Microsoft Project Tips – Part I

Elapsed Duration

You can schedule tasks to occur during working and nonworking time. To do this, assign an elapsed duration to a task. You enter elapsed duration by preceding the duration abbreviation with an e. For example, type 3ed to indicate three elapsed days. You might use an elapsed duration for a task that you don’t directly control but that nonetheless is critical to your project. For instance, you might have the tasks Pour foundation concrete and Remove foundation forms in a construction project. 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 A.M., and expect it to be complete by Sunday at 9 A.M. In most cases, however, you’ll work with nonelapsed durations in Project.


Scroll To Task

When using Resource Utilization view sometimes it is important to see where the current task is starting.  Microsoft Project does not actually takes you to the start day of the task from the utilization view.  While updating project or performing leveling it is sometimes required to see where the task is actually starting.  Consider the example give below


Switch to Resource Usage View using View -> Resource Usage


you can see that project is showing the work for the current date.  If I want to see what is the start of task 1 that is assigned to resource 1. 

1. Click on the Task 1 in resource usage view and click or select the task and click on Scroll To Task button or use Ctrl + Shift + F5.


2. Now the usage view shows the task working hours on its working days.

It is handy.


The short keys for indenting are

Making a Task as Phase

1. Create two tasks 1. Phase Task 2. Sub Tasks


2. Click on the sub task. 

3. Control + Shift + Right Array Key.  This will make the phase task a summary task.


4. To make phase task back to normal use Control + Shift + Left Array Key.

Task Dependencies

The second task must occur later than the first task; this is a sequence.

The second task can occur only if the first task is completed; this is a dependency.


The best view to see Task dependency is view Network Diagram.


When working with summary tasks, you can either link summary tasks directly (as you did above) or link the latest task in the first phase with the earliest task in the second phase. The scheduling end result is the same in either situation, but it’s preferable to link the summary tasks to better reflect the sequential nature of the two phases.

Viewing Project Information for Whole Project

To Zoom to see entire project in Gantt chart use

View – Zoom -> Enter Project  or use (Alt + V + Z + E) together.

Project Summary Information

If your project has baseline and you have entered actual work.  You will be a position to see where you are interms of your project status.  You can see this using Project Statistics Dialog box. 

1. Click Project -> Project Information and click on Statistics Dialog Box or use (Alt + P + P + i)


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