FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions About Microsoft Project 

Before Posting - Click Here


Contents


Edited 17 May 11 - notes added in red to FAQ 43 and some changes made to the procedure

52.    Find a Forum
51.
    Data Types: Task, Resource and Assignment

50.    Successor's Start Date Is Different From Its Predecessor's Finish Date
49.    Summary Task Resources
48.   
Summary Task Linking
47
.    Project 2003 Books & References

46.    Analysis Toolbar (Project 2000+)
45     Project 2002 and 2003 Mixed Environments
44.    Printing Problems
43.    Handling project file corruption and/or bloat
42.    A Guide to Network Analysis
41.     Project 2002 Microsoft Courseware, Training, Reference Whitepapers and Webcasts
40.    Project 2002 Books and References
39.    Project 2002 Updates: 20 August 2002
38     Combined Resource Graph
37.    Custom Fields in Views
36.    Compare Project Versions
35.    Analyze Timescaled Data Takes a Long Time to Run or Never Finishes
34.    Overallocation Occurring In Less Than One Day
33.    What the Gantt Chart Legend Shows
32.    Project 2000 / Central Service Releases
31.     Customizing Task Bars
30.    Office 2000 Problems
29.    Project 2000 Training Materials
28.    Resource Levelling Does Not Remove Overallocation
27.    Project 4 to Project 2000
26.    Project 2000 Evaluation
25.    Project 2000 Books and References
24.    Project Newsgroups
23.    Project 2000 Release
22.    Mac Versions
21.    Truncated Notes
20.    Books and References

19.    Hammock Tasks
18.    Memory Problems
17.    Default Directory 
16.    Project Viewer
15.    AutoSave
14.    Viewing Multiple Baselines
13.    Project 4 Versions
12.    Project 98 Service Release 1
11.    Hidden Column
10.    Exporting to Excel
 
9.    Material Costs
 
8.    New Project Template
 
7.    Assigning Work Rather than Units
 
6.    Trial Booting
 
5.    Default Working Hours
 
4.    Removing Resource Pool
 
3.    Changing All Entered Durations
 
2.    Consolidated File Opening
 
1.     Strange Dates in Gantt? Check the Fiscal Year

 


Disclaimer:

This article is provided as is without any express or implied warranties. While every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this article, the Microsoft Project MVPs and other contributors assume no responsibility for errors or omissions, or for damages resulting from the use of the information contained herein.


52   Find a Forum

Since the demise of the newsgroups, find an appropriate forum to post your questions from the list below.

Project Standard and Professional General Questions and Answers
http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/projectprofessional2010general/threads

Project Server General Questions and Answers 
http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/projectserver2010general

Project Customization and Programming
http://social.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/project2010custprog/threads

Microsoft Office for Business Users: Visio, Project, InfoPath, and Access
http://social.answers.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/addbuz/threads
(Under Business Application, try filtering for Project)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Check out the following resources to learn more about Microsoft Project and Project Server: 

Product information
Main product site: http://www.microsoft.com/project
Project Team Blog: http://blogs.msdn.com/project 

Interactive content - Videos & Sessions & Webcasts
http://www.microsoft.com/showcase/en/US/channels/microsoftproject
http://www.microsoft.com/events/series/epm.aspx

Project Professional 2010 and Project Server 2010 Demo Image:
Download: http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=9713956 
Hosted Virtual Lab: http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=9713654

IT Professional related
TechCenter @ TechNet: http://technet.microsoft.com/ProjectServer
Admin Blog:  http://blogs.technet.com/projectadministration 

Developer related
Developer center @ MSDN: http://msdn.microsoft.com/Project
Programmability blog:  http://blogs.msdn.com/project_programmability

SharePoint 2010
http://sharepoint.microsoft.com 


51.  Data Types: Task, Resource and Assignment

Project stores and uses data as one of three individual types – Task, Resource and Assignment.  Assignment data bridges task and resource data by matching resources to the task. Each data type has several extra fields associated with it. There are extra text fields, cost fields, etc, and they are all independent, that is, Task Text1 is not the same as Resource Text1 nor is it the same as Assignment Text1. When using Project Professional with Project Server several more enterprise level extra fields are available.

 

When in a task view (e.g. Gantt Chart), only task data can be shown and in a resource view (e.g. Resource Sheet), only resource data can be shown. The Usage views (Task or Resource) are special combination views that display either task and assignment data or resource and assignment data. When extra fields are displayed in a Usage view they must be properly interpreted. If Text1 is shown in the Task Usage view, task rows will display Task Text1 while assignment rows will display Assignment Text1 - and they are completely different and independent.

 

Task and Resource extra fields are customizable by the user. A field can be renamed to more easily identify it. The contents of the field can be limited by creating a value list for the field, or can be based on a calculation by using a formula. Indicators can also be displayed by setting some simple rules. Extra Assignment fields cannot be renamed or contain formulae or value lists but they can be customized with user data. However, in either Usage view Task or Resource value list data can be rolled down to Assignment  rows.

 

Project versions up through 2003 have only one set of assignment extra fields. Project 2007 introduced two types of assignment extra fields - those visible in the Task Usage view (Task Assignment fields) and those visible in the Resource Usage view (Resource Assignment fields), and they are completely different.

 

When customizing an extra field with a formula, the formula is only applicable to views of that data type. For example, if a formula is created for Cost1 in the Resource Usage view, it is a Resource Cost1 formula and will ONLY apply to resource data, not to the assignment data, which may also be shown in the view.

 

For versions of Project earlier than 2003 grouping works similar to formulae, that is grouping only applies to task or resource data. Project 2003 added the functionality to allow grouping on task/resource OR assignment data when in a Usage view but the user does need to specify the proper Field Type when selecting the assignment option.

 

Filters are a little more flexible. If a filter is applied to a Usage view, it will filter on both the resource/task data and the assignment data. For example if a simple filter for Flag1 is applied to the Resource Usage view, the result will include all resource rows with [resource] Flag1 AND all assignment rows with [assignment] Flag1.

