Microsoft Project 2010
The official blog of the Microsoft Office product development group. Learn how to manage your work effectively

June, 2010

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Introducing Inactive Tasks in Project 2010


    Inactive Tasks is a powerful new feature in Microsoft Project 2010 Professional that allows you to cut tasks in your projects, while maintaining a record of these cut items. Inactive Tasks allows you to quickly and effectively:

    · Manage Scope: As project begins to go over budget or over schedule, inactive tasks should be used to manage the scope of the project and retain a record of the tasks that you cut. Later, if there becomes additional funding or more time, you can re-activate some of the inactive tasks to fill the remainder of the budget or schedule

    · Perform What-if Analysis: You may want to experiment with different combinations of adds or cuts to your project. Inactive Tasks gives you the ability to quickly test multiple options by temporarily inactivating certain parts of the project without losing the original data.

    How to Inactivate a Task

    There are several ways to inactivate a task:

    · In the Tasks tab of the Ribbon, click Inactivate


    · Right-click and choose Inactivate Task in the context menu


    · In the General tab of the Task Information dialog, click the Inactive checkbox.

    · Set the Active field to “No”

    You can also perform one of the steps listed above to re-activate an inactive task.


    In Task Sheet views, an inactive task will appear crossed-out in semi-transparent gray text. In the Gantt Chart, the task will be outlined and filled with solid white. The task will retain its original duration, start, and finish values. If you do not want your inactive tasks to appear in the task sheet views, you can filter them out. To do this, in the Views tab of the Ribbon, select the Filter “Active Tasks”.


    Inactive tasks will not appear at all in the following views:

    · Timeline

    · Team Planner

    · Network Diagram

    · Relationship Diagram

    · Calendar


    Inactive tasks will no longer be taken into account by the scheduling engine. Assignments to inactive tasks do not roll up to the task or resource summaries. Inactive task do not affect resource availability and will not be taken into account by Leveling. Baseline values that have already been taken are retained, but any new baselines taken will not include data for inactive tasks. Tasks with actuals cannot be inactivated.

    Project Server and Inactive Tasks

    Inactive tasks will appear in the Schedule WebPart on PWA, however they will be read-only. Inactive tasks are not published, so inactive task assignments will not appear on a team member’s task list.

    Tips and Tricks


    Inactivating a task that is linked to other tasks has some interesting effects because it is no longer taken into account by the scheduling engine. In a schedule from start project, if you inactivate a task with successors, the successors will be scheduled as if that link does not exist.clip_image008

    It is important to be aware of this behavior when inactivating a task in a chain of tasks. In the example below, notice how Task 3 is re-scheduled now that Task 2 is inactive.



    If you wish to retain the link between two tasks after inactivating their connecting task, you will need to add the link manually. In the example above, we would add Task 1 to Task 3’s predecessors.


    Capturing changes to the Project

    Using the Created field (that existed in Microsoft Office Project 2007) and the grouping feature, you can quickly see which tasks have been added and which have been cut since the start of your project. To do this, click “Add New Column” and type “Created”. Then in the Views tab of the Ribbon, select the Group “Active v. Inactive”.


    Summary Tasks

    To cut large sections of a project, try inactivating a summary task, which will automatically inactivate all of its subtasks.


    Later, you can re-activate the entire summary task or selected subtasks. If you activate any of the subtasks, the summary task will also automatically be re-activated.


    Risk Management/What-If Analysis

    Projects often have external dependencies that add risk to completing successfully on time. You can use inactive tasks to represent these risks. To see the effects if the risk is realized, you can activate these tasks and see the overall effect on the project. When planning, you should use inactive tasks to schedule both with and without the risks to see the range of time when the project should finish.


    · The Inactive Task feature is available in Microsoft Project Professional only. Inactive tasks will appear read-only in Microsoft Project Standard 2010.

    · The Inactive Tasks feature is not available while in 2007 compatibility mode.

    · If you save to a previous version, the inactive tasks will be deleted completely from the project plan.

