2010 or Project Server 2013 then you probably don’t need to read further.  You won’t miss what you never had!  This posting is more for the folks transitioning or just wanting to know the differences.  In this context I find it much easier to think of Project Online as a new separate product rather than think of it as Project Server 2013 hosted by Microsoft.  They might be siblings – but they are not identical twins.

In Project Online there are changes to server settings due to the nature of the service offering – and the fact that you no longer have to manage the server as we do that for you.  From early feedback it is clear there is some confusion around some of the apparently missing options so an explanation follows.. 

In Project Server 2010 Server Settings was available in the left navigation for administrators and it looked like this:-


And in Project Online we now have a couple of different ways to get to the same settings – either use the EDIT LINKS option to make Server Settings appear on the left – or use the new navigation from the gear icon in the top right and select PWA Settings.  A clue here that this really is Project Online – the top left says Office 365 rather than SharePoint – which you would see with Project Server 2013 – and the menu with PWA Settings shows the Office 365 Settings option (preview in my case).



This will bring up the PWA Settings page which may look like this:


I say ‘may look like this’ because some of the options will depend on the permissions mode you are currently using.  This is similar to Project Server 2013 and is well described in the TechNet article ‘Plan user access in Project Server 2013’ at, but for Project Online there is a way to change permission modes through the UI of the Office 365 Admin page – and you can bring up the following screen by selecting your PWA site then clicking the drop down menu from Project Web App in the ribbon and selecting Settings.


The article at titled Change permission management in Project Web App for Project Online gives all the details – please heed the WARNING section.  Changing modes loses any existing permissions you may have set and they won’t come back if you reset back again.

In my initial PWA Settings screenshot above I am in the default, SharePoint Permissions mode – so I am missing a few options compared to the following shot from another instance on my server in Project Permissions mode.


As you can see, with Project Permissions mode comes a new section on Security with the familiar options from the 2010 Security section in the top left of the first screen shot – and a couple of extra options in the Personal Settings – for managing and acting as delegates.  Delegation isn’t a feature that is available when you are using SharePoint Permissions.  Also this shows that Personal Settings is now a subset of PWA Settings and not its own menu option.  The security section isn’t applicable to SharePoint Permissions mode as all control is governed by SharePoint rather than by Project’s groups and categories.  This also covers project sites too – so the User Sync section goes away too in SharePoint Permissions mode.  Also note that what was called Project Sites is now covered by Connected SharePoint sites.

For Project Online that is all you get and all you need.  If you read the other article on Project Server 2013 you will have realized that some of the server settings were moved to Central Administration and as in the Project Online world we administer the server then all those options are handled for you – or are not applicable to the Project Online product line.

For example the options of OLAP Database Management, Server side event handlers, Alerts and Reminders and Administrative Backup and Restore are not applicable as those features are not present in Project Online.  The queue is something you can view your jobs for – but not something you can choose to change control settings for – and likewise you do not need to access the Project Workflow Settings option.  For Project Site provisioning the process is more controlled with Project Online – so again this obviates the need for getting at the settings.  For existing customers making the transition this last change may need some procedural changes – perhaps creating your project sites first in your location of choice and then linking to a plan – if you are used to the fine control over exactly where you sites gets created.

*** Update 3/20 - I should also clarify that you will always get a site created for a project - there is no ability to turn this off in Project Online - though of course you can always delete them afterwards ***

I’d be glad to answer any questions you may have regarding PWA Settings in Project Online or Project Server 2013.

Comments (19)

  1. anonymouscommenter says:

    Hi Brian, I'm a little perplexed by how to make a new PDP in Project online vs. Project Server 2010.  Can you give me a hint?


    Rebecca Culver

  2. anonymouscommenter says:

    Hi Brian,

    I am working with Project ON Line,…when I create a new PDP and later…I want to change their permissions I received an access denied… (I tried in several Project Online INstances…)

    It could be any limitation about configuring permissions in a PDP page in Project Online?

    Regards guy!!!


  3. anonymouscommenter says:

    regarding your comment about first create the site in a location of your choice and then link to a plan, this is not possible.  MSFT locks down in  Central Administration the ability to use a site from another site collection.  Therefore sites must be contained within the PWA site collection

  4. anonymouscommenter says:

    What about building the database, is this no longer an option with Project Online?

  5. anonymouscommenter says:

    Hi there. Is there any training that I can take if I’m going to be the Project Online Admin in my company?

