MS Project Training

Overview and Context

  • Participants’ Backgrounds, Needs, and Expectations
  • What is a Project
  • Recurring Theme 1 – Simplicity, Transparency, and No Loss of Control
  • Recurring Theme 2 – Effort versus Accuracy — the Asymptotic Curve

Customizing the Microsoft Windows Environment

  • Using Windows Explorer
  • File Name View Options

Opening Microsoft Project and Customizing the User Interface

  • Verifying the Version Number and the Application of Service Releases/Service Packs
  • Help Facilities — Too Much? — How To Turn Off
  • A Tour of the Screen – Names & Definitions
  • Notice lateral scroll bars at the bottom of both sides of the screen
  • Menu Bar, Tool Bars, Icons, and the View Bar
  • Turning Off Personalized Menus
  • Customizing a Tool Bar — Adding Some Icons

Starting a New Project

  • Selecting a Project Start Date
  • Start Date versus End Date Scheduling
  • Entering Tasks – Observe What Project Does
  • Adding and Hiding Columns, and a Quick Discussion of Project’s Data Base

Durations and the Time Scale

  • Duration Defined
  • Elapsed Duration
  • The Time Scale — Various Ways to Manage It
  • The Third Timescale Level

Outlining a Project

  • Summary Tasks and Detail Tasks (“Parent” and “Child” Tasks)
  • Properties of Summary Tasks
  • Outline Levels
  • The “Line Zero” Project Summary Task
  • Viewing Outline Numbers
  • WBS Numbers and Outline Numbers — Differences
  • Viewing Outline Levels – Preview of Filters

Linking Tasks

  • Standard Links (FS) using the Link and Unlink Icons
  • Selecting Adjoining Tasks with the Shift Key
  • Selecting Non-Adjoining Tasks with the Control Key – The Order Matters!
  • Linking Graphically – Slightly Dangerous
  • Three Other Types of Links (SS, FF, and the bizarre SF)
  • Entering Links in the Task Information Box and Other Forms
  • Power Linking by Typing Directly into the Predecessors or Successors Columns
  • Linking Summary Tasks — Controversy and Confusion (“Hidden Hands”)

Adding Lags to Links

  • Lags: Positive, Negative, and Percentage
  • Combining Lags with SS and FF Link Types
  • Documenting the Reasons for Lags with Notes
  • Small Negative Lags versus Large Negative Lags
  • An Alternative to Lags

Date Constraints

  • Constraints Frequently Set in Error – By Typing Dates
  • Eight Types of Constraints – Purposes of Each Type
  • When Constraints Conflict with Links – a Switch Determines Who Wins
  • What Types of Tasks are OK to Constrain
  • Documenting the Reasons for Constraints with Notes


  • The Purpose of Milestones – When Are They Useful?
  • Conflicting Definitions with Other Applications like MPM
  • The Milestones Filter

Working with Project Tasks

  • The Deadline Feature
  • More About Notes – Capacity and the Ability to Insert Objects
  • Adding Hyperlinks to Tasks, and How they Compare with Notes
  • Recurring Tasks
  • Splitting Tasks
  • Moving Tasks Around in a Schedule – Methods and the Level Problem
  • Moving Columns to New Positions
  • To Autolink or Not To Autolink Inserted or Moved Tasks
  • Saving Work with Autosave, and Version Control Issues
  • The Language of Tasks: When Verbs, When Nouns
  • How Logic Flows Through an Unconstrained Schedule
  • How Detailed Should Schedules Be?

The Critical Path

  • Understanding The Critical Path
  • Different Views that Show the Critical Path
  • Adding the Critical Path to the Gantt View with a Wizard
  • Microsoft’s Critical Path Options in the Tool Box (Tools-Options-Calculation)
  • The Impact of Date Constraints on the Critical Path
  • The Impact of Task Progress on the Critical Path — The Different Effects of FS and SS Links
  • The Impact of Deadlines on the Critical Path — A Departure from the Classic
  • Definition of “Critical”
  • Elapsed Durations, ALAP Tasks, and their Effect on Critical Path


  • What is a Filter and Why is it Useful?
  • Filters (1) – The Short List in the Menu
  • Filters (2) – The Long List in “More Filters”
  • Filters (3) – The Power of Autofilters, Singly and in Combination
  • Filters (4) – Total Control – Creating and Saving Custom Filters
  • Applying a Highlight Filter
  • Linking a Filter with a View, and the Permanent Highlight Filter Option

Sorting and Grouping

  • When Would Sorting be Useful
  • Sorting (1) – The Quick Sort — Several Choices in the Menu
  • Problems and Limitations with the Quick Sort
  • Sorting (2) – The Full Sort — Managing the Two Check Boxes
  • Restoring Original Line Order with the Sort by ID Option
  • The “Grouping” Function – a Kind of Group Sorting with Subtotaling

Customizing Fields

  • Changing Field Names – 2 Ways
  • The View-Specific Change Technique — Double Click Column Header
  • The Durable Change Technique — Customizing the Field
  • Limiting Entries into Optional Fields with Data Validation
  • Adding a Formula to an Optional Field
  • Adding “Stoplight” Graphics to an Optional Field
  • Separate Customization Choices for Summary Tasks

Other Views and Display Options

  • The Calendar View
  • The Network Diagram View (Formerly Called “PERT” View)
  • The Relationship Diagram View
  • Splitting the Screen, and Managing the Two Split Halves
  • The “Arrange All” Function — For Managing Multiple Open Projects


  • The Standard Reports
  • Editing and Customizing Reports
  • Using the Gantt View instead of Microsoft Project’s Reports

Adding Graphics and Multimedia Objects to the Gantt Area

  • Adding a Text Box
  • Adding Clip Art
  • Adding Sound and Video Objects

Formatting for Printing

  • Wrapping Text to Handle Long Task Names
  • What Columns Will Appear in Print — a Big Problem Resolved
  • Gantt Bar Appearances – the Bar Styles Dialogue Box
  • Adding and Removing Text and Dates from Gantt Bars and Milestones
  • Link Appearances — Suppressing Links in Large Schedules
  • The Scaling Option – Get More Space with the Percent Scaling Tool
  • Building Headers with Variable Inserts
  • Building Footers with Variable Inserts – a Suggested Standard
  • Turning the Legend On and Off
  • The Final Setup Tab: Showing Notes, Blank Pages, Etc.
  • Last Look at Zooming – Where is the Print Date Range Dialogue Hidden?
  • Extra Polish: Adding Logos to Headers for Special Presentations
  • Formatting Options are Stored in Views

Exporting Project Images and Data to Other Applications

  • Exporting Gantt Views to Word and PowerPoint with the Camera Icon
  • Exporting with the PrintScreen Key and ALT-PrintScreen
  • Exporting Data to Excel — the Outline Level Problem
  • Exporting Data to Access — the Choice of Power Users

The Organizer

  • Overview of the Organizer: the 2-Library Concept
  • What Project Does When it Looks For a New View or Filter, etc.
  • Where Modifications are Saved – the Local Library
  • What the Global Library is (GLOBAL.MPT), and Why it is Useful
  • Making Custom Filters, Views, etc. Available to Other Schedules on Your Computer
  • Sharing Custom Filters, Views, etc. with Friends and Colleagues
  • More about Views – What They Contain and What They Don’t

Check out our references or contact us for more information.