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Microsoft Press, 2016. — 576 p. — ISBN: 0735698740, 9780735698741The quick way to learn Microsoft Project 2016!This is learning made easy. Get more done quickly with Project 2016. Jump in wherever you need answers–brisk lessons and colorful screenshots show you exactly what to do, step by step.Quickly start a new plan, build task lists, and assign resources
Share your plan and track your progress
Capture and fine-tune work and cost details
Use Gantt charts and other views and reports to visualize project schedules
Share resources across multiple plans and consolidate projects
Master project management best practices while you learn Project
Look up just the tasks and lessons you needAbout the Author
Tim Johnson’s first connection with Project began as a product support professional at Microsoft, starting with Project 3.0 for MS-DOS. Later, Tim worked on the Project user assistance team, where he brought his firsthand knowledge of customers’ issues to new learning solutions for Project. Tim remains involved in the computer industry and continues to look for ways to help customers better understand and use their computer applications. Tim is a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) and Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP).
Carl Chatfield is a content strategist and technical writer in the software development industry. Carl teaches in the Professional Technical Writing program at the University of Washington. He is a graduate of the masters program in Technical Communication at the University of Washington and is certified as a Project Management Professional (PMP) by the Project Management Institute.
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Microsoft Project 2016 Step by Step
Carl Chatfield
Timothy Johnson

PUBLISHED BY
Microsoft Press
A division of Microsoft Corporation
One Microsoft Way
Redmond, Washington 98052-6399
Copyright © 2016 by Carl Chatfield and Timothy Johnson
All rights reserved. No part of the contents of this book may be reproduced or transmitted
in any form or by any means without the written permission of the publisher.
Library of Congress Control Number: 2015935268
ISBN: 978-0-7356-9874-1
Printed and bound in the United States of America.
First Printing
Microsoft Press books are available through booksellers and distributors worldwide. If
you need support related to this book, email Microsoft Press Support at
mspinput@microsoft.com. Please tell us what you think of this book at
http://aka.ms/tellpress.
This book is provided “as-is” and expresses the author’s views and opinions. The views,
opinions, and information expressed in this book, including URL and other Internet
website references, may change without notice.
Some examples depicted herein are provided for illustration only and are fictitious. No
real association or connection is intended or should be inferred.
Microsoft and the trademarks listed at www.microsoft.com on the “Trademarks” webpage
are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies. All other marks are property of their
respective owners.
Acquisitions and Developmental Editor: Rosemary Caperton
Editorial Production: Online Training Solutions, Inc. (OTSI)
Technical Reviewer: Kate Simpson
Copyeditor: Kathy Krause (OTSI)
Indexers: Susie Carr and Joan Lambert (OTSI)
Cover: Twist Creative • Seattle

Contents
Introduction
Who this book is for
The Step by Step approach
Download the practice files
Ebook edition
Sidebar: Adapt procedure steps
Get support and give feedback
Errata and support
We want to hear from you
Stay in touch
Part 1: Get started with Microsoft Project
1 Project, project management, and you
Meet the Project program
Meet the Project family
See the new features in Project 2016
What was new in Pr; oject 2013
What was new in Project 2010
Take a project manager’s perspective
Let’s get started!
2 Take a guided tour
Explore the Project user interface
Manage files and set options in the Backstage view
Sidebar: Templates: Avoid reinventing the wheel
Work with schedule details in views
Use reports to check a plan’s status
Skills review
Practice tasks
Part 2: Simple scheduling basics
3 Start a new plan
Create a new plan and set its start date

Set nonworking days in the project calendar
Enter the plan title and other properties
Sidebar: Project management focus: Project is part of a larger picture
Skills review
Practice tasks
4 Build a task list
Create tasks
Sidebar: Project management focus: Defining the right tasks for the deliverable
Enter task durations and dates
Sidebar: Project management focus: How do you come up with accurate task
durations?
Enter milestone tasks
Create summary tasks to outline the plan
Sidebar: Project management focus: Top-down and bottom-up planning
Link tasks to create dependencies
Switch task scheduling from manual to automatic
Check a plan’s duration and finish date
Document task information
Skills review
Practice tasks
5 Set up resources
Set up work resources
Sidebar: Equipment resource considerations
Enter the maximum capacity for work resources
Enter work resource pay rates
Sidebar: Project management focus: Getting resource cost information
Adjust working time in a resource calendar
Set up cost resources
Document resources by using notes
Skills review
Practice tasks
6 Assign resources to tasks
Assign work resources to tasks

Control work when adding or removing resource assignments
Sidebar: Project management focus: When should effort-driven scheduling apply?
Assign cost resources to tasks
Check the plan after assigning resources
Skills review
Practice tasks
7 Format and share your plan
Customize a Gantt chart view
Sidebar: Drawing on a Gantt chart
Add tasks to a Timeline view
Sidebar: Panning and zooming a Gantt chart view from a Timeline view
Customize reports
Copy views and reports
Print views and reports
Skills review
Practice tasks
8 Track progress: Basic techniques
Understand progress tracking
Save a baseline of your plan
Track a plan as scheduled
Enter a task’s completion percentage
Enter actual values for tasks
Sidebar: Project management focus: Is the project on track?
Skills review
Practice tasks
Part 3: Advanced scheduling techniques
9 Fine-tune task scheduling
See task relationships by using Task Path
Adjust task link relationships
Control task scheduling by using constraints
Interrupt work on a task
Adjust working time for individual tasks

Control task scheduling by using task types
Sidebar: Assignment units, Peak, and the assignment calculation
Sidebar: Task types and effort-driven scheduling
See task schedule details by using the Task Inspector
Skills review
Practice tasks
10 Fine-tune task details
Enter deadline dates
Enter fixed costs
Create a recurring task
View the plan’s critical path
Schedule summary tasks manually
Skills review
Practice tasks
11 Fine-tune resource and assignment details
Change resource availability over multiple date ranges
Work with multiple resource pay rates
Change resource pay rates over different date ranges
Delay the start of assignments
Apply contours to assignments
Create and assign material resources
View resource capacity
Adjust assignments in the Team Planner view (Project Professional only)
Skills review
Practice tasks
12 Fine-tune the Project plan
Examine resource allocations over time
Sidebar: Project management focus: Evaluate resource allocation
Resolve resource overallocations manually
Level overallocated resources
Check the plan’s cost and finish date
Sidebar: Project management focus: Finish date and critical tasks

Inactivate tasks (Project Professional only)
Skills review
Practice tasks
13 Organize plan details
Sort plan details
Group plan details
Filter plan details
Create new tables
Sidebar: Create custom fields quickly
Create new views
Skills review
Practice tasks
14 Track progress: Detailed techniques
Update a baseline
Sidebar: Save interim plans
Track actual and remaining work for tasks and assignments
Sidebar: Enter actual costs manually
Track timephased actual work for tasks and assignments
Sidebar: Project management focus: Collect actuals from resources
Reschedule incomplete work
Skills review
Practice tasks
15 View and report project status
Examine a plan’s variance
Sidebar: Project management focus: Get the word out
Identify tasks that have slipped
Sidebar: Project management focus: Is variance ever a good thing?
Examine task costs
Examine resource costs
Skills review
Practice tasks
Part 4: In-depth and special subjects

16 Format and print views: In-depth techniques
Format a Gantt chart view
Format a Timeline view
Format a Network Diagram view
Format a Calendar view
Print and export views
Skills review
Practice tasks
17 Format reports: In-depth techniques
Create a custom report
Sidebar: How reports compare to views
Customize charts in a report
Customize tables in a report
Skills review
Practice tasks
18 Customize Project
Share custom elements between plans
Record and run macros
Edit macros
Customize the ribbon and Quick Access Toolbar
Skills review
Practice tasks
19 Share information with other programs
Copy Project data to and from other programs
Open files in other formats in Project
Save to other file formats from Project
Sidebar: Share files with previous versions of Project
Generate reports with Excel and Visio
Skills review
Practice tasks
20 Consolidate projects and resources
Share a resource pool across multiple plans

Sidebar: Create a dedicated resource pool
Consolidate plans
Sidebar: Keep consolidated plans simple
Create dependencies between plans
Skills review
Practice tasks
Appendix A: A short course in project management
Appendix B: Develop your project-management skills
Appendix C: Collaborate: Project, SharePoint, and PWA
Appendix D: Use this book in a classroom
Glossary
Index
About the authors
Give us feedback
Tell us what you think of this book and help Microsoft improve our products for
you. Thank you! http://aka.ms/tellpress

Introduction
Welcome! This Step by Step book has been designed so you can read it from the beginning
to learn about Microsoft Project 2016 and then build your skills as you learn to perform
increasingly specialized procedures. Or, if you prefer, you can jump in wherever you need
ready guidance for performing tasks. The how-to steps are delivered crisply and concisely
—just the facts. You’ll also find informative, full-color graphics that support the
instructional content.

Who this book is for
Microsoft Project 2016 Step by Step is designed for use as a learning and reference
resource by home and business users of Microsoft Office programs who want to use
Project to create and manage projects more efficiently. The content of the book is designed
to be useful for people who have previously used earlier versions of Project and for people
who are discovering Project for the first time.

The Step by Step approach
The book’s coverage is divided into chapters representing general Project skill sets. Each
part is divided into chapters representing skill set areas, and each chapter is divided into
topics that group related skills. Each topic includes expository information followed by
generic procedures. At the end of the chapter, you’ll find a series of practice tasks you can
complete on your own by using the skills taught in the chapter. You can use the practice
files that are available from this book’s website to work through the practice tasks, or you
can use your own files.

Download the practice files
Before you can complete the practice tasks in this book, you need to download the book’s
practice files to your computer from http://aka.ms/project2016sbs/downloads. Follow the
instructions on the Downloads tab.
Important
Project 2016 is not available from the book’s website. You should install that
program before working through the procedures and practice tasks in this book.
You can open the files that are supplied for the practice tasks and save the finished
versions of each file. If you later want to repeat practice tasks, you can download the
original practice files again.
The following table lists the practice files for this book.

Ebook edition
If you’re reading the ebook edition of this book, you can do the following:
Search the full text
Print
Copy and paste
You can purchase and download the ebook edition from the Microsoft Press Store at
http://aka.ms/project2016sbs/detail.

