How to Create a Manpower Plot in Microsoft Project

The "S" shape of the curve in a manpower loading s-curve represents the natural evolution for generating manpower on a project.
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Manpower plots are important visual aids for planning and tracking resources and progress for any given project. You can produce manpower plots in Microsoft Project using the resource graph utility. The resource graph is an illustration of resource usage that highlights areas of manpower overutilization or underutilization on a project. Illustrate manpower allocation over time by adjusting the resource graph to show cumulative work for all or selected resources. You can change the bar styles settings of the resource graph to create a manpower loading S-curve. A manpower loading S-curve depicts the progression of resources over a specified period.

Grouping Resources

Step 1

Open up the Microsoft Project for which you would like to create a manpower plot. Be sure to open a project with resources. If the project does not have any resources loaded, use the "Add Resources" option under the Resource tab in the Office Fluent Ribbon.

Step 2

Click on the "View" tab and select "Resource Sheet" as the view under the Resource Views group if it is not already selected.

Step 3

Select the group by option you want from the "Group By" drop-down in the Data group. For example, you can choose to group resources by resource group or resource type. Grouping resources allows us to show manpower utilization for multiple or all resources in a project. By default, the resource graph will only show manpower utilization for a single resource.

Developing Manpower Plot

Step 1

Check the "Details" box in the "View" tab and select "Resource Graph" from the drop-down in the "Split View" group. This will display a split view with the Resource Sheet in the top window pane and the Resource Graph in the bottom.

Step 2

Right-click the "Resource Graph" and choose "Bar Styles … " from the shortcut menu that appears. For the "Selected resources" options, change "Show as:" fields for "Overallocated resources" and "Allocated resources" to "Bar." Leave the other settings intact and click "OK" to confirm changes.

Step 3

Right-click the "Resource Graph" again and select "Cumulative Work" from the shortcut menu that appears. This action displays cumulative resource or manpower allocation over time.

Step 4

Right-click the "Resource Graph" again and choose "Bar Styles … " from the shortcut menu that appears. For "Selected resources," change the "Show as:" field for "Total allocated work" to "Area" and the rest of the "Show as:" fields for "Selected resources" and "Resource" to "Don't Show." Click "OK" to confirm changes. The resource graph should now display a cumulative plot of the project's manpower over time.


When working with the Resource Graph, you can choose to make a copy of the Resource Graph before making any changes to the default settings or reset to default after making changes. To create a copy of the Resource Graph, in the "Split View" group's details drop-down field, select "More Views ... " Choose "Resource Graph" from the list of views and click the "Copy ... " button. Enter a descriptive name for the new view in the Name field and click "OK." This will return you to the "More Views" dialog box where the copy of the Resource Graph view now appears in the list of views. Click "Apply." To reset the Resource Graph to default settings, under the Resources View group, click the "Other Views" drop-down, and select "Resource Graph." The resource graph will appear in the display window. Click "Other Views" again and select "Reset to Default".