See also  FAQ 37 - Extra Fields in Views


50.   Successor's Start Date Is Different From Its Predecessor's Finish Date

There could be several reasons for a successor's start date to be different from its predecessor's finish date:

1) Calculation is set to manual. Go to tools menu / option / calculation tab and set it to automatic or press F9 to recalculate.

2) The start date of the successor could be fixed by a strong constraint such as Must Start On, Must Finish On, or Finish No Later Than. The default option is that in a scheduling conflict situation, Project considers these constraints as more compelling than the link and thus will not move the start date of the successor. This setting can be changed in Tools / Options /

Schedule: "Tasks will always honor their constraint dates".

3) The start date of the successor could be fixed by its actual start date. This happens if the successor has any progress recorded to it.

4) The start date of the successor is later than the predecessor's finish date. This can happen due to several reasons:

- When the successor has a "Start No Earlier Than" or a “Finish No Earlier Than” constraint.

- It can be due to another link to the successor.

- It can happen because the successor is part of a summary task which is forced to start later by a constraint or a link (this is one good reason not to link to summary tasks).

To better understand this, remember that Finish-to-Start links only tell Project that the successor can not start before the finish of the predecessor and they don't imply an "equal to" relationship at all.

Similarly, in case of a Start-to-Start link, the start of the predecessor will not always match the start of the predecessor; the same reasons may apply.


49 - Summary Task Resources.

It is important to understand that summary tasks in Project are not productive tasks but rather a visual and data summary of the subtasks under them. One of the two often asked questions, (see related FAQ 48 - Summary Task Linking), about summary tasks is, "can resources be assigned at summary level"? The simple answer is yes, but doing so is NOT recommended. Why? Here are some important considerations.

Assigning resources to summary tasks is probably the number one reason why values in the Cost field do not appear to add up. Summary task assignments will create double booking if the resource is also assigned to a subtask. It will cause data to be hidden, causing confusion with values, because data from subtask fields (e.g. Cost, Work, etc.) is added to resource data at the summary level.

The one case where a resource assigned to a summary task may be acceptable is for management/supervisory support. An alternative option is to create a separate task to delineate management/supervisory support, (see related FAQ 19 - Hammock tasks). Another option, when the overall project plan exists in a group of multiple independent project plans, is to create a separate file for management tasks.

So, assigning resources to summary tasks can cause obscure double booking with data confusion, and thus should be avoided entirely.


48 - Summary Task Linking.

It is important to understand that summary tasks in Project are not productive tasks but rather a visual and data summary of the subtasks under them. One of the two often asked questions, (see related FAQ 49 Summary Task Resources), about summary tasks is, "can summary tasks be linked"? The simple answer is yes, but doing so is NOT recommended. Why? Here are some important considerations.

Linking summary tasks is probably the number one reason project files develop “circular reference” errors which can be very difficult to find and correct. The main cause is links on both the summary and between subtasks under different summaries. Other causes include outdenting, where a linked subtask becomes a linked summary, and dragging and dropping linked subtasks from one summary grouping to another. Another major problem is that the logic flow of tasks becomes very complex as summary links conflict with subtask links and from the user's standpoint, the schedule doesn't seem to make sense or doesn't respond to changes/updates as expected.

However, the one time links on summary tasks MIGHT make sense is for a very high level plan that is used strictly for initial planning purposes. That is, summary tasks are linked to show the overall schedule logic of groups of tasks but there are NO links between subtasks under different summary tasks.

So, links to summary tasks at best can cause confusing logic flow and at worst, file corruption, and thus should be avoided entirely.


47.   Project 2003 Books and References

Managing Enterprise Projects using Microsoft Office Project Server 2003
ISBN: 0-9759828-0-X   by MVPs:
Gary Chefetz & Dale Howard
Publisher: Soho Corp dba msProjectExperts: http://www.msprojectexperts.com/

Administering an Enterprise PMO using Microsoft Office Project Server 2003
ISBN: 0-9759828-1-8   by MVPs:
Gary Chefetz & Dale Howard
Publisher: Soho Corp dba msProjectExperts: http://www.msprojectexperts.com/

Microsoft Office Project 2003 Inside Out - Stover, Microsoft Press International  

Microsoft Office Project 2003 Step by Step  - Chatfield, Microsoft Press International

 Microsoft Office Project 2003 Bible - Marmel - John Wiley & Sons Inc

 Project 2003 for Dummies - Stevenson - John Wiley & Sons Inc

 Essentials Microsoft Project 2003 - CIS PrenticeHall

 Special Edition Using Microsoft Office Project 2003 (Special Edition Using)  - Pyron - Que

 New Perspectives on Microsoft Project 2003 - Introductory - Bunin

 Project 2003 Product Information: http://www.microsoft.com/office/project/prodinfo/default.mspx

 Project 2003 Frequently Asked Questions: http://www.microsoft.com/office/project/prodinfo/faq.mspx

Successful Project Management with Microsoft® Project 2003 CD-ROM by Jack Gido, James P. Clements

Planning and Scheduling Using Microsoft Project 2003 : With Revised Text and Updated Workshops by Paul E Harris

Show Me Microsoft Project 2003 by MVP Brian Kennemer, Inc. Perspection

Microsoft Office 2003 Illustrated Projects by Carol M. Cram

Microsoft Office Project Server 2003 Unleashed (Unleashed) by QuantumPM

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Project Management with Microsoft Project 2003 by Ron Black

Dynamic Scheduling with Microsoft Office Project 2003: The Book by and for Professionals by Eric Uyttewaal


46.   Analysis Toolbar (Project 2000+)

(This does not apply to the Analysis Services in Project Web Access or to Project 98 or earlier versions.)

If your Analysis Toolbar is not there, disappears, or some of its tools don’t work, the problem might have occurred when upgrading from Project 98 or Project 2000 to Project 2002. It’s possible too when upgrading from Project 2000 to 2003.