Adapt procedure steps
This book contains many images of the Project user interface elements (such as the
ribbon and the program window) that you’ll work with while performing tasks in
Project on a Windows computer. Depending on your screen resolution or window
width, the Project ribbon on your screen might look different from that shown in
this book.(If you turn on Touch mode, the ribbon might display some commands in
a different layout.) As a result, procedural instructions that involve the ribbon might
require a little adaptation.
Simple procedural instructions use this format:
1. On the Task tab, in the View group, click the Gantt Chart button.
If the command is in a list, our instructions use this format:
1. On the View tab, in the Data group, click the Filter arrow and then, in the Filter
list, click Summary Tasks.
If differences between your display settings and ours cause a button to appear
differently on your screen than it does in this book, you can easily adapt the steps to
locate the command. First click the specified tab, and then locate the specified
group. If a group has been collapsed into a group list or under a group button, click
the list or button to display the group’s commands. If you can’t immediately
identify the button you want, point to likely candidates to display their names in
ScreenTips.
Multistep procedural instructions use this format:
1. On the View tab, in the Resource Views group, click the Resource Sheet button
to display the Resource Sheet view.
2. On the View tab, in the Data group, click the Tables button, and then click Cost.
The instructions in this book assume that you’re interacting with on-screen
elements on your computer by clicking (with a mouse, touchpad, or other hardware
device). If you’re using a different method—for example, if your computer has a
touchscreen interface and you’re tapping the screen (with your finger or a stylus)—
substitute the applicable tapping action when you interact with a user interface
element.
Instructions in this book refer to Project user interface elements that you click or tap
on the screen as buttons, and to physical buttons that you press on a keyboard as
keys, to conform to the standard terminology used in documentation for these
products.
When the instructions tell you to enter information, you can do so by typing on a
connected external keyboard, tapping an on-screen keyboard, or even speaking
aloud, depending on your computer setup and your personal preferences.

Get support and give feedback
This topic provides information about getting help with this book and contacting us to
provide feedback or report errors.

Errata and support
We’ve made every effort to ensure the accuracy of this book and its companion content. If
you discover an error, please submit it to us at http://aka.ms/project2016sbs/errata.
If you need to contact the Microsoft Press Support team, please send an email message to
mspinput@microsoft.com.
For help with Microsoft software and hardware, go to http://support.microsoft.com.

We want to hear from you
At Microsoft Press, your satisfaction is our top priority, and your feedback our most
valuable asset. Please tell us what you think of this book at http://aka.ms/tellpress.
The survey is short, and we read every one of your comments and ideas. Thanks in
advance for your input!

Stay in touch
Let’s keep the conversation going! We’re on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MicrosoftPress.

Part 1: Get started with Microsoft Project
CHAPTER 1 Project, project management, and you
CHAPTER 2 Take a guided tour

1. Project, project management, and you
In this chapter
Meet the Project program
Meet the Project family
See the new features in Project 2016
Take a project manager’s perspective
Practice files
There are no practice tasks in this chapter.
Thank you for adding this book to your Microsoft Project 2016 skills development plan.
This book is designed as a learning and reference resource. Most of the chapters that
follow include hands-on activities in Project.
This chapter does not involve hands-on work in Project. Instead, read it to better
understand how Project and project management fit with your personal skills development
goals. This chapter introduces you to Project and the field of project management.

Meet the Project program
Project can be the go-to tool in your project-management toolbox. This book explains how
to use Project to build schedules (which we’ll generally call plans), complete with tasks
and resources.
Project is a powerful program that you can use to plan and manage a wide range of
projects. From meeting crucial deadlines and budgets to selecting the right resources, you
can be more productive and realize better results by using the set of features Project offers.
You can use Project to do the following:
Create plans at the level of detail that’s right for your project. Work with summary
data initially, and then shift to a more detailed approach when needed.
Control what tasks Project can schedule automatically and which ones you’ll
schedule manually.
Manage tasks, resources, work, and costs at whatever level of detail is appropriate
for your project’s needs.
Work with your plan’s data in a variety of views and reports.
Track and manage your plan throughout the life of the project.
Collaborate and share data with others in your organization.
Use resource pools, consolidated projects, and cross-project links to extend your
project-management focus across multiple projects.
Project 2016 builds on previous versions to provide powerful project-management tools.

See “See the new features in Project 2016“ later in this chapter for a list of the major new
features from the last several releases of Project, and for cross-references to the related
topics in this book.

Meet the Project family
The Project desktop program is available in two different editions:
Project Standard This edition is the entry-level desktop program with which you
can create, modify, and track plans.
Project Professional This edition includes all the functionality of Project Standard
plus a few additional features, such as the Team Planner view. Project Professional
can also work with Project Online and Project Server. (When Project Professional is
obtained via a Microsoft Office 365 subscription, you might see it referred to as
Project Pro.)
In addition to installing the Project desktop programs on your computer, you have other
options for accessing Project and related services:
Project Online Delivered through Office 365, Project Online is the Microsoft
Project and Portfolio Management (PPM) solution. (Note that Project Online is not a
web-based version of the Project program.)
Project Server This is the Microsoft on-premises PPM solution.
Project Web App (PWA) This is the browser-based interface for the PPM solution.
Tip
For more information about using Project with the Microsoft SharePoint and PPM
solutions, see Appendix C, “Collaborate: Project, SharePoint, and PWA.“ To learn
more about Project Online and Office 365 subscription offerings, go to
https://products.office.com/Project.
This book focuses on the features in the Project Standard and Project Professional desktop
programs. When a feature that is unique to Project Professional appears, you’ll see
instructions for users of both Project Standard and Project Professional.

See the new features in Project 2016
The 2016 version of Project includes some new and improved features, such as the
following:
Timeline view updates Display multiple timeline bars with custom date ranges. For
more information, see “Format a timeline view” in Chapter 16, “Format and print
views: In-depth techniques.“
Tell Me This is a help and feature search text box on the ribbon. Use it to quickly
find a Project feature (or help content about that feature). For more information, see
Chapter 2, “Take a guided tour.“

New themes Change the visual style of Project by applying one of the new Office
themes. You do so on the General page of the Project Options dialog box (available
via the File tab).
If you’re upgrading to Project 2016 from a previous version, you’re probably most
interested in the differences between the old and new versions and how they will affect
you. The following sections list new features that were introduced in Project 2013 and
Project 2010. These features are also present in Project 2016 and, depending on the
version of Project from which you are upgrading, might be new to you.

What was new in Project 2013
The 2013 version included several new features and some improved ones, such as the
following:
Reports Project 2013 replaced the previous tabular reports feature with an entirely
new way of visualizing your Project data. The reports feature includes a dynamic
mix of tables, charts, and textual content, and it’s highly customizable. For more
information, see, “Customize reports” in Chapter 7, “Format and share your plan,“
and Chapter 17, “Format reports: In-depth techniques.“
Task Path Use this feature to quickly identify the Gantt bars of the selected task’s
predecessors and successors. For more information, see “See task relationships by
using Task Path” in Chapter 9, “Fine-tune task scheduling.“
Redesigned Backstage and OneDrive integration As with other Office programs,
quick access to Microsoft OneDrive storage is integrated into the Project Backstage
view. For more information, see “Manage files and set options in the Backstage
view” in Chapter 2, “Take a guided tour.“
A much later project finish date The latest possible date Project can work with
was moved from December 31, 2049 to December 31, 2149.
Support for touch input As in other Office programs, you can optimize the Project
interface (primarily the commands on the ribbon) for either touch or mouse input.
Skype integration (Project Professional only) In Project, you can start a Skype for
Business chat or create an email message to a resource directly from Project. To do
so, point to the resource name and start an instant messaging session or video chat.
Support for apps for Office Project supports third-party add-ins and apps available
from the Office Store, located at store.office.com.

What was new in Project 2010
The 2010 version included the following:
The ribbon interface The ribbon interface organized all the commands that most
people use in a new way, making them quickly accessible from tabs at the top of the
program window. For more information, see “Explore the Project user interface” in
Chapter 2, “Take a guided tour.“
The Backstage view All the tools you need to work with your files are accessible

from one location. For more information, see “Manage files and set options in the
Backstage view” in Chapter 2, “Take a guided tour.“
Manually scheduled tasks Begin creating tasks with whatever information you
might have, and don’t worry about automatic scheduling of tasks until you’re ready.
Manually scheduled tasks are not affected by changes in duration, start or finish
dates, dependencies, or other items that otherwise would cause Project to reschedule
a task. You can then switch individual tasks or an entire plan from manual to
automatic scheduling. For more information, see “Create tasks“ and “Switch task
scheduling from manual to automatic“ in Chapter 4, “Build a task list.“
Timeline view Create a “project at a glance” view that includes just the summary
tasks, tasks, and milestones that you choose. Easily copy the Timeline view as a
graphic image to paste into other programs. For more information, see “Add tasks to
a Timeline view” in Chapter 7, “Format and share your plan.“
Improved pasting to Excel and Word Paste Project data into Microsoft Excel or
Word and preserve the column headings and outline structure of your Project data.
For more information, see “Copy Project data to and from other programs” in
Chapter 19, “Share information with other programs.”
Customizable ribbon Create your own tabs and groups to suit the way you work.
For more information, see “Customize the ribbon and Quick Access Toolbar” in
Chapter 18, “Customize Project.“
Custom fields Just start typing a numeric value, date value, or text string into the
rightmost column in a table, and Project will identify the right data type. For more
information, see “Create new tables” in Chapter 13, “Organize plan details.“
AutoFilter improvements Use Excel-like column filtering, in addition to sorting
and grouping, directly from AutoFilter arrows on column headings. For more
information, see “Filter plan details” in Chapter 13, “Organize plan details.“
Save as PDF or XPS Create PDF or XPS-format documents directly from Project.
For more information, see “Print and export views” in Chapter 16, “Format and print
views: In-depth techniques.“
Team Planner view (Project Professional only) Perform actions like reassigning a
task from one resource to another with simple drag-and-drop actions in the Team
Planner view. For more information, see “Adjust assignments in the Team Planner
view” in Chapter 11, “Fine-tune resource and assignment details.“
Inactivate tasks (Project Professional only) Disable (but don’t delete) tasks from a
plan so that they have no effect on the overall schedule but can be reactivated later if
you need them. For more information, see “Inactivate tasks” in Chapter 12,“ Finetune the Project plan.“
SharePoint Task List integration (Project Professional only) Publish and
synchronize tasks between Project and a SharePoint list. For more information, see
Appendix C, “Collaborate: Project, SharePoint, and PWA.“

