Carl Chatfield here. Now that Project 2010 has been released to manufacturing (or RTMed, as we say), I'm eager to start talking about some of the features in the new edition. I've been running the beta for some time as Tim and I work on the Project 2010 Step by Step. You may have been using the beta as well. This week I'll show you one of my favorite features in Project 2010.

Speaking as a Project user, I have to say one of my favorite features is inactivate tasks. This feature is available in Project Professional 2010 only, and not in Project Standard 2010.

The basic idea of inactivate tasks is this: I may have some tasks (including resource assignments) in a project plan that I'm not sure I need. In the past I might have just deleted the tasks, or if I really wasn't sure I might want to revive those tasks later, I'd perhaps save a version of the plan that included the tasks. Or I might have just copied the tasks into a separate "holding pen" Project plan.

All of these options present a problem though--now I have to keep track of what I did with the unwanted tasks, and what I have to do to get them back (should I discover I do indeed need them).

Inactivating tasks lets me "line out" the tasks and leave them right in the project plan. Inactivated tasks are visible in the plan but have no scheduling effect on the plan, including critical path, cost, or resource availability. Here's what inactivated tasks look like in a project plan.

First, my initial task list:

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