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Using the Top-Down Method
Now that you understand summary tasks and subtasks and you have seen them in action from a bottom-up methodology, let’s look at approaching a similar project using the top-down method.
Working from the top down, use the Insert key to add details under each task and then use the Indent button to demote the subtasks under each phase task.
Thus far, we have used only the Indent button to develop our project plan outline. However, several additional buttons are on the Formatting toolbar that are designed specifically for your work in outlining your project.
(Throughout this series, I've included figures. These images are designed to help you see how the project plan changes as we add summary tasks and subtasks to create levels within the project plan. In the figure to the left, you can see a project plan with five summary tasks and their related subtasks displayed below each summary task.)
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Outdent: Click this to move a subtask (or multiple selected tasks) up a level.
Indent: Click this to make the selected task a subtask. The task above it will become a summary task and will be displayed in bold.
Show Subtasks: Click this to show subtasks for the selected summary task.
Hide Subtasks: Click this to hide subtasks for the selected summary task.
Hide Assignments: Click this to hide assignments.
Show: Click this to show tasks at a specified level.
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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).
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For More Information
Recently, an article discussing bottom-up vs. top-down planning from a theory-perspective was published on Bright Hub's Project Management channel. Click here to read that article.
Project 2007: Outlining the Project Plan (Part 2 of 2)
Understanding two methods of outlining your project plan: bottom up and top down.