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Project 2007: How to Set Up a Microsoft Project 2007 Plan

written by: Ronda Bowen • edited by: Michele McDonough • updated: 8/12/2009

This how-to article demonstrates how to set up a Microsoft Project 2007 Plan for your project.

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    Picture courtesy of Stock.xchng In order to be able to use the really cool features that come with Microsoft Project 2007, first you have to get the project plan into the program. This step can seem like climbing a mountain without the right equipment – especially to beginners.This article will take you step-by-step through how to set up a Microsoft Project 2007 plan.

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    If you don’t already know your milestones, objectives, and primary resources, you are not ready to begin setting up your plan in Microsoft Project 2007. Before you can set up the project plan in the software, you should already have the project plan sketched out. If your project is fairly standard, you can utilize one of the many templates that comes with Microsoft Project 2007. However, chances are, your company will have specific needs. Before entering the first item into Project, you should know exactly what you will be entering in.

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    Setting Up Shop: Determining Dates, Milestones and Tasks

    One of the first things you will need to decide when using Microsoft Project 2007 is whether you will be scheduling based off a start date or off a finish date. If you already know when your deadline is, and this deadline is set in absolute stone, you will most likely want to be scheduling off that finish date. If your project is open ended, then you can schedule based off a start date.

    Next, you will want to set up the calendar for your project. Specify the general working hours that resources will be hammering away on tasks. If there will be any exceptions to the calendar that you know of ahead of time, enter these in now as well.

    Once the calendar has been created, you will want to gather all project-related documents. You want to be ready to attach these documents to the project file by copying them in place using the notes tab for tasks. A second way to attach documents to project files is to hyperlink the file through a task.

    After setting up the project parameters in Microsoft Project 2007, you are ready to begin entering in tasks. As mentioned in the section on preliminaries, it serves you well to already know what the tasks and milestones will be. One way to avoid having to manually enter in each task, is to have a Microsoft Excel file with all the tasks ready to upload into Microsoft Project. If you do not have such a list, however, you can still inter the tasks in manually. Working in the Gantt Chart view, you will enter the name of each task in the task name field. Either enter in all the tasks without thinking about the sequence, and then sequence everything in one step, or if you have the sequence drawn out already, enter the tasks by sequence. Once all of the tasks and milestones have been entered and sequenced, then you can order them into a hierarchy – including subtasks.

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    Entering in Resources

    The final step to setting up your project in Microsoft Project is entering in all resources. After the resources are entered, you can then assign tasks to the resources. Once this has been completed, the basics to setting up your project plan using Microsoft Project 2007 have been completed.