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Reload this page How to Use Microsoft Project

This page describes how to use Microsoft Project (MSP) to implement the project management strategies described in my project planning documents to managers. Information here distills knowledge and wisdom gleaned from years of usage and studying books, user forums, help files, training documents, videos, etc. All text here is in one large file for quick search through all topics, offered without charge and without generalizations and sales hype.


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Set screen How Summary

    Report menu from Microsoft Project There are several approaches to understand and make use of this software package to create schedules, calculate costs, and control changes in a project.

    Technically, Microsoft Project uses a "MVC" (Model View Controller) design pattern. That is, it has a database (model) queried by graphic views (and printed reports) exposing data arranged in tables used to update data.

    The View > Reports menu presents the various trade-offs Microsoft Project assists with: activities (tasks) assigned as workload by resources associated with costs.

    Certification exams in Project are structured by process groups standardized by PMBOK: Initiating, Planning, Executing, Controlling, Closing.

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Set screen User Usage Processes [Topics on this page]

    Configuring Tools and Options

      •Set up Schedule options. •Set up Calculation options. •Set up Interface options. •Set up View options. •Set up General options. •Set up Calendar options. •Set up Security options.

    Setting Up a Project

      •Create and modify a template. •Select a template. •Enter project information. •Manage calendars. •Import and export data.

    Estimating, Scheduling, and Budgeting Tasks

      •Create a WBS. •Create and modify tasks. •Estimate and budget tasks. •Sequence tasks. •Identify and analyze critical tasks and critical path. •Manage multiple projects.

    Resourcing Project Plans (Work with project resources)

      •Forecast time-phased generic skill or role requirements. •Create, modify, and use resource pools. •Add, change, substitute, or remove resource assignments. •Predict durations and work calculations. •Optimize resource utilization.

    Updating and Reporting on Project Performance

      •Save and modify baselines. •Enter task updates. •Reschedule incomplete work. •Track project progress. •Analyze variance. •Create, modify, and delete objects. •Create reports.

    The Project Guide toolbar presents these activities:


      - Define the project - Define general working times - List the tasks in the project - Organize tasks into phases - Schedule tasks - Link to or attach more task information - Add columns of custom information - Set deadlines and constrain tasks - Identify risks to the project - Add documents to the project - Publish project information to the Web


      - Specify people and equipment for the project - Specify the booking types for resources - Define working times for resources - Assign people and equipment to tasks - Link to or attach more resource information - Add columns of custom information - Publish project information to the Web


      - Save a baseline plan to compare with later versions - Prepare to track the progress of your project - Incorporate progress information into the project - Check the progress of the project - Make changes to the project - Track risks and issues associated with this project - Request text-based status reports - Publish project information to the Web


      - Select a view or report - Change the content or order of information in a view - Change the look or content of the Gantt Chart - Print current view as a report - See the status of multiple projects in Project Center - Compare progress against baseline work - See the project's critical tasks - See project risks and issues - See how resources' time is allocated - See project costs - Publish project information to the Web

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Set screen Product Scope

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Set screen Product Background

    Microsoft Project (MSP for short) has evolved over many versions 98, 2000 (9), 2002 (10), 2003 (11), 2007 (12).

    MSP is managed as part of Microsoft's Office suite. So after installation, click the Windows Start icon, All Programs, and Project is under Microsoft Office among Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Visio, etc.

    The product's previous home URL is now at

    The Standard (standalone) Edition can work with Shared workspaces accessing a Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) via Internet Explorer.

    The Professional edition can connect to a Project Server which implements Enterprise Project Management (EPM).

    Microsoft Portfolio Server 2007 provides tools for Benefit Estimates, Strategic Impact analysis, Change Request Management and Issues & Risks Management. More importantly, it integrates project plans within a workflow with email. SDK contains a conceptual topics and managed code reference chm, Reporting Database Schema reference chm, OLAPCubeSchemas.xls of the dimensions, measures, and properties of the 14 Project Server OLAP cubes. Also XML schemas and the ChangeXML parameter for Statusing methods in the Project Server Interface (PSI).

    Project Server 2007 Resource Kit

    How to Leverage Project Server 2007 with PerformancePoint Server 2007 Monitoring and Analytics

    Visio 2007 WBS Modeler generates MSP plan files or updates (but not move elements) in existing 2003+ plans.

    Office Project Server 2007 with SP2 Trial Version

    Updates for Microsoft Office Project 2007 Help

    Products should reference the terminoloy in the PMI (Project Management Institute) Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), now in its 4th edition. and/or PRINCE2

    Training vendor IIL does this, and offers their own "Black Belt" certification like martial arts studios.


    There is a multi-million dollar industry around Microsoft Project.

    3rd-Party Products making use of Project include:

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Set this at top of window. Certification in MSProject

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Set screen Installation

    To avoid annoying defaults, select "Customize" during initial installation or "Add or Remove Features" from Start, Settings, Control Panel, Add/Remove Programs.

    Full menus

    While you're in the Toolbar "Customize..." pop-up, let me note something that is difficult to find. Click the Options tab and uncheck "Menus show recently used commands first" and check "Show shortcut keys in ScreenTips".

    Global Configuration File

    In the Options menu, clicking "Set as Default" is accomplished by saving changes in the Global.mpt file installed by Microsoft Project on each computer. In my Vista it's C:\Users\W\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\MSProject\11\1033. This file may be edited using the menu Tools, Organizer utility. This file is copied to new projects.

    In an enterprise environment, in menu Tools > Organizer, Global (non-cached Enterprise) augments the normal Global.MPT container file when connected to a Microsoft Project Server. This second container provides access to default objects, especially extra views created by the enterprise project office that typically have a name that starts with the word "Enterprise". It is the same for all users in the same enterprise.


    Set screen Project File Viewers

    Don't have MS Project installed?

    Microsoft doesn't offer a viewer like it does for Office products. But third party developers do have tools to just look at a Project file:

    tool Steelray offers a simplified GUI (on Mac and Linux too) by enabling navigation by clicking on data.

    tool Housatonic Project Viewer Central has a pay-per-view payment option.

    tool Project Reader for $39/$46

    tool Project Viewer for $113 can link to SAP R/3

    tool Twiddlebit can convert MPP files to/from PLN files used by the Twiddlebit Plan software running on a Nokia 9300/9500 phone.

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Set screen Preparations for Printing

    Stop wasting paper

    In File, Page Setup, uncheck "Print Blank pages".

    Switch to a chattier printer icon

    Clicking on this default print icon sends one copy of the entire document with all of the default print settings to the default printer immediately after you click it.

    To be able to choose the printer, number of copies, etc. after clicking on the printer icon (instead of pulling down File, Print...):

    1. open View, Toolbars, select "Customize...".
    2. Get rid of the existing Print icon by dragging and dropping it somewhere in the Customize window.
    3. In the right pane of the Commands tab, scroll to the Print... button and drag it to where the default print icon was.

    Before Printing

    1. In menu File > Project Information: change the Status Date.
    2. In menu File > Properties:
      • enter text in the "Project Name" field.
      • change the Subject text which contains "DRAFT 3".
    3. In menu View > Headers and Footers > Header > Right: change text "Not resource leveled" or "Resource leveled".


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    Set screen View > Headers and Footers

    Every view is updated with this (using a VBA Macro):

      Header Left 1st line: &[View] | &[Report] | &[Filter]
      Header Left 2nd line: File &[File Name and Path]
      Header Center : &[Project Title] &[Subject] as of &[Status Date]
      Header Right : Resources Not Leveled
      Footer Left : Saved &[Saved Date]
      Footer Center :
      Footer Right : Page &[Page] of &[Pages]

      Alt+Enter was pressed to force a line break within headers and footers.

    This explanation in the Project Plan document coincides with the setup actions above.

    Each view has been setup with a common set of headers and footers so that one can quickly determine where to go for a reprint of that page.

    The full path to the project file location is on the second line of the header.

