Sometimes, when filtering tasks, wouldn’t it be great if you could see filtered tasks with all the tasks, at the same time? Maybe you want to view filtered tasks within the context of all tasks.
For example, Knowing which tasks have deadlines and which don’t can help you prioritize tasks by deciding, say, where to re-allocate resources on the project as important deadlines begin to loom.
Welcome to filter highlighting.
Here are two task lists. The first has not been filtered. The second one has been filtered to show tasks that have a deadline—with the filtered tasks highlighted in blue.
Here’s how to create a highlighted filter in Project.
Presto! You’ll see the filtered tasks highlighted.
Project 2010 makes it easier to work with text in your project plan. In this post I’ll cover how:
Before diving in, I should note that these aren’t the only improvements we’ve made to working with text in Project 2010. As detailed in previous posts, some other enhancements include rich copy and paste and support for millions of colors.
Just like previous versions of Project have let you add new tasks by simply typing in empty rows at the bottom of your project plan, the “Add New Column” allows you to add new columns just by typing in place.
Project’s default view contains the most commonly-used columns, like Task Name, Duration, Start, and Finish. But we wanted to make sure it was straightforward to add additional columns that are meaningful to you, whether you’re adding a built-in Project field like % Complete, or your own custom field like “Open Issues” or “Review Date”.
There are a few ways to add a column to your plan:
Instead of a dialog box, you get a streamlined experience in-place. The list of fields narrows down as you types, so that you start with something like this:
..and then as you type you’ll see the list shrink down:
…and end up with your new column inserted:
This experience applies both for built-in and custom fields. Let me explain that distinction a bit more for those unfamiliar with it…
Project has a mixture of pre-defined fields like Duration, and custom fields which you can define and use for your own purposes. By comparison, every column in Excel is “custom”, where you start with a blank spreadsheet and enter your own column names.
Since Project is for managing projects, we know you’re likely to use concepts like Duration and Start date, and so the application has logic built around these fields. Of course, sometimes you simply want to capture additional “metadata” about a given item—as an example, you might want to add a “Risk level” field for each task. That’s where custom fields come in. Custom fields also include many “advanced” features like different data types, formulas and indicators, and more. Covering these is outside the scope of this post, but for more info, start here.
The concept of the Add New Column is that you don’t need to know or worry about any of these details, and you can simply interact with your plan like you would an Excel spreadsheet. You just start typing! If you want to know the behind-the-scenes details, though, here’s some more about how this works:
Say you click in the Add New Column header and type “foo”. Project will now add a column called “foo” to your plan, and a “new” Add New Column will appear to the right in case you want to add more fields. Project will automatically use a text custom field, unless you specify otherwise, and Project will also automatically select the next available custom field number, so that you don’t need to worry about whether you’re using Text6 or Text7.
In fact, you can also just type into a task row underneath the Add New Column. In that case, Project will automatically infer the field type (such as date, number, text) based on what you’ve entered, and add an appropriate custom field column to accommodate that data so you can just keep typing. If you want to adjust things later on, you can always:
To hide or bring back the Add New Column, use the Display Add New Column checkbox under the Column Settings dropdown on the Format tab in the ribbon.
These specifics should help for users familiar with previous versions of Project, or those curious to understand the internal details. But our intention in the design of the Add New Column is that if you simply want to add a column of text, it “just works” with zero learning curve, so you can focus on the content of your plan.
Project 2010 also delivers a time-saver familiar to Excel users: autocomplete for text. In this example, I’ve added a custom field named “Rough Cost”. Since “Medium” appears in another task row, it’s automatically suggested here as soon as I type “M”. I can keep typing to ignore the suggestion, or if I want to enter “Medium” I just press the Enter key and move directly to the next line.
Autocomplete works both in the grid and in column headers.
Project 2010 automatically increases the height or individual rows to accommodate wrapped text, like this…
Type into the cell:
…and then press Enter:
If you prefer manual height adjustment, you can control this setting by right-clicking on the column header.
If we’ve done our jobs right, the Add New Column, Text Wrapping, and Autocomplete will seem so natural as to go largely unnoticed. But they represent some new ways in which Project 2010 brings the flexibility and familiarity of Excel together with the power of Project.
While Shakespeare said “Truth needs no colour”, we decided this wasn’t true for Project 2010. With Project 2010, no longer are you limited to 16 colors. We now support 32-bit color which simply put means you have millions of colors to choose between. How many million you ask – 16,777,216 colors. The human eye can only distinguish roughly 7-10 million colors so you’ll have to trust us on that number. Just know that orange, citrine, ultramarine blue, hot pink, etc. are all possible now.
With this functionality we have updated the look of all of the visual elements in Project 2010 but we have also made it easier for you to update the look of various elements. For example, to set the look of a Gantt bar, just right-click it and select the Bar Color command on the mini toolbar. The same is true for cells in the sheets, and bars in both the Timeline and Team Planner views.
Additionally, we’ve added a gallery with several new Gantt chart styles to choose from:
With a simple click of the image you like, these take your Gantt chart from this:
Or even this:
Additionally, we’ve considered the scenario where you are in a team meeting presenting your plan and no one is listening since they’re just trying to figure out why their task is light orange and someone else’s is dark orange. This is because some tasks are auto scheduled and some are manually scheduled (the ones with the black brackets on the ends are manually scheduled – for more info see this post). Well, your team members don’t need to know this so to simplify your meetings, you can apply a presentation style. Then auto scheduled and manually scheduled tasks will have the same look.
Note, if you are using the new colors and saving to Project 2007 or 2003 format, Project will map the millions of possible colors to the 16 ones that are available in those versions so the results may not be what you expected.
Whether chiseled onto ancient stone walls, or hung from your kitchen wall, calendars are often the preferred way to view the progress of events, tasks, and even entire projects. So, too, with the Calendar view in Project 2007 and Project 2010. If you need project information presented in an attractive and efficient way, then take a look at the things you can do with the Calendar view.
First things first. To open the Calendar in Project 2007, click Calendar on the View menu. For Project 2010, click the View tab, and then click Calendar in the Task Views group.
To create a task Click and then drag the mouse across the Calendar for the duration of the task.
To increase task duration Move the cursor over the right side of the task bar until the cursor becomes a right-pointing arrow , then click and drag the task.
To link tasks Move the cursor over the first task on the Calendar. Make sure the cursor doesn’t become a four-pointed arrow before linking the tasks. Now, click and drag the cursor to the second task—but don’t release the mouse button until the cursor becomes a chain-link symbol . To move a task Move the cursor over the edge of the task until the cursor becomes a four-pointed cursor, then drag the task.
To format the task Right click on the task, and then click Bar Styles.
To copy the Calendar To copy the Calendar using Project 2007 into another program, like Word or in an e-mail message, click Copy Picture on the Formatting toolbar. For Project 2010. click the Task tab, and then click Copy Picture.