Viewing this weeks tasks in Microsoft Project

I received this question from a customer:

Question:

I have a project plan which shows all the key tasks and as part of a weekly project meeting I’d like to be able to apply some filter that would only show those tasks that should have been completed that particular week. Is there any functionality such as that within MSP that I can use?

 

Answer:

There is more than one way of doing this. The simple way is to use the build in filters in the Outlook Ribbon. For more complex needs the use of Flags and Filters to satisfy more complex demands. Below I describe both approaches:

 

BasicUsing the Built-In Date Range filter Complexity-EasyIn Microsoft Project,

  • Select View,
  • In the Data group click the Filter drop-down box (it probably reads [No Filter])
  • From the menu that appears select Date Range… from the Built-In section.

You now need to enter the date range for project, it will show any tasks that start or finish within that range.

  • Enter the start date for the range.
  • Enter the end date for the range.

After clicking OK the tasks will be filtered to show all tasks that start or finish between the dates shown.

To remove the filter select the Filter drop-down and choose [No Filter]

 

Filters are powerful and it is beyond the level of this topic to describe them in further detail.

 AdvancedUsing Custom Flags and Custom Filters. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Complexity-HardHold on… (Samuel L Jackson – Jurassic Park)This process is just a starter to achieve the same thing, more complex conditions can be built. The high-level steps are:

1. Create a Custom Flag in Project

2. Add a formula for tasks Starting (or Finishing) between certain dates

3. Filter the view

Note: This is meant to get you up and running so I’ve left out some of the more complicated activities that may generate follow-up questions e.g. how do I automatically update the formula.

1. Create a Custom Flag In MS Project

This is real easy 🙂

  • In the Gantt view, right-click any column and “Insert Column”
  • When the list of Columns appears select one of the FLAG columns. I’ll select Flag9 (TIP: you can start typing the name of the column to save scrolling)

2. Add a formula for tasks starting (or Finishing) between certain dates

This is not hard but just a few more steps

  • Right-click Flag9 (where you see Flag9, substitute the name of your Flag choice)
  • Select Custom Fields
    • When the Custom Fields dialog appears make sure the Radio Button at the top is on Task (if not make sure you are in the Gantt View)
  • In the Type combo box select Flag
  • The Field list will now show Flag1 through to Flag20
  • Select Flag9
  • Click the Rename button type the name you’d like to see in the Gantt view I’m going to call mine “Starting This Week”
  • Select OK to close the dialog.
  • In the Custom Attributes section select Formula…
  • In the formula box paste the following line.

IIf([Start]>#19/04/2015# And [Start]<#25/04/2015#,Yes,No)

NOTE: This is for UK date format so shows dd/mm/yyyy. Change this to the date format for your region e.g. USA mm/dd/yyyy.

Also note the use of > and not >= which introduces problems associated with task time.

What does that do????

This formula will find tasks with a Start date greater than 19/04/2015 but less than 25/04/2015 or in English, “tasks starting between Mon 20th April and Fri 24th Apr”.

What does the different parts mean?

IIF – IIF(expression, true part, false part)

[Start] – This represents the Start column in the Gantt view

#19/04/2015# – This is the date at the start of the period I’m interested in checking

#25/04/2015# – This is the date at the end of the period I’m interested in checking.

  • Click OK to accept the formula
  • In the section below headed Calculation for task and group summary rows, selectUse formula
  • Now Click OK to close the Custom Fields dialog box.

Your Custom Field () should now have a bunch of Yes & No’s showing according to the rule you just applied. In this example all tasks with a Start Date in the week of Mon 20th April 2015- Fri 24th Apr 2015 will be flagged with a YES including summary tasks.

3. Filter the view

In the Gantt view select the Auto-Filter drop-down button in the Column headed “Starting This Week” (renamed from Flag 9 above) and uncheck “No” to filter the tasks in the Gantt view.

That’s great but what about the “NO”‘s that are still showing for Summary Rows?

If there are some NO’s still showing those are a by-product of a Filter allowing “Related Summary Rows” to be shown. To change than setting create a Custom Filter (see the View Ribbon, Data Tab, Filter dropdown. Create a New Filter with the Flag9 column and ensure the option “Show related summary rows” is unchecked.).

Finally some polish,

To check for Tasks Finishing this Week use the formula:

IIf([Finish]>#19/04/2015# And [Finish]<#25/04/2015#,Yes,No)

In a later post I’ll show how you can automate the date selection to the current week.

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John Licorish

John is currently working as a Project Management contractor and runs a small software development company (LicorSoft) which provides software to improve project management processes. A professional consultant with over 15 years of project management experience in various industries, John has delivered both IT and business projects for a number of companies including Vodafone, Securitas and The Nielsen Company.

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