    The top left corner lists the View or Report Name, Table Name and Filter Name, all separated by a | bar.

    The top middle lists the project name, plus a Subject text such as "DRAFT 3 to version 0.22 of the Project Plan".

    The top right corner alerts "Not resource leveled" or "Resource leveled", text manually entered in the File > Properties dialog. This is crucial information because, without leveling, resources are likely overallocated, especially when several task are specified for a task at the same time.

    The bottom left corner presents the folder path of the file and the date when the file was saved.

    The Status Date used to display the vertical gridline (specified in menu Format, Gridlines) in charts and reports (manually specified in the Project, Project Information form). This date is used for calculating Earned Value.

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Set screen Project Plan Views

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Set screen Views & Tables by Screen

    Views on the menu assigned by Microsoft/by default (after installation) are in shown in bold.

    ScreenView NameTable FilterReport/Note
    Resource Usage
    Leveling Gantt
    Resource Allocation
    Gantt Chart
    Task Form
    Task Entry
    Calendar Calendar --
    Gantt Chart Bar Rollup Rollup Table Rollup Table
    Gantt Chart Detail Gantt Delay
    Gantt Chart Gantt Chart Entry Task Entry
    Gantt Chart Leveling Gantt Entry
    Gantt Chart Milestone Date Rollup Entry
    Gantt Chart Milestone Rollup Rollup Table
    Gantt Chart PA_Optimistic Gantt PA_Optimistic_Case
    Gantt Chart PA_Expected Gantt PA_Expected_Case
    Gantt Chart PA_Pessimistic Gantt PA_Pessimistic_Case
    Gantt Chart Tracking Gantt Entry
    Network Diagram Descriptive Network Diagram --
    Network Diagram Network Diagram --
    Relationship Diagram Relationship Diagram --
    Resource Form Resource Form --
    Resource Graph Resource Graph --
    Resource Name Form Resource Name Form --
    Resource Sheet Resource Sheet Entry Same as Custom Resource report
    Resource Usage Resource Usage Usage Resource Allocation
    Task Details Form Task Details Form --
    Task Form Task Form --
    Task Name Form Task Name Form --
    Task Sheet Task Sheet Entry
    Task Sheet PA_PERT Entry Sheet PA_PERT Entry
    Task Usage Task Usage Usage

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Set this at top of window. Gantt Charts

    Invented by Henry Gantt (1861-1919) while planning the construction of U.S. Navy ships during WWI, the Gantt chart uses stacks of horizontal bars to show the timing of tasks along a time-line running from left to right. The position of a task bar marks its starting date. The length of each task bar represents its duration -- the longer the bar, the longer the task will take.

    Set this at top of window. Custom Gantt Charts

    This project uses custom "Edit Gantt" and "Summary Gantt" views created by copying the default "Gantt Chart" view. These custom views make use of custom Table (field column) definitions and filters.

    A Legend is not printed on Gantt charts to save room.

    Gantt Chart shortcut keys to scroll...

    • timescale to the beginnging or end of the project, press Alt+home/end.
    • timescale left or right a single minor unit, press Alt+left/right arrow.
    • an entire screen left or right, press Alt + PgUp/PgDn
    • project start or end dates, press Alt + Home/End
    • task list to the first or last task, press Ctrl + Home/End
    • task list to the left or right-most task, press PageUp/PageDown
    • To move the timescale to the task selected, press Ctrl + Shift + F5.

      If "Autolink inserted or moved tasks" is active (selected) in Tools > Options, when a task in the middle of dependent tasks is cut (using Ctrl+X), MS Project automatically adds new dependencies to link its predecessor to its successor.

    Set this at top of window. Summary Gantt View

    The Timescale format in our Summary Gantt is zoomed out to Months in the Middle Tier and Weeks in the Bottom Tier (rather than default Weeks and Days).

    Specific lower-level milestones and tasks (such as the current critical items) are shown on the Summary Gantt. This is achieved by adding field flag8 to our Summary Gantt table, and a "Summary" filter (in Project > Filter) has an added "or" referencing that field.

    Set this at top of window. Tracking Gantt View

    Tracking Gantt icon The Tracking Gantt view is used to review progress versus plan.

    Set this at top of window. Gantt Task Bars

    Gantt with Task Bars The thin black line in the middle of task bars represent percentage complete. If a partially completed task is rescheduled, the duration remaining can be split from past Duration. This is done using the Reschedule Work icon on the Tracking toolbar. That's if the Tools, Options, Schedule tab, Split in-progress tasks box is checked and the Tools, Options Reschedule uncompleted tasks to start after.

    Set this at top of window. Vertical Progress Lines

    Gantt with Progress Line Zigzag Progress Lines optionally shown on Gantt Charts illustrate the Finish Variance (how far ahead or behind) for each task. It is specified in menu Tools, Tracking, Progress Lines.

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Set screen Basic Field Names

    Every task has hundreds of fields. These are the most commonly used:

    • ID field.
    • Unique_ID
    • Name (Description)
    • Notes
    • Inactive field contains a boolean value.
    • Phonetics
    • Project
    • Hyperlink
    • Hyperlink_Address
    • Hyperlink_Href
    • Hyperlink_SubAddress
    • Indicators
    • Linked_Fields
    • Type
    • Update_Needed

    Rename fields in Tools, Customize, Fields. But doing so would make default field names disappear, which could be frustrating for those accustomed to them. If you are a Project Central user, you have to also redefine them in the SQL database.

    If you export files, you must use the Project Organizer to use the Global.mpt list (converted from Global80.mpt in Project 98).


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Set this at top of window. Entry of Tasks, Milestones, Deadlines, and Deliverables

    Milestones by default appear as black diamonds automatically for any task with a zero duration or manually set.

    Milestone names, such as "System AA smoke tested in Staging" are verifiable events which start with a deliverable object and end with a verb in perfect tense (completed past tense) such as completed, delivered, handed over, sent, finished, published, sent, shipped, received, signed off, approved, etc.

    Task names also start with a deliverable object, so that they line up with their milestone, followed by an action verb.

    Deadlines (marked by a downward arrow) are added in a Task's Information screen. They are soft dates (such as a go/no go point) does not affect replanning. If a deadline is missed, an exclaimation point icon appears in the Indicators column.

    Set this at top of window. WBS - Work Breakdown Structures

    WBS The WBS field is automatically calculated. It has a set of 10 corresponding read-only fields Outline_Code1...10 which identifies each level of the tree-like WBS.

    At the highest level are phases of the project. Under each phase are milestones that define accomplishments and tasks that lead up to them.

    The WBS is used to accumulate costs using the logical hierarchy of progressively more detailed portions of the high-level deliverable.

    To output the WBS as an Organizaton Chart within Visio, activate the Analysis toolbar and click "Visio WBS Chart Wizard". Invoke "1. Apply Task Selection View" once. This creates, then places you in a new "Visio WBS Chart Task Selection" view using a new "VisioWBSChart" Table that renames Flag1 to a field named "Include in WBS Chart?". You can change the value in this field to Yes for all tasks you want only some tasks to appear in the Visio chart. Otherwise, select "2. Launch Wizard". Click OK to the confirmation pop-up. If you get an error, try openning Visio before doing the above.

    The 2003 version positions tasks randomly rather than in sequence. This is why some buy the
    $199 WBS Chart Pro add-on to lay out the WBS graphically like an organizational chart.

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Set screen Start and Finish Dates

    We prefer for dates to be calculated by Microsoft Project.

    Start or finish date for a task that are typed in or dragged a Gantt Chart using the mouse

    Microsoft Project automatically changes the constraint of a task to "Start No Earlier Than" or "Finish No Earlier Than". When these actions occur, Microsoft Project assumes that you want the task to use static fixed (hard) start or finish dates, which are schedule constraints NOT calculated dynamically by MS Project based on dependencies.

    Set screen Constrained by Constraints

    By default, a task has a Constraint Type of "As Soon As Possible" (ASAP) if the project is set to Forward Scheduling from a hard project start date.