Take a project manager’s perspective
Project management is a broadly practiced art and science. If you’re reading this book,
chances are that you’re either seriously involved in project management or you want to be.
Project is unique among the Office programs in that Project is a specialized tool designed
for the specific domain of project management. You might be invested in your
professional identity as a project manager, or you might not identify yourself with project
management at all. Either way, your success as a user of Project, to a large degree, will be
related to your success as a project manager. Let’s take a moment to explore this subject.
At its heart, project management is a combination of skills and tools that help you predict
and control the outcomes of endeavors undertaken by your organization. Your
organization might be involved in other work apart from projects. Projects (such as
developing a new product) are distinct from ongoing operations (such as running payroll
services). Projects are defined as temporary endeavors undertaken to create some unique
deliverable or result. With a good project-management system in place, you should be
able to answer such questions as the following:
What tasks must be performed, and in what order, to produce the deliverable of the
project?
When should each task be performed, and what is the final deadline?
Who will complete these tasks?
How much will it cost?
What if some tasks are not completed as scheduled?
What’s the best way to communicate project details to those who have an interest or
stake in the project?
Good project management does not guarantee the success of every project, but poor
project management often leads to failure.
A core principle of this book’s instructional strategy is that success with Project is built on
success with basic project-management practice. Although Project is a feature-rich
program, mastery of its features alone is no guarantee of success in project management.
For this reason, you will find material about project-management best practices
throughout this book. See, for example, the following:
The many “Project management focus” sidebars throughout the chapters
Appendix A, “A short course in project management“
Appendix B, “Develop your project-management skills“

Let’s get started!
In the Practice tasks hands-on activities in this book, you will play the role of a project
manager at a fictitious children’s book publishing company, Lucerne Publishing. Each
new book (even this one) constitutes its own project; in fact, some are complex projects
involving costly resources and aggressive deadlines. We think you’ll be able to recognize
many of the scheduling needs that the project managers at Lucerne Publishing encounter,
and transfer their strategies and solutions to your own scheduling needs.
We’ve been working with Project since it debuted for Windows, and each version has
offered something that made project planning and management a little easier. Project 2016
continues that tradition for desktop project management, and we look forward to showing
you around.

2. Take a guided tour
In this chapter
Explore the Project user interface
Manage files and set options in the Backstage view
Work with schedule details in views
Use reports to check a plan’s status
Practice files
For this chapter, use the TakeGuidedTour practice file from the
Project2016SBS\Ch02 folder. For practice file download instructions, see the
introduction.
This chapter leads you on a quick tour of Project 2016. You’ll see the essential features
that make it such a powerful program. In this chapter, you’ll be introduced to many of the
Project features and conventions that you’ll work with throughout this book.
This chapter guides you through procedures related to managing files and setting options
in the Backstage view, working with schedule details in views, and using reports to check
a plan’s status.

Explore the Project user interface
When you start Project, its Start screen appears. Here you can quickly open a plan that
was recently opened, open another plan, or create a new plan. The new plan can be empty
or it can be based on a template or on another plan.

The Project Start screen includes options for creating a new plan or opening a plan
Tip
If the Start screen does not appear when you start Project, do the following: On the
File tab, click Options. In the Project Options dialog box, click General, and under
Start Up Options, click Show The Start Screen When This Application Starts.
You create a new plan by clicking the Blank Project option on the Start screen. Doing so
creates the new plan in the main Project interface.

Here are the major parts of the Project interface; note the label of the active view along
the left edge
Tip
Some items you see on your screen, such as commands on the ribbon in the Project
window, might differ from what’s shown in this book. This might depend on your
screen resolution and any previous customizations made to Project on your
computer.
Let’s walk through the major parts of the Project interface:
The Quick Access Toolbar is a customizable area of the interface where you can add
your favorite or frequently used commands. For more information, see Chapter 18,
“Customize Project.”
Use the Tell Me box to quickly find a Project command, or help about that command
or feature.
The ribbon contains the commands you use to perform actions in Project. Tabs on
the ribbon organize the major features and commands in Project into logical groups.
The tabs on the Project ribbon are discussed in detail later in this topic.
Groups are collections of related commands. Each tab is divided into multiple

groups.
Commands are the specific features you use to perform actions in Project. Each tab
contains several commands. Some commands, like Cut on the Task tab, perform an
immediate action. Other commands, like Change Working Time on the Project tab,
open a dialog box or prompt you to take further action in some other way. Some
commands are available only when you’re in a particular type of view or report.
ScreenTips are short explanatory descriptions of commands, column headings, and
many other items in Project. You can see an item’s ScreenTip by pointing to the
item.

Information about commands and many other items throughout Project can be
displayed in descriptive ScreenTips
The active view (or report) is displayed in the main Project window. Project can
display a single view or multiple views in separate panes. A multiple-view display is
called a split view or combination view.
The view label (or report label) appears along the left edge of the active view.
Project includes dozens of views, so this is a handy reminder of what your active
view is.
The status bar displays some important details like the scheduling mode of new
tasks (manual or automatic) and whether a filter has been applied to the active view.
You use view shortcuts to quickly switch between recently used views and reports.
The Zoom Slider zooms the active view or report in or out.
Shortcut menus (also called context menus or right-click menus) and Mini Toolbars
appear when you right-click most items in a view or report.

Right-click a task’s name or other value to see available shortcut menu commands and
the Mini Toolbar
Tip
Here’s a good general practice: when you’re not sure what actions you can perform
with something you see in Project, right-click the item to see what commands are
available for that item.

Right-clicking another item, such as a Gantt bar, displays different available commands
and a different Mini Toolbar
Similar to other Microsoft Office programs, Project uses the interface commonly called
the ribbon. The most prominent parts of this interface are the tabs and ribbon that span the
top of the Project window.
These tabs logically group together the commands that apply to major areas of focus in
Project:
The Task tab includes commands for adding, formatting, and organizing tasks.
Use the Resource tab to add resources to a plan, assign them to tasks, and manage
their workloads.
The Report tab contains commands you can use to view reports and compare two
plans.
The Project tab contains commands that usually apply to the entire plan, such as the
command for setting the plan’s working time.
The View tab helps you control what you see in the Project window and how that
information is displayed.
Tool tabs include the Format tab, the Design tab, and the Layout tab, among others.
A tool tab appears when a certain kind of information is displayed in the active view
or report, or when a certain kind of item is selected. For example, when a task view
like the Gantt Chart view is displayed, the commands on the Format tool tab apply
to tasks and Gantt Chart items like Gantt bars. The current context of the Format tab

is shown above the tab label—Gantt Chart Tools, for example.
Tip
You can double-click a tab label to collapse or expand the ribbon. You can also
view a collapsed tab by clicking the tab label and then selecting the command you
want.
Let’s look more closely at the tabs.

Commands on the ribbon are grouped on tabs
Like all tabs on the ribbon, the Task tab contains a large number of commands, and these
commands are organized into groups. The Task tab includes the View, Clipboard, Font,
and other groups.
If you enabled touch input (by clicking the button on the Quick Access Toolbar in the
upper-left corner of the Project window), the commands on the ribbon appear larger and
some lack text labels.

Turning on touch input makes the commands on the ribbon easier to tap
Some commands perform an immediate action, whereas other commands lead you to more
options. One example of the second type of command is one that you will use frequently
in Project: a split button. This type of command can either perform an immediate action or
show you more options. A good example is the Gantt Chart button, which is described
here:
Clicking the image part of this command immediately switches to the previously
viewed Gantt chart view.
Clicking the text label part of this command (or just the arrow, for commands that
have an arrow but no text label) shows you the available settings for that command.

The Gantt Chart command is an example of a split button
If you’re familiar with Office programs such as Microsoft Word and Excel, you should
have no trouble navigating in the Project user interface.

Manage files and set options in the Backstage view
The Backstage view contains customization and sharing options that apply to the entire
plan, in addition to the essential commands for file management such as Open, New, Print,
and Save.

The options in the Backstage view are organized on tabs that appear along the left edge
of the window
Here is a brief list of the pages in the Backstage view. In most cases, you can click the tab
name to see more options:
The Info page gives you access to the Organizer, a feature used to share customized
elements like views between plans; the Organizer is described in Chapter 18,
“Customize Project.” The Info page also displays information about the active plan,
like its start and finish date, statistics, and advanced properties. You work with

advanced properties in Chapter 3, “Start a new plan.” If you’re using Project
Professional with the Project Web App, you can also manage Project Web App
accounts here.
The New page displays options for creating a new plan, either from scratch or based
on a template.
Open, Save, Save As, and Close are standard file-management commands.
The Print page includes options for printing a plan, in addition to the print preview.
You’ll work with printing options in Chapter 7, “Format and share your plan” and in
Chapter 16, “Format and print views: In-depth techniques.”
The Share page includes options for Microsoft SharePoint synchronization and
attaching a plan to an email message.
The Export page includes options for generating a copy of the plan in PDF or XML
Paper Specification (XPS) format, and other options for exporting content. You’ll
work with these features in Chapter 19, “Share information with other programs.”
The Account page displays connected services and information about Project, such
as version information. With a Microsoft account, you can use services such as
Microsoft OneDrive file storage and roaming personal settings. When you are
signed in, your user information appears in the upper-right corner of the Project
window.
Clicking Options opens the Project Options dialog box. This dialog box itself
contains several pages through which you can adjust a wide range of default settings
and behaviors in Project, such as whether you want to see the Start screen when
Project starts.
Here are a few tips about files and settings:
When you first start Project and are on the New page of the Backstage view, you can
press the Esc key to open a new blank plan.
You can pin recently opened plans to the Recent Projects list on the Open page.
Right-click a plan name, and in the shortcut menu that appears, click Pin To List.
You can pin favorite templates to the New page by pointing to the template and
clicking the pin that appears in the lower-right corner of the template preview.
If you are working offline, you’ll see templates only from your local computer.
To exit the Backstage view, click the Back button in the upper-left corner of any
Backstage page. You can also press the Esc key.

