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Microsoft Project 2010 : Linking Tasks (part 5) - Creating Links by Using the Task Information Dialog Box

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Creating Links by Using the Task Information Dialog Box

You can use the Predecessors tab of the Task Information dialog box to create and edit a selected task’s predecessor links, no matter what view is active (see Figure 7). Unlike the Edit, Link Tasks command, the Task Information dialog box enables you to choose the type of link and to enter the lag or lead time.

Figure 7. The Predecessors tab in the Task Information dialog box enables you to create dependency relationships.

To create a dependency relationship by using the Task Information dialog box, follow these steps:

1.
Select the dependent (the successor) task.

2.
Open the Task Information dialog box by clicking the Information button on the Task tab toolbar, or by double-clicking the task.

3.
Click the Predecessors tab. The Predecessors tab features a table in which you can define predecessors, including the type of link and any lead or lag time (refer to Figure 7).

4.
Activate the first blank cell under the Task Name field. Choose the name of the task to be the predecessor task from the drop-down list in the field. The drop-down lists the names of all tasks in the project. Project automatically supplies the ID number and the default Finish-to-Start link type, with no lag, unless you choose otherwise.

Alternatively, if you remember the ID number for the predecessor task, you can enter it in the cell in the ID column. Press Enter to finish the cell entry or select the green check button on the Entry bar. Project automatically supplies the task name for that ID number and supplies the default Finish-to-Start link type, with no lag.

5.
Use the drop-down list in the Type column to change the dependency type, if needed.

6.
To create lag or lead time, click in the Lag field and type the amount of lag or lead time, followed by a time unit (unless you want to use the default time unit). Use a negative number to specify a lead time.

7.
If additional predecessors exist for the task, repeat steps 4 through 6 as needed for each predecessor.

8.
To delete a predecessor, select any cell in its row and press the Delete key.

9.
Click OK or press Enter to accept the changes.

Creating Links by Using the Task Form View

With a task view such as the Gantt Chart view in the top pane, you can split the window and use the Task Form view in the bottom pane to define the predecessor and successor relationships (see Figure 8). To split the window, click the Details button in the Properties group on the Task tab. This is an easy way to define or edit complex dependency relationships. Select a task in the top pane and define its predecessor or successor link in the predecessor or successor details in the bottom pane.

The default display of task details in the Task Form view is to show resources and predecessors. If you want to display both predecessor and successor details, right-click over the Task Form and choose Predecessors & Successors, as shown in Figure 8. Or you can activate the Task Form view and select the Format tab. Because the Format tab is context dependent, functionally this view serves the same purposes as the Task Information dialog.

Figure 8. Split the window (Task tab, Properties, Details), which opens the Task Form view in the bottom pane, enabling you to define predecessor and successor relationships.

If you display the predecessor details, you can define a predecessor for the dependent task by following these steps:

1.
Select the dependent task in the top pane or use the Previous and Next buttons in the lower pane to move to the desired task.

Note

If you want to enter the successor details in the Task Form view, select the predecessor task in the top pane and use the successor detail fields in the steps that follow instead of the predecessor fields. The link is defined exactly the same in either detail area.

2.
In the bottom pane, activate the first cell in either the ID or Predecessor Name column.

3.
If you selected the Predecessor Name field, use the drop-down list of task names to select the name of the task to be the predecessor. The Task Form view still shows the OK button because selecting the task name completes only the cell entry.

You can also type the predecessor’s ID number in the ID field and press Enter to complete the cell entry. Project automatically fills in the predecessor name when you click the OK button to complete the linking definition.

If you do not know the ID number of the predecessor, you can use the vertical scroll bar in the top pane to view the predecessor task. The ID field remains selected while you scroll the task list. Do not select the predecessor; just view its ID number. Type this number into the ID field. You can then press Enter or click the green check button on the Entry bar to complete the cell entry for the ID number.

Note

The Type field accepts only the two-letter abbreviations for the link types. If you have an AutoCorrect entry for the link type you want to use, Project converts it to the AutoCorrect text when you click OK—and it then rejects the result because it accepts only the abbreviations. There is nothing to do but click Cancel at this point, and then either delete the AutoCorrect definition or edit the link elsewhere (for example, in the Task Information dialog box).

4.
Select the predecessor’s Type field if you want to define a link type other than Finish-to-Start. If you leave the Type field blank, Project supplies the default Finish-to-Start type when you click the OK button. Type in the two-letter code (FF, FS, SF, or SS) or use the drop-down list to select the code. Press Enter to complete the cell entry in the Type field.

5.
Select the Lag field if you want to define a lag or lead time. The default, 0d (zero days, meaning no lag or lead time), is supplied automatically when you click the OK button if you leave this field blank. You can move the spinner control up to display lags (positive values) or down to display leads (negative values) in the default duration time units or by using a percentage amount.

6.
If necessary, add more predecessors on the following rows in the Predecessors table by repeating steps 2–5.

7.
To delete a predecessor, click any cell in its row and press the Delete key.

8.
Click the OK button to execute the changes you entered in the Task Form view.
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