First try Tools/Customize/Toolbars.../Toolbars tab and check the Analysis toolbar. If you can now see the Analysis toolbar but it does not show features you want, then Tools/Customize…/Toolbars/Commands tab, select Tools on the left of the dialog, and on the right, scroll down to find COM Add-Ins…, click and drag it up onto the Standard toolbar, then Close. Now click the COM Add-Ins button and check the features you want. If the Analysis toolbar isn't available, repeat this last process, but remove all the checks and OK, then repeat again checking the Add-Ins you need and OK.  Now Tools/Customize/Toolbars.../Toolbars tab and check the Analysis toolbar.

If you still don’t have what you want, it is likely that the global.mpt file is corrupt. Close Project and then use Windows Explorer to search for the file called global.mpt and rename it to something like oldglobal.mpt. There may be more than one global.mpt that you need to rename: the critical one is in the user's profile (your Windows Account name). Then, by opening Project, it will recreate a new Global.mpt which will include the Analysis toolbar. You can then copy any personalized settings from the oldglobal.mpt into the new one using Tools/Organizer...

For example, in Project 2003 after renaming all global.mpt files, when you open Project, it launches detect/repair and creates a brand-new global.mpt. You can then open any "old" global.mpt files and then select items to "upgrade" into the newer global.mpt file.

If all else fails you will have to re-install Project.


45.   Project 2002 and 2003 Mixed Environments

Project Professional 2003 cannot connect to ProjectCentral.

Project Standard 2003 cannot connect to Project Server 2003, Project Server 2002 or ProjectCentral.

Project Professional 2003 can connect to Project Server 2003 (full enterprise  functionality) or Project Server 2002 (full enterprise functionality), but not ProjectCentral.

Project Professional 2002 can connect to Project Server 2003 (full enterprise  functionality), Project Server 2002 (full enterprise functionality), or ProjectCentral 

Project Standard 2002 can connect to Project Server 2002 or ProjectCentral, but  cannot connect to Project Server 2003

Project 2000 can connect to Project Server 2002 or ProjectCentral, but  cannot connect to Project Server 2003


44.  Printing Problems

If your printer is not producing what you want, first check that you have the latest Project service release installed (check via the Help menu and About…).  Next check that the layout presented in File>Print Preview is what you want.  If it isn’t, then try changing the settings by clicking the Setup button at the top.  Note particularly the "Scaling" settings on the Page tab, and the "Print Notes" and "Fit timescale to end of page" settings in the View tab.  If that still doesn’t meet your needs then click Close and experiment with zooming, font and bar sizes, etc.  

You can narrow the print out Timescale from File/Print/Dates From…To… 

If the Print Preview is showing what you want, then the problem almost certainly lies with your printer.  First, check that you have the latest driver downloaded from your printer vendor.  You could try a different font, different font size, different printer, or different printer driver.   Try your project on another PC, and try a different project – experiment and eliminate. 

PRJ2002: Cannot Print to Large Paper Sizes

If you have difficulty printing with Project 2007, it could be problems with the 3-D Gantt chart bars.  You could try turning off the 3-D via Tools/Options.../View tab:  under Show, UNSELECT "Bars and
shapes in Gantt views in 3-D".

 


43. Handling project file corruption and/or bloat

 Project files can become corrupt or bloated for various reasons. This FAQ focuses more on how to deal with the problem if it has already occurred rather than ways to avoid it in the first place. Due to the nature of corruption/bloat there is no guarantee that any one of these methods will in fact resolve the problem, but they have proved successful in many cases. No one method is necessarily better than the others - it is suggested you try as many as needed.

 Method 1 -

Because of the way Project stores files, file fragmentation may be the basic cause. To make sure this isn’t the problem: open your .mpp file then select File/Save immediately before doing any other action. Only if you save immediately after opening does Project defragment its .mpp file. If you do not have external links in your file, (i.e. resource pool, master with subprojects, etc.), then a good practice is to always use Save As instead of a straight Save with your file after editing. This helps keep editing clutter from being appended to the file.  However, be advised that using Save As with linked files can actually create corruption/bloat due to multiple link paths being created IF the file is not saved back to its original name and path.

Method 2 - (This does not apply for Project 2007 and later versions)

Save the file in the Microsoft Project Database format:

1. Open your problem file (it may help to turn off automatic calculation if the file is reluctant to open).
2. Select File/Save As...
3. Save as type: Project Database (*.mpd) then click Save.
4. Close the file.
5. Re-open it from the .mpd file.
6. Select File/Save As... and save it as an .mpp file again.

Method 3 -

Repeat the above steps except for step 3, Save As to .xml.

Method 4 - (Be advised that this will eliminate all custom formatting and that the new blank file created in step 1 should be pre-formatted with custom views, fields, calendars, etc. (Try using the Organizer to import such from the Global .mpt))

Re-create a whole new file from the corrupted/bloated file:

1. Open a new blank project file
2. Go to Insert/Project and insert the problem file.
3. Select the first task which will be the insertion point summary line.
4. Go to Project/Task Information/Advanced tab.
5. Uncheck the "Link to Project" button and hit "OK".
6. If the file isn't already expanded, expand it.
7. Select all tasks below the top level summary line.
8. Outdent the selected tasks.
9. Delete the first task which previously was a summary line.
10. Save the resulting file.

Method 5 -

If none of the above is effective, a more advanced approach is to re-create the file from Project's underlying database using VBA. Since the details of this method depend on the structural complexity of the file (e.g. multiple calendars, progress of tasks, levelling applied, etc.) this method should only be attempted by those with extensive Project VBA experience.