Templates: Avoid reinventing the wheel
Instead of creating a plan from scratch, you might be able to use a template that
includes much of the initial information you need, like task names and
relationships. Sources of templates include:
Templates installed with Project These can vary depending on the installation
options that were selected when Project was installed on your computer.
Online templates Microsoft makes a large number of Project templates
available for free download via the web.
Templates within your organization You might be in an organization that has
a central library of templates. Often, such templates contain detailed task
definitions, resource assignments, and other details that are unique to the
organization.
To see available templates, click the File tab and then click New. Templates also
appear on the Project Start screen.
In addition, Project can generate a new file based on an existing file from Project,
or from another program via the Import Wizard. For more information, see Chapter
19, “Share information with other programs.”
You can also create templates from your plans for later use or to share. One
common concern with sharing plans is that they might contain sensitive information
like resource pay rates. When you create a template from a plan, you have the
option to clear such information, in addition to schedule progress. The original plan
is not affected.

To create a new plan as a blank project
1. Click the File tab to display the Backstage view.
2. Click New to display the New page.
3. Click Blank Project.

To create a new plan based on another plan or template, or on data in
another file format
1. In the Backstage view, click New.
2. Do any of the following:
• Click New From Existing Project to create a new plan based on a previous plan.
• Click New From Excel Workbook to create a new plan based on an Excel list.
• Click New From SharePoint Tasks List to create a new plan based on a
SharePoint list.
• Click the template you want, to create a new plan based on that template.

To open a plan

1. In the Backstage view, click Open. Project displays options for opening plans, in
addition to a list of recently opened plans.
2. Select the location and plan you want to open.

To save a plan
1. In the Backstage view, click Save As.
2. Select the location and folder where you want to save the plan.
3. In the Save As dialog box, enter a file name, and then click Save.

To create a template from an existing plan
1. In the Backstage view, click Export.
2. Click Save Project As File.
3. Under Save Project As File, click Project Template.
4. Click Save As.
5. Navigate to the folder where you want to create the new template.
6. In the File Name box, enter the template file name that you want, and then click
Save.
7. When the Save As Template dialog box opens, select the types of information, such
as resource pay rates, that you want removed from the template.
8. Click Save.

Work with schedule details in views
You create and work with your plan’s data in views. Project includes many types of views.
Examples of views include tables with graphics, tables with timescales, tables alone,
charts and diagrams, and forms. In some views, you can filter, sort, or group data, and
specify what types of data are displayed. You can use and customize the views that come
with Project in addition to creating your own.
Project contains dozens of views, but most people usually work with one view (or
sometimes two in a split view, also known as a combination view) at a time. You use views
to enter, edit, analyze, and display your project information. The default view—the one
you see when you create a new plan—is called the Gantt With Timeline view.
In general, views focus on task, resource, or assignment details. The Gantt Chart view, for
example, lists task details in a table on the left side of the view and graphically represents
each task as a bar in the chart on the right side of the view.

The Gantt With Timeline view is a split view with the Timeline view in the top pane and
the Gantt Chart view below it
The Gantt Chart view is a common way to represent a schedule. This type of view is also
useful for entering and fine-tuning task details and for analyzing your plan. You can adjust
the timescale in the Gantt Chart view in several ways to see more or less of the plan.
The Timeline view is a handy way of seeing the “big picture” of the plan.

You can set up multiple timeline bars in the Timeline view
When you click in the Timeline view, the label above the Format tool tab changes from

Gantt Chart Tools to Timeline Tools.

When the Timeline view is selected, its formatting commands are available on the
Timeline Tools Format tab
In this case, the commands displayed on the Format tab are specific to the Timeline view.
As you display or select different views, reports, or specific items in Project, note when
the label above the Format tab changes accordingly.
Next we’ll examine sheet views. The Resource Sheet view displays details about resources
in a row-and-column format (called a table), with one resource per row. Another sheet
view, called the Task Sheet view, lists the task details. In most views in Project, many
different tables are available, allowing you to focus on the type of data that most interests
you.

A sheet view contains a table that organizes information into rows and columns

The Resource Sheet view doesn’t tell you much about the tasks to which resources might
be assigned. To see that type of information, you need a different view.
The Resource Usage view groups the tasks to which each resource is assigned and shows
you the work assignments per resource on a timescale, such as daily or weekly.

Usage views organize assignments per task or per resource, and present the assignment
details against a timescale
As with the Gantt Chart timescale, you can adjust this timescale by using the Timescale
command on the View tab or the Zoom Slider on the status bar in the lower-right corner of
the Project window. In usage views, you can also switch to a different table to focus on the
type of information that you’re most interested in.
Another usage view, the Task Usage view, flips the data around to display all the resources
assigned to each task. You’ll work with usage views in Chapter 9, “Fine-tune task
scheduling.”
A handy split view is the Task Form combined with a Gantt chart or other view.

In a split view like this one, details about the item selected in the primary pane are
displayed in the secondary pane
In this type of split view, the Gantt Chart is the primary view and the Task Form is the
details pane. Details about the selected task in the Gantt Chart view appear in the Task
Form. You can also edit values directly in the Task Form. You will work with the Task
Form in Chapter 6, “Assign resources to tasks,” and with the similar Resource Form in
Chapter 5, “Set up resources.”
There are many other views in Project. Keep in mind that, in all views in Project, you are
looking at different aspects of the same set of details about a plan. Even a simple plan can
contain too much data to display at one time. Use views to help you focus on the specific
details you want.

To switch between views
1. On the View tab, in either the Task Views or Resource Views group, do one of the
following:
• If the button for the view you want is shown, click it.
• If the button for the view you want is not shown, click Other Views, and then
click the view you want.
• If the view you want is not listed on the Other Views menu, click More Views,
click the view you want, and then click Apply.

To adjust the timescale in a view

In views with a timescale, such as the Gantt chart, this action adjusts the timescale.
In other views, it changes how much detail is displayed.
1. Do either of the following:
• On the View tab, in the Zoom group, click the Zoom command, and then click the
zoom level you want.
• In the lower-right corner of the status bar, on the Zoom Slider bar, click Zoom
Out or Zoom In.

To switch to another table in a view
This action applies only to views that include tables (such as the Gantt chart), not to
views that lack tables (such as the Calendar view).
1. On the View tab, in the Data group, click Tables.
2. Do either of the following:
• If the table you want is listed, click the table.
• If the table you want is not listed, click More Tables, click the table you want, and
then click Apply.

To display a split (combination) view
1. On the View tab, in the Split View group, click Details.
2. In the Details box, click the view you want to load into the bottom pane of the split
view.

To display or hide the timeline view
1. On the View tab, in the Split View group, select or clear the Timeline check box.

Use reports to check a plan’s status
You can use reports to convey your plan’s data in compelling formats. Reports can include
elements such as charts, tables, and images to communicate the status of your plan.
Reports present task and resource data from your plan. You can view reports directly in
the Project window or print them like any view. You can also copy reports and paste them
into other programs such as Microsoft PowerPoint. Project includes several built-in
reports, which you can use as-is or customize, and you can create your own reports.

Reports can contain a mix of charts, tables, and images
When you click a table or chart in a report, the Field List pane appears on the right side of
the window.

Use the Field List to control what data appears in the selected chart or table in a report
You use the Field List pane to determine what data to include in the table or chart. You
will customize reports in Chapter 7, “Format and share your plan,” and in Chapter 17,
“Format reports: In-depth techniques.”
The tool tabs change when a report is displayed or when an item in a report is selected.
Because a report can include a variety of items, such as charts and tables, Project includes
tool tabs for both the report overall and for the specific types of items within the report.
The Report Tools Design tab includes commands you can use to control the overall design
of a report.

When a report is displayed, the Report Tools Design tool tab is available
When you are working with a table in a report, the Table Tools Design tool tab is
available.

Select a table in a report to access the Table Tools tabs
The Table Tools Layout tool tab is available when you are working with a table in a report.

Most commands on the Design tool tab apply to the entire table, whereas most
commands on the Layout tool tab apply to the selected cells, rows, or columns
As with views, you can display a report and a view in a split view layout.

You can mix views and reports in split views

To display a report
1. On the Report tab, in the View Reports group, click the report category and then
click the specific report you want.

To display a report and a view simultaneously
1. Display the report you want.

2. Do either of the following:
• On the View tab, in the Split View group, click Details. In the Details box, click
the view you want to display in the bottom pane of the split view.
• On the View tab, in the Split View group, click Timeline to display the Timeline
in the top pane of the split view (if it’s not already visible).

Skills review
In this chapter, you learned how to:
Explore the Project user interface
Manage files and set options in the Backstage view
Work with schedule details in views
Use reports to check a plan’s status

Practice tasks
The TakeGuidedTour practice file for these tasks is located in the Project2016SBS\Ch02
folder.
Important
If you are running Project Professional with Project Web App/Project Server, take
care not to save any of the practice files you work with in this book to Project Web
App (PWA). For more information, see Appendix C, “Collaborate: Project,
SharePoint, and PWA.”

Manage files and set options in the Backstage view
Start Project, and then perform the following tasks:
1. Open the TakeGuidedTour plan in Project.
2. In the Backstage view, click Save As.
3. Navigate to the Ch02 practice file folder.
4. In the File name box, enter a unique name for the practice file, and then click Save.

Work with schedule details in views
The scenario: You’d like to see other parts of this plan’s data in other views. Continuing in
the TakeGuidedTour plan, perform the following tasks:
1. Display the Resource Sheet view.

2. Switch to the Calendar view.

The Calendar view is a handy “month-at-a-glance” view

Use reports to check a plan’s status
The scenario: You’d like to see this plan’s data in a report. Continuing in the
TakeGuidedTour plan, perform the following tasks:
1. Display the Project Overview report, which is located in the Dashboards report
category.
2. Switch to the Resource Overview report.

