Home >

5 Tips on Working with MS Project

Meet the author:

Tal Levanon – Founder and partner in “Tal Levanon – HCP Ltd”, an expert project scheduling consultant and creator of the Hidden Critical Paths (HCP).



At first glance, it looks like Excel. Some of the icons are identical to ones in Microsoft Word and PowerPoint so it should be familiar.

Well, not exactly.

The advantage of Project is that the software is user-friendly and part of the Microsoft software suite.

However, there are many aspects unique to the Project software, which stem from its purpose as a project-building software tool.


The purpose of this article is to provide some tips when working with the software 😉.

No one will reveal new details about your schedule?
Hmmm… 🤔

If you want to test that, try HCP-Go

Tip #1 - Display a Column of Successive Tasks

When opening a new file, we’ll see a basic table with the following columns:
Task Mode, Task Name, Duration, Start, Finish, Predecessors, Resource Names.
One column in principle is not found – Successors! Why is that?

I’m not sure why it’s not found here, but it is important. Each task should be linked to its predecessors (except for the first one) and to its successors (except for the last one). The information about successive tasks is automatically updated when you type predecessor tasks, and vice versa. However, even if all tasks have predecessor tasks, not all tasks have successors!

So why should all tasks be linked? Please read more here

To add the Successors column:
1. Hover the cursor over the “Resources Name” column.
2. Right click.
3. Select the “Add Column” option.
4. Start typing “Successors” before you finish as this will remain the sole option.
5. Enter.


Tip #2 - Display the Predecessors and Successors at the Bottom of the Screen

When opening a new file, the default view is a “Timeline” above the Gantt chart. Hence, the following steps need to be performed:
1. Select the “View” menu.
2. In the “Split View” submenu, check V next to “Details.”

3. Now, the “Task Form” will appear at the bottom of the screen. Go to the grey area on the left. Right click on “Predecessors & Successors”.

Tip #3 - How do I get to line #1842?

Did you draft a large Gantt chart? And now you need to reach a certain line. Do you scroll and scroll until you get there? Well, there’s a shortcut: CTRL+G.

A small “Go to” pop-up window will appear.

And… there is a shorter way: Press F5 and the same pop-up window will be there!

Write the line number in the “ID” field and then click “OK.” The line will then appear right away!

Another tip: The CTRL+G shortcut works both in Excel (to reach a certain line) and Word (to reach a certain page).

Tip #4 - The tasks have disappeared! Where are they?

Everything can be found in “Filters.” A filter is a powerful tool, designed to display some tasks that meet a certain condition.

There’s a lot of filters. For example, “Incomplete Tasks,” “Completed Tasks” and “Summary Tasks.”

All filters can be found in the “View” menu and “Data” submenu.

What do you do when you want to clear filters?


Choose the Filter icon option in the View menu. Start typing “[” and you’ll immediately reach the option [No Filter] to clear all filters.

Tip #5 - I wrote a large Gantt chart. What should I do with it now? HCP-GO

You just wrote a Gantt for a project you’re leading or to show the project managers the project’s work plan. Great!

Before sending the schedule to someone else, you should check it out on HCP-Go. Do this:
• Make sure that there are no errors in the Gantt. If there are, they can be easily fixed. 😊
• See if there are any places where the schedule can be shortened. If there are, then you’ll get the credit! 💪
• Make sure you know everything that is hidden in the schedule, i.e. critical paths, hidden critical paths, existing project risks in the schedule and what is the probability of completing the project successfully: the defined content on the time set and… will further budgeting be required?


Quite simple!

1. Download HCP-Go to your project. Click here
2. In the “Task” menu, two icons have been added:

3. Click “Go” and “Run Analysis.” Now select how to analyze the schedule, e.g. Analysis Start Date, Last Task to Analyze, language (Hebrew or English), and HCP Analysis. A tutorial video can be found here

4. The resulting report can be viewed, saved on your computer, or printed.

5. After reading the report, you can always fix something. And if there’s no need, it can be sent to those who need the schedule with the HCP-Go analysis. 😊

Leave a Reply

Skip to content