Merlin Project tutorials — the basics: Viewing MS Project files

Merlin Project can be used as a free Microsoft Project Viewer application. Normally, you can’t read Microsoft Project files on the Mac, but with Merlin Project you can. Merlin Project, with all its project management features fully available, is the only app on the Mac that allows you to view Microsoft Project files. Alternatively, you can try out Merlin Project for 30 days and leave it on your system afterwards — it will automatically turn into read-only mode. And if you only want to view project files, both Microsoft Project and Merlin Project files, all you need to do is select “Use without License” in the Welcome screen.
use merlin project free

Using Merlin Project without a licence lets you use the product to read files. You will lose the ability to edit projects, but if all you want to do is read project files you normally can’t read on the Mac — even Microsoft Project .mpp or .xml files will work — that’s all you’re going to need. You simply open them from the File menu.
MPP project file

You can also drag and drop any type of Microsoft Project file onto the Merlin Project icon in the OS X Dock.
drop mpp files on Merlin Project icon

Last but not least, you can open a project file in view-only mode by double-clicking it. This will also work with Microsoft Project .mpp files. The Mac associates these files with Merlin Project and they will open immediately in the program. However, this doesn’t work with .xml project files. That’s because your Mac normally associates XML files with a text or XML editor, not with Merlin Project.

If the version of your MS Project files are all saved in XML format, there’s a work-around that makes double-clicking the file work on your Mac regardless. It requires you to associate XML files with Merlin Project. It’s very easy and can just as easily be undone. Here’s how it works:

  • Select and right-click on the Microsoft XML project file and select “Get Info” from the context menu or select the file and hit Command-I.
  • In the Info window, you’ll find an “Open With:” section with a drop-down menu. Click on the drop-down and scroll down until you see “Merlin Project”. Select Merlin Project.
  • To change all XML files on your system — current and future ones — to be opened by Merlin Project, click the “Change All…” button.

From now on, double-clicking the MS Project XML file(s) will automatically launch Merlin Project and open the file. 1

To revert back to the previous association between XML files on your system and the app to open them, just go through the same process, but instead of selecting Merlin Project from the drop-down in step 2, select another app from the list.

  1. If you are running OS X Yosemite or later, you may get a security warning depending on your System Preferences > Security & Privacy. Allow files to be opened from any developer, and you’re good to go. ↩︎
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