ProjectLibre Documentation

September 29, 2012 - 05:36 am
23 comment(s)

**** This is an initial ProjectLibre manual.  We are asking for the community to contribute and enhance the documentation *****


You can access the latest ProjectLibre documentation at this link.  We ask that you respectfully add to and edit the document for the community's benefit. If you need access to translate please contact us at .  


In addition:  Here are other resources from the community:

YouTube Video:   Basics of ProjectLibre:

YouTube Video: Duration and Calendar settings:

ProjectLibre tutorial 1:  

ProjectLibre tutorial 5:  


October 2, 2012 - 11:00 am

Is this merely an outline?  I want to help with the documentation, but do not want to "reinvent" anything already created.  Any guidance on how you want contributions to be formatted?

October 2, 2012 - 11:31 am

Hi Don,

There are some community members who are going to start documenting ProjectLibre. It has not started yet.  In the coming weeks there will be better documentation!



October 4, 2012 - 04:33 am

Hey, Marc!

You seem to be the owner of this post. Just want to contribute translating it to Brazilian Portuguese as soon as we get the topics of the TOC available.



October 9, 2012 - 10:38 am

Hi Ed, 

That is terrific, we do not have a great One of the community has started a document in English.  We need to figure a good way to manage this.... I may try a restricted Google Docs but not sure.  I can send  the file for translation.  Your assistance is really appreciated!!!  




In reply to by DonJoyceWard

October 17, 2012 - 10:31 am

Hi Don,

The community feedback has been very positive to the document you put together.  It is a start but great to get the full document done.  We have recieved a lot of offline responses complimenting the effort.... Thank you!!!

All the best,

Marc, Laurent & the team!!!!

October 4, 2012 - 00:56 am

I cannot find a way to attach a file, but here are a few pages tied to your outline.  Is this the sort of contribution you want?  I do not want to go further without being sure I am on the right track.


ProjectLibre Manual

Version 0.1 – October 3, 2012

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction to ProjectLibre and Project Management

    1. Overview of ProjectLibre

    2. Introduction to Project Management terminology

    3. Tasks, Resources, and Costs

    4. Installing ProjectLibre

    5. Starting and Saving Projects 

    6. Navigation

  2. Create a Project

  3. Tasks

  4. Resources

  5. Cost

  6. Calendars

  7. WBS

  8. RBS

  9. Task Usage

  10. Resource Usage

  11. Baselines

  12. Earned Value

  13. Printing

  14. Reporting



Introduction to ProjectLibre and Project Management


Overview of ProjectLibre

ProjectLibre is a recently reinvigorated open source project intended to update and revitalize a software tool intended as an alternative to commercial software like Microsoft Project. It is free software, just as the name implies, but it is also compatible with any other project management software that can read and write .xml formatted documents. Obviously, that includes MS Project, as well as several other such projects and most other open source alternatives like Calligra Plan.

The feature set included in the current (1.5 Beta) version of ProjectLibre is largely the one in Open Project, the predecessor open source program. Current features include: task management, work breakdown structure generation (a list and a graphical representation), resource allocation and tracking, and Gantt charts that provide a clear view of the critical path elements of the schedule. Obviously, this list of features is not intended to be comprehensive and there is nothing remarkably unique about this list. Indeed it is appropriate to carefully define some of the terminology frequently used in project management before further elaborating on the capabilities of ProjectLibre, since the use of these terms is not completely uniform, either in project management software nor in organizational usage.


Introduction to Project Management terminology

The following definitions describe how these terms are used in ProjectLibre; your organization may use the terms differently, but at least these definitions provide an unambiguous glossary for usage understanding how this software works. A more complete list of definitions1 is available for those who need more definitions.

Account: An account is used in a Cost Breakdown Structure (CBS) to represent a place where cost from tasks or resources can be aggregated.

Allocation: Tasks are allocated to resources during the planning stage of the project. Actual assignments are part of the scheduling process. One important point is that simply making such assignments does not guarantee the needed resource will be available.

Assignment: Resources are assigned to complete tasks according to the best estimate of the planners of the project. Assignment is an important part of the scheduling process.

ACWP: Actual Cost of Work Performed (ACWP) is the aggregation of all costs necessary to complete the work for the project.

BCWP: Budgeted Cost of Work Performed (BCWP) is the aggregation of budgeted costs performed in completing the project.

BCWS: Budgeted Cost of Work Scheduled (BCWP) is the aggregation of budgeted costs predicted for work scheduled to complete the project.

CBS: The Cost Breakdown Structure is made up of resource accounts broken down to fit the elemental tasks spelled out in the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) for the development. The CBS organizes accounts into a framework that enables costs to be aggregated independent of the WBS or the RBS.

CPI: The Cost Performance Index (CPI) is equal to the BCWP/ACWP. When this index is less than 1, the project is over budget. If the CPI > 1 the costs for the project are under budget.

Estimate: A prediction of the expected amount of effort or time needed to complete a given task.

