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Microsoft Project Tips – Learn From MVP Dale Howard

MPUG has partnered with Microsoft Project MVP Dale Howard to provide you with quick and helpful Microsoft Project tips. We’ve gathered all of these tips and put them in one place for your convenience. Join MPUG to access full-length, live webinar training sessions and hundreds more on-demand.

Change the Duration of a Fixed Duration Task

This short video will show you how to change a fixed duration task without changing the total work hours. Many people think it is quite simple, but there is more to it than what meets the eye.


Add the Word Cancelled For a Cancelled Task

In this clip, Dale shows us how to indicate that a task is no longer needed and why you should never delete a task when base-lining your project.


Apply Conditional Cell Background Formatting for New Tasks Added through Change Control

“People ask if there’s any kind of conditional formatting in Microsoft Project the way there is in Excel and the reason that folks ask this question is because Microsoft Project behaves in many ways like Excel and it looks like Excel, there’s gotta be conditional formatting.” Watch this video to find out what kind of conditional formatting you can do with Project!


Using the Fastest Method to Create a Master Project

Dale shows us the fastest way to create a temporary master project in order to combine and analyze multiple projects on a bigger scale. The best part is that when you close out of your master project, all of your original projects will remain opened and untouched.


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Written by Dale Howard

Dale Howard is currently a Senior PPM Consultant with Arch Systems, Inc. His hair and beard have turned white because of using Microsoft’s project management tools for more than 20 years. Dale started his career using Microsoft Project 4.0 for Windows 95 and began using Microsoft’s PPM tools when they introduced Project Central in 2000. Dale is the co-author of 23 books in Microsoft Project, Project Server, and Project Online. He is currently one 0f 26 Microsoft Project MVPs in the entire world and one of only 4 Project MVPs in the United states.

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  1. This is great information. I am a Trainer so I will use these tips in my class.
    Thank you.

  2. Hi Dale –

    Question is for tasks with cost type resources assigned. When task completion progress is entered, even when it’s 100%, the cost type costs are not updated in the actual costs. When one simply adds that cost into the actuals field (column), the cost column also updates, seemingly incorrectly, like it thinks that actuals manually entered are for labor only.

    How do you report actual costs for fixed cost type resources MS Project?

    For example, say the expected cost of machinery or equipment was $500, but the actual cost ended up being $525. How would this be entered?


  3. Jon —

    Create an Expense Cost resource named Equipment. Display the Task Usage view and then apply the Cost table. Assign the resource to a task and enter the planned cost in the Cost column for the Equipment resource. After completely planning your project, remember to save a Baseline. When the cost is actually incurred for the Equipment resource, you must manually enter the actual expense in the Actual Cost column. Simply marking the task as completed will not update an Expense Cost resource UNLESS it is the only resource assigned to the task. Hope this helps.

    — eDale

  4. Hi Dale this was a great webinar did you have slides for his please

  5. Regina, none of these webinars include a PowerPoint slide presentation. All of them are simply demo presentations using Microsoft Project desktop. But thanks for asking!



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