Primavera P6 has been upgraded quite a few times over the years. This creates a small problem when trying to share files with users of older versions of P6 – and this would include P5/Contractor. Older Primavera programs cannot import newer Primavera files. As a certified Oracle trainer and Primavera P6 scheduler I find myself constantly dealing with this problem. Our company uses P6 Release 8.3, which is the most current version, but our clients use a wide variety of Primavera products.
The most obvious solution is to export Primavera P6 files in a format that older Primavera programs can read. For example, if I know that my client is using P6 R7.0 then it is a simple matter to export this file format, as seen below:
As long as I export my file as Release 7.0 or older my client will be able to import the file (not visible is Release 5.0, which is the same thing as Primavera Contractor).
Since I work with many different firms, however, keeping track of what versions of Primavera P6 my clients are using is not so simple. Even within the same company not everyone uses the same version. With this in mind, I send them Release 8.3 files and show them a quick and easy way to make any P6 file readable by another version of Primavera P6 or Contractor. This method involves modifying the native P6 file (XER).
XER files can be opened with Microsoft Notepad, Word, or any other text editor. Below is an example of an XER file:
See the number in the upper left-hand corner? That is the version of P6 that was exported. In this case the file was exported as Release 8.3 on November 25, 2013. Paying attention to the date can also be useful; any changes made to the original file after this date will not be included in the XER file.
To make this file readable by Release 7.0 a user just needs to backspace over the “8.3” and replace it with “7.0” or any other number that corresponds to older versions of P6. Save and close the file, and that’s it. The XER can now be imported into Release 7.0 without any loss of data or functionality.
We teach this little XER trick in our Primavera training classes and almost no one can believe that the only difference between all of the different releases of P6 is the number in the upper left-hand corner. Yet it works every time. Just be careful not to modify anything else in the XER file. Bad idea!
And in case you are wondering why this file format is called XER, there is actually a good explanation. A company called Eagle Ray created the first enterprise scheduling software. Primavera bought this company and rebadged the product as P3e. Several years later, Oracle bought Primavera. The file format stands for “eXport Eagle Ray”. Now you know.