    If Backward Scheduling is selected as the regime, tasks are scheduled from the project finish date and the default constraint type is "As Late As Possible" (ALAP).

    Idea Advice:

    • Type in changes to duration rather than using your mouse to extend the task bar.
    • Create several views -- use one view for working with the Project and another view for presenting the Project.
    • Add the Constraint Type as a column in your Gantt Chart so that you can quickly review them.
    • Add a Note or Flag field to remind yourself about the tasks you want with special constraints.
    • If you don't use special constraints, make sure you didn't accidentally create one by clearing all constraints: select all tasks, expand them, right click, choose Task Info/Advanced, and change constraint to "Start as soon as possible".
    • Remember to review the Constraint Type before printing or distributing your Project.

    View > Table (Task) Constraint Dates Table
    Task NameDurationConstraint TypeConstraint Type

    If a task should only be done on a weekend (or first day of the month, etc.), create a task calender to specify several possible weekends (windows of opportunity) rather than specifying a specific weekend. Task calendars override Resource or Project calendars.

    To schedule group meetings which need to be schedule ahead, use "Must Start On" or "Must Finish On" contraints.

    Set this at top of window. Save Yourself

    Microsoft Project offers great flexibility for you to customize the style of your task bars. However, it saves style settings in a separate file than your Project file -- then only when you exit the program.

    Idea Advice:

    • Occasionally exit the program to make sure that your changes are written from memory to hard disk.
    • If you copy your Project file to another computer, also copy the style preferences file as well.

    Set this at top of window. Accidental Delete by Habit

    In almost all other Windows applications, the Delete key erases a single character to the left of the cursor.  So, we reach for the Delete key automatically. 

    However, Microsoft Project gets rid of an entire task when the Delete key is pressed.

    Idea Advice:

    • Rather than pressing Delete,  cut using the mouse or menu command. Make a habit of this for all applications you use or you'll forget to do this.
    • To avoid needing to re-enter all information for a task accidentally deleted, copy your file and paste it to a new name before you start working with a file. This example file name is for version 3.2d of the REXT Proposal:


      Update the "d" to "e" every time it is saved.
      Update the "2" to "3" every time it is distributed.

    • Don't configure the software to Auto Save. In Project 2000: Tools, Options, Save tab.
    • Slow down!  Be mindful of this habit which may hurt.
    • Keep printed copies of your Project 


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Set screen Navigation

    Enter it in the Advanced tab after opening up the Task Information dialog from pressing Shift + F2 or right-click on the task.

    To select an entire column, press Ctrl + space bar or click on a column heading.

    To select an entire row, press Shift + space bar or click on the grey row ID.

    Expand or contract summary tasks by pressing Alt + Shift + [-] or [+].

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Set screen Right-Click Instead of ToolBar Icons

    I think that it's quicker to use a mouse rather than looking for toolbar icons or keys on the keyboard.

    Toolbar buttons also available from a mouse right-click

    Remove from the Standard toolbar icons for functions which are more easily available from right-clicking a cell -- Cut Cell, Copy Cell, Paste, Insert Hyperlink, Task Information, Task Notes, Font name and size.

    You can also get rid of the Outdent, Indent, Show Subtasks, and Hide Subtasks toolbar icons if you right-click on the task after you select the entire row (by clicking on the grey area at the very left edge of the screen).

    This action makes room for the View and Report drop-down menus. These show 12 items at a time, but they can't be selectively included and excluded by you like menu items.

    Always Display Full Menus

    By default, not all menu items are displayed. So check "Always show full menus" in View > Toolbar > Customize > Options tab.

    Instead of Big View bar icons

    The default view bar at the left has such big icons that it only accomodates at most 8 of the 24 views provided by default. Get rid of them by right-clicking on it and uncheck "Viewbar". Now right-click on the blue bar and you still get a list of views!

    Instead of exposing the "Management" toolbar buttons, select More Views, "Task Entry" View, Edit..., check "Show in menu", then OK. Do this again for the "Resource Allocation" view.


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Set screen ToolBar Icons That ARE Useful

    Custom Forms

    From View, Toolbars, select Custom Forms.

    Drag it to the upper right corner, where you'll have instant access to text input forms.

    Add Other Forms Icons

    Assign Resources In the Toolbar Customize "All commands" categories, drag this icon named "ResourceAssignment" to the Custom Forms toolbar.

another page on this site Comparison of Toolbars and Keyboard Shortcuts asssigned by Microsoft
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Set this at top of window. Use of Fields in a Microsoft Project

    I put this documentation in Project Plan Word documents so that as I work with a project, I can remember how each optional field is used. This also helps if several Project files you ever need to be consolidated together.

    Field Usage (Notes)
    Flag8 "Yes" if the task should appear on the Summary Gantt.
    Indicators (New to Project 2000)
    ResourceInitials Used instead of Resource Names to limit width of text in charts and reports
    Text18 Feedback:
    • FB – feedback required
    • NFB – no feedback required in this notification
    • SUSO – Standard Single User Sign-Off
    • MUSO – Multiple User Sign-Off
    • IUSO – Incremental User Sign-Off
    • Aprvl – "Approval" response type (either Approve or Reject)
    • Conf – "Confirmation" response type (either Yes or No)
    Duration1, Duration2, Duration3Opt ... in PA_PERT Entry Table
    Duration1, Start1, Finish1Opt ... in PA_Optimistic_Case Table
    Duration2, Start2, Finish2Exp ... in PA_Expected_Case Table
    Duration3, Start3, Finish3Pes ... in PA_Pessimistic_Case Table
    Flag10"Text Above" in Rollup Table
    Text1 Comment
    Start1 and Finish1 A date which external organization, but not relevant
    for scheduling. Note that both start and finish dates are 
    needed for a milestone to appear.
    Notes To hold user text on miscellanous topics. Good to have just in case it's needed.

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Set screen Tables

    Set screen Configuring Tables

    To create a custom Table from an existing table: Click View, Table, More Tables, Copy, type your new Table name, make changes described below, click OK.

    To create a custom View from an existing view: Click View, More views, Copy, type your new View name, make changes, click OK.


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    Set screen by Table

    Views on the menu assigned by Microsoft/by default (after installation) are in shown in bold.

    ScreenView NameTableFilterNote
    -- Task ...Baseline
    -- Task ... Constraint Dates
    -- -- Cost
    -- -- Earned Value
    -- Task ... Export
    -- Resource ... Export
    -- Task/Resc Hyperlink
    -- Task ... Schedule
    -- Task ... Summary
    -- Resource ... Summary
    -- Task ... Tracking
    -- Task ... Variance
    -- Resource ... Variance
    -- -- Work
    -- Resources... Entry - Material Resources
    -- Resources... Entry - Work Resources

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Set this at top of window. Filters

    The manu is listed alphabetically:

    • All Tasks
    • Completed Tasks
    • Confirmed
    • Cost Greater Than...
    • Cost Overbudget
    • Created After...
    • Critical
    • Date Range...
    • In Progress Tasks
    • Incomplete Tasks
    • Late/Overbudget Tasks Assigned To...
    • Linked Fields
    • Milestones
    • Resource Group...
    • Should Start By...
    • Should Start/Finish By...
    • Shipped/Late Progress
    • Slipping Task
    • Summary Tasks
    • Task Range...
    • Tasks with A Task Calendar Assigned
    • Tasks with Attachments
    • Tasks with Deadlines
    • Tasks with Estimated Durations
    • Tasks with Fixed Dates
    • Tasks/Assignments with Overtime
    • Top Level Tasks
    • Unconfirmed
    • Unstarted Tasks
    • Update Needed
    • Using Resource in Date Range...
    • Using Resource...
    • Work Overbudget

    To get rid of filtering, press F3.

    Added 20 Oct 2005 A particular filter may be useful at verious points during a project.

