Microsoft Project, Lesson 4: Tips and Tricks For Using Toolbar Icons

Microsoft Project, Lesson 4: Tips and Tricks For Using Toolbar Icons
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Toolbar Icons

The first two lessons in this tutorial on Microsoft Project showed us how to start a project using the Microsoft Project software. Then we learned some navigational aspects and points about the Screen layout, menu bars and toolbars in the previous lesson. As you must have realized, some of these functionalities are similar to what you have seen in other Microsoft Office applications like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.

Now, in this lesson of the tutorial, let us continue looking more at the contents of the toolbars in Microsoft Project.

The small little graphics you see on each of these toolbars are referred to as icons, and as you have intuitively guessed, each icon has a function associated with it. Move your mouse over the icons in the toolbars and you can see a screen-tip indicating what that icon stands for.

On the Standard toolbar, for instance, you have icons for New File, File search, Print preview, Spelling, Undo, and so forth. You are wondering where Open, Save, Print, Cut, Copy, and Paste have gone, right? We will come to them soon.

On the Formatting toolbar you have icons for Indent (as learned in Lesson 2), Outdent, Show and Hide subtasks, etc.

You must also have noticed that most of these toolbar icons represent functionalities that you could otherwise access through the Menu options. Thus, in a way, these toolbars provide shortcuts for some functionalities. But these toolbars are much more friendly than being mere shortcuts, and in quite a few instances offer functionalities that are not easily navigable through the menu options. Moreover, these toolbars are extensively customizable. The best way to become friendly with these tools is to use them with your sample project and familiarize yourself with their power.

How Do You Customize the Toolbars?

Let us start with the Standard toolbar. On the extreme right of the Standard toolbar (just before the Formatting bar starts), do you see small double arrows and a small down arrow? Click on this, and you can understand what we mean by customizing the toolbar. Similarly, you have the option for adding or removing buttons in most of the toolbars.

Some Tips and Tricks

As you go through these toolbars and icons and try them out on your sample project, I am sure you will start discovering tips and tricks for various actions you had performed during the first two lessons. And yes, that indeed is the best way to learn tricks with these applications. Practice, as we said in Lesson 1, makes you perfect. And it also makes you a lot more clever.

While working with your Concert project, you may have wondered how you could change the time scale on the calendar so that you could view the entire Gantt chart on the screen from Start to Finish instead of having to scroll to the right on the Gantt chart pane. Here is a smart way to do that. (Click any image for a larger view.)

Project Concert - Zoomed Out View

Use the Zoom Out icon in the Standard toolbar. You can immediately see the entire Gantt chart from Start to Finish, and you can see that the time scale on the calendar has changed, so that your view spans a larger horizon. Of course there are other ways to alter the calendar settings, which we will take up in a later lesson.

Another useful feature available in the toolbars in Microsoft Project is the camera icon that you can find to the right of the zoom out icon (just after the “Go To Task” icon). Click on the camera icon and you will find a very friendly “Copy Picture” window. With this feature you can extract any part of the project and save it to a GIF file, print it, or paste it into another application like PowerPoint or Word. Try the following options:

  • Choose To GIF Image file under Render image.
  • Give a file name to use when saving this extracted image.
  • Under Time scale, choose a date range, say September 1 to October 31.
  • Click on OK.

Now, go to the folder where you saved the image and open the image file. This image can then be embedded in any other document as mentioned earlier.

There are several such tips and tricks which you will discover for yourself as you use these toolbars and icons in Microsoft Project. We will discuss more of them as we go along in future lessons. Play around with the toolbars and icons you have learned here, and get set for the next lesson. Also, be sure to check out Bright Hub’s other Microsoft Project tutorials.

This post is part of the series: Step By Step Tutorials on Microsoft Project

This series of articles take you through the steps involved in building a complete project using Microsoft Project software. The series starts with a very simple project spanning just ten tasks, and the builds on the simple project by introducing new elements. A hands-on approach is used throughout

  1. Step-By-Step Tutorial on Microsoft Project: Getting Started in Twenty Minutes
  2. Task Insertions, Amendments and Other Features in Microsoft Project (Lesson 2)
  3. Getting to Know the Menus and Toolbars in Microsoft Project (Lesson 3)
  4. Toolbars Continued, Plus Tips and Tricks in Microsoft Project (Lesson 4)
  5. Types of Task Relationships in Microsoft Project (Lesson 5)