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Use the WBS Code Definition dialog box to create, review, or revise a uniform WBS code format, or mask. WBS codes are generally unique; that is, each task has a separate WBS code. Using the WBS field is most helpful if your company uses a specific WBS code system for project management. You can:

  • Define a WBS code format, including the sequence, length, and separator for the WBS code.

  • Represent tasks' positions within the hierarchical structure of the project.

  • Apply a specific format that's suitable to the way you view your project.

Dialog box location

To open this dialog box, from any task view, on the Project menu, point to WBS, and then click Define Code.


WBS code preview and prefix

Code preview     Displays a sample WBS code with the options you have specified.

Project Code Prefix     Defines a prefix that is added before the WBS code for each task in the active project.

Code mask table

Use the code mask table to define your WBS codes. Enter a different row for each WBS level you're defining. Each level in sequence builds upon the other to create the complete WBS code mask.

Level    Indicates the outline level that corresponds with the WBS code mask being defined. This field automatically increments as you enter each additional code mask.

Sequence    Enter the character type for the code mask. The choices are Numbers (ordered), Uppercase Letters (ordered), Lowercase Letters (ordered), and Characters (unordered).

Length     Enter a number representing the required length for this level of WBS code. Click Any if the WBS code can be of any length. The maximum length of the entire WBS code is 255 characters.

Separator     Enter the character to separate the WBS code levels. The default separator is a period.

Check boxes

Generate WBS code for new task     Specifies that Microsoft Office Project generates a WBS code when you create a new task.

Verify uniqueness of new WBS codes     Enforces uniqueness when you edit a WBS code for a task. If you enter a WBS code that is already used in the project, Project displays a message notifying you that the code is a duplicate.


  • To assign a WBS code to a task, in a task sheet, click the field to the right of where you want to insert the WBS code field. On the Insert menu, click Column. In the Field name box, click WBS. The WBS code appears for each task, corresponding with the task's outline level.

  • To sort by WBS code, on the Project menu, point to Sort, and then click Sort by. In the Sort by box, click WBS.

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