42.  Guide to Network Analysis

For an introductory guide to network analysis, on which project planning is based, click this link:

A Guide to Network Analysis


41    Project 2002 Microsoft Courseware, Training, Reference Whitepapers and Webcasts

Support Webcasts

Microsoft Project 2002 Product Overview and Workflow


Whitepapers

Microsoft Project 2002 Training Courseware

Microsoft Project 2002, Microsoft TechNet

Microsoft Project on MSDN

Microsoft Project Resource Kit (PRK)

Microsoft Project Solution Providers
(Select "Training" under "By Solution Provider Type:")

Training Docs

These have been posted to the web.
Module 1: Microsoft Project 2002 Training (Desktop Client)

Module 2: Module 1: Microsoft Project 2002 Training (Web Client and Server)

Module 3: Microsoft Project 2002 Training (Enterprise)

Module 4: Microsoft Project 2002 Training (Developers)

The EIF is posted to the web.

Project Progams and Solutions

 


40.   Project 2002 Books and References

Implementing Enterprise Portfolio Management with Microsoft Project Server 2002, Project MVP Gary Chefetz.
(See the
Project Server page.)

Microsoft Project 2002 Bible Elaine Marmel - Hungry Minds Inc

Project 2002 Inside Out - Microsoft Press - Microsoft Press International

Microsoft Project Version 2002 Step by Step – Catapult - Microsoft Press
International

Microsoft Project 2002 for Dummies – Stevenson - Hungry Minds Inc

Managing with Microsoft Project 2002 - Lisa Bucki and Project MVP Gary Chefetz - Premier Press

Project 2002: Effective Project Management in Eight Steps - S Nelson -
Redmond Technology Press

Special Edition Using Project 2002 - Tim Pyron and Project MVPs: Jack Dahlgren & Mike Glen - Que

Troubleshooting Microsoft Project 2002 = Bonnie Biafore - Microsoft Press
International

Microsoft Project Server 2002 -Qimao Zhang - Writer's Club Press


39.    Project 2002 Updates: 20 August 2002

Download updates for Project 2002:

Project 2002 Update

Project Server 2002 Update
 


38.    Combined Resource Graph

To graph work for more than one resource:

Window/Split and click in the top pane to make sure it is the active pane and then View/ Resource Usage or Resource Sheet.   Now click in the lower pane, View/ Resource Graph.   Right-click the graph and select Bar Styles… and on the left side, change the Selected Resources bars from Don't Show to Area (or whatever you want), selecting Colour and Pattern to suit, for both Overallocated and Allocated resources.  On the right hand side you could also hide the individual resource by selecting Don’t Show in both Overallocated and Allocated resources.  Now click the OK button.

Now in the top pane, select two or more resources and the graph will also show a combined total.   The lower pane always shows information related to whatever is selected in the upper pane. So by formatting the Resource graph appropriately you can get it to show combined data for every selected resource in the upper pane.  With the Resource Usage view in the top pane, you can make adjustments in the usage view while viewing the allocation or overallocation below.


37.   Extra Fields in Views

Versions 2003 and earlier

 

Project has three sets of extra fields: one for Tasks, one for Resources and one for Assignments.  Each one is unique and not automatically linked to the other two.  Data entered in extra fields for tasks are not copied into the Resource or Assignment fields with same name. For example, if a Text1 field is created for a particular use in the Gantt Chart view, data in that field cannot be seen in any Resource view or in a resource or assignment row of either Usage view. Task Text1 data will however appear in Task rows of the Task Usage view. Likewise Resource Text1 data will appear in Resource rows of the Resource Usage view.

 

Transferring data between like fields of different data types requires a VBA macro. The following macro will transfer the content of a Task Text field into the Assignment Text field:

 

Sub TransferTaskText1ToAssignmentText1()

Dim t As Task

Dim a As Assignment

On Error Resume Next

    For Each t In ActiveProject.Tasks

        For Each a In t.Assignments

            a.Text1 = t.Text1

        Next a

    Next t

End Sub

 

Version 2007 and Later

 

Project 2007 has two sets of extra fields for Assignments (one appears in the Task Usage view, the other in the Resource Usage view).  Each is unique and their content cannot be read or seen in the other view.

 

Copying data from task extra fields into Task Usage extra fields, and copying data from resource extra fields into Resource Usage extra fields, can be achieved automatically when customizing the field through Tools, Customize, Fields: check on “Roll down unless manually entered”.

 

The following macro will transfer data from a Task Text field into both assignment Text fields, thus making it visible in both Usage Views:

 

Sub Task_CF_To_Resource_Usage()

Dim Reso As Resource

Dim Task_As As Assignment

Dim Reso_As As Assignment

Dim Job As Task

For Each Job In ActiveProject.Tasks

    If Not Job Is Nothing Then

        For Each Task_As In Job.Assignments

            Task_As.Text1 = Job.Text1

            Set Reso = ActiveProject.Resources(Task_As.ResourceID)

            For Each Reso_As In Reso.Assignments

                If Reso_As.TaskID = Job.ID Then

                    Reso_As.Text1 = Task_As.Text1

                End If 'TaskID

            Next Reso_As

        Next Task_As

    End If 'Nothing

Next Job

End Sub

 

And a macro that will copy data from a resource text field into both Usage Views:

 

Sub Resource_CF_To_Task_Usage()

Dim Reso As Resource

Dim Task_As As Assignment

Dim Reso_As As Assignment

Dim Job As Task

For Each Reso In ActiveProject.Resources

    If Not Reso Is Nothing Then

        For Each Reso_As In Reso.Assignments

            Reso_As.Text2 = Reso.Text2

            Set Job = ActiveProject.Tasks(Reso_As.TaskID)

            For Each Task_As In Job.Assignments

                If Task_As.ResourceID = Reso.ID Then

                    Task_As.Text2 = Reso_As.Text2

                End If 'TaskID

            Next Task_As

        Next Reso_As

    End If 'Nothing

Next Reso

End Sub


36.   Compare Project Versions

With the Compare Project Versions add-in for Microsoft Project 2000, you can
compare two versions of the same project file and display the resulting
information in a detailed, customized report. This add-in allows you to
review differences between a current version and an earlier version, or to
contrast two possible projections.