See resources’ work status in the Resource Overview report

Part 2: Simple scheduling basics
CHAPTER 3 Start a new plan
CHAPTER 4 Build a task list
CHAPTER 5 Set up resources
CHAPTER 6 Assign resources to tasks
CHAPTER 7 Format and share your plan
CHAPTER 8 Track progress: Basic techniques

3. Start a new plan
In this chapter
Create a new plan and set its start date
Set nonworking days in the project calendar
Enter the plan title and other properties
Practice files
No practice files are necessary to complete the practice tasks in this chapter.
A project’s schedule or plan is essentially a model that you construct of some aspects of a
project you are anticipating—what you expect will happen, or what you want to happen.
This model focuses on key aspects of a project, such as tasks, resources, timeframes, and
possibly their associated costs. Note that throughout this book, we’ll refer to the types of
documents that Project 2016 works with as plans, not documents or schedules.
This chapter guides you through procedures related to creating a new plan and setting its
start date, setting nonworking days in a project calendar, and entering a plan’s title and
other properties.

Create a new plan and set its start date
As you might expect, Project focuses primarily on time. Sometimes you might know the
expected start date of a project, the expected finish date, or both. However, when working
with Project, you specify only one date, not both: the plan’s start date or finish date. Why?
Because after you enter the plan’s start or finish date and other details, Project calculates
the other date for you. Remember that Project is not merely a static repository of your
schedule information or a Gantt chart drawing tool—it is an active scheduling engine.
Most plans should be scheduled from a start date, even if you know that the plan should
finish by a certain deadline date. Scheduling from a start date sets all tasks to begin as
soon as possible, and it gives you the greatest scheduling flexibility. In this and later
chapters, you will see this flexibility in action as you work with a plan that is scheduled
from a start date.

To create a new plan
1. In Project, if the File tab is displayed, click it, and then click New.
2. In the list of templates, click Blank Project or any other template you want.
Or
1. If you already have a list of available templates on the Start screen, click Blank
Project or any other template you want.
When you create a new plan, Project sets the plan’s start date to the current date.
Project draws a thin green vertical line in the chart portion of the Gantt Chart view at

the current date.

The current date is shown in the Gantt Chart view; look for the green vertical line (your
current date will likely differ)

To set (or change) the plan’s start date
1. On the Project tab, in the Properties group, click Project Information.
2. In the Project Information dialog box, in the Start Date box, enter the start date
you want or click the arrow to select one from the calendar.
Tip
In the calendar, you can use the left and right arrows to navigate to any month and
then click the date you want, or click Today to quickly choose the current date.
3. Click OK to accept the start date and close the Project Information dialog box.

To save the new plan
1. Click the File tab, and then click Save As.
2. On the Save As page, navigate to the location where you want to save the plan.
Tip
You can adjust Project settings related to files. For example, you can set Project to
automatically display the Project Information dialog box each time you create a
new plan. To make this change, click the File tab, and then click Options. In the
Project Options dialog box, click Advanced, and then, in the General section, select
the Prompt For Project Info For New Projects check box. You can also instruct
Project to automatically save the active plan at predefined intervals, such as every
10 minutes. In the Project Options dialog box, click Save, select the Auto Save
Every check box, and then specify the time interval you want.

Set nonworking days in the project calendar
Calendars are the primary means by which you control when each task and resource can
be scheduled for work in Project. In later chapters, you will work with other types of
calendars; in this chapter, we focus on the project calendar.
The project calendar defines the general working and nonworking days and times for
tasks. Project includes multiple calendars, called base calendars, any one of which can
serve as the project calendar for a plan. You select the base calendar that will be used as
the project calendar in the Project Information dialog box.

Set the plan’s start date, project calendar, and other essential schedule settings in the
Project Information dialog box
Important
If you are using Project Professional rather than Project Standard, the Project
Information dialog box and some other dialog boxes contain additional options
relating to Project Server. For more information about Project Server, see Appendix
C, “Collaborate: Project, SharePoint, and PWA.”
The Calendar list contains the three base calendars that are included with Project:
24 Hours Has no nonworking time
Night Shift Covers a late-night “graveyard” shift schedule of Monday night through
Saturday morning, 11:00 P.M. to 8:00 A.M., with a one-hour break each day
Standard The traditional working day and week, Monday through Friday from 8:00
A.M. to 5:00 P.M., with a one-hour break each day
Only one of the base calendars serves as the project calendar; the Standard calendar is the
default.
Think of the project calendar as your organization’s normal working days and hours. For
example, this might be Monday through Friday, 8:00 A.M. through 5:00 P.M., with a onehour lunch break each day. Your organization or specific resources might have exceptions
to this normal working time, such as holidays or vacation days. You’ll address resource
vacations in Chapter 5, “Set up resources.”

You customize calendars in the Change Working Time dialog box (which opens when you
click the Change Working Time button on the Project tab).

Customize a calendar’s working time in the Change Working Time dialog box
Use this dialog box to set normal working schedules and working time exceptions for
individual resources or the entire plan. Other common examples of working time
adjustments include:
Recurring holidays or other times off that follow a known pattern, such as weekly,
monthly, or annually.
Variable working times per week; for example, to address seasonal changes in
working times.

Unique working hours for a resource. You’ll make such settings in Chapter 5, “Set
up resources.”

To select the project calendar
1. On the Project tab, in the Properties group, click the Project Information button.
2. In the Project Information dialog box, in the Calendar box, click the arrow, and
then click the calendar you want to use as the project calendar.

To set a specific date as nonworking
1. On the Project tab, in the Properties group, click the Change Working Time
button.
2. On the Exceptions tab in the lower portion of the Change Working Time dialog
box, in the Name field, enter a description of the exception.
Tip
You don’t need to name calendar exceptions, but it’s a good practice for you or
others to identify the reason for the exception.
3. In the Start and Finish fields, enter or select the dates you want.
4. Click OK.

To set up a recurring nonworking time
1. On the Project tab, in the Properties group, click the Change Working Time
button.
2. On the Exceptions tab of the Change Working Time dialog box, in the Name
field, enter a description of the recurring exception.
3. Click in the Start field, and then click Details.
4. In the Details dialog box, under Recurrence Patterns, select the recurrence values
you want, and then click OK.
5. Click OK to close the Change Working Time dialog box.

To set up a custom work week
1. On the Project tab, in the Properties group, click the Change Working Time
button.
2. Click the Work Weeks tab in the lower portion of the Change Working Time
dialog box.
3. Click a row below the “[Default]” value.
4. Enter a description and the date range for which you want the custom work week to
apply.

5. In the Start and Finish fields, enter or select the date range for which you want the
custom work week to apply.
6. Click Details.
7. In the Details dialog box, select the day and time values you want, and then click
OK.
8. Click OK to close the Change Working Time dialog box.

Enter the plan title and other properties
Like other Microsoft Office apps, Project keeps track of several document properties.
Some of these properties are statistics, such as how many times the document has been
revised. Other properties include information that you might want to record about a plan,
such as the project title, the project manager’s name, or keywords to support a file search.
Some of these properties are used in views, in reports, and in page headers and footers
when printing. You can view and record these properties in the Properties dialog box.

Record useful summary information about a plan in the Properties dialog box

To enter a plan’s properties
1. Click the File tab, and then click Info.
2. On the right side of the Info screen, click Project Information. In the menu that
appears, click Advanced Properties.
3. Enter whatever properties you want to record (all are optional), and then click OK.

Project management focus: Project is part of a larger picture
Depending on your needs and the information to which you have access, the plans
that you develop in Project might not deal with other important aspects of your
projects. For example, many large projects are undertaken in organizations that
have a formal change-management process. Before a major change to the scope of a
project is allowed, it must be evaluated and approved by the people managing and
implementing the project. Even though this is an important project-management
activity, it is not something done directly within Project.

Skills review
In this chapter, you learned how to:
Create a new plan and set its start date
Set nonworking days in the project calendar
Enter the plan title and other properties

Practice tasks
No practice files are necessary to complete the practice tasks in this chapter.
Important
If you are running Project Professional with Project Web App/Project Server, take
care not to save any of the practice files you work with in this book to Project Web
App (PWA). For more information, see Appendix C, “Collaborate: Project,
SharePoint, and PWA.”

Create a new plan and set its start date
The scenario: Throughout this book, you’ll play the role of a project manager at Lucerne
Publishing, a book publisher that specializes in children’s books. Lucerne is about to
publish a major new book, and you’ve been asked to develop a plan for the book launch.
Start Project, and perform the following tasks:
1. Create a new plan based on the Blank Project template.
2. Set the new plan’s start date to January 8, 2018.
3. Save the new plan as Simple Plan in the Project2016SBS\Ch03 folder.

Set nonworking days in the project calendar
The scenario: At Lucerne Publishing, you need to account for an upcoming date on which
the entire Lucerne staff will be unavailable to work on the book launch project.
Continuing in the Simple Plan plan, perform the following task:
1. In the project calendar, create a nonworking day calendar exception named Staff at
morale event for January 25, 2018.

The calendar exception you created should look like this in the Change Working Time
dialog box

Enter the plan title and other properties
The scenario: You want to record top-level information about the new book launch plan.
These details won’t affect the overall schedule but relate to important supplemental
information you want to keep in the plan. Continuing in the Simple Plan plan, perform the
following task:
1. Give the Simple Plan the following properties:
• Subject: New book launch schedule
• Manager: Carole Poland
• Company: Lucerne Publishing
• Comments: New children’s book for spring release

4. Build a task list
In this chapter
Create tasks
Enter task durations and dates
Enter milestone tasks
Create summary tasks to outline the plan
Link tasks to create dependencies
Switch task scheduling from manual to automatic
Check a plan’s duration and finish date
Document task information
Practice files
For this chapter, use the SimpleBuildTaskList practice file from the
Project2016SBS\Ch04 folder. For practice file download instructions, see the
introduction.
Tasks are the most basic building blocks of any project’s plan. Tasks represent the work to
be done to accomplish the goals of the project. Tasks describe work in terms of
dependencies, duration, and resource requirements. In Project 2016, there are several
kinds of tasks. These include summary tasks, subtasks, and milestones (all discussed in
this chapter). More broadly, what are called tasks in Project are sometimes more generally
called activities or work packages.
This chapter guides you through procedures related to creating tasks, entering task
durations and dates, entering milestone tasks, creating summary tasks, linking tasks to
create dependencies, switching task scheduling from manual to automatic, checking a
plan’s duration and finish date, and documenting task information.

