In my humble opinion, I believe the Task Entry view is one of the most powerful views available in Microsoft Project. Using this view, you can take complete control over the software’s scheduling engine while you assign resources to tasks in your project schedule.

By now, you might be asking yourself, “Task Entry view? I don’t remember seeing any view named Task Entry.” If you are asking a question like this, allow me to school you on the fine art of using this view.

The Task Entry view is one of the two most common combination or “split” views available in Microsoft Project. To display the Task Entry view the long way, click the Gantt Chart pick list button in the View section of the Task ribbon, and select the More Views item at the bottom of the pick list. In the More Views dialog shown in Figure 1, select the Task Entry view and then click the Apply button.

Figure 1: More Views dialog

 

To display this view using a shorter method, apply the Gantt Chart view and then click the View tab to display the View ribbon. In the Split View section of the View ribbon, select the Details checkbox, such as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Select the Details checkbox in the View ribbon

 

To apply the Task Entry view using a time-saving shortcut, right-click anywhere in the Gantt Chart pane and then select the Show Split item in the shortcut menu, such as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3: Select the Show Split item

 

Microsoft Project displays the Task Entry view, such as shown in Figure 4. The Task Entry view is a combination or “split” view consisting of the Gantt Chart view in the top pane and the Task Form view in the bottom pane. Notice in Figure 4 that the words Task Entry do not appear anywhere on the screen. This is why most people do not know that the real name of this combination view is Task Entry.

Figure 4: Task Entry view

 

When you select a task in the Gantt Chart pane, the software populates the important information about the selected task in the Task Form pane. Using the Task Entry view, you can do any of the following:

  • Assign multiple resources to the task simultaneously, and specify different Units and Work values for each resource.
  • Enter the Duration value of the task.
  • Set the Task Type for the task to determine whether the software fixes or “locks” the Units, Work, or Duration value for the task.
  • Specify the Effort Driven status of the task to determine what happens when you add helpers to the task later after initially assigning one or more resources.
  • Set the Task Mode for the task as either Manually Scheduled or Auto Scheduled.

The only disadvantage of using the Task Entry view is that you cannot assign resources to multiple tasks simultaneously. Microsoft Project limits you to assigning resources to only one task at a time using the Task Entry view. If you need to assign the same resources to multiple tasks simultaneously, you should use the Assign Resources dialog instead.

After selecting one or more resources in the Task Form pane, along with the appropriate Units and Work values for each resource, notice that the Task Form pane displays the OK and Cancel buttons in the upper right corner of the view, as shown in Figure 5.

Figure 6: Previous and Next buttons

 

When you use the Task Entry view to assign resources to tasks in your Microsoft Project schedule, you can expect the following behavior, based on the Task Type setting for the task to which you are assigning resources:

  • Fixed Units task – Enter the Units value and Work value for each resource and the software will calculate the Duration for you. Enter a Duration value for the task and a Units value for each resource, and the software will calculate the Work value for each resource.
  • Fixed Work task – Enter the Units value and Work value for each resource and the software will calculate the Duration for you. Enter a Duration value for the task and a Work value for each resource, and the software will calculate the Units value for each resource. Keep in mind, however, that Microsoft Project displays the new calculated Units value in the Peak field, visible only in the Task Usage and Resource Usage
  • Fixed Duration task – Enter a Duration value for the task and a Units value for each resource, and the software will calculate the Work value for each resource. Enter a Duration value for the task and a Work value for each resource, and the software will calculate the Units value for each resource. Again keep in mind that Microsoft Project displays the new calculated Units value in the Peak field, visible only in the Task Usage and Resource Usage views

When you finish assigning resources to tasks using the Task Entry view, you can close the Task Form pane by right-clicking anywhere in either the Gantt Chart pane or the Task Form pane, and then deselecting the Show Split item on the shortcut menu, such as shown in Figure 7.

Figure 7: Deselect the Show Split
item on the shortcut menu