Download Here


35.   Analyze Timescaled Data Takes a Long Time to Run or Never Finishes

If you have virus software installed (eg McAfee or Norton) it may be interfering with the connection between Project and Excel.  Try temporarily turning off your virus software and running the Analyze Timescaled Data feature in Project to see if the problem persists.  If this feature works with the Virus software turned off, contact your virus manufacturer to alert them of the problem and to see if there is a fix.   Specifically, ask them if there is a way to turn off or lower the security level of OLE communications between two applications.

Other reasons for why Analyze Timescaled Data can be very slow:
- Exporting very large Project files.  Consider exporting based on a week-by-week or month-by-month basis.
- Too many applications are running.  Try just running Project and Excel.
- The Analyze Timescaled Data feature can, in some cases, run much faster if Excel is already running.
- If the feature fails altogether, you may not have Visual Basic for Applications installed on your computer.  Run Microsoft Office Setup and make sure Visual Basic for Applications is installed.



34    Overallocation Occurring In Less Than One Day

Project reports overallocations if a resource has to work for more than 60 seconds during any one minute of a project (or projects if you have a pool).   For example, if a resource is booked for a 3-hour meeting at 9am and a 2-hour task also at 9am the same day, it will be overallocated, and the fact that the two together do not add up to an 8-hour day has no bearing.   Some ways of resolving such overallocations are:

Tools/Resource Levelling, though it will need a fine granularity (hour-by-hour in this case). 

View/Task Usage and change the minor time scale to hours, then manually edit the working hours so there is no overlap.

Set the Resource Units of the two tasks to be 50% on both so when there is an overlap the maximum is 100%. Make this edit by selecting Window/Split and change the units in the Task Entry form that appears in the lower window.  The man-hours of work can be edited here as well to more realistic amounts if appropriate.

See also FAQ No 28.    Resource Levelling Does Not Remove Overallocation


33    What the Gantt Chart Legend Shows

The details of the Gantt chart legend are taken from the settings in Format/Bar Styles...  If you create custom bars there, they will show up in the legend.  If you blank out (delete) the text in the Name cell (leave the rest in case you want it back again) or delete the whole row, that bar will not show in the legend. In Project 2000, you can also hide a legend item by inserting a * before a Name.


32.    Project 2000 Service Releases

Download Service Release 1 for Project 2000:

For Project 2000

A list of Fixed Problems in Microsoft Project 2000 SR-1               

For Project Central   

For Project 2000 Multi Language Pack   


31.  Customizing Task Bars - Project 2000 

In Project 2000, you can customize task bars so that they have, for example, different colours for special purposes when, for instance, you want to distinguish between different resources, departments, contracts, etc.  From the Gantt view, assuming a resource called Fred, first you need to detect tasks assigned to Fred by using a Flag field - click on the Resource Names column heading to highlight it, then Insert/Column/select Flag1 and in the Title field call it Fred.  Then right click the Fred column heading and select Customize Fields./Formula button and enter an If formula: IIf ([Resource Names]="Fred",Yes,No), /OK/OK/OK.  You should now see a Yes for Fred's tasks.

Then, from the Gantt view, Format/Bar Styles. make a copy of the Task bar - Cut Row/ Paste Row (to put it back again) scroll to the bottom and in the next blank space Paste Row again.  Change the task name to Fred, then change its colour/pattern/end shapes to suit.  Click in the Show For.Tasks cell, delete Normal,Noncritical, click the drop-down arrow and select Flag1, OK/OK.  All bars for Fred will now show the selected appearance.  

As there are 20 Flag fields, this procedure can be repeated for up to 20 different selections. 


30.  Office 2000 Problems

If, when you start one of the Microsoft Office programs after you install Microsoft Project 2000, the program quits immediately after it starts, then this is a known fault which is covered in this Article: OFF2000: Program Quits Immediately After Installing Project 2000 [Q270125]. 

Get it through this link


29.  Project 2000 / Central Training Materials

The Training Materials for Project 2000 from Microsoft are now available to the public. These are the manuals used in the internal training given to MS support personal.  

The Project training materials can be downloaded from this link

The training materials for Project Central can be downloaded from this link


28.  Resource Levelling Does Not Remove Overallocation

In the Resource Levelling form, there is a setting that allows selection of the granularity of leveling: "Look for overallocations on a ..... basis".   If, for example, you choose to level on a "week by week" basis, Project will not delay tasks awaiting resources, if during a week the total work assigned is less than the total manhours available.  So if in a week you have work totalling 30 hours, as this less than the default 40-hour week, Project will not level, even though a resource may be assigned to 10 hours a day for the first three days.  Project assumes you want to leave it to local management to sort out overtime or whatever to do the 30 hours within the 40-hour week.  Nevertheless, during the 3 days, the resource is overallocated based on an 8-hour day and will therefore show up as Red.   Project allows you to do what you want in organizing the work but is warning you there is an overallocation to be sorted out.


27. Project 4 to Project 2000

There is no independent converter for Project 4.x to Project 2000.   Project 4.x files with the normal *.mpp suffix cannot be directly opened in Project 2000. 

However, they can be opened in Project 98, saved in Project 98.mpp format which can then be read into Project 2000.  Otherwise, in Project 4.x, save the file in *.mpx format, which is readable by Project 2000, which means that you must still have Project 4 installed.


26. Project 2000 Evaluation

If you are having trouble booting a Project 2000 evaluation version, you can try editing the registry.

WARNING: Using Registry Editor incorrectly can cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. Microsoft cannot guarantee that problems resulting from the incorrect use of Registry Editor can be solved. Use Registry Editor at your own risk. For information about how to edit the registry, view the "Changing Keys And Values" Help topic in Registry Editor (Regedit.exe) or the "Add and Delete Information in the Registry" and "Edit Registry Data" Help topics in Regedt32.exe. Note that you should back up the registry before you edit it. 

