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So Let's Get Started...
No matter what you want to do in Microsoft Project 2010, you are almost guaranteed to find a way. It's easy to add notes. When you open your Project, you assign Tasks and allocate Resources. It's possible to add a note to either category. The first step to adding notes to Microsoft Project involves looking at the Microsoft Project ribbon until you see the Notes icon. It's available to you in either tab, and you can also bypass the ribbon and add your notes by right-clicking into a drop-down menu.
First, click on the Task tab. When you're there, you can always see the words "Gantt Chart" just to the left of the Task tab. Look to your right on the ribbon, and in the Properties group you’ll see the little gold notepad that signifies your Notes icon.
Please click on the screenshots below; they are from the same plans for a golf benefit that I've used in another Microsoft Project tutorial for adding watermarks.
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Keep in mind that you don’t have to bother clicking through the tabs, because Project is nothing if not fluid. No matter which tab you're in, you can just right-click in the cell of the resource or task you need to notate. Once you right-click, you’ll get a drop-down menu that includes the Notes option.
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Explore the Note Box
Now that you know how to access the Notes feature, what happens when you select it? An information box like the one below will open; it will be called Resource Information if you accessed it relative to a resource. If you opened it from your Task tab, it will say Task Information.
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It opens pre-filled with the name of your task or resource—in this case, in the screenshot below, you can see that it says “Explore List of Previous Sponsors from Past Events.” You can type in the field below. To demonstrate, I have listed several types of sponsors we will contact, including local businesses and alumni. But what about those little icons you see?
- You can change the font of your notes, including style, color, and size.
- You can change the alignment of your notes.
- You can bullet your notes.
- And (I love this especially), you can insert an object—your choice of many, such as an Excel spreadsheet! Here I can choose to insert my Excel list of philanthropic foundations.
- If you want just an Excel grid, you can select that also, plus many other choices.
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Viewing and Printing Your Notes
When you've finished adding notes to Microsoft Project, how do you view them? Look for the little icon beside the Task or Resource you’ve notated. If you roll your mouse over it, you will be able to read at least the beginning of your note. It was difficult to capture a screenshot with the rollover visible, but if you look carefully you can see that the note I entered beside Debbie’s name says “Doesn’t like to shop.”
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Now, one little stumbling block is that the notes you enter for Resources don’t show up in Task views and vice versa. The reason I entered "Debbie hates to shop" is because I don't want to assign her to choose the food we’ll be grilling at the golf benefit. Unfortunately, this little reminder doesn’t appear if I'm just looking at the Task views.
You can, however, print a list of all your notes. You can do this occasionally or as often as you like throughout the duration of your Project so that you are certain your notes are heeded, deleted when done, and updated if necessary. The best way to do this is by going to the Project’s backstage and:
1. Choose Print.
2. Choose Page Setup
3. When the Page Setup Option Box pops up, go to the View tab.
4. Check “Print Notes”
5. Look at the pages the printer is offering to print, and select only the last page.
This will give you a list of all your Project's notes on one page. They will print with any formats you’ve applied—which is a nice feature, considering that you can’t see the formatting when your roll your mouse over the Notes icon.
However, the really easy way to view Notes in Project is to insert a column, and from the list of column headings choose Notes. This column will then display any notes you made, and this works whether you are in task views or in whether you are in a task sheet or a resource sheet. It's easy!
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You can also play around with the other tabs on the Notes box. Changes you make there will show up on your project. For the screenshot below, I opened the Note that I inserted for Task #6, Explore List of Previous Sponsors. When I selected the Predecessors tab (this lets you tell Project which tasks must come before others), I inserted a 9 in the ID box, meaning that I want to work on car dealerships before I contact other sponsors. When I close the Notes box, this is automatically reflected on my Task sheet. As you experiment with options, you will find many other ways to utilize notes throughout your Project. Also, you might benefit from reading Getting Started with Microsoft Project 2010.
All screenshots by the writer.