Microsoft Project Survival Tips

Here are a few things I learned while struggling with Microsoft Project. They may save you a day or two of frustration!

Why the heck does it ignore priorities?

Probably because you used the mouse to move a task to a different time. When you do this, it sets a constraint on the task's start date! You probably want to clear all constraints every so often to make sure you didn't accidentally create one. To do this, select all tasks, expand them, right click, choose Task Info/Advanced, and change constraint to "Start as soon as possible".

Why the heck does it leave gaps?

Probably because you have collapsed some summary tasks. Subtasks that are collapsed don't show up anywhere, leaving apparant gaps. To fix this, select all tasks, and click on Expand (the plus sign).

Why the heck do subtasks not get included in summary tasks' timelines?

Probably because you were looking at the schedule through a filter while you were adding the subtasks. Subtasks added while anything is filtered out could end up anywhere - I've seen subtasks end up attached to the end of my cat's nose (and the cat did not appreciate it). Save yourself and your cat some trouble; display "All Tasks" when actually working on the schedule; filters should be used only when looking at but not touching the schedule. (You should probably expand all tasks before adding any new ones, too!)

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Dan Kegel
15 July 1997