Microsoft Project (MS Project) is a leading software used to organize any project based on tasks, timeline, resources, dependencies, collaboration tools, and interactive dashboards. If you are planning to create a project with methodical clarity on every minor point, this program is one of the best to have.
To navigate Microsoft Project better and to keep track of various project variables, it is important to get familiarized with useful keyboard shortcuts. We have prepared a cheatsheet for this purpose. Using these shortcut keys would not only save your time and effort but improve your access to many hidden features.
Among the many uses of Microsoft Project, you can use its features to execute a wide variety of projects. These include sprint projects, waterfall projects, software development plans, budget sheets, market research schedule, annual reports, wedding planners, and even wine-tasting fundraisers.
Any full-fledged project is assembled using tools such as Gantt charts, network diagrams, resource sheets, task boards, team planners, apart from collaboration over email, SharePoint, OneDrive, and Microsoft Teams. All Microsoft Project data files are saved in .mpp format.
(Writer: Sayak Boral)
The above and following screens are for Microsoft Project’s Version 2105 which was released on May 27, 2021. Non-subscription versions of Project 2019, 2016, or 2013 are also available, and they are all backward-compatible.
It should be noted that unlike, say, Word or Excel, Microsoft Project doesn’t come as part of a regular Office 365 software suite. You need to either buy a subscription online or sign up for a Project 3 free trial. There are quite a few free alternatives to MS Project.
To operate Microsoft Project efficiently, you should familiarize yourself with commonly used shortcut keys. A full list of these shortcuts has been presented in the next section. But the ones below represent the examples which would make your navigation and browsing easy.
Want to quickly do your tasks without clicking the mouse? The keys Shift + F10 help you execute every command using the keyboard on the ribbon itself. Press any letter in the key tip to prepare the option you want to use. Use the Tab key to move through the options. You may additionally press Alt to make the same selection, and select any option. Press it once again to dismiss the view.
Continuing with the ribbon enabled, we opened a file using Alt + F. We could have simply opened it just using F. Now to open any Project file, use O or Alt + O. You can see other options for “print” p, “save” s, “share” z, and so forth.
While dealing with the entries in various cells, you would sometimes need to check what the information is all about. Shift + F2 is common combination for tasks, assignments, and resources which will open the pop-up box to give full details at a glance.
In MS Project, you can switch between the cells default calculability state using a screen tip called Auto-calculate ON to OFF. The keys for doing this are very easy to use: Ctrl + F9 .
Imagine you have hundreds of rows for a column. If you had to sort all of them out manually, it would be quite tedious. For this reason, there’s a hidden secret feature where you can activate the auto-filter dropdown menu for any column of your choice. It’s done using Alt + Shift + F3.
Microsoft Project has a team planner mode where you can view the timelines of a project. Of course, it can be tiring to drag the mouse cursor continuously. A keyboard shortcut Alt + Left Arrow or Alt + Right Arrow helps in efficient scrolling. So even if your project drags for many weeks or months, you can have a nice horizontal scrolling view.
Do you want to type over any task? This mode can be turned on/off using the simple Insert key.
After you practice the above examples as shown in previous section, you will understand how Microsoft Project functions. There are many other shortcut keys. Here we have provided them in the form of a cheatsheet explaining their main functions. While there are a few more which you’ll find in any MS Project window, this handy list will be enough to help you get started.
|Basics in Navigation|
|Delete||Delete one character to the right|
|Ctrl + Del||Delete any word to your right.|
|Esc||Cancel any entry.|
|Enter||Accept any entry.|
|Enter||Move around within a selection down the fields|
|Shift + Enter||Move around within a selection up the fields|
|Shift + spacebar||Select any row|
|Tab||Move within a selection right one field|
|Ctrl + Shift + End||Extend the selection right until the end|
|Ctrl + Down arrow key||Move to the last row|
|Ctrl + Up arrow key||Move to the first row|
|Alt + Home||Move to the very beginning of a project|
|Alt + End||Move to the very end of a project (timescale)|
|Manipulation of cells|
|Shift + Backspace||Reduce any field to just one field|
|Ctrl + Shift + F2||Unlink various tasks|
|Ctrl + F2||Link various tasks|
|Ctrl + Shift + Spacebar||Select all rows and columns|
|Ctrl + S||Save the project|
|Ctrl + Spacebar||Select a column|
|Shift + Spacebar||Select a row|
|Ctrl + Forward slash on the numeric keypad||Show