Archive for the 'Microsoft Project Tips' Category

Project 2013 Tip: Using the Task Inspect Tool

The Task Inspect Tool was introduced by Microsoft in Project 2010 to help project managers have even more control on their project and help, especially in long and complicated projects, and to determine and track down the causes of slipping tasks, which can be very problematic.  Trying to determine which predecessor relationship is pushing the scheduled start date out can be difficult with linked tasks residing multiple screens away.


After you have added your tasks, assigned resources and set your predecessors, you can use the Task Inspect too to help manage the project easily, without the need to bring up the Task Information Dialogue box every time.


To get the Task Inspect Tool:


1) Go to Task Tab on the Ribbon and head to the Tasks Command Group


pic 1


2) Click on the Inspect command


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3) This will bring the Task Inspect Tool next to the Ghant Chart Table view in Project. Now every time you select a Task the Task Inspector will bring all the details (predecessors, Assigned Resources, Calendars…) up in a simpler view.

pic 4pic 3


As you can see from screen grab, the Task Inspector can also be useful if Resourced assigned to the tasks are over allocated and will give you possible solutions.


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Microsoft Project Tips: Schedule, Auto or Not?

So you have been asked by your Line Manager / Director to start planning a Project in Microsoft Project. You get all the information you need, write it all down and then you are ready to sit down and start adding your Tasks and Resources into your new project. One of the first problems you will find when making a Project is to either select Auto Schedule or Manual Schedule.



So what is the difference between these 2 settings?

Schedule 1



Manual Schedule is the default setting for all New Tasks when you create a brand new project. And you can see from the image on the right what the tool tip is for this setting.


It updates the selected tasks to be manually scheduled so that the values you enter for Start, Finish and Durations are not automatically updated.


As you can see above it doesn’t update the Start, Finish and Durations of each task that has this option.


Schedule 2



Auto Schedule is a little bit different then Manual Schedule and you can see the main difference in the screenshot on the left.


It automatically calculates the Start, Finish and Duration values for this task based on dependencies, constraints, calendar and other factors.




So you can see the difference straight away. If you want Microsoft Project to put in Start dates, Finish Dates (depending on the Task duration) and if you want it to change depending on other tasks moving, extending, different constraints etc, auto scheduled will do it for you. Around 90% of your tasks would be best to be set as Auto Scheduled as it takes a lot of the problems when you need to change Tasks around/insert new tasks etc.


There is a couple of ways you can do this:

  1. You can write your tasks on your project, highlight them all and then on the Ribbon navigate to the Task Tab > Tasks Group and click on Auto Scheduled (or Manual Scheduled).


Schedule 3


  1. You could also do it by making sure you are in the Gantt Chart View > Navigate to the Task Mode Column and change the option in there as shown in the screenshot below.


Schedule 4

Microsoft Project Tips: How to Create a Milestone

Sometimes you may want to mark major event in a project, for example indicate the beginning and end of the project or display the end of a major phase. You can use milestones to do that. To create a milestone follow the steps:


  1. In Gantt Chart View, in the Task Name column, type the name of a milestone
  2. In the Duration column type 0 and press ENTER


In the Gantt Chart the task will be displayed as a black diamond symbol ♦.


Want more tips? Click on Microsoft Project Tips and Tricks

Microsoft Project Tips: How to Unhide Columns in a Gantt Chart

Unlike Microsoft Excel, Project doesn’t have an unhide feature. When you hide a column in Microsoft Office Project, the column is only removed from view, not deleted from your plan. Also, hiding a column doesn’t remove any information from your plan.


To bring the column back again, you need to insert the column like you would with any new column. Any custom formatting that you applied to a previously hidden column will need to be re-applied to the inserted column.


  1. In a sheet view, select the column to the right of where you want to show the column.
  2. On the Insert menu, click Column.
  3. Select the Field name you would like to display.