Create tasks
Tasks represent the work to be done to accomplish the goals of the project. Every task in a
plan is given an ID number, but the number does not necessarily represent the order in
which tasks occur.
Every task in Project has one of two scheduling modes that controls how the task is
scheduled: manual (the default) or automatically scheduled. Think of a manually
scheduled task as an initial placeholder you can create at any time without affecting the
rest of the schedule. You might not know more than a task name to start with, and that’s
OK. As you discover or decide more details about the task, such as when it should occur,
you can add those details to the plan. You’ll work with automatic scheduling in “Switch
task scheduling from manual to automatic” later in this chapter.

As you might suspect, naming the task is the first step in creating a task. For this reason,
it’s worth developing good practices about how you name tasks in your plans.
Task names should be recognizable and make sense to the people who will perform the
tasks and to other stakeholders who will read the task names. Here are some guidelines for
creating good task names:
Use short verb phrases that describe the work to be done, such as “Edit manuscript.”
If tasks will be organized into an outline, don’t repeat details from the summary task
name in the subtask name unless it adds clarity.
If tasks will have resources assigned to them, don’t include resource names in the
task names.
Keep in mind that you can always edit task names later, so don’t worry about getting them
exactly right when you’re initially entering them into a plan. Do aim to use concise,
descriptive phrases that communicate the required work and make sense to you and others
who will perform the work or review the plan. When necessary, you can also add more
details in task notes, described later in this chapter.

To enter task names
1. Click an empty cell in the Task Name column.
2. Enter your task names, and then press the Enter key after each one.

To insert a new task within a task list
1. Click in the Task Name column where you want to insert the new task.
2. On the Task tab, in the Insert group, click Task.
Project inserts a row for a new task and renumbers the subsequent tasks. Project
names the new task <New Task>.
3. With <New Task> selected, enter the task name, and then press Enter.

To delete a task
1. Right-click the task name, and then click Delete Task.

Project management focus: Defining the right tasks for the deliverable
Every project has an ultimate goal or intent, the reason that the project was started.
This is called the project’s deliverable. This deliverable might be a tangible product,
such as a new book, or a service or event, such as a product launch party. Defining
the right tasks to create the deliverable is an essential skill for a project manager.
The task lists you create in Project should describe all the work required, and only
the work required, to complete the project successfully.
When developing your task lists, you might find it helpful to distinguish product
scope from project scope. Product scope describes the quality, features, and
functions of the deliverable of the project. In the practice tasks scenario used in this
part of the book, for example, the deliverable is a new children’s book, and the
product scope might include its number of pages and illustrations. Project scope, on
the other hand, describes the work required to produce the new children’s book. In
the scenario for the new children’s book, the project scope includes detailed tasks
relating to generating publicity and advance reviews for the book.
Scope as a component of the project manager’s focus (along with time and cost) is
described more in Appendix A, “A short course in project management.”

Enter task durations and dates
A task’s duration represents the amount of time you expect it will take to complete the
task. Project can work with task durations that range from minutes to months. Depending
on the scope of your plan, you’ll probably want to work with task durations on the scale of
hours, days, and weeks. Giving your tasks duration values is one of the benefits of using a
scheduling tool like Project over a simple checklist or to-do approach to organizing work.
Project uses standard values for minutes and hours for durations: 1 minute equals 60
seconds, and 1 hour equals 60 minutes. For the durations of days, weeks, and months, you
can use Project’s defaults (for example, 20 days per month) or define your own values in
the Project Options dialog box.

Manage time-related settings on the Schedule tab of the Project Options dialog box
Let’s explore task durations with an example. Assume that a plan has a project calendar
with working time defined as 8:00 A.M. through 5:00 P.M., with one hour off for lunch
breaks, Monday through Friday, leaving nonworking time defined as evenings (after 5:00
P.M.) and weekends. If you estimate that a task will take 16 hours of working time, you
could enter its duration as 2d to schedule work over two 8-hour workdays. You should
then expect that starting the task at 8:00 A.M. on a Friday means that it will not be
completed until 5:00 P.M. on the following Monday. No work would be scheduled over
the weekend because Saturday and Sunday have been defined as nonworking time.
The practice tasks in this chapter use Project’s default values: 8 hours per day, 40 hours
per week, and 20 days per month. In fact, throughout this book we use Project’s default
settings unless noted otherwise.
See Also
For a refresher on the project calendar, see “Set nonworking days in the project
calendar” in Chapter 3, “Start a new plan.”
You can use the following abbreviations when entering durations.

As noted earlier in the “Create tasks” topic, Project handles task scheduling in two ways.
Automatically scheduled tasks always have a duration (one day by default). Manually
scheduled tasks, however, do not initially have any duration. A task’s duration is essential
for Project to schedule a task, so it makes sense that a manually scheduled task, which is
not scheduled by Project, does not require a duration. You can, however, enter placeholder
duration values for manually scheduled tasks—you’ll do so in this chapter.
With manually scheduled tasks, you can enter regular duration values by using the
abbreviations shown in the preceding table—for example, 3d for three days. You can also
enter text values, such as Check with Bob or Sometime next quarter. Such text values are
replaced with the default one-day duration value when you convert a task from manual to
automatic scheduling. Project will not allow you to enter a text value (such as Check with
Bob) for an automatically scheduled task’s duration, start, or finish value.
Tip
When you create an automatically scheduled task, Project adds a question mark (?)
after the one-day duration to indicate that the duration is an estimate. This is a
handy reminder that you will need to determine the task’s correct duration at some
point. In fact, you can flag any task as having an estimated duration. Select the task,
and on the Task tab, in the Properties group, click Information, and then select the
Estimated check box.
If needed, you can schedule tasks to occur during nonworking and working time. To do
this, enter an elapsed duration to a task. You enter elapsed duration by preceding the
duration abbreviation with an e.
You might use an elapsed duration for a task that goes on continuously rather than just
during normal working hours. For instance, a construction project might have the tasks
Pour foundation concrete and Remove foundation forms. If so, you might also want a task
called Wait for concrete to cure, because you don’t want to remove the forms until the
concrete has cured. The task Wait for concrete to cure should have an elapsed duration
because the concrete will cure over a contiguous range of days, whether they are working
or nonworking days. If the concrete takes 48 hours to cure, you can enter the duration for
that task as 2ed, schedule the task to start on Friday at 9:00 A.M., and expect it to be

complete by Sunday at 9:00 A.M. In most cases, however, you’ll work with non-elapsed
durations in Project.
Project management focus: How do you come up with accurate task durations?
You should consider two general rules when estimating task durations:
Overall project duration often correlates to task duration.
Long projects tend to have tasks with longer durations than short projects have.
If you track progress against your plan (as described in Chapter 8, “Track progress:
Basic techniques,” and in Part 3, “Advanced scheduling techniques”), you need to
consider the level of detail you want to apply to your plan’s tasks.
If you have a multiyear project, for example, it might not be practical or even
possible to track tasks that are measured in minutes or hours. In general, you should
measure task durations at the lowest level of detail or control that is important to
you, but no lower.
For the plans you work on in the practice tasks sections of this book, the durations
are supplied for you. For your projects, you will often have to estimate task
durations. Good sources of task duration estimates include:
Historical information from previous, similar projects.
Estimates from the people who will complete the tasks.
The expert judgment of people who have managed similar projects.
The standards of professional or industrial organizations that carry out projects
similar to yours.
One principle to consider is called the 8/80 rule. This rule suggests that task
durations between 8 hours (or 1 day) and 80 hours (10 working days, or two weeks)
are generally sized about right. Tasks shorter than one day might be too granular,
and tasks longer than two weeks might be too long to manage properly. There are
many legitimate reasons to vary from this rule, but for most tasks in your projects,
it’s worth considering.
For complex, long-duration projects or projects involving a large number of
unknowns, you might be able to make detailed duration estimates only of tasks to
be started and completed soon (for example, within two to four weeks). You then
might have only very general duration estimates for tasks that will start later (for
example, after two to four weeks). You could hold a recurring task-duration
estimating session with the team according to a regular cadence as time progresses.
For complex projects, you probably would combine these and other strategies to
estimate task durations. Because inaccurate task duration estimates are a major
source of risk in any project, making good estimates is well worth the effort.

To enter task duration
1. Click a cell in the Duration column for a task.

2. Enter a duration value.
Tip
You can also click the up and down arrows in the cell to enter or change the value
in the Duration field.
Project initially sets all new tasks that have a duration value to start at the project
start date. This is true whether the tasks are manually or automatically scheduled.
For manually scheduled tasks, you can enter a duration as either a numeric value,
such as 2d, or as placeholder text, such as Check with Marketing team. For any
columns that are too narrow to display the full value, point to the cell; its full value
will appear in a ScreenTip.
For both manually and automatically scheduled tasks, Project draws a Gantt bar in
the chart portion of a Gantt chart view. The length of the bar represents the task’s
duration.

To schedule a task to span nonworking and working times with an elapsed
duration
1. When entering the task’s duration, precede the duration abbreviation with an e. For
example, enter 1ed to indicate one full 24-hour day, or 1ew to equal seven 24-hour
days, or 1emo to equal thirty 24-hour days.

To calculate the duration of a manually scheduled task
1. In the Start and Finish fields for the task, enter or select the start date and finish
date values you want.
Project calculates the Duration value. Note that when the task gets switched to be
automatically scheduled, the start and finish values might change based on
predecessor relationships, the project start date, or other scheduling factors. The
duration value, however, will be preserved.

Enter milestone tasks
In addition to entering tasks to be completed, you might want to account for an important
event for your project’s plan, such as the end of a major phase of the project. To do this,
you will create a milestone task.
Milestones are significant events that are either reached within the plan (such as the
completion of a phase of work) or imposed upon the plan (such as a deadline by which to
apply for funding). Because the milestone itself doesn’t normally include any work,
milestones are normally represented as tasks with zero duration. To visually distinguish
milestones, their Gantt chart symbol appears as a diamond rather than a bar. However, you
can flag any task of any duration as a milestone.

