Primavera P6 vs Microsoft Project | Better Explained

I have used Primavera P6 and Microsoft Project, and I have studied both during my Master’s in Project Management degree.

At the start of my career, I used MS Project but later shifted to Primavera P6. To know the reasons, let’s have a look at both Primavera P6 and Microsoft Project features.

This info-graph clearly shows that MS Project is quite weaker than primavera P6. This is not the case always. We will discuss the best possible scenarios in this field.

There are four commonly used software packages for Scheduling and Controlling Construction and Development Projects.

  1. Oracle Primavera P6
  2. Microsoft Project
  3. Asta Power Project
  4. Tilos

MS Project and Primavera P6 are industry leaders

Tilos is best for Traditional Linear Project Planning Methods, and Asta Power Project Project is an equally powerful software package but does not have many users around MENA and Australia ( Big Projects Market).

Get Primavera P6 Free

Hence, we will only discuss the Primavera P6 and MS Project in this blog.

Primavera P6 and MS Project | Major Differences

Both are the most widely used and popular software packages for planning, tracking, and reporting globally.

User Experience

Microsoft Project has an edge here as most people are already familiar with Microsoft products like MS Office, and hence, I can say it is a user-friendly software package. On the other hand, Primavera P6 Software is an Oracle product and is not as user-friendly.

User Interface 

MS Project is graphical powerful. EPPM Oracle Primavera P6 also has an excellent user experience regarding graphs, but Oracle Primavera P6 Professional and other versions are graphically weaker. Resources graphs, progress graphs, and histograms are that appealing as in MS Project and other packages.

Power Game

Oracle Primavera P6 is very powerful as it can deal with unlimited baselines, whereas MS Project has a limitation here and can deal with only 11 baselines. It shows that P6 can be much more powerful as it can tackle more tasks.

You can display 4 baseline bars against a schedule in Primavera P6, and Primavera P6 professionals can handle 100,000 activities. Amazing!


Microsoft project has three versions that are Standard, Professional, and Web-based. On the other hand, Primavera P6 has Professional and Web-based only.

To open a Project, one must have a server, either Oracle or SQL based, but MS Project can open a single project file.

Industries Covered

MS Project is being used in Residential Buildings, Small & Medium Commercial Buildings, and Architecture/Surveying related projects.

The rest leave it to Primavera P6, including large complex projects like Oil and Gas, mining, etc.


Overall, Microsoft Project has a very lower price than that of Primavera P6. Still, it may not be the case as Primavera has many releases for Contractors, Professionals available at comparable prices.

I don’t count this factor that much in this comparison.


To install MS Project is very easy as most of us are quite familiar with other Microsoft products. To install Primavera P6, you need to follow a set of instructions to get it done correctly.


In Primavera P6, you can use a maximum of 4 relationships between two activities. Still, in MS project, only a single is allowed, and hence creating a Close Network is very easy in P6.

Asta power project, on the other hand, allows an unlimited relationship that differentiates it from others.

 Activity Steps

This handy feature in Primavera P6 allows us to divide the activity into more meaningful steps further to record or track progress. MS Project does not allow this feature.

Multiple User Access

In Primavera P6, multiple users can access and work on the same project. At the same time, MS Projects only allows multiple user access and work simultaneously, while in MS project, one cannot edit unless other users logged out.


The most underused feature in Primavera P6 is discussing with other team members working on the project. MS does not have this in it.

Hint Help

This Primavera P6 exclusive feature hints at the calculations for a column when the cursor is put on. MS Project does not have such an offer.

Final Words

Selecting your Project Management software is not a simple job. It all depends on what kind of enterprise project management system you are going to have. MS Project is good for small and medium-sized organizations, whereas Primavera P6 is much more powerful when handling complex projects and programs.

Oracle products are always costly but worth it. If you can afford and have a well-trained staff already, go for it as soon as possible, keeping in view the bigger picture.

One Small Request:

Being a Project Management guy, I know how little time we have to play around on the internet. But if you have found this information useful, please share it with your colleague so that more people can benefit from it. If you have any questions, then comment below, and I am glad to take it.


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22 thoughts on “Primavera P6 vs Microsoft Project | Better Explained”

    1. Yes, Mohammad
      Primavera P6 is much more versatile. As you go along, you will explore more features but here to keep it a bit brief I cannot cover all such topics. Hope I will update more in the near future.
      Thank you for highlighting and putting in some effort to read it with interest.
      The reader like you is valuable for me.

  1. Thank you for this wonderful comparison between Primavera P6 and MS Project. This is what I was looking for.

  2. MS Project is rather easy as we are used for other Microsoft project but as you said Primavera is powerful. That is nice comparison overall. Thank you for this write-up.

  3. Best Comparison of Microsoft Project and Oracle Primavera P6 on the internet for free. Thank you very much dear for all this write-up.

  4. Nice Comparison between Microsoft Project and Oracle Primavera P6. Looking forward if you can write more stuff on MS project.

  5. Great! well explained. One of the most important criteria to compare software is finishthe modelling capacity (ex. project (objective function) = Project start+ maximum of {Sum of Di along each path} subjected to constrint functions (sequence, calendar, constraints, resource availability and operating space for a labor/equipment, methodology….). So, MS project is highly limited as compared to P6.

  6. In my view, all Design and Construction Programmes are Targets, not really Pogrammes at all. You set the overall Target Programme, start work and adjust your Resources to suit Progress, nothing more, so Primavera’s complexity just isn’t worth it for most of us.

  7. I am currently on a project where my customer owns MS Project. The construction company however schedules in P6 Professional version. The vendor indicates that P6 will not exchange data with MS Project and there is no path to exchanging the data into MS Project format so my customer can use it. Please comment if this is possible.

    1. Primavera P6 can export a project in XER as well as Microsoft Project Format. Vice versa is not available as per my information. Still, you can try and make a Master Schedule in P6 and get the updated from MSP.

      Never tried though.

  8. Whether you have a small team working on a short-term project or a large group focusing their efforts on a major, long-term project, Oracle Primavera software can help you coordinate and manage.

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