    Planning a project,

      All Tasks
      Linked Fields
      Created After...
      Task Range...

    Working a project,

      In Progress Tasks
      Incomplete Tasks

    Managing project schedule,

      Top Level Tasks
      Summary Tasks
      Slipping Tasks
      Tasks with Deadlines
      Date Range...
      Should Start By...
      Should Start/Finish By...
      Shipped/Late Progress
      Unstarted Tasks

    Evaluating project cost,

      Costs Greater Than...
      Cost Overbudget
      Work Overbudget

    Closing a project,

      Completed Tasks
      Update Needed

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    Set screen Don't Filter During Input

    Microsoft Project inserts new tasks under the task that is highlighted. When a schedule has a filter applied, new tasks are added under a subtask that is not visible. So they could end up anywhere.

    Dan Kegel notes that "I've seen subtasks end up attached to the end of my cat's nose (and the cat did not appreciate it)."

    Idea Advice:

    • Save yourself and your cat some trouble.
      Display "All Tasks" when actually working on the schedule;
      Filters should be used only when looking at but not editing schedule values.
      Expand all tasks before adding any new ones.

    Do this! In Tools > Options > General, "Set AutoFilter on for new project" is unchecked by default because most start typing into a new project. General, filtering should be OFF when inputting data.

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Set screen Dependencies: The Linkage Among Tasks

    This is added to my Project Plan document:

    This project plan uses values in the Unique ID field (instead of the ID field) because Unique ID values are retained when new tasks are added. Consequently, references to Predecessor and Successor fields in this document actually refer to the Unique ID Predecessor, and Unique ID Successor fields.

    The most typical task relationship is sequential (finish-to-start). To set a task to start after another task (45) finishes, enter the ID number of that previous task in its Predecessor field:


      MSP removes the "FS" because that is the default.

      SF links can be created by selecting the predecessor, holding down Ctrl while clicking successors.

      The "+5d" adds a 5 day waiting time (lag) that creates a gap. Alternately, a -40% creates negative lead time call a partial dependency because the predecessor overlaps part of its successor.

    Entries in the Predecessor field automatically appear in the Successor field of the referenced task.

    To set a task (such as ordering ingredients) one week before another task (47), use the SF (Start-to-Finish) in its Predecessor field:


    To set a task that should be done near the end, when the referenced task (49) is nearly finished (such as training or shipping), use FF (Finish to Finish) in the Predecessor field:


    To define a parallel task (such as an observer) that will automatically be set to start when another task (49) starts, specify a SS (Start-to-Start) in its Predecessor field:


      You have to mannually make sure both tasks have the same duration.

    Set screen Hammock Tasks

    Instead of specifying predecessors and successors, a task can automatically determine its own duration. Like a real hammock, whose shape is determined by the distance between the points to which it is attached, create "Hammock Task" (KB 141733) or Level Of Effort (LOE) task by pasting linked dates using Paste Special:

    1. Create or determine three tasks that correspond to A, B, and C.
    2. Highlight the cell that contains date A (the date that will determine when task B starts).
    3. On the Edit menu, click Copy (Cell).
    4. Highlight the cell that contains the Start date for task B (the hammock task).
    5. On the Edit menu, click Paste Special, and click Paste Link.
    6. Highlight the cell that contains Date C (the date that will determine when task B finishes).
    7. On the Edit menu, click Copy (Cell).
    8. Click the cell that contains the Finish date for task B (the hammock task).
    9. click Edit, click Paste Special, and click Paste Link.

    Press the F9 function key twice to recalculated these dates.


    The color or Logic Lines, also known as Dependencies, Relationships, or Links, are inherited from the predecessor's bar color in the Gantt Chart view. They are formatted in the Network Diagram > Format, Layout.

    Instead of many links to the "Go-live" milestone, a vertical line is added so that it moves as the project is rescheduled. It is inserted using the Insert, Drawing function, Line option, and drawn on the screen. Then double-click on the vertical line to open the Format Drawing form, select the Size & Position tab, select the Task ID to attach the line, and the relative position to the bar.

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Set this at top of window. Network Diagrams (PERT Charts)

    PERT icon PERT (Program Evaluation and Review Technique) uses three Duration estimates for each task: Optimistic (O), Most Likely (ML), and Pessimistic (P). The Expected Duration is derived from a weighted formula: (O + 4 * ML + P) / 6. enables "what-if" analysis by

    To un-hide 23 PERT Views hidden by default, enable the Analysis toolbar (right-click on the grey toolbar), click "PERT Analysis". Also enable the "PERT Analysis" toolbar. Now in More Views, there should be:

    • PA_Optimistic Gantt
    • PA_Expected Gantt
    • PA_PERT Entry Sheet
    • PA_Pessimistic Gantt

    The flow of tasks are illustrated by presenting each task as a box linked by dependency lines. This format illustrates the critical path of tasks which, if delayed, will cause the entire project to be delayed.

    By default:

    A parallelogram represents a summary task.

    A rectangle represents a detail task.

    A hexagon represents a milestone.

    Red (instead of blue) borders surround critical tasks.

    A0N (PDM) = Activity-on-Node (Precedence Diagramming Method) uses node boxes to depict activities. This is more popular than

    A0A (ADM) = Activity-on-Arrow (Arrow Diagramming Method) uses arrows to depict activities.


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Set screen Split Panes and Multiple Windows

    To see several panes display diffenent views of the same project file (such as a Gantt Chart on the top pane and a Resource Graph or Usage Table in a bottom pane):

    1. Window > Split.
    2. Right-click on the far left to select the view.

    To switch among several views quickly using Ctrl+Tab:

    1. Window > New Window.
    2. Select project and View


    Microsoft Project doesn't print multiple panes in one printout. So some use the
    Full version of Adobe Acrobat to merge several reports output to a pdf writer or use
    SnagIt or other screen capture program to copy screens to Excel or Word to create a combined report.

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Set screen Printing Output to Other Microsoft Office Apps

    Copy Picture to Office Wizard

    1. Right-click on the toolbar to select the Analysis toolbar.
    2. on "Copy Picture to Office Wizard".
    3. Click Next. Select the outline level,
    4. Specify Image Creation Options.
    5. Select PowerPoint, Word, or Visio. Select print Orientation.
    6. Select the fields, then Finish.
    7. If you get "(Automation error Library not registered. -2147319779)", open the application and try again.

    Output to Access

    In menu File > Save As, the "Save as Type" had "Microsoft Access Database *.mdb" until MSP 2007. One can then open the Microsoft Access Database, in menu "File", "Get External Data", "Link Tables", specify the Microsoft Project Database mdb file, menu Tables, "All".

    This sample SQL creates a simple task list:


    Visual Reports

    New since MSP 2007: View > Visual Reports to output Visio or Excel PivotTable or PivotChart.


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Set screen New Project

    Automatically open last project

    • In menu Tools, Options, General tab,
    • Check "Open last file on startup" (rather than default "OShow startup Task Pane")
    • Input 9 in "Recently used file list"

    Use Templates

    Like cooking, rather than start a new blank file, it's easier to copy and adapt an existing .MPP file or a Project template file (extension .MPT).

    From Microsoft On-Line or your PMO, add to the 29 templates installed in your Computer's folder at:

      C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Templates\1033

    "1033" is Microsoft's Locale ID for the US-English language. The "Project Templates" tab displays the Title text from each file's Properties.