To enter a milestone task

1. In the Task Name column, click where you want to insert the milestone.
2. On the Task tab, in the Insert group, click Milestone.
Project inserts a new row for the new task and renumbers subsequent tasks. Project
names the new task <New Milestone> and gives it a zero-day duration.
Tip
To convert a task of any duration to a zero-duration milestone task, set its Duration
value to 0.

To mark a task of any duration as a milestone
1. Select a task name.
2. On the Task tab, in the Properties group, click Information.
3. In the Task Information dialog box, click Advanced.
4. Select the Mark Task As Milestone check box.

Create summary tasks to outline the plan
You’ll find it helpful to organize groups of closely related tasks into an outline by using
summary tasks. A summary task is made up of and summarizes the subtasks indented
below it in the plan’s outline. When the summary tasks are sequenced over time, the
highest-level summary tasks are called phases.
When you are reviewing a project’s plan, seeing tasks organized in an outline helps you
and your stakeholders think in terms of major work items or phases. For example, it is
common to divide book publishing projects into Editorial, Design, and Production phases.
With an outline applied, you can then expand or collapse the outline to show just the level
of detail you want. You create an outline by indenting and outdenting tasks.
Summary tasks are automatically scheduled and not manually scheduled by default. The
duration of an automatically scheduled summary task is calculated by Project as the span
of working time from the earliest start date to the latest finish date of its subtasks. If you
directly edit the duration of an automatically scheduled summary task, or its start or finish
date, it will be switched to a manually scheduled task.
When a summary task is manually scheduled, its duration will be calculated based on its
subtasks, just like the duration of an automatically scheduled summary task. However, you
can edit the duration of a manually scheduled summary task, and Project will keep track of
both the manual duration that you entered and the calculated duration. You will learn
about summary tasks with both manual and automatically calculated durations in Chapter
10, “Fine-tune task details.”
The highest level of a plan’s outline is called the project summary task. Project
automatically generates the project summary task but does not display it by default.
Because the project summary task is at the highest level of the plan’s outline, it includes

rolled-up details from all subtasks. It also represents the full duration of the plan, so it’s a
handy way of seeing some essential details, such as the plan’s overall duration. You will
learn about the plan’s duration and finish date later in this chapter.
Project management focus: Top-down and bottom-up planning
Two common approaches to developing tasks and phases are top-down and bottomup planning:
Top-down planning This approach identifies major phases or components of
the project before filling in all the details required to complete those phases,
which are represented in the plan as summary tasks. Complex plans can have
several layers of nested summary tasks. This approach works from general to
specific.
Bottom-up planning This approach identifies as many of the bottom-level
detailed tasks as possible before outlining them into phases or summary tasks.
This approach works from specific to general.
Creating accurate tasks and phases for most complex plans requires a combination
of top-down and bottom-up planning. Typically, a project manager begins with
established, broad phases for a plan (top-down planning), and the resources who
will execute the plan provide the detailed tasks that fill out each phase (bottom-up
planning).

To promote a task to a summary task
1. Select the tasks directly below the task that you want to make a summary task.
2. On the Task tab, in the Schedule group, click the Indent Task button.

Project uses text and bar formatting to distinguish between summary tasks and subtasks
When you make a manually scheduled task a summary task, Project switches the
new summary task to be automatically scheduled.

To insert a new summary task within a task list
1. Select the name of the tasks that will become subtasks.
2. On the Task tab, in the Insert group, click Summary.
Project inserts a row for a new task, indents all of the selected tasks directly below
it, and renumbers the subsequent tasks. Project names the new task <New Summary
Task>.
3. With <New Summary Task> selected, enter the summary task name.

To demote a summary task to a task
1. Select all subtasks below the summary task.
2. On the Task tab, in the Schedule group, click the Outdent Task button.

Link tasks to create dependencies
When you link tasks, you create scheduling relationships between the tasks. These task
relationships are called dependencies, as in the start of this task is dependent upon the
completion of a prior task. When you create task dependencies (also called links), Project
can automatically adjust the scheduling of linked tasks as changes occur in your plan.
Creating dependencies by linking tasks is crucial to getting the full benefit of the Project
scheduling engine.
Let’s look at one type of dependency relationship you can create between two tasks. Most
projects require tasks to be performed in a specific order. For example, the task of writing
a chapter of a book must be completed before the task of editing the chapter can occur.
These two tasks have a finish-to-start relationship, which has two aspects:
The second task must occur after the first task; this is a sequence.
The second task can occur only if the first task is completed; this is a dependency.
In Project, the first task (Write the chapter) is called the predecessor because it precedes
tasks that depend on it. The second task (Edit the chapter) is called the successor because
it succeeds, or follows, tasks on which it is dependent. Any task can be a predecessor for
one or more successor tasks. Likewise, any task can be a successor to one or more
predecessor tasks.
Although this might sound complicated, two tasks can have one of only four types of task
relationships, as described in the following table.

For finish-to-start relationships (the default link type), the predecessor with the later finish
date determines the start date of the successor task. This predecessor task is sometimes
called the “driving predecessor” because it determines or drives the start date of its
successor task. Project includes a feature that helps you identify driving predecessor and
successor relationships more easily. The feature is called Task Path and is described in
Chapter 9, “Fine-tune task scheduling.”
A task with two or more successor tasks might have different task relationships with each
successor. For example, the predecessor task can have a finish-to-start relationship with
one successor and a finish-to-finish relationship with another successor.
Representing task relationships and handling changes to scheduled start and finish dates
are two areas where the use of a real scheduling tool such as Project really pays off. For
example, you can change task durations or add or remove tasks from a chain of linked
tasks, and Project will reschedule tasks accordingly.
Automatically scheduled tasks are dynamically rescheduled when their predecessor task
details change. Manually scheduled tasks, however, are not rescheduled by schedule
updates to their predecessor tasks, but you can force a manually scheduled task to respect
its predecessor links whenever you want. You can, in effect, “nudge” a manually

scheduled task to respect its links.
Task relationships appear in several ways in Project, including the following:
In Gantt chart and Network Diagram views, task relationships appear as the lines
connecting tasks.
In tables, such as the Entry table, task ID numbers of predecessor tasks appear in the
Predecessor fields of successor tasks. (In a Gantt chart view, you might need to drag
the vertical divider bar to the right to display the Predecessor column.)
Tip
You can adjust the schedule relationship between predecessor and successor tasks
by adding lead and lag times. For example, you can set a two-day lag between the
end of a predecessor task and the start of its successor task. For more information,
see Chapter 9, “Fine-tune task scheduling.”

To link tasks
1. Select the names of the tasks you want to link. If the tasks are not adjacent, select
the first task, hold down the Ctrl key, and then select the additional task or tasks.
2. On the Task tab, in the Schedule group, click the Link the Selected Tasks button
(which looks like two chain links).
Project links the tasks with a finish-to-start relationship.

Create schedule dependencies between tasks by linking them
Or
1. In the chart portion of a Gantt chart view, point to the predecessor task bar and then
drag down to the task bar for the successor task.
Note that as you drag, the pointer changes to a link icon and pop-up window that
updates with information as you point to other task bars.

This tooltip can help you link tasks by using the mouse. The pointer changes to
indicate that you are linking tasks.
2. When the pointer is over the successor task bar, release the mouse button.

One way to link tasks is to drag the pointer from the predecessor’s Gantt bar to the
successor’s Gantt bar
Or
1. In the Predecessors field for the successor task, enter the predecessor task’s ID.
You might have to scroll the table to the right to display the Predecessor column.
Tip
When working with summary tasks, you can either link summary tasks directly or
link the latest task in the first phase with the earliest task in the second phase. The
scheduling result is the same in either situation. Under no circumstances, however,
can you link a summary task to one of its own subtasks. Doing so creates a circular
scheduling problem, so Project doesn’t allow it.
Or
1. Select the task for which you want to specify a predecessor task or multiple
predecessor tasks.
2. On the Task tab, in the Properties group, click the Information button.
3. On the Predecessors tab of the Task Information dialog box, enter the ID value or
select or enter the task name of the predecessor task you want, and then click OK.
Tip
Adding predecessor tasks via the Task Information dialog box is a good way of
specifying multiple predecessors for a single successor task.

To unlink tasks
1. Select the tasks you want to unlink.
2. On the Task tab, in the Schedule group, click the Unlink Tasks button (which
looks like a broken chain link).

To force a manually scheduled task to respect its predecessor task’s
scheduling result
1. Select the manually scheduled task you want to be rescheduled as determined by its
predecessor task relationships.
2. On the Task tab, in the Schedule group, click the Respect Links button.

Switch task scheduling from manual to automatic
Project, by default, sets new tasks to be manually scheduled. In fact, so far in Part 2 of this
book you’ve worked only with manually scheduled tasks. In Project, you control the
scheduling of tasks in two different ways:
Work with manually scheduled tasks to quickly capture some details but without
scheduling the tasks. Think of a manually scheduled task as an initial placeholder
you can create at any time without affecting the rest of the plan. You might not
initially know more than a task’s name, and that’s OK. As you discover or decide
more details about the task, such as when it should occur, you can add those details
to the plan.
Work with automatically scheduled tasks to take full advantage of the powerful
scheduling engine in Project.

Switch individual tasks or the entire plan from manually to automatically scheduled
When you create automatically scheduled tasks, Project assigns a duration and start and
finish date values to them. With automatic scheduling, Project updates calculated schedule
values such as task durations, start dates, and finish dates automatically in response to
changes in a plan. Changes to factors such as task relationships and calendars can also
cause Project to recalculate affected tasks.

To switch a single task from manual to automatic task scheduling
1. Select the manually scheduled task you want to change.
2. Click in the Task Mode field of the selected task, and then click the arrow that
appears.
3. In the list that appears, click Auto Scheduled.

To switch several tasks from manual to automatic task scheduling
1. Select the manually scheduled tasks you want to change.
2. On the Task tab, in the Tasks group, click the Auto Schedule button.

