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How to Use Microsoft Project: A Quick Guide

Reading Time: 6 mins
Anna Shalomova

PPM Consultant

Reading Time: 6 minutes


Microsoft Project is the industry standard project management tool for large enterprises. However, mastering this solution might be challenging. In order to help you better understand and make the most of it, this Microsoft Project tutorial will walk you through the product step by step.  

Microsoft Project – How to Use

Microsoft Project is an advanced software for managing tasks and mission-critical information. The license includes Project Online, Project for the Web, and Project Online desktop client. The solution may be used to develop timelines and plans, coordinate resources, and monitor project progress. Those who work in PPM will appreciate its array of helpful tools like Gantt charts, Kanban boards, and calendars. The following steps will help you to use MS Project effectively.  

Microsoft Project: Getting Started with Initial Tasks and Timelines

After installing the solution on your computer, you may begin working with it right away.  

  • Start by populating the Gantt chart with relevant information, such as task names and durations. 
  • The Gantt chart on the right will update in real-time as you enter information about tasks and their durations into the spreadsheet on the left.  
  • The task bar is a handy tool for keeping track of what needs to be done and by when. 
Read more on how to get started with Microsoft Project 


Saving the File

When you’ve finished adding tasks to the spreadsheet and reviewing the Gantt chart on the right, make sure to save your work. In order to save the file properly, you should give the file a version number so that you can tell it apart from any subsequent revisions you make.  

Please note that this is the name that will be appended to the saved file, Date of Project Initiation, and Task Interdependencies in the MPP. 

Changing the Default Settings and Defining Dependencies

MS Project will initiate all your tasks on the same day unless you change the programs’ settings. In this regard, you must change the default dates to when the task will be initiated. 

  • If you leave default settings alone, all your tasks will begin on the same day.  
  • To access this section, select Project from the main menu and then click Project Information from the submenu that appears. The beginning date can be modified in the new window that has opened. 
  • You can keep track of when one job can’t begin until another one is finished. 
  • MS Project allows you to establish connections between tasks, which is helpful for managing their interdependencies.  
  • The Gantt chart is accessible by moving the mouse pointer to the center of the toolbar. 
  • When you click and hold the left mouse button, the pointer changes into a four-way arrow that can be used to drag one task over another to connect them.  
  • Once the second version is complete, you can save the file. 

How to Use Microsoft Project to Plan Out Your Milestones

Milestones are one of the most valuable features, helping you keep track of your work and ensuring that your project is completed on time.  

  • These are essential to include in your Gantt chart. Simply selecting a task will elevate it to a major milestone.  
  • Right-clicking on the marked task will open the task details window. 
  • Select the “Advanced” menu option. A tick box will appear in the far-left corner.  
  • Simply marking this box will elevate the task to the status of a major accomplishment.  
  • On your Gantt chart, it will look as a black diamond.  
  • It is suggested to keep a copy for safekeeping. 

Microsoft Project’s Icons and Toolbar

The View menu is where you’ll go to customize your toolbar anyway you like it (Gantt chart, calendar, network diagram, task utilization, tracking, etc.). You can now select the view that is most helpful to you. This will change as the project progresses, so you can expect to use this function frequently. 

  • Under view, you’ll see the Toolbar option, which, when selected, will bring up a new window to the right.  
  • You can view what you want to see at any given time by adjusting the Standard and Formatting choices, which are the defaults.  
  • A brief explanation of what each icon on the toolbar performs appears when you hover over it.  
  • Anyone who has used a computer previously would recognize the many icons for things like “New File,” “File Search,” “Print Preview,” “Spelling,” “Undo,” and so on.  
  • It is suggested to explore the program’s features and learn how to use its numerous editing and presentation tools.  
  • Once you do, you can modify the toolbar to include or exclude specific functions as you see fit.  
  • A tiny double arrow and a tiny down arrow sit to the right of the default toolbar, allowing you to rearrange the icons that appear there. 