    1. AD03DPL.MPT - Microsoft Active Directory Deployment
    2. COMCONST.MPT - Three-story Office Building (76,000 square feet)
    3. ENGINEER.MPT - Conceptual, Definition, Design, Construction
    4. EXCHANGE.MPT - Microsoft Exchange 2000 Deployment
    5. HOMEMOVE.MPT - Home move (very practical!)
    6. INFSTDEP.MPT - Infrastructure Deployment
    7. MSFAPP.MPT - Project Kick-Off, Envisioning, Planning, Developing, Stabilizing
    8. NEWBIZ.MPT - New Business: Strategic Plan, Define the Business Opportunity, Plan for Action, Startup Plan
    9. NEWPROD.MPT - New Product Development
    10. OFF03DPL.MPT - Microsoft Office 2003 Deployment
    11. OFFMOVE.MPT - Office Move
    12. PRJ03DPL.MPT - Microsoft Office Project 2003 Deployment
    13. PROJOFF.MPT - Project Office
    14. RESCONST.MPT - Single Family House - Architect Design
    15. SOFTDEV.MPT - Software Development
    16. SOFTLOC.MPT - Software Product Localization
    17. SPSV2DPL.MPT - SharePoint Portal Server Deployment
    18. WINXPDEP.MPT - Windows 2000 Server to Windows XP Deployment
    19. WS03DPL.MPT - Windows Server 2003 Deployment
    20. WSSDPL.MPT - Windows SharePoint Services Deployment
    21. Annual Report Preparation
    22. Human Resource Information System Implementation
    23. Internal Readiness Training
    24. Security Infrastructure Improvement Plan
    25. Vendor Request For Proposal (RFP) Solicitation

  • In File > Properties, input project Title, Author, Manager, Company, etc. Doing this makes information about the project file readily available to change mangement programs. These fields can be referenced in several places.

  • In Project > Project Information, select your project's Priority on a 1000 point range and Schedule Forward or Backward.
  • In Tools > Change Working Time, define the Project Calendar if you don't assume an 8-5 schedule.
    Reminder The default 8 hours excludes an hour for lunch, which means a total 9 hour day.

    For various reasons, I prefer to make holidays a project task.


Project templates

Microsoft Template Gallery

$40 each from the South Carolina state CIO office

$160 template for Software Marketing projects

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Set screen Resource Views

    We prefer to specify the names of project team members using shorter Resource Initial (such as "JohnS") rather than ful Resource Name (such as "John Smith"). Instead of commas used addresses in Outlook, Resource Names contain nicknames, full first, and then last name. This makes a specific resource earier to find.

    (MSP uses the comma as the list separator to separate multiple entries in the same field.)

    Resource "Export Table" map (Resource Export Table report), which presents most fields associated with each resource

    The "Scheduled Work" field in the map is named "Work" in the database. If fields Windows_User_Account and Workgroup are populated, they should be added to this map.

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    Set this at top of window. Resource Sheet View

    Resource Sheet icon The large number of fields makes it necessary to use project filter to view various sets of fields within the Resource Sheet, which lists participants in the project and their attributes (group membership, rates, etc.).

    Because if a resource is entered that doesn't already exist, MSP creates a new resource entry (without issuing an error message), the list of resources must be audited using the project filter "Using Resource..." or "Using Resource in Date Range...".

    View > Table (Resource) Entry
    Resource NameTypeMaterial LabelInitialsGroupMax UnitsStandard RateOvertime RateCost Per UseAccrue AtBase CalendarCode

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    Set screen Resource Rate Dynamically Linked from Excel Spreadsheets

    A black triangle in the bottom right-hand corner marks each cell which obtains its value from an Excel spreadsheet used to calculate the value.

    Each linkage is established simply by using menu Edit, Paste Special, Paste Link, Text Data.

    We set Microsoft Project (in Tools > Options) to always ask whether to update automatic links every time the project file is opened so that linked values such as Standard Rate and Overtime Rate are not shown when disconnnected from the corporate network or viewed by those withoug the Excel sheet.

    View > Table (Task/Resource) Hyperlink Table
    Task/ Resource NameHyperlinkHyperlink

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    Set screen Resource and Base Calendars

    To manage Resource Availability (who are active on specific days):

    Standard calendars are used to recognize public and corporate holidays applicable to everyone in the project.

    Base calendars are used to recognize different set of holidays in different countries.

    Resource calendars are used to recognize individuals' vacation and personal time off.

    Custom calendars are created in menu Tools > Change Working Time > Create New Calendar.

    The Calendar is printed from View, Report (Edit in 2000– 2003), Reports..., Overview, Working Days.

    Set this at top of window. Consolidated Resources

    A pool of interchangeable resources.

    Set this at top of window. Material resources

    For scheduling facilities, machines, etc.:

    • Material resources do not have a resource calendar.
    • Material types are consumables like fuel and cement.
    • To specify Units of measure, entries in the Material_Label field cannot exceed 32 characters in length.
    • Consumption Rate (such as gallons per hour or gallons/hr) consists of a material over a time element. A Variable consumption rate changes when the duration changes.
    • 24 hour days employed by Materials are entered as "3 ed" for 3 elapsed day durations.

    View Table (Resource) "Entry - Material Resources"
    Resource NameTypeMaterial LabelInitialsGroupStandard RateCost Per UseAccrue AtCode

    View > Table (Resource) "Entry - Work Resources" does not include "Material Label".

    Set this at top of window. Resource Utilization

    Resource Usage icon The Resource Sheet view details the amount of Work for each resource over time, summarized by the Resource Graph report of percentage under/overallocation during each time period.

    A Resource Bar graph shows resource allocation, cost, or work over time for a single resource or group of resources.

    Resource Cost

    View > Table (Resource) Summary
    Resource NameGroupMax UnitsPeakStandard RateOvertime RateCostWork

    View > Table (Resource) Usage
    Resource NameWorkDurationWork


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Set this at top of window. Assignments = Who Does What = Responsiblity Assignment Matrix (RAM)

    MSP doesn't create a matrix, but you can export map "Who Does What" Assignments report.

    Resources and AssignmentsStartFinishWork
    UnassignedJan 10Feb 160 hrs

    View > Table (Resource) Work Table
    Resource Name% Work CompleteWorkOvertimeBaseline Work Work VarianceActual WorkRemaining Work

    View > Table (Task) Work Table
    Task NameWorkBaseline WorkWork VarianceActual WorkRemaining Work% Work Complete

    Notice that the %" Work Complete" column on the Resource Table is in a different position than the Task Table.

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Set screen Tables

    This alphabetical list from menu View > Tables link to the discussion how they are used.

  • (Resource) Export
  • (Task/Resource) Hyperlink
  • (Task) Baseline Table
  • View > Table (Task) Cost Table (used by Views and Reports)
    IDTask NameFixed
    Fixed Cost AccuralTotal

    on this page This is exported using the "Cost data by task" data map (internally titled the "Task Cost Table")

    Note: Resource tables exclude fields "Fixed Cost", Cost ("Total Cost"), and "Fixed Cost Accural" (e.g., "Prorated" method, etc.).

    View > Table (Task) Delay Table
    Task NameLeveling DelayDurationStartFinishSuccessorsPredecessorsResource Names

    View > Table (Task) Entry Table used by Views
    Task NameDurationStartFinishPredecessorsResource Names

    View > Table (Task) Entry Table used by Reports contain two more fields
    Task IDTask NameDurationActual FinishConstraint Type StartFinishPredecessorsResource Names

    View > Table (Task) Rollup Table
    Task NameDurationText AboveStartPredecessorsResource Names

    View > Table (Task) Schedule Table
    Task NameFinishLate StartLate FinishFree SlackTotal Slack

    View > Table (Task) Summary Table used by Views
    Task NameStartFinish% CompleteCostWork

    View > Table (Task) Summary Table used by Crosstab Reports Cash Flow (by Task across time periods) and Task Usage(hours) also contains the Duration field
    Task IDTask NameDurationStartFinish% Comp. CostWork

  • Tracking Table
    Task NameActual Finish% CompleteActual DurationRemaining DurationActual CostActual Work

    View > Table (Task) Usage Table
    Task NameWorkDurationStart Finish

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    Set screen Duration Fields

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    Set screen Duration Fields

    Duration1...10 Work1...10 Custom fields
    Actual Duration Actual Work
    -- Baseline_Work
    -- Overtime Work
    -- Regular_Work
    Remaining_Duration Remaining_Work
    -- Remaining_Overtime_Work
    - Actual_Overtime_Work
    Duration Variance Work_Variance
    Free Slack
    Total Slack
    Leveling_Delay - -
    Assignment_Delay - Assignment_Units
    - - Max_Units
    - Scheduled_Work
    - Percent_Work_Complete
    - Peak

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Set screen Schedule Fields

    Start DatesFinish DatesUsage
    Start_Date Finish_Date
    Start1...10 Finish1...10 Custom fields
    Actual_Start Actual_Finish
    Baseline_Start Baseline_Finish
    Baseline1...10_Start Baseline1...10_Finish
    Early_Start Early_Finish
    Late_Start Late_Finish
    Start_Variance Finish_Variance
    Date1...10 ...
    ... Deadline Appears as diamond indicator if Finish date is beyond this date.
    Available_From Available_To -


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    Set screen Work_Contour

    The Work_Contour field identifies the assignment timephased level contour used.