To switch the currently open plan from manual to automatic task
scheduling
1. On the Task tab, in the Tasks group, click the Mode button, and then click Auto
Schedule.
Or
1. Click the New Tasks status bar text.
2. Click the scheduling mode you want.

To make all new tasks automatically scheduled, you can use the command on the status
bar

To change the default scheduling mode that Project applies to all new
plans
1. On the File tab, click Options, and then in the Project Options dialog box, click
the Schedule tab.
2. In the Scheduling Options For This Project box, click All New Projects, and then
in the New Tasks Created box, click Auto Scheduled.
3. Click OK.

Check a plan’s duration and finish date
At any time in the planning or execution of a project, you and other project stakeholders
will want to know how long the project is expected to take. You don’t directly enter a total
project duration or finish date in a plan, and you don’t need to. Project calculates these
values based on the task durations, dependencies, project calendar adjustments, and many
other factors you have recorded in a plan.

Project calculates the plan’s finish date based on the span of working days required to
complete the tasks, starting at the plan’s start date. Any change to the start date causes
Project to recalculate the finish date.
Project determines the plan’s duration by counting the working days between the earliest
start date and the latest finish date of the plan’s tasks. Because Project distinguishes
between working and nonworking time, a task’s duration doesn’t necessarily correlate to
elapsed time.
Some handy ways to view the plan’s duration and scheduled start and finish dates include
the Timeline view, the project summary task, and the Project Statistics dialog box.

To check a plan’s finish date in the Timeline
1. In the Timeline view above the Gantt Chart view, note the plan’s current start and
finish dates.
Important
If the Timeline view is not shown, on the View tab, in the Split View group, select
the Timeline check box.

To check a plan’s duration, finish date, and more in the Statistics dialog
box
1. On the Project tab, in the Properties group, click the Project Information button.
2. In the Project Statistics dialog box, click Statistics.

Check key indicators of the plan in the Project Statistics dialog box

To display the project summary task
1. Click anywhere in a Gantt chart view.
When the focus is on a Gantt chart view, the label of the Format tab is Gantt Chart
Tools.
2. On the Format tab, in the Show/Hide group, select the Project Summary Task

check box.
Project displays the project summary task at the top of the Gantt Chart view with an
ID of 0.

Display the project summary task (task 0) to view the plan’s start and finish dates and
its overall duration
Here you’ll find the same duration and start and finish values displayed in Project
Statistics, and a Gantt bar that’s drawn from the start and finish dates of the overall
plan.

Document task information
You can record additional information about a task in a note. For example, you might have
detailed descriptions of a task but want to keep the task’s name succinct. You can add such
details to a task note rather than to the task’s name. That way, the information resides in
the plan and can be easily viewed or printed.
There are three types of notes: task notes, resource notes, and assignment notes. You can
enter and review task notes on the Notes tab in the Task Information dialog box. Notes in
Project support a wide range of text formatting options; you can even link to or store
graphic images and other types of files in notes.
Tip
You will work with resource notes in Chapter 5, “Set up resources.”
Notes appear in a ScreenTip when there’s a note icon in the Indicators column.

View task notes by pointing to the note icon in the Indicators column
For notes that are too long to appear in a ScreenTip, you can double-click the note icon to
display the full text of the note.
The project summary task, mentioned earlier, also supports a task note. Because the
project summary task spans the entire plan, it’s a great place to capture important
information about the plan. Text entered in the Comments field of the Properties dialog

box appears as a note on the project summary task. If you add or change a note on the
project summary task, the change will appear in the Comments field in the Properties
dialog box.
Sometimes you might want to associate a task in a plan with information stored in a
different document or on a webpage. Hyperlinks allow you to connect a specific task,
resource, or assignment to additional information that resides outside of the plan.

To add a note to a task
1. Select the name of the task to which you want to add a note.
2. On the Task tab, in the Properties group, click the Notes button.
Or
Right-click the task name, and then click Notes.
3. In the Notes box, enter the note text you want, and then click OK.

To add a hyperlink to a task
1. Right-click the task name, and then click Hyperlink to open the Insert Hyperlink
dialog box.
2. In the Text to display box, enter the link text you want to display.
3. In the Address box, enter the URL of the destination address you want to link to.
4. Click OK.
Tip
To open the webpage in your browser, either click the hyperlink icon or right-click
the hyperlink icon and, in the shortcut menu that appears, point to Hyperlink, and
then click Open Hyperlink.

To quickly remove notes, hyperlinks, or formatting from selected tasks
1. On the Task tab, in the Editing group, click the Clear button (which looks like an
eraser), and then select the command you want.

Skills review
In this chapter, you learned how to:
Create tasks
Enter task durations and dates
Enter milestone tasks
Create summary tasks to outline the plan
Link tasks to create dependencies

Switch task scheduling from manual to automatic
Check a plan’s duration and finish date
Document task information

Practice tasks
The SimpleBuildTaskList practice file for these tasks is located in the
Project2016SBS\Ch04 folder.
Important
If you are running Project Professional with Project Web App/Project Server, take
care not to save any of the practice files you work with in this book to Project Web
App (PWA). For more information, see Appendix C, “Collaborate: Project,
SharePoint, and PWA.”

Create tasks
The scenario: You are a project manager at Lucerne Publishing. You’ve collected the
initial task names for a new book launch and are ready to start. Open the
SimpleBuildTaskList plan in Project and perform the following tasks:
1. Enter the following task names:
• Assign launch team members
• Design and order marketing material
• Distribute advance copies
• Coordinate magazine feature articles
• Launch public web portal for book
While reviewing the tasks you entered, you realize that you missed a task. You’ll
insert that task next.
2. Insert a new task named Public Launch Phase so that it will appear above the
Distribute advance copies task.

Your initial task list should look like this

Enter task durations and dates
The scenario: You showed your initial task list to the resources who will perform the work
and to other project stakeholders. They gave you their preliminary (although incomplete)
feedback on some task durations and dates, which you’d like to record in the new book
launch plan. Continuing in the SimpleBuildTaskList plan, perform the following tasks:
1. Enter a duration of one day for task 1, Assign launch team members.
2. Enter the following durations or text phrases for the other tasks.

3. For task 5, Coordinate magazine feature articles, in the Start field enter 1/22/18
and in the Finish field enter 1/30/18.
Project calculates the duration as six days. Note that this is six working days:
Monday through Wednesday, and Friday of the first week, and then Monday and
Tuesday of the following week. Project also draws the Gantt bar for the task to span
these working days plus the nonworking days (the Thursday, January 25 morale
event you set up in Chapter 3, “Start a new plan,” plus the weekend) between them.
For task 6, Launch public web portal for book, you don’t know a duration or start or
finish date yet, but you can still capture what you do know.
4. In the Start field for task 6, enter About two weeks before launch complete.

After entering durations and dates, your task list should look like this

Enter milestone tasks
The scenario: You just learned the date by which the new book launch’s planning activities
need to be completed for the book launch to occur on time. You want this date to have
visibility in the plan. Continuing in the SimpleBuildTaskList plan, perform the following
task:
1. Insert a new milestone task named Planning complete so that it will appear above
task 3, Public Launch Phase.

After adding a milestone task, the plan should look like this

Create summary tasks to outline the plan
The scenario: The new book launch plan is developed enough now to be organized into
two phases. Continuing in the SimpleBuildTaskList plan, perform the following tasks:
1. Make the Public Launch Phase task the summary task of tasks 5, Distribute
advance copies, through 7, Launch public web portal for book.
Notice the scheduling effect of creating the summary task. Because task 6 had
specific start and finish dates already, Project set the start date of the summary task
(and its other subtask with a duration) to the same date, January 22.
2. Insert a new summary task named Planning Phase that will include tasks 1 through
3, so they become its subtasks.

Now the plan is organized into two phases of work

Link tasks to create dependencies
The scenario: The new book launch plan is coming together nicely. Tasks have been
outlined under summary tasks, and you’re now ready to create task relationships.
Continuing in the SimpleBuildTaskList plan, perform the following tasks:
1. Enter a task ID in the Predecessor field to link tasks 2 and 3 with a finish-to-start
relationship.
Note that task 3 previously had no start or finish date, but by making it a successor
of task 2, you gave Project enough information to give task 3 a start date: January
9th, the next working day following the end of task 2.
Next, you’ll link tasks 3 and 4 by using a different technique.
2. Make task 3, Design and order marketing material, a predecessor of task 4 by using
the Task Information dialog box.
3. Link all subtasks under Public Launch Phase (tasks 6 through 8) all at once by
using the Link the Selected Tasks command.
As you do so, keep an eye on task 8’s text value of About two weeks in the Start
field. Notice that Project replaced the text value in the Start field of task 8 with a
scheduled date and supplied the default one-day duration. Project did so because it
required a date value for the task as soon as it was linked to another task. The
question mark following the duration value indicates that this is an estimated
duration; the question mark has no effect on the scheduling of the task.
4. Link task 1, Planning Phase, to task 5, Public Launch Phase, by using your mouse
in the chart portion of the Gantt Chart view.
5. The Lucerne marketing team has reported that its estimate is that task 3 should have
a two-week duration. Change the duration of task 3 from the placeholder text Check
with Marketing to two weeks.
Notice that the new duration for task 3 caused the Planning Phase summary task’s

duration to increase, but it did not affect the scheduling of the task 4 milestone. Why
not? Remember that this task is still manually scheduled. In the next step, you will
force Project to adjust the start and finish dates of this task to honor its predecessor
task while leaving it as manually scheduled.
6. Adjust task 4, Planning Complete, so that it respects the predecessor link.

Link lines between Gantt bars and task IDs in the Predecessors column convey task
relationships
Project reschedules task 4 to start following the completion of its predecessor, task
3.
You might have noticed that the start of the Public Launch Phase summary task does
not respect its link to its predecessor, the Planning Phase summary task. Clicking the
Respect Link button with the Public Launch Phase summary task selected will not
cause it to be rescheduled, as it did for task 4. That’s because the start and finish
dates of the summary task are driven by the earliest start and latest finish dates of its
subtasks, which in this case are still manually scheduled.

Switch task scheduling from manual to automatic
The scenario: The new book launch plan has been reviewed by the