Document Exchange

Mastering Microsoft Project requires time and patience, but the excellent features provided by this PPM tool make it worthwhile. However, you and your team may become irritated when it comes to file sharing because there is no simple alternative short of purchasing additional MS Project licenses. 

Those of us without a license who need to work with and share MPP files still have options. Microsoft Project viewers are extremely widespread. To overcome this licensing constraint, Microsoft Project Viewer Online is the best solution. In simple words, if you don’t have a proper license but need to open, export, or print files, you can do so with a program called a Microsoft Project viewer or MPP viewer. It’s a godsend for anyone working with or receiving an MPP file, as doing so can be fraught with difficulties. 

Although it’s not PPM software, the MPP Viewer does let users see what’s been assigned to them and how much time and money they must get it done. The MPP viewer includes the additional features of exporting to an Excel spreadsheet and printing. 

Project Portfolio Management

As a part of Microsoft Project license, you get access to Project for the Web. In addition to the features mentioned above, you can get more with the help of FluentPro Portfolio Accelerator. It provides an immediate start and unrivalled options like financial management, a bespoke PPM strategy, risk and issue prevention, ideation, pre-built reports, and change management. Effortlessly tailor Microsoft Project for the Web to your specific project management procedures and demands with the help of the FluentPro Portfolio Accelerator. 

Download FluentPro Portfolio Accelerator overview to get more information 

FluentPro Portfolio Accelerator for Project for the Web

Many businesses struggle to find their footing after deciding to use Microsoft Project for the Web as their PPM platform.  

  • The deployment process is lengthy and difficult.  
  • It is possible, although costly, for businesses to employ a consultant to tailor the environment to their specific needs.  
  • As an added downside, Project for the Web has restricted capabilities by default.  
  • More “out of the box” features are often required by project, program, and portfolio managers. 

FluentPro Portfolio Accelerator, built on the Microsoft Power Platform, is a robust web-based PPM solution that extends Microsoft Project for the Web. Financial management, individualized strategy, risk avoidance, creative brainstorming, and more are just some of the handy features it provides. 

FluentPro Portfolio Accelerator also facilitates installation and configuration, so organizations can save time and resources when deploying Project for the Web since every step of the process is managed by professionals. Furthermore, FluentPro Portfolio Accelerator streamlines the process of collecting, analyzing, and processing data across programs and portfolios. 

Feature Overview

The following additional features are available when tailoring Microsoft Project for the Web environment to an organization’s needs: 

  • The environment is immediately accessible and usable. 
  • The method of managing portfolios, programs, and projects is adaptable. 
  • Management of project, programs, and portfolio costs and benefits. 
  • Risk assessment and problem avoidance. 
  • Encourage employees to contribute to the company’s growth by ideating on their own time. 
  • Approval workflow management for handling requests for changes. 
  • Embedded Power BI reports and predefined real-time dashboards for analysis and insight. 
  • Ability to tailor it to your own wants and needs. 

Benefits of FluentPro Portfolio Accelerator

FluentPro Portfolio Accelerator can simplify your project portfolio management experience with Project for the Web. Using this solution, organizations can enjoy the following benefits:  

  • Easy to initiate. Companies won’t need to pay for as many outside experts. 
  • The saving of money, effort, and hassle. The FluentPro team handles all aspects of managed deployment.
  • Organizations can immediately begin using a fully operational, web-optimized version.
  • Improved decision-making through access to predefined reports on project performance.
  • Tailoring and enhancements based on your specific requirements and organizational aims.
  • State-of-the-art capabilities for automatically managing a portfolio of projects.


Who among us hasn’t experienced a project being pushed back due to some outside factor? If you’re not adequately keeping track of all important aspects of a project, you are sure to encounter problems with the delivery of the rest of the tasks & components. When it comes to PPM, Microsoft Project is by far the most popular option because it’s quick, easy to use, and gives you complete command over your schedule, finances, and manpower. Finally, it facilitates straightforward communication of your project plan to others and reveals the effects of any delays on completion. Following the procedures outlined above, even a total newbie will be up and running in no time. 

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