    The 8 predefined contours (installed by default) divide time into 10 segments of equal duration. The graphic below illustrates percentage values in the contour definition table.

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    Set screen Automatic Adjustments by Fixed Task Type Selection

    20kb xls file Download the Project Value Calculator (adapted from the original by One of the reasons for using Microsoft Project software is that it automatically balances the three interrelated fields of this formula:

      Elapsed time * Number of resource units = Hours spent working

      2 days * 3 people [100%] = 6 man-days

      Duration * Units per Time Period = Work

    When the value of any one of these fields changes, the value of another field in the formula must be changed to keep the equation in balance.

    Task Type The illustration at right shows what Microsoft does by default if in Tools, Options, Schedule "Fixed Units" remains the Task Type (illustrate by thick circles). The Task Type of each type can set in the Advanced tab of the task's Information dialog.

    "X" marks the field changed by the user. The thick arrows point to what the application automatically changes. The field fixed as the Task Type is not automatically changed. So by default a change to the Work field changes the Duration and a change to the Duration field changes the Work field's value.

    With MSP, a "unit" is the percentage a resource expends while working on a task. For example, TaskA[50%]. Fixing Units is like saying there is a limited number of specialist resource time available. If Units is fixed and it is changed, the Duration is adjusted.

    Setting "Fixed Duration" is like saying the schedule is firm and more people or effort will be added to make the date. Summary tasks always behave this way.

    Setting "Fixed Work" is like saying the budget is fixed. For example, a task of 1 week duration is assigned a resource working [100%]. When the duration is doubled, the unit assigned to the resource will be automatically re-assigned to work 50% of the time over 2 weeks so that he continues to work (charge) just 40 hours.

    If "Fixed Duration" is selected, changes to the Duration field will cause Work to be adjusted.

    If "Fixed Work" is selected, changes to the Work field will cause Duration to be adjusted. "Fixed Work" causes "Effort driven" behavior such that when a resource is removed from a task, MSP ensures that the Task Effort assigned to that task is maintained by automatically adjusting values for other other resources also assigned to that task. Similarly, assigning another resource to help on a task under "Fixed Work" will cause lower dedication by resources already assigned.

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    Set screen Relationship Diagram and Task Driver

    Task Drivers If a task has more than one predecessor, only one of the predecessors is the Driving Relationship which determines the task's Early Start date. Starting from the Microsoft Project 2007 Standard toolbar, selecting "Task Drivers" reveals the driving predecessor and whether the schedule has been Resource Leveled and the effects of leveling.

    The Relationship Diagram illustrates the logic.

    Change highlighting (first available in Project 2007) can be disabled in View, Hide Change Highlighting (View, Show Change Highlighting).

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Set screen Earned Value Management (EVM)

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    Set screen Baselines

    The BAC is also called "Baseline Cost" because the purpose of Earned Value is to guage variation from a baseline.

    The set of baseline fields are created in menu Tools, Tracking, Save Baseline.

    The resulting calculations can be seen using Table (Task) "Baseline"
    Task NameBaseline DurationBaseline StartBaseline FinishBaseline WorkBaseline Cost

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    Set screen Earned Value Report

    Saving the Baseline also calculates fields in the Earned Value report. These fields appear in a Gantt chart's baseline bars (if they have been set as visible in menu Format, Gantt Chart Wizard).
    The abbreviations:

      B = Budgeted
      A = Actual
      C = Cost
      W = Work
      P = Performed
      S = Scheduled
      V = Variance
      AC = At Completion

    Set screen Baselines Over Time

    The planned pattern of spending against the BAC total over time is presented in the series of data points during the life of the project called the Planned Value (PV) or Budgeted Cost of Work Scheduled (BCWS) stored in the 10 sets of baseline field provided by Microsoft Project.

    The various sets of baselines can be compare to each other in menu Report Baseline Comparison .

    Values for any set of periods can be captured and accumulated outside MS Project in an Excel spreadsheet such as this.

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    Set screen Earned Value Over Time Report (Graph)

      SV (Schedule Variance) ETC (Estimate To Completion) CV (Cost Variance) EV/BCWP (Earned Value) AC/ACWP (Actual Cost) PV/BCWS (Planned Value) EAC (Estimate At Complete) VAC (Variance At Completion) BAC (Budget at Completion) Overrun Underrun Earned Value Graph Over Time


    In the "Earned Value Over Time" (within menu Report > Visual Reports since Project 2007), our PV/BCWS values are graphed (by default) as a solid blue line (like the sky).

    To determine how well a project is going, the PV (BCWS) is compared against two other series of data accumulated during the same time:

    • hours worked at budgeted rates is called the called the Earned Value (EV) or the legacy name BCWP (Budgeted Cost of Work Performed), shown as a purple line.

    • hours worked at actual rates actually paid out (calculated by adding up the payroll and all other receipts) is the Actual costs (AC) or the legacy name ACWP (Actual Cost of Work Performed), shown as a green line (as in cash).

    The sample EV graph here illustrates a project the is unfortunately too typical: starting slower than planned (resources being more difficult to obtain), then getting more efficient at the Status Date during the middle of the project, but is projected to end up overspending (with overtime, etc.) during the a dash for completion.

    Set screen Earned Value Variances

    The EV approach separates problems with rates of pay from problems with the number of hours worked on the project.

    • If all lines overlayed each other, everyone worked the same hours at the same payrate.
    • If a different number of hours were spent than scheduled, a Schedule Variance (SV) results, illustrated by the EV/BCWP line moving away from the PV/BCWS line or the formula EV - PV.
    • If actual payrates are not what was anticipated, a Cost Variance (CV) results, illustrated by the actual costs (ACWP) being different from the Earned Value (BCWP), or the formula EV - AC.

    View > Table (Task) Variance Table used by Views and (Task) Variance Table used by the Slipping Tasks Report:
    Task IDTask NameStartFinishBaseline StartBaseline Finish Start Var.Finish Var.

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    Set screen Estimate and Variance At Completion

    The amount what the total project is now expected to "Cost" is the Estimate At Completion (EAC), also called the Latest Revised Estimate (LRE). It is the total of the Actual costs (ACWP) incurred up to the report date (the historical "sunk cost") plus projected costs for remaining work.

    The projected costs for remaining work ETC (Estimate To Complete) is calculated from EAC - AC.

    Comparing the EAC against the original BAC yields the VAC (Variance At Completion) which provides an early warning of "how bad it will get at the end if we keep this up".

    The Schedule Performance Index (SPI) = EV / PV.

    The Complete Performance Index (TCPI) = EV / AC.

    The To Complete Performance Index (TCPI) = (BAC - EV) / (BAC - AC)
    shows how efficient the project needs to be in order to complete the project on budget.


Reminder Variance columns are used against the current "Baseline" field, not the historical (previous) Baseline1 ... Baseline10 fields.

SirGanttalot YouTube videos on EVM: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

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Set screen Actual Percent Complete

    There are several percentage completion fields:

    • % Complete deals with elapsed duration,
    • % Work Complete deals with man-hours of work,
    • Physical % Complete deals with achievement of physical deliverables.