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Getting started with Project Web App

    • 0 Comments has a great set of Help content to get you started using the version of Project Web App that comes with Project Server 2010.

    In addition to this getting started content, has a lot of other content to help you use Project Web App. For more information, see the Project Server 2010 Support page on

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Wrangling with the Timeline


    The new Timeline in Project 2010 has become an very popular way to present Project information quickly and attractively. Problem is, you can get a little carried away putting all your tasks on the Timeline, and then have trouble selecting only a few tasks to copy into another program, like PowerPoint or Word.

    Here is what you can do to copy selected tasks on the Timeline for copying and pasting.

    1   Make sure the Timeline is displayed. On the View tab, click the Timeline checkbox.


    2      Add the tasks you want to the Timeline. A quick way to do this is with the Existing Tasks command. But first, make sure you’ve clicked in the Timeline to make this command available.


    3     Now, here’s the fun part. Click and drag the mouse over the tasks you want to copy. If you do this correctly, a blue highlight band will cover the tasks, highlighting all the tasks that get in its way.


    4    Once the tasks are highlighted, you can click individual ones to un-highlight them.

    Tip  You can also highlight the cells you want to copy by clicking a single tasks, and then holding down the Ctrl key on the keyboard while clicking the other tasks. Try it.

    5   Now the only thing left to do is click Copy on the Task tab (or hit Ctrl + C on the keyboard) and paste into your favorite presentation program.


  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Tips and Tricks: Out with the old menus and in with the new ribbon


    Can’t find your favorite Project 2007 menu commands on the new ribbon for Project 2010? Now you have a clever tool that maps the old menus with the new look. Click here, and then click the Project Guide. An interactive guide will start that displays Project 2007. Choose a command on any of the menus, and the guide will rotate to display Project 2010 and highlight where the command migrated to on the new ribbon.

    Below shows what the experience is like when you click a command on the Project 2007 side of the tool.

     Project 2007


            Project 2010                                                       image


  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Using Alternate Domain Accounts to Connect Project Client to Project Server


    There are many reasons why you might want to connect the Project client to the server using an account other than the one that you typically use. In 2007 this was a relatively straightforward task accomplished using the “Enter User Credentials” option on the login box that opened when you opened up Project 2007. However in 2010 the login box now only allows you to select the server that you wish to connect to. That leaves you with a couple options for connecting to the server using a different account including using the “Run as Administrator” option from the context menu. However, in order to connect to the server using an alternate account and maintain the ability to use all features of the Project client (like creating and linking deliverables) you will need to change some settings in Internet Explorer:

    Open the following dialog starting from the IE main page:

    Tools > Internet Options > <zone> > Security > Custom Level

    Where <zone> in the security zone in which the PWA is loaded, this can usually be determined by going to the PWA home page and looking at the bottom of the Internet Explorer window:


    After clicking on the “Custom Level” button you should see a long list of security settings. You are looking for a setting near the bottom called “User Authentication” which you should set to “Prompt for user name and password” as shown here:


    After you’ve accepted this change you can safely attach the Project Client to a server using any valid domain account and perform all expected functions. After you are done you might want to consider returning the setting to the original value as IE will now prompt you for credentials any time you connect to a site within that zone regardless of its association with the Project Server.

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    How do you Prioritize and Select Projects?


    Project wants to get feedback on how you prioritize and select items; such as projects and tasks.  As we plan for future product improvements, we want to learn more on the following topics:


    ·         What items do you prioritize? And what tools do you use?

    ·         How many items do you typically prioritize?

    ·         What information do you require to prioritize?

    ·         Who is involved in the prioritization process?

    ·         What are the challenges on your current process?

    ·         How do you decide which items to work on when you can’t do everything on your list?


    For those of you familiar with the Portfolio Analysis feature:


    ·         Do you have suggestions for future directions?

    ·         What needs do you have for which the feature falls short?

    ·         Would you like to see better integration with SharePoint for this feature? Please explain.


    Send any feedback to

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