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500 Tips
Business Software
Microsoft Project

Say 'Goodbye' to the Cell

Within a table, pressing the Delete key deletes the entire task. To delete only the contents of the active cell, press Ctrl+Delete, or choose Edit/Clear/Contents.

Repeat Feats

For tasks performed on a regular basis, activate the table and select Insert/Insert Recurring Task. In the Recurring Task Information dialog box choose the task frequency and click on OK. A summary task is inserted as well as a subordinate task for each occurrence.

Access to Custom Reports

Take advantage of Microsoft Access to create custom reports from Project. Save your Project file as an Access database by selecting Tools/Multiple Projects and choosing the Save to Database option.

Time Out

To display the Gantt chart timescale relative to the Start or Finish time of the project (rather than actual dates), select Format/Timescale, and on the Timescale tab, adjust the Major Scale.

Holiday Hero

The following simple macro helps you set multi-day holidays, such as Thanksgiving breaks. In a module (use the View/Module Editor command), add the following code:

Sub SetHolidays Dim StartHoliday, EndHoliday StartHoliday = InputBox ("Enter the holiday start date:") EndHoliday = InputBox ("Enter the holiday end date:") ActiveProject.BaseCalendars ("Standard").Period(StartHoliday, EndHoliday).Working = False End Sub To
run the module, select Tools/Macros, choose SetHolidays and click on the Run button.

Enter Work, Not Units

You can enter work (e.g., 24h) in the Units field of the Resource Assignment window and Project will calculate the appropriate units required to complete the task.

It All Depends

The best way to make task dependencies other than finish-to-start (FS) is to begin by establishing the FS relationship. Then double-click on the link line in the Gantt Chart view. In the Task Dependency window, you can easily modify the type of dependency.

Column Capers

In a Gantt chart, double-click on the right edge of a column header to make the column adjust to best fit the information. To hide the column, drag the column border to the left until the column width is zero. To display a hidden column, place the cursor to the right of the column separator bar, click on and drag the bar to the right.

Disappearing Act

You can't filter the PERT chart to eliminate summary tasks; you can format PERT boxes to white text and white borders so they'll be invisible.

Unconstrained Dates

To remove a date constraint from a task, select the task and click on the Information button. On the Advanced tab, change the Constrain Field Type field to As Soon as Possible, then click on OK. This removes the date constraint and allows the task to be scheduled based on the dependencies rather than on a date that may have been accidentally entered.

Tie Tasks Together

Link tasks in separate project fileswith the Paste Link command. Select the Finish field of the first task and select Edit/Copy. Switch to another task in a different project, and select the Start field of that task, then choose Edit/Paste Special/Paste Link. This is not a dependency link, but a DDE link between two fields that will update the contents of the second field whenever the values in the first are changed.

Project Play

Create two 10-day tasks. Place the cursor in the Finish field of the first and click on the Copy button. Place the cursor in the Start field of the second task and select Edit/Paste Special/Paste Link. Place the cursor on the Finish field of the second task and click on the Copy button. Place the cursor on the Start field of the first task, then select Paste Special/Paste Link and watch the tasks "walk" across the chart. Delete one of the tasks to stop the animation.

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