  6. Catching up on responses – Doug – if you mean OLAP then this isn’t a feature that is available in Project Online.
    Oliver, I’m not aware of any specific training for Project Online – I know some of our partners are working on content.
    Dan – yes, it would need to be in the PWA site collection – I should have been more specific.
    Pedro – not sure here – is this still an issues?
    Rebecca – I didn’t think this was much different – you are just creating a new page in the library – perhaps the ribbon not appearing is the issue?
    Best regards,

  7. anonymouscommenter says:

    HI Brian,
    This is more of an FYI but I had to test this out and it does have a slightly annoying option where you have to "create a site" each time, even after you delete the site – but it does NOT actually the delete the site. Full details here:

  8. anonymouscommenter says:

    Sorry – typo in last post. I meant to say it does NOT recreate the deleted site (even though it acts like it will). So, a delete stays deleted.

  9. Hi Collin – we have some changes coming to that area of the product which should help the experience here. More over the next few weeks.
    Best regards,

  10. anonymouscommenter says:

    Hello 🙂 ,

    Is it possible in Project Online 2013 the Timesheet Managers to insert the hours spent by their resources into the application? My resources are onsite to clients usually and i would like the Timesheet Managers to be responsible to insert the hours spent per
    project by their resources. For example, Support Department has 5 resources and i would like the corresponding manager to insert the spent hours for all department’s resources. Is it possible?

    Thanks in advance,

  11. anonymouscommenter says:

    Hi Brian, Great article as usual, but I am a little perplexed by an issue one of our customers has to whom we rolled out a Partner led trial recently. Basically they created an Enterprise project in PWA, populated it, saved it and published it. When the
    project is opened in Pro however and they try to publish they get the usual dialog that comes up when publishing a project for the first time – except the create project site option is greyed out and only the "do not create" option is selected. The project
    publishes OK but when they then try to access the site in PWA it tells them there is no site provisioned for the project !! Not sure what’s going on here but something is clearly broken. Any thoughts ?

  12. anonymouscommenter says:

    One other issue we found is that the guidance for changing the project permissions model does not seem to be available in the trial we rolled out, yet the customer needs to test this project permissions model because it gives them the flexibility they
    need. Any ideas on how we might achieve that ? Thanks

  13. anonymouscommenter says:

    Hi Brian,
    as always, thanks for a great article!

    But the link for ‘Change permission management in Project Web App for Project Online’ is broken.

    And your ‘update 3/20 appears to be incorrect, as in Project Online, in Operational Policies of the PWA settings page, in Connected SharePoint Sites is a button for Settings, which does allow one to change site creation options at the time of publishing (just
    noticed it, haven’t tried it).

  14. anonymouscommenter says:

    If someon is interested, there exists MS Project online in cloud

  15. anonymouscommenter says:

    does project online have task integration with outlook as project server 2013 did? that is a task can be assigned to a resource. that resource will see that task in their personal outlook task list and can update the project % completion, etc. which has
    to be approved by the PM first, etc.

  16. anonymouscommenter says:

    Hi Brian! I think you are probably the same guy who is working a ticket I’ve had open for a couple months. Unless there is another Brian Smith who is a Project Server uber-nerd? 🙂 Anyways, I have a user who is a quasi-admin and has pretty much all the
    rights within the Project Server 2013 on-premises, but in 2013 the Administrative Restore and Administrative Backup options are no longer reachable except via Central Admin. He had access to it in 2010. Is there a way to give him access to just this application
    or does he have to have full site admin rights? Just curious if there is a way to segregate the rights to these apps. Thanks!

  17. anonymouscommenter says:

    I have migrated the Project Server from 2010 to 2013. IN 2010 there is a Project Site associated with it. hence we have made changes to that and then saved as a template. Now I have associated the new template to the EPT and when I have created the project
    it says No Project site is being associated to this project. If I associate the template which has carried from 2010 PWA, the project is being created for the projects. If I do it with new site template, I am unable to create any project sites for the projects.
    Request your help on this.

  18. David says:

    Good morning Brian Smith,
    We currently have 400+ custom fields in Project Server 2010. We are looking to upgrade to PS2013 or PS2016. However, the OLAP Cube is critical for our reporting model we’ve rolled out over the last 8 years to our 5000+ users. We also utilize custom SQL Reports created in Microsoft’s SSRS against the RDB. We love the idea of Project Online passing the hardware responsibility, performance, and availability concerns over to Microsoft and moving to a subscription model versus the current licensing model with ‘On Premise’. However, with that said, we must have the OLAP Cube as well as direct access via SQL Queries to the Project Server RDB. Will Project Online eventually make the RDB available for direct access for SQL Queries / Custom SSRS Reports and will Project Online eventually allow access to the OLAP Cube? If not we’re leaning toward Azure as a solution or On Premise again.
    Looking forward as always to your replies! They bring value to the Project Server Community and are appreciate. At least by me! 🙂
    Thanks again!

    1. Hi David, I can’t see direct access happening anytime soon – if ever – and probably the same for OLAP. One half-way house might be to use Azure for SSRS and OLAP and pull data from Online via OData and SSIS?
      Glad you find the blog useful – and sorry for the delayed answer – catching up after the holidays and the shift to WordPress as a platform!
      Best regards,

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