After a smattering of trainings recently, I’ve made a surprising discovery: the autonumbering system is one of the most under-appreciated features we have. I say this because in the cases where it has been used to good effect, the user is able to tell who a project is being done for, when the project was launched, what team is majoritively engaged in the project, and roughly what the project is for, all at a glance.

Take the following example, DEV-RAG-0323-1500. It might not seem like much to the casual observer, but to the team that built it, it means this is a project the development team is responsible for. It means the project began in March of this year, and is being done in service of a client named Rag Time Enterprises. A good project number should be able to give you an instant indication of what this project is. So how do we turn your autonumbering into something useful? Let’s dive in!

Auto Number

This is the core of any autonumbering system; a sequentially increasing number that offers a unique element to any given project number. While you’re free to not use this element, this will leave the job of coming up with a distinct number to you. The side benefit offered by this feature is that it gives you a rough idea of when a project began relative to others. ProWorkflow allows you to set a starting value (should you be moving from another system), and a number of placeholders (i.e. do you want the generated autonumber to be 5 digits e.g. 1001 or 6 digits e.g. 23001).


The code system allows you to form a more easily identifiable link to that client that the project is for. Going to the Contacts page, by editing any client company you will see they contain a Code field. Text entered here will be copied through into the project number when the Code variable is used.

You can also use the code field to describe a commonality shared by certain clients. For example, if the physical location of a client is important, you could use area codes in that section to ensure all jobs can be quickly placed by looking at the number, for example getting AZ-1005 (from {Code}{Autonumber}) might tell you that the project takes place in Arizona.


The variable for date is fairly straightforward in that the code {dd-mm-yyyy} will produce today’s date for any newly created project. To make this feature slightly more advanced, we made these variables modular, and allow them to be used in any order. For example, you may only be concerned with the year. In that case, perhaps {yyyy}-{autonumber} would be your best option, as that would produce a unique code always preceded by the year the project started. As well as using day, month or year in isolation, you can modulate those choices, with {MMM} becoming JAN and {yy} becoming the later two digits of the current year (2023->23).

If you do a lot of retainer work for your clients, it can lead to a situation where you’ve got a lot of projects in the pipeline but few ways to differentiate them. By using an autonumbering system containing {MM/YY}{Code}, you’ll see that you’re quickly able to figure out what month/year a project belongs to, as well as who you’re doing it for.

This field can also serve as an easy way for you to tell when a project was created, without having to look at reports.


If you use the Advanced plan, you’ll know that you can divide your workforce into different teams and groups, and then attribute projects to these teams. What you may not know is that in the exact same way as clients have a code, so do teams. You can then put these team codes into the project number, allowing you to tell at a glance which business unit is working on a given project.

If you’re in a position of managing several teams in ProWorkflow, the {team} code is invaluable! Being able to visually identify the team responsible for a project, as well as order your list based on this assignment, will help you figure out quickly which teams might be over/under burdened. Putting the {MM}/month variable in can help you further assess which teams may be in need of more/less work.

Do you use the autonumbering in a way didn’t talk about here? We’d love to know about it! Please let us know.

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