    % Complete (percent complete) for each task is calculated from dividing Remaining Duration by the (planned) Duration. The Remaining Duration is ignored in normal calculations.

    % Complete is also used to proportionately automatically update Fixed Costs.

    The % Work Complete field is calculated from the proportion of the Actual Work field to the (planned) Work field.

    The Actual Finish date is calculated from the Actual Start Date plus the (planned) Duration. So if both Actual Start and Finish dates need to be entered, adjust the Actual Start first, then change the Actual Finish date.

    Microsoft Project ignores the Current Date and Status date when calculating progress.


Completion Illustration

    This explanation by Bilal Okour illustrates the difference between "% Complete" duration and "Physical % Complete".

    Assume the task is for two workers working together to build a stone wall with 5 rows of bricks in 150 minutes.

    The first row (on the bottom) takes 20 minutes.
    The second row takes 25 minutes because it is harder.
    The third takes 30, the forth 35, and the fifth 40 minutes.

    Both workers start at the same time. But one of the workers leave after 60 minutes and the other completes the first three rows 75 minutes after they both started. Therefore,
    the % Complete is 75 of 150 minutes (50%);
    the % Work Complete is 60+75=135/300 minutes (40%);
    the Physical % Complete is 3 of 5 rows (60%),

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Set screen Earned Value Report Calculations

    To derive the BCWP (EV), MSProject multiplies the Physical % Complete (P%C) value by the baseline BCWS (PV). This is if in Tools > Options > Calculation > Earned Value... button > Default task Earned Value method is set to "Physical % Complete". This is reflected in the "Earned Value Method" column.

    By default, P%C does not roll up to the summary task.

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Set screen Cost Fields

    View > Table (Resource) Cost
    IDResource NameTotal
    Cost data by task ("Task Costs Report")
    IDTask NameFixed
    Fixed Cost AccuralTotal

    • Standard_Rate
    • Overtime_Rate
    • Cost_Per_Use
    • Cost_Rate_Table
    • Overtime_Cost
    • Actual_Overtime_Cost
    • Actual_cost
    • Remaining_Cost
    • Remaining_Overtime_Cost
    • Cost_Variance
    • Cost
    • Cost1...10
    • Baseline1...10_Cost

    To record the effect of each change analysis, insted of extending existing tasks and creating lags or constraints, add new tasks to show delays or scope changes.

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Set screen Visual Reports

    The Reports > Visual Reports new in 2007 are Excel Pivot charts: Baseline Cost Report and Baseline Work Report Budget Cost Report and Budget Work Report Cash Flow Report (Cost bars and Cumulative Cost line) Earned Value Over Time Report of Earned Value, Planned Value, AC (Actual Cost) lines Resource Cost Summary Report (pie chart) Resource Remaining Work Report Resource Work Availability Report Resource Work Summary Report

    Click the "Save Data", then "Save Database" to create a .mdb (MS-Access database).

    Project 2003 Database Schema (ERD)

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Set screen Reports

    Click on a link to see where each report is discussed:

    Overview Project Summary
    Top-level Tasks
    Critical Tasks
    Working Days
    Assignments Who Does What
    Who Does What When
    To-do List
    Overallocated Resources
    Current Activities Unstarted Tasks
    Tasks Starting Soon
    Tasks in Progress
    Completed Tasks
    Should Have Started Tasks
    Slipping Tasks
    Workload Task Usage
    Resource Usage
    Costs Cash Flow
    Overbudget Tasks
    Overbudget Resources
    Earned Value
    Custom Base Calendar
    Resource (material)
    Resource (work)
    Task Usage

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Set screen Importing/Exporting with Data Maps

    MSP has no menu item for "Import". Open the file and the software figures out the format.

    MSP has no menu item/function for "Export". Select "Save As" and the file type.

    When you export a file, make sure you include in the file name the data map associated with that file. because when you import that file, you will need to provide that information.

    Reports created by "File > Save as Web Page" use a Map which is a template containing HTML formatting code. Microsoft Project 2003 (by default) stores such files in folder C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Templates\1033\Microsoft Project Web

    Map/Template Styles:

    • Columns takes a whole column on the left side of the report, taking space from data.
    • Centered adds horizonal rules, which take up vertical space.
    • Stripes
    • Tabs

    Not all colors are defined for each of the 4 layout styles:
    Color Scheme Centered Columns Stripes Tabs BGCOLOR BODY TEXT Title Font
    Black - Y Y Y #CCCCCC #000000 #000000
    Clay - Y Y Y #E6CCCC #800000 #800000
    Cool Tone - Y Y Y #3333CC #FFFFFF #99CC99
    Desert Light - - - Y #FFCC99 #CC6600 #663399
    Glacier Y Y Y - #9999CC #660099 #CCE6E6
    Ivy Y Y Y - #CCCC99 #336600 #D6E0D6
    Maroon Y Y Y - #CC9999 #800000 #E6CCCC
    Mist Dark Y - - - #336666 #336666 #ADA990
    Mist Y Y Y - #ADA990 #336666 #D6E0E0
    Mulberry - Y Y - #669999 #660033 #E0CCD6
    Navy Y Y Y - #9999CC #000080 #CCCCE6
    Neon Y - - - #000000 #000080 #99EEEE Dates
    #EE00EE Report title
    Vineyard Y - - Y #669999 #330066 #CCCC00

    Personally, I don't like Microsoft's default designs.

    • Some of the Text font is too light.
    • The project title font size is too big (size 7)
    • Project start and finish dates each take up a whole line.
    • The project image takes up a whole line, even if it hasn't been specified.

    Download "Wilsons Basic MSProject Report Template.html" into that folder, then specify it as the "Base export on HTML template" on:

    Each template file contain comment tags which are replaced during report creation. First comes the project attributes at the top of the page:

    • <!--MSProjectTemplate_ProjectTitle-->
    • <!--MSProjectTemplate_StartDate-->
    • <!--MSProjectTemplate_FinishDate-->
    • <!--MSProjectTemplate_Image-->

    Caution! When you click the "Finish" button, MSProject adds values to the right of the comment rather than replace the comment. This means that you can't place the comment tags in the <TITLE> tag.

    Then comes 3 sets of 2 sections:

    1. <!--MSProjectTemplate_TaskTableTitle-->
    2. <!--MSProjectTemplate_ResourceTableTitle-->
    3. <!--MSProjectTemplate_AssignmentTable-->

    I haven't figured out a way to change the font within tables, because MSProject replaces each table comment tag with a complete table. If you know, can you please email me? Thanks.


download This Add-in for Microsoft Project 2000 lists differences between two versions of the same file, such as two possible Projections.

The Project 2000 Database

Before Duration values are stored in a Project database, they are normalized into minutes multiplied by 10. For example, a duration of 8 hours is stored as 4,800 minutes (8 * 60 * 10).

Before Work values are stored into a Project database, they are normalized into minutes multiplied by 1,000. For example, a work amount of 8 hours is stored as 480,000 minutes (8 * 60 * 1,000).

Before Cost values are stored into a Project database, they are normalized into currency units multiplied by 100.. For example, a project cost of $2,000.50 is stored as $200,050 ($2,000 * 100).

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Set this at top of window. Certification Topics

    Core (Basic) (Expert) Comprehensive

    Creating a Project Plan

    • Import a task list from Microsoft Excel to Microsoft Project
    • Set default folder options and AutoSave
    • Create recurring tasks
    • Split a task
    • Modify task duration
    • Modify calendar working time options
    • Apply a calendar to a task
    • Add material resources to a Project
    • Enter costs on resources
    • Assign an additional resource to a task without increasing work on the task
    • Assign an additional resource to a task to increase work on the task
    • Create base calendars
    • Set task types (fixed work, fixed units, fixed duration)
    • Create a summary task
    • Use deadlines and constraints
    • Create a milestone task
    • Create a new Project
    • Assign initial resources to tasks
    • Enter task relationships
    • Enter task information

    • Enter fixed costs
    • Enter various costs for resources
    • Create and use templates
    • Modify task calendar options
    • Assign resources with different units or hours of work to the same task
    • Apply views which analyze slack and slip

    Define the Project

    • Define scheduling properties.
    • Set and modify Microsoft Project options.