Delete the following two registry keys and all its subkeys:

1. HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\9.0\MS Project
2. HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Office\9.0\MS Project

After you have deleted both keys Project  2000 Evaluation should boot. 


25. Project 2000 Books & References.

Special Edition Using Microsoft Project 2000 
A QUE Publication from Macmillan Press by Tim Pyron, Project MVP Rod Gill and edited by Project MVP Brian Kennemer . [ISBN 0-7897-2253-4]. A comprehensive 1,200 page paperback on Project 2000.

2000 Project Management : Planning and Implementation
by Bennet P. Lientz, Kathryn P. Rea. Paperback (September 1999). Focuses on weak areas of your project management procedures.

Complete Idiot's Guide to Project Management with Microsoft Project 2000 (Complete Idiot's Guide)
by Ron Black. Paperback

Effective Executive's Guide to Project 2000 : The Eight Steps for Using Microsoft Project 2000 to Organize, Manage and Finish Critically Important pro
by Stephen L. Nelson, et al. Paperback (February 2000)

Managing with Microsoft Project 2000
by Lisa A. Bucki. Paperback (March 2000)

Mastering Microsoft Project 2000 (Mastering)
by Gini Courter, Annette Marquis. Paperback (April 2000)

Microsoft Project 2000 Bible (Bible)
by Elaine Marmel. Paperback (April 2000)

Microsoft Project 2000 for Dummies
by Martin Doucette. Paperback (April 2000)

Teach Yourself Microsoft Project 2000
by Vickey L. Quinn. Paperback (April 2000)

Microsoft Project 2000 for Dummies Quick Reference
by Nancy Stevenson. Paperback (May 2000)

Microsoft Project 2000 Introductory Concepts and Techniques :
by Gary B. Shelly, et al. Hardcover (2000)

Microsoft Project 2000 Step by Step
by Carl S. Chatfield, Timothy D. Johnson. Paperback (May 2000)

Sams Teach Yourself Microsoft Project 2000 in 24 Hours (Teach Yourself -- 24 Hours)
by Tim Pyron. Paperback

Special Edition Using Microsoft Project 2000 (SE Using)
by Tim Pyron. Hardcover (March 2000)  QUE book


24. Project Newsgroups.

These newsgroups have been closed by Microsoft: please see 52. Find a Forum

When posting to a newsgroup please state your version of Project and Project Server if applicable. There are three Project newsgroups in English and are on the same server ie: msnews.microsoft.com.  Here are the newsgroups you should be using for Microsoft Project posts:

microsoft.public.project - Miscellaneous Microsoft Project concerns including project management discussion and posts previously posted to microsoft.public.project2000, microsoft.public.project2000.projectcentral, and microsoft.public.project.standard_and_server.

microsoft.public.project.server - Microsoft Project Server concerns including posts previously posted to microsoft.public.project.pro_and_server and microsoft.public.project.standard_and_server.

microsoft.public.project.developer - Microsoft Project Developer concerns including posts previously posted to microsoft.public.project.vba.

Or you can try this URL and on the left select Project:

http://www.microsoft.com/office/community/en-us/default.mspx?d=1.
 


23. Project 2000 Release

Project 2000 has been released.  A 60-day evaluation CD is also available from Microsoft (this cannot be downloaded from the Internet).


22.    Mac Version

There are no plans to do new Mac versions of Microsoft Project.   Microsoft announced this  around the time Project 98 was released.


21. Truncated Notes.

When exporting a Project file to another program, the Notes field is often truncated to 255 characters. There is little that Project 98 can do, but known issues are in the current articles listed below:

There is also a section entitled "Reading and Writing Notes Fields in the Database", in database.wri, which can be found on the Project 98 CD.


20. Books and References

Search for Project 4/98/MAC  for relevant information

"Microsoft Project 98 Online Users Guide"

"Microsoft Project 98 Training Manual"

MS Publication - "Microsoft Project 98 Step by Step". 

For a thorough discussion of Project Management and related fields, see the "Project Management Body of Knowledge" (PMBOK) HERE

Special Edition Using Microsoft Project 2000 a QUE Publication from Macmillan Press [ISBN 0-7897-2253-4]. A 1,200 page comprehensive guide to Project 2000.

"Using Project 98 - Special Edition" a QUE publication [ISBN 0-7867-1252-0]

"Beginning MS Project 98". 

"Microsoft Project 98 Bible" by Nancy Stevenson & Ekaine Marmel (ISBN 0-7654-3155-7). May be ordered from Borders online. 

"Microsoft Project 98 for Dummies"

"Managing Projects with MS Project" by Lowery

The Keystone Learning System tapes on Project (800-858-3358).

Microsoft Project User Group - Global


19. Hammock Tasks

A hammock task is dependent on external dates for its start and finish dates and, ultimately, its duration. The name, hammock task, is derived from the way a hammock's shape is determined by the distance between the points to which it is attached.

a. Create the task to become the hammock. 

b. Go to the task that will drive the start date of the hammock and click on its finish date.

c. Copy.

d. Go to the start date of the hammock task and Edit > Paste Special... > link.

e. Do the same for the start date of the task driving the finish date of the hammock task and copy/paste link its start date to the hammock's finish date.

See also MS knowledge base article: 141733 entitled: How to Build a Hammock Task.


18. Memory Problems.

If you experience problems attributable to memory, it is more likely to be caused by lack of Virtual Memory than RAM. To free up available memory in Windows, you may need to close down programs that are running. You can try re-starting the computer to allow Windows to recover. Try defragmenting your drive to give a larger contiguous section for virtual memory. It's also possible that the registry has been corrupted, so try running RegClean if you have it, or you might need to edit the Registry. Finally, you can try uninstalling Project and re-installing it.

In any event, you are advised to consult Articles 182271, 185485 & 173160 on the MS Knowledgebase.


