Microsoft Project Desktop is an on-premises project management application with a perpetual license.
The platform is used to build project schedules, which are then saved as MPP files and shared with others to update project status. It also supports setting budgets, managing tasks, and reporting.
MS Project Desktop is a member of the Microsoft Project product family along with Project Online, Project Online Desktop Client, Project for the Web, and Project Server.
What are MS Project Desktop versions?
Microsoft Project Desktop is a standalone desktop version of a Microsoft project management tool. It has two different options, which differ but their functionality: Standard 2021 and Professional 2021.
MS Project Standard 2021 has the following features:
- One complete functionality Project Desktop application
- Simple cost and schedule management
- Easy task, report, and business intelligence management
- Start and finish dates that were added automatically
- Detailed visualization of more complicated timetables with many timelines
MS Project Professional 2021 is a desktop version that is similar to Microsoft Project Standard 2021 but offers a greater variety of functions:
- Resource management
- Project Online and Project Server synchronization
- Support the integration with applications like Office 2021 and Office LTSC
Microsoft Project Desktop pricing and features
You can purchase either the Standard version or the Professional version of Microsoft Project Desktop 2021. Here are each of the version’s restrictions and variations:
|Features||Microsoft Project Standard 2021||Microsoft Project Professional 2021|
|Updated, fully-installed Project desktop application||✓||✓|
|Control project costs and schedules||✓||✓|
|Business intelligence, reports, and task management||✓||✓|
|Project Online and Project Server synchronization||х||✓|
|Timesheets submission to record time spent on projects and unrelated tasks for payroll, billing, and other company needs||х||✓|
It’s crucial to distinguish between MS Project Professional and the desktop client for Project Online: the only difference is the Kanban boards functionality added in Project Online Desktop Client.
The Project Online desktop client can be connected to Project Online or used as a standalone program. Microsoft Project Online has two subscription plans Project Plan 3 and Project Plan 5. those come with the Project Online Desktop client. A project manager can use the Microsoft Project Online Desktop application with Project Online in Office 365 and collaborate with Project Online users using it, in addition to using it as a standalone client to generate and manage your project plans offline.
The difference between Microsoft Project Online and Microsoft Desktop
MS Project Online targets multiple users who can assign tasks, track time, and look into other related project elements in a collaborative environment. The desktop version mainly targets project managers who use it to define and track tasks without collaboration features.
Microsoft Project Desktop is best suited for standalone projects. Project managers using MS Project Desktop save their information as MPP files so they can share it with other team members to use it separately when the project evolves, or they export it to MS Project Online to use it on cloud-based software.
MS Project on the desktop is limited in integration functionality – connection to other software is restricted because of the standalone nature of the product.
The Roadmap function is always absent inside the MS Project Desktop and is only available in the Online version. And he portfolio project management feature has only the heaviest version of Microsoft Project Online – Plan 5. The Microsoft Project Desktop version has to use only third-party solutions (like PPM Express).