    Customizing a Project

    • Reset table defaults
    • Create custom filters
    • Define WBS codes
    • Create and apply custom groupings
    • Format individual bars and bar styles
    • Sort a view
    • Apply custom filters
    • Create a custom table
    • Create and apply a custom view
    • Format a time scale
    • Use outlining features
    • Apply a filter using AutoFilter
    • Insert a column in a table

    • Create a custom box style in the network diagram
    • Modify code mask
    • Record, assign, and play a macro
    • Set calculation options

    Define and Modify Tasks

    • Define general working times.
    • List the tasks in the project.
    • Organize tasks.
    • Schedule tasks.
    • Add and organize task information.

    General Project Management Concepts

    • Display the critical path using filtering and formatting techniques
    • Differentiate work from duration
    • Apply Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) codes

    • Set options to calculate multiple critical paths
    • Calculate cost of work performed (earned value analysis)
    • Create activity reports to manage slack

    Resource Management

    • Set an accrual option for a resource cost
    • Create and apply rate tables to resource assignments
    • Modify task priority values
    • Set precedence when linking to the resource pool
    • Use leveling options
    • Apply resource contours
    • Modify resource availability over time
    • Update/refresh the resource pool
    • Modify resource usage view
    • Share resources using a resource pool

    Specify and Assign Resources

    • Specify resources for the project.
    • Define working time and availability for resources.
    • Assign resources to tasks.

    Tracking a Project

    • Assign tasks using Project Central
    • Add a progress line to a Gantt chart for a given date
    • Set reminders and send schedule note messages
    • Record task status in Microsoft Project and Project Central
    • Display resource allocations
    • Reschedule uncompleted work
    • Modify Project duration
    • Compare actuals with the Project baseline
    • Record actual work on a task
    • Save a baseline for the entire Project or selected tasks
    • Edit task relationship types and lag

    • Disable Split-in Project tasks
    • Enter overtime work
    • Enable resources to delegate tasks using Project Central
    • Enter actual costs
    • Create interim plans
    • Set Project information dates
    • Set options governing how tasks will honor constraint dates
    • Compress the overall duration of a Project schedule
    • Enter remaining work or remaining duration values

    Track Progress

    • Prepare to compare with later versions.
    • Incorporate progress into the project.
    • Check progress.
    • Control progress.

    Communicating Project Information

    • Use the drawing tools
    • Add a hyperlink to a task
    • Identify lost elements when saving a Project to Project 98
    • Copy a picture of a view and save it as a web page
    • Use Organizer to share custom views
    • Modify a standard report
    • Copy and paste a Gantt chart into a Microsoft Word document
    • Copy and paste sheet information into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet
    • Update server-based Project information using Project Central
    • Set page setup options
    • Create a new custom report

    • Create and use a custom data map
    • Use flag and text fields
    • Use Organizer to customize a Project file
    • Create a new custom report incorporating custom tables and filters
    • Display current, interim, and baseline plans in a Gantt chart

    View and Report Project Status

    • Select and modify views.
    • Select and modify reports.
    • View critical tasks.
    • View allocation of resources.
    • View project costs.
    • Share project information with other applications.
    • Publish project information to the Web.

    Multi-Project Management

    • Set baselines for a master project
    • Add a task to a master project
    • Create relationships between tasks in a master project and subproject files
    • Insert a subproject into a master project

    • View multiple critical paths in a consolidated Project
    • Modify inserted Project information

    Manage Multiple Projects

    • Work with master and subprojects
    • Work with a resource pool

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Set this at top of window. Installing Project

    • Sample Project files flag and text fields and typical recurring tasks
    • with pre-defined views, reports, filters, all containing standard formatting
    • Use flag and text fields
    • Custom calendars populated with company holidays and events.
    • Resource lists with and rate tables for automatica cost calculations
    • Macros

      Add a New Project

      • Get a list of Projects
      • Select a Project from the list of Projects
      • Set Project information dates
      • Set options governing how tasks will honor constraint dates
      • Compress the overall duration of a Project schedule
      • Enable resources to delegate tasks using Project Central
      • Enter fixed costs
      • Enter various costs for resources
      • Create and use templates
      • Modify task calendar options
      • Assign resources with different units or hours of work to the same task
      • Apply views which analyze slack and slip
      • Create and use a custom data map
      • Use Organizer to customize a Project file
      • Create a new custom report incorporating custom tables and filters
      • Display current, interim, and baseline plans in a Gantt chart

      Add a New Task

      • Assign tasks using Project Central
      • Set precedence when linking to the resource pool

      Review Existing Projects

      • Set options to calculate multiple critical paths
      • Calculate cost of work performed (earned value analysis)
      • Create activity reports to manage slack

      Review Existing Tasks for a Resource

      • Enter remaining work or remaining duration values
      • Enter overtime work
      • Enter actual costs
      • Modify task priority values
      • Use leveling options
      • Apply resource contours
      • Modify resource availability over time
      • Update/refresh the resource pool
      • Modify resource usage view
      • Share resources using a resource pool
      • Disable Split-in Project tasks
      • Create interim plans


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      Set this at top of window. Automating Project Using VBA

        Before 2007, VBA macros provided automation.

        Projects created with Microsoft Projects 2007 can be controlled by C# and VB.NET programming language code developed using Visual Studio 2008 with the VSTO (Visual Studio Tools for Office) 3.0 add-in framework. These are run as managed code by the .NET 3.5 run-time.

        Such code references MSProject.Project as the main object, the primary interop assembly for Microsoft Office Project 2007, but this primary interop assembly is not installed.

        Project 2007: Managed Code Add-in for Importing Tasks from Excel

        InfoPath form templates are created as a .xsn file.

        Workgroup Messaging

        Run WGSETUP.EXE to install openmail.exe and Olemenu.dll to work with a 32-bit MAPI compliant e-mail client.


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      Set this at top of window. Project Server

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      Set screen Product Upgrade History

        Clippy Must Die

        Earlier version of Project included an annoying cartoon character. This is until Bill Gates himself realized how ridiculous it was.

        To remove it, expand Office Tools, Office Assistant, Clippit, select "Installed on First Use". If you encounter the beast, right click on it, select Options, and uncheck "Use the Office Assistant".

        No Downward Compatibility

        Microsoft Project software has long maintained a tradition of moving forward (and not backward) with advances in technology.
        Figure: MS Project 2000 Architecture
        download Download this Visio 2000 file.
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      • Project Standard 2003 cannot connect to any Project Server (or ProjectCentral).
      • Project Professional 2003 can connect to Project Server 2003 (full enterprise functionality) or Project Server 2002 (full enterprise functionality), but not to ProjectCentral.

      • Project Standard 2002 can connect to ProjectCentral or Project Server 2002, but not to Project Server 2003.
      • Project Professional 2002 can connect to ProjectCentral, Project Server 2003 (with full enterprise functionality), Project Server 2002 (with full enterprise functionality).

      • Conversion from 2000 to 2002/2003 can result in loss of Analysis toolbar

      • Project 2000 can connect to ProjectCentral or Project Server 2002, but cannot connect to Project Server 2003.
      • Project 2000 can open .mpp files in the Project 98 format, but cannot save data in that format.
      • Project 2000 .mpp files use the same extension as Project 98 files, but have a different internal format.
      • Baseline data from Project 98 files must be converted before being saved into Project 2000 files.
      • Project 2000 cannot read .mpx files from versions of Project prior to 98 (such as Project 4.0).

      • Project 98 cannot open Project 2000 .mpp files.

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      Set this at top of window. Resources: Help on Project

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