17. Default Directory

The facilities to change the default directory in the Office programs, are not available to Project. [Project 2000 does have these facilities.] You could put multiple shortcuts to project files kept in different locations, in the default directory, which might suffice without disrupting other programs or risking registry corruption.

A more permanent solution will change the default working directory in Windows as well as Access, Excel, Power Point and Word, and will allow you to use default directories other than the Windows default directory.

WARNING: Using Registry Editor incorrectly can cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. Microsoft cannot guarantee that problems resulting from the incorrect use of Registry Editor can be solved. Use Registry Editor at your own risk. For information about how to edit the registry, view the "Changing Keys And Values" Help topic in Registry Editor (Regedit.exe) or the "Add and Delete Information in the Registry" and "Edit Registry Data" Help topics in Regedt32.exe. Note that you should back up the registry before you edit it. 

To set the default working directory, follow these steps: 

1.     On the Windows Start menu, click Run. 

2.     In the Open box, type "regedit" (without the quotation marks). Click OK 

3.     In the Registry Editor, select the following registry key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Current Version\Explorer\ User Shell Folders 

4. In the right pane, double-click Personal. 

5. In the Value Data box, type the path you want to use for the default working directory. For example, type "C:\My Documents" (without the quotation marks). 

6. Click OK. 

7. On the Registry menu, click Exit 


16. Project Viewer

Microsoft has not provided a viewer for Project. However, it is designed with the Web in mind, which allows anyone with an Internet Browser or email facilities to view details. For a picture, try clicking the copy picture button (little camera on the standard toolbar). There you have the option of creating a GIF file which can be used with the Save As... HTML format or directly attached to an email.    Save As HTML... > give a file name and Save > select an Export Map (or New Map) > Edit > Options tab check "Include image file in HTML page" > insert path and name of GIF image.

Project 2000 has Project Central and Project 2002/3 has Project Server, both of which can display project information, including graphical pages. They include a client/server structure that allows for central management of project data, remote access, role based data entry and access, and much more. Depending on how the data is accessed (with Project, an SQL front end), you can get pictures, reports, tables etc.  However there are a number of other options that you might consider. Here is list compiled from posts on the MS Project News groups.

Microsoft Excel – much of the data from Project can be exported to Excel, and you can use Excel’s graphic abilities. See also FAQ 10 Exporting to Excel.

Microsoft Access – like Excel, no pretty pictures, plenty of data manipulation capability.

Read only files – you can post MS Project files as read only on a shared drive, but your readers will have to know how to use MS Project and either have to have their own copy or access to a network copy.

Microsoft has an add-in for Project to make PowerPoint presentations.  Download here: Office 2003 Add-in: Project Report Presentation

There are also a number of other third party/shareware programs that can create viewers or pdf files, like:

Housatonic Project Viewer: www.projectviewercentral.com
Project Viewer:  www.projectreader.com
Project on Web Viewer:
www.afinion.com
Plan for Windows: 
www.twiddlebit.com
Freeware pdf995:
www.pdf995.com
Steelray at
www.steelray.com
Ghostscript (free):
www.ghostscript.com 
Seavus Project Viewer:
www.seavusprojectviewer.com
Adobe Acrobat (you have to purchase the full version to create the pdf file
www.Adobe.com but everyone else only needs the free reader.
AmiProjects (free):
www.amiproject.com
MOOS Project Viewer (free): http://www.ms-project-viewer.com/

See Also some of the other Companion Products on this site.

 


15. AutoSave

There is no built-in AutoSave for MSP. Indeed many Project Managers would not use one for fear of overwriting the currently loaded project during development and not being able to get back to the original!   Instead, favour the ultimate discipline for all software of saving regularly, every 10 mins or before making major changes.   [Project 2000 has this facility.]


14. Viewing Multiple Baselines

Format > Bar Styles... In the Bar Styles form, scroll down to a blank row and click in the Name cell. Type in a name - Interim1 - or whatever. Click in the Appearance cell and give it a colour and/or pattern. Click in the Show For...Tasks cell and using the drop-down arrow, select Normal. In the Row cell select 2. In the from cell select Start1 and in the To cell select Finish1. This will show the first Interim baseline, assuming when you created it from Tools > Tracking > Save Baseline you selected the data to be copied from Start/Finish to Start1/Finish1. Repeat this procedure for Start2/Finish2 but change the Row to 3 (you can have up to 4 rows - make them all thin bars to save space on the screen).


13. Project 4 Versions 

Project 4 was upgraded to 4.1 primarily to allow it to use the 32 bit facilities of Windows 95. 4.1a was later introduced to allow changes to be available under Windows NT. Either has been subsequently referred to as Project 95. A version history of Microsoft Project can be found in the Knowledge Base article ID Number: Q98026


12. Project 98 Service Release 1 

Microsoft Project 98 SR-1 is currently available free of charge to all Microsoft Project 98 customers. (In the UK you can contact Microsoft on 0870 601 0100). Microsoft Project 98 SR-1 is available on CD or 3.5" disks, but is not available for download from the Internet.


11. Hidden Column

If you plan to recover a field's column later and temporarily hide it for now, do not use hide command as it gets removed from the table and also any custom field heading gets lost. You can hide a column by click and dragging on the boundary between columns in the heading (gray area). Using your mouse, move it from right to left until the two-way arrow appears, click and drag to the left to hide a column. To reveal the column, drag to the right. Incidentally, if you double-click when you have the left-right arrow, the column will best fit. Hiding or deleting a column does not lose the data. To re-establish a column, click on the column heading to the right of where you want it to appear and press the Insert button on the keyboard. In the dialog box, click the drop down arrow and select the appropriate field. Note that if you've used Edit > Hide Column you have to re-insert it, you can't use the mouse.   You can also go to View > Table ( ) > More Tables... > Edit and make the column width for that field greater than zero. You can also hide the column from view by making it's width 0 in the Table Edit dialog box. (Don't forget to click on "Apply" button to make the changes in Edit dialog box to take effect).


