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Microsoft Project 2007: The Missing Manual by Bonnie Biafore

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Getting Around Project

The Project window is chockablock with panes and other parts that either show the information you want or help you work faster. Some features, like the menu bar and the main Project view, are always available, while others (like the View Bar, Project Guide, and toolbars) can hide until you need them. This section gives you a tour of the Project interface, including a few of the more subtle timesavers tucked away here and there.

Note

Project's menus haven't switched to the new Office ribbon that Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 use. Although the ribbon may be in Project's future, for now, you can find your favorite Project com-mands in the same places as before.

Menus and Toolbars

The menu bar, the Standard toolbar, and the Formatting toolbar sit at the top of the Project window just the way they have in the past, as shown in Figure I-1. You can display the two toolbars on one line or two, or move them to other parts of the screen if you prefer (Customizing Menus and Toolbars). In most cases, docking these basic toolbars near the menu bar keeps the way clear for views and task panes you work in every day. (Besides, you may have other toolbars like Resource Management, Tracking, or a custom toolbar floating in other areas of the window.) The entry bar is the other horizontal strip near the top of the window, although in most cases, you'll find that you type or edit directly in forms or table cells.

Like the toolbars in other programs, Project toolbars can dock to any edge of the Project window or float near the work you do in a view.

Figure I-1. Like the toolbars in other programs, Project toolbars can dock to any edge of the Project window or float near the work you do in a view.

Views

Managing projects means looking at project information in many different ways, which explains all the built-in views that Project provides out of the box. Even so, you'll find that you create quite a few views of your own. As you'll learn in Chapter 23, views come in single-pane and combination variations. The combination view has a top pane and bottom pane like the one shown in Figure I-2, which has the Tracking Gantt view (a single-pane view) on top and the Detailed Task Form (another single-pane view) on the bottom. The box on Views explains how to apply views and switch between one and two panes.

In addition to the top and bottom view panes, some views have two pane-like parts of their own that appear side by side. For views like the Gantt Chart and Task Usage views, the left side of the view is a table with columns of Project fields and rows for tasks, resources, or assignments. You can add or edit values directly in the table or use it simply for reviewing. The timescale and timephased data on the right side shows data apportioned over time. In a Gantt Chart view, taskbars show when tasks begin and end. The Task Usage view uses a timephased table instead, in which the columns represent time periods, and rows are tasks and assignments.

The All Cells box sits innocently to the left of the table's column headings (immediately above the first ID cell). Right-click it, and a shortcut menu appears so you can switch to another table. The shortcut menu also has the More Tables command, which opens the More Tables dialog box to choose any table. If you click the All Cells box instead, Project selects all the cells in the table (thus the cell's name). Then, you can copy the entire table, export it, format it, and so on.

You can choose View. More Views to select any view that's available, but the View bar is a great shortcut for your favorite views. To add a favorite view to the View bar, edit the view (), and then turn on the "Show in menu" checkbox.

Figure I-2. You can choose View. More Views to select any view that's available, but the View bar is a great shortcut for your favorite views. To add a favorite view to the View bar, edit the view (Modifying a single-pane view), and then turn on the "Show in menu" checkbox.

Tip

The actions you can perform depend on which view pane is active. If you select a new view, then Project replaces the active pane. Project identifies the active pane by darkening the narrow vertical bar to the left of the pane, and lightening the vertical bar in the other pane.

Top: To adjust the heights of the two panes, position the pointer over the horizontal divider. When the pointer changes to a two-headed arrow, drag up or down to resize both panes. Bottom: To restore the second pane and set its height at the same time, drag the box below the vertical scrollbar until the second pane is the height you want.

Figure I-3. Top: To adjust the heights of the two panes, position the pointer over the horizontal divider. When the pointer changes to a two-headed arrow, drag up or down to resize both panes. Bottom: To restore the second pane and set its height at the same time, drag the box below the vertical scrollbar until the second pane is the height you want.

Task Panes

Just to keep life interesting, Project also has task panes (no relation to view panes) for different Project-related activities. For example, when you choose File →New, the New Project task pane opens on the left side of the Project window, with several options for creating a new Project file. Choose Project →Task Drivers, and the Task Drivers pane appears to the left of your views, as shown in Figure I-4.

ScreenTips and SmartTags

ScreenTips and SmartTags are two other Project features that make temporary appearances. Project's ScreenTips blossom into view when you position the pointer over an item with a ScreenTip, like the icons in the Indicators column in a table. A date constraint icon tells you the type of constraint and the date. A Task Note icon displays a ScreenTip with part of the task note. To learn about the purpose of a Project field or how it's calculated, position the cursor over a column header in a view and read the screenshot that appears.

The Task Drivers pane is a newfeature in Project 2007 that shows the factors that control the start date of the selected task. Click its Close button to close it.

Figure I-4. The Task Drivers pane is a newfeature in Project 2007 that shows the factors that control the start date of the selected task. Click its Close button to close it.

SmartTags, on the other hand, appear when you perform certain Project actions that are renowned for confusing beginners. For example, if you select the Task Name cell in a table, and then press Delete, then Project asks if you want to delete just the task name or the entire task, as illustrated in Figure I-5.

SmartTags also appear when you edit a task start or finish date, asking if you want to set a date constraint on the task. Similarly, if you change the duration, work, units, or resources assigned, SmartTags help you tell Project the results you want.

Figure I-5. SmartTags also appear when you edit a task start or finish date, asking if you want to set a date constraint on the task. Similarly, if you change the duration, work, units, or resources assigned, SmartTags help you tell Project the results you want.

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