Microsoft Project: Best Practices

Ensuring Project Files Adhere to Proven Practices

When using Microsoft Project, the project manager (PM) will ensure their time spent managing tasks and resources is most efficient by leveraging practices commonly used by the project management community as illustrated below.

Auto Scheduled Task Mode

When entering new tasks, the PM can save a lot of time during the life of the project by changing their installation of Microsoft Project to automatically set values for duration, start and end dates, and the bar within the Gantt Chart.

When I enter a new project, I’m taken to the Task overview where I may enter tasks.

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By changing this setting in Options, new tasks will automatically have the values previously mentioned populated for me.

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Now when I enter a new task, and click in another cell, Project populates those fields for that task.

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Begin New Tasks with the Current Date

When using Auto Scheduled tasks, changing the date those new tasks are schedule on means they will begin on today’s data.  Access this option on File -> Options, Schedule page.

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Indicate Estimations in Tasks

When using Auto Scheduled tasks, it’s helpful to be reminded when estimations are entered for you so you know later to update those values.  Access this option on File -> Options, Schedule page.

This feature appends a question mark at the end of the duration entered.

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Use Entry Bar for Easier Data Entry

Instead of manually-clicking twice to enter every cell to type, you may enable the Entry bar which provides a user-friendly text box.  Access this option on File -> Options, Display page

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Now, near the top of the window I can simply type into the space provided to update tasks.

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Save Screen Real Estate by Hiding the Timeline

Normally in the project designer you are provided with a Timeline view of the project. However, this may consume a lot of vertical space which you may hide.

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Use the View tab to uncheck the Timeline and you can reclaim that area.

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