10. Exporting to Excel

The trick with importing into Excel is to select Edit > Paste Special... and paste As: Text. You will then have the figures to manipulate at will. However, to copy from the Resource Usage view you have to do it in two goes. To copy the table data, select the All button (top left - the square above the row number column and to the left of the indicator column heading) before copying. For the timescaled data, you select all by clicking on the Details button (top left - above the Work column and to the left of the calendar timescale heading). You will then have to make sure the data is aligned in Excel. You can also link the data to project to ensure it's always updated with project, though you will not be able to change any of the data in Excel within the array so formed. 

Another way to export time scaled data to Excel is to view the Analysis Toolbar (View, Toolbars, Analysis). 
Click the button Analyze Timescaled Data in Excel... then answer the wizard prompts.


9. Material Costs

If you want to enter material costs that are based on a unit price, you can assign a per-use cost to a material resource before assigning this resource to a task. When you specify how many units you'll use, Microsoft Project will calculate the total material cost by multiplying the base unit price you set by the number or percentage of units you specified. [Project 2000 has much more sophisticated materials handling.]


8. New Project Template

Set up a template by entering into a new project all the resources information you expect to use on all projects. Then when you start a new project, invoke the template and build up your new project from that. You set up a template project by saving it as a MPT file (select from the bottom of the Save As.. dialog). Whilst you are at it, why not set all the defaults through Tools > Options, (particularly to set up your default calendar), company working times and the standard representations like bar styles (you will need at least one dummy task for the style to be applied), report headers and footers, etc, as per your company Policy (you do have one of course ;-)  )


7. Assigning Work Rather than Units

First click the Information tool and in the Advanced tab remove the check against Effort Driven. (You could also change the default in Tools > Options > Schedule tab - New tasks are effort driven) Enter the duration to span the number of days you want (say 22days from 20 Aug to 18 Sep). Now click the Assign Resources tool, and in the Units cell for the resource enter the work hours (e.g. "20h" - you must put the "h" to tell project that it's not 20 units). Project will calculate that the resource will be assigned at 11% per day. Now click the Information tool and in the Advanced tab select Fixed Work. Then, as you do work, use the Resource Usage sheet to put in the actual work done day by day (right click on the yellow area and select Actual Work) and Project will reassign the remaining work within the time left.


6. Trial Booting

If you are having trouble booting a Project 98 trial version or an upgrade, you can try editing the registry.

WARNING: Using Registry Editor incorrectly can cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. Microsoft cannot guarantee that problems resulting from the incorrect use of Registry Editor can be solved. Use Registry Editor at your own risk. For information about how to edit the registry, view the "Changing Keys And Values" Help topic in Registry Editor (Regedit.exe) or the "Add and Delete Information in the Registry" and "Edit Registry Data" Help topics in Regedt32.exe. Note that you should back up the registry before you edit it. 

If you're happy editing the registry, try modifying registry key: HKEY_USERS\S-1-5-21-1661544484-239356022-623648099-500\Software\Microsoft\Office\8.0\MSProject\Options\General. Change value of FirstBoot from "No" to "Yes".


5. Default Working Hours

The settings you change under Tools > Options > Calendar, for the working week or day affect the way project views your entries in the duration field. If you type in 1 week, Project looks to the setting you've made to define the number of hours (and thus man-hours) that a week contains. Ditto for the working day. Equally, if you don't specify a time, a task starts at the default setting of 08:00, and if you schedule from the finish, tasks will end at the default of 17:00

To schedule your company working time properly, you must also change the Tools > Change Working Time figures. So, when you define a working day (except for Project 2007 - see below) select all the days in the calendar week by click and dragging across the calendar headings (M,T,W,Th F) so they are all highlighted. (Doing this will also highlight every working day in every year throughout from 1984 to 2049.) Now on the right hand side click in the working hours setting and change the figures to meet your working day requirements. 

For Project 2007, from Tools / Change Working Time... scroll the calendar to the month you need. Select the day or days you wish to make non-working. In the Exceptions tab enter in a name for the exception, eg holiday.  The Start and Finish dates should fill when you press ENTER or TAB. The day or days should now be nonworking time. To change the  08:00 - 17:00 default working day, click the Work Weeks tab > Details... button. Select the working days (you can click and drag to select Monday through Friday if needed) and use the radio buttons to the right of the dialog box to either set the days as nonworking, working, or specific working times.  OK your way out of the dialogs, then re-open the dialog to check that all your changes have been activated.

It is best to do this before entering any data as changes to Tools > Options generally apply to the future entry of data and not what has already been entered. Hence, it's a good idea to set the defaults in a "New Project" template.


4. Removing Resource Pool

An interesting undocumented feature (after you have broken the link in the pool) is to go to the original file (choose option 3 - do not open other files), then go to Tools > Resources > Share Resources..., Then click on Use own resources (even though nothing shows up in the Share Resources From box). A dialog will pop up asking if you want to break the connection to the pool - answer Yes.


3. Changing All Entered Durations

If you want to change all durations entered, eg from days to weeks, check out the Format_Duration macro that comes with Project. Select Tools > Macro > Macros... select Format_Duration and Run. 


2. Consolidated File Opening

Only one person can have a project .mpp file open at once. Other users attempting to open the file while you have it open read/write. will get it Read Only. If you open it read only they can be editing it but your "view" of the project will be as it was as of the last save that was done. If they make changes while you have it open then you will not be able to see them until you close and then reopen it after they save their changes. 


1. Strange Dates in Gantt? Check the Fiscal Year

In Tools > Options > Calendar there is a setting for Fiscal year starts in: This is to align the Gantt calendar with that required by the accountants. Setting it to other than January will change the year at the fiscal changeover month. For example, if September is the beginning of the fiscal year, then August 2000 will change over to September 2001 at midnight on August 31st 2000. You are advised to use January most of the time, change to your fiscal year to view or report fiscal matters and then change it back to January.  [Fiscal year can be shown on the timescales in Project 2000.]