Milestone: A milestone is a special task represents an event in your project; it is a task with an effort of 0.00h. It is typically used to mark a major outcome; for example, the completion of a deliverable satisfactory to and accepted by the customer.

PERT: The Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) is an enhancement to the Critical Path Method (CPM). Task effort estimates in CPM are point estimates, while task effort estimates in PERT are computed by weighting the Optimistic, Most Likely, and Pessimistic estimates [(O + 4*M + P)/6].

PERT Distribution: This distribution is a simplified way to calculate an Expected estimate from the Optimistic-, Most Likely-, and Pessimistic estimates.

Resource: A research can be one of three types: Work, Material, or Team. All resources must belong to a Research Group.

Resource Group: A resource group is a collection of similar resources.

Resource Team: A resource team consists of a number of resources working together for a common purpose.

RBS: The Resource Breakdown Structure (RBS) organizes resources into resource groups.

SPI: The Schedule Performance Index (SPI) is equal to the BCWP/BCWS. When this index is less than 1, the project is over budget. If the CPI > 1 the costs for the project are under budget.

Summary Task: A summary task has subordinate tasks (sub tasks) and rolls up information based on these sub tasks.

Task: A task is a unit of work; resources are usually allocated at the task level.

WBS: Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is used to decompose large projects down into manageable chunks to ease planning and management.

Tasks, Resources, and Costs

Three of the more important terms in the list above are tasks, resources, and costs; they are the core elements to be manipulated and organized in project management. We will elaborate in later sections on each of these concepts and how to work with them in LibreProject, but for this introductory section the following paragraphs are meant to fix these concepts firmly in the user's mind.

Tasks are the fundamental building blocks for a project schedule. The definition in the previous section was very terse, but meaningful – each task represents a unit of work, a step toward completing a project. As is likely obvious, tasks often need to take a hierarchical form to help in decomposing a complex project down into manageable and understandable chunks. That is exactly what the definition of a WBS states; therefore, the WBS is made up of a hierarchical tree of decomposed tasks. The organizational structure depicted by the WBS is meant to make it easier to understand how the various elements of a complex task fit together and ProjectLibre is a great tool for depicting that structure of tasks and how they interact.

Resources are shared entities; all the people and materials owned by your organization are shared by all projects supported by the organization. People resources have the type “Work” (expressed in hours or days – time) and materials have the type “Material” (expressed in a quantity – bags of cement, for example). ProjectLibre has a spreadsheet depiction for managing resources (Figure 1). These typical spreadsheet headings can tailored to suit the needs of specific projects.

Figure 1. Resource spreadsheet

Cost1 refers to the monetary value or financial pricing of a specific project activity and is the most commonly used way of aggregating resources in a project to be managed. As Figure 1 suggests, it is typical to assign hourly (or weekly or monthly) rates to people resources. Similarly, the amount of money paid to acquire materials, expressed as a dollar cost, gives an indication of the relative value of different materials.

Installing ProjectLibre

Figure 2. Installer opening dialog box for setup wizard

Installing ProjectLibre on a single computer is quite straightforward. For Windows systems, go to, download the Windows .msi file (currently projectlibre-1.5_beta5.msi, and about 12.1 Mb in size. When the download is complete, double click on the file to open it, and follow the instructions from the installer that are initiated from the installation wizard shown in Figure 2. Then, simply complete the installation following the directions on the screen.

If ProjectLibre is downloaded from the Sourceforce site listed above logged into a Linux machine, projectlibre-1.5_beta5.tar.gz is the downloaded file. This file is a compressed file containing the usable files that must be extracted into a convenient folder on your machine. The notes file in this archive, “readme.html” contains the instructions for installing on both Windows and on Linux:

Running ProjectLibre 1.5_beta5
ProjectLibre uses Java version 6 or later.
To see what version you have, check out this page:
You can download java here:
Unzip the files to the folder of your choice.
Windows: The installer creates shortcuts for you. Alternatively, click on projectlibre.jar (or projectlibre.bat)
Mac: Click on projectlibre.jar
Linux: Open a terminal, go to the projectlibre folder and run ./ (assuming you downloaded the tar.gz archive). If you get a permission denied message, do "chmod +x" This will let you run the shell script. You can also run with the command "sh" will report an error if it doesn't find a valid Java installation on your system.
On some distributions Java Runtime Environment (JRE) isn't installed by default, but it's often provided as an optional package.

This sequence of commands might look like this: (You do not need to be root.)

Figure 3. Running ProjectLibre in Linux


Starting and Saving Projects

To open an existing .pod or .xml file or create a new one, use the commands on the top left of the redesigned ProjectLibre page (circled in magenta below). Left click on either “Open” or “New” to start this process.

Figure 4. First step in opening or creating a project management file

If you select “new” the dialog box shown in Figure 5 pops up and its primary purpose is to name the new project to be managed. The only box that must be filled in is the name (if you fail to name the new project, a “nag” box as shown in Figure 5 pops up), but you may also list the manager's name, change the date or add notes in the provided spaces. Once you have made the desired entries, click “ok” to proceed. The “Forward scheduled” box can be unchecked if you do not wish to use this feature (see page tbd for further explanation). Selecting “Help” in the bottom right box invokes the online help (which is not fully implemented at this writing – October 3, 2012). Once you have completed your entries and chosen “ok”, the program takes you directly to the screen for starting your work plan (Figure 6). This screen is the one to which you are directed if you choose “Open” (in Figure 4) rather than “New”, except for new projects the task entry lines are blank as suggested in Figure 6.

Figure 5. Naming and defining a new project

Notice that this blank file is very similar to most other project planning file templates and is ready for you to begin entering tasks, resources, and schedule information. The right half of the window is the space where the Gantt chart schedule and its various entries will appear as you define the schedule. The calendar is set to the default at this point (more altering the calendar later.)

Figure 5. Naming and defining a new project


nagement file









This comment form destroys my formatting and leaves out the illustrations.  Is there a way I can email the whole document or insert a formatted document into the URL?  I am not an HTML programmer and do not have time to learn that skill right now.

Again, thanks for your good work; hope I can contribute something through the documentation thread.


October 4, 2012 - 04:30 am

Hi, Don!

Good catch! I guess we could have a person or a group of people contributing to one topic of the Table of Contents. Marc could encourage people to engage to each topic. This way we could have a manual in a snap.

Great job!


In reply to by edmiltonx10

October 17, 2012 - 10:33 am

Hi Ed,

Does the new Google Doc work for you to contribute ?  We need to get this more efficient.  Don really put a great start to the document..... we/he needs help.  Your suggestion is appreciated!


October 12, 2012 - 14:46 pm

Hi DonJoyceWard,

I have taken part of your text and moved it to a new wiki page.

I suppose we can do tjis with the rest of the text as well, as we go along more information can be added and review.

I will add some of my documentation, in the coming days.



October 4, 2012 - 06:49 am

Does anybody have a link to how to use this wiki tool?  Its not working like other wikis I've contributed to.  I can go all experimental and figure it out by trial and error, but I suspect that won't go over too well with others who are trying to contribute since I'd have to be committing edits.

Its not the markup I'm having difficulty with, but how to create sub pages and get them linked to this one.  I'd like to create a sub page for contributors, and for the contribution discussion to hang off of, so we can keep it out of the main documentation page.  I think there's document structure discussions or guidelines that need to be conveyed, and maybe tips and trick (e.g. if editing doesn't work in win 7 IE, try firefox), etc.

October 26, 2012 - 01:15 am

Hola, muy buena la iniciativa ¿que tal si la trabajamos en LaTeX? Así se podría tener un formato más profesional y elegante dejando de usar Micro$$$oft Win... Si necesitan una plantilla poseo varias que pueden servir.


December 19, 2012 - 09:14 am

This may not be the correct place to ask questions, but...

One of the reasons why I would not use Open Project by Serena was that I could enter information about a task but could not print it. This eems to be the case for Task Notes with Project LIbre. Is there any description on-line of how to print notes?

Dave Bovey

March 15, 2013 - 22:31 pm

How do we know we have the most current User Guide document?

The User Guide copy I looked at today has " Version 0.2 - October 24, 2012 " in the header.

I tried to link from the revisions tab with the February 2013 date.

March 19, 2013 - 01:14 am

Hello Doug,


It is the latest version.  We need to change the date but it is slowly being updated.  We really need some community activists to jump in to improve!



June 21, 2013 - 19:25 pm

PL successfully imported a MS Projecy *.MPP file, but won't save successfully in any format but its own *.POD format. XML is given as an option but does not work. 

Simply not an option for me - i need to interact with the outside world.

August 26, 2013 - 19:21 pm

Can we make a wiki for registered users to contribute in the manual ?

And make it available at ?

September 10, 2013 - 00:30 am

With the goal of helping the community with materials on ProjectLibre'll split this topic the main content found on the subject.

In the English language we have:

User Guide ProjectLibre

ProjectLibre 1.5 - Lesson 1 - Presentation of the initiative

ProjectLibre 1.5 - Lesson 5 - Reports

A Simple Project Plan For ProjectLibre (ProjectLibre User Reference) - Not Free.






In the Portuguese language have:

Apostila de ProjectLibre 1.5 - Como gerenciar projetos usando a ferramenta código livre.

Guia do Usuário ProjectLibre 1.5

Sobre a iniciativa ProjectLibre

Trabalhar com relatórios no ProjectLibre 1.5

Requisitos de Instalação





In reply to by Hezequias Vasc…

April 7, 2014 - 23:06 pm



Just downloaded the software, as I was snooping around for the french version of the documentation, I found that the link is broken ; the correct one is :

If anybody needs it, I'm pleased to share.


August 6, 2014 - 03:20 am

I totally agree. I would actually like to see a wiki with the user documentation. How "open"  is the documentation when it's only available for registered users? And how "open" is using Google Docs for the documentation?