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Each task you enter typically occurs just once during the project life cycle. Occasionally, you will have project tasks that occur periodically (multiple times) throughout a project, such as a project status meeting. Another great use of recurring tasks is adding regular project progress checkpoints.
For tasks that occur multiple times, you can create a recurring task. Doing so eliminates the repetitive typing of entering the same task multiple times. Recurring tasks are typically project-related tasks that always have the same duration and occur weekly, monthly, or at a regular, defined interval.
To create a new, recurring task, complete the following steps:
- On the View menu, choose Gantt Chart, if this view isn't already displayed.
- Select the task row where you want the recurring task to appear in the Entry table.
- From the Insert menu, choose Recurring Task.
- In the Task Name box, type the task name.
- Set the Duration of the recurring task and, under Recurrence Pattern, select your chosen option.
- Choose a task frequency and select the check box for the day of the week the task should occur. You can select multiple days of the week if you like.
- Under Range Of Recurrence, enter a start date for the first occurrence of this recurring task.
- Select End After or End By.a. For End After, type the number of occurrences—for instance, 12. b. For End By, enter the date you want the recurring task to end—for instance, 4/18/2008.
- Under Calendar For Scheduling This Task, select a calendar if you want to apply a calendar to the task or select None.
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It's not much different when you're using Project 2010. The Recurring Task Information Box is virtually the same as the one pictured above. I find it useful to click on the line on the task row below where I want the task to appear. Then choose the Task tab, and in the Insert group you will see the Task option. There's a "down" arrow beneath it; click on that. You will see the option for recurring task. Use steps 4-9 above to enter the necessary information.
Incidentally, no matter what version of Project you're using, it's not wise to attach constraints to recurring tasks, because you might have difficulty with resource scheduling. Best practices show that tasks can have constraints or they can be recurring, but not both.
Also, if you enter tasks recurring over the long term into a project file of relatively short duration, you will distort the Gantt chart and Timeline views. If your project is short, keep your recurring tasks limited to its timespan.
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Same task, irregular occurrence
For tasks that are repeated throughout the project life cycle but do not happen on a regular or definable schedule, you'll need to enter those tasks individually either by typing or using the Copy command. The recurring task command works only with tasks that follow a regular interval schedule.
You can quickly identify a recurring task on the Entry table (in Gantt Chart view) by its indicator icon located in the column to the left of the task name and to the right of the ID column.
- With permission from Microsoft Press, this article content was excerpted from the book, Managing Projects with Microsoft Office Project 2007 (Self-Paced Training Kit for Exam 70-632). The original article has been updated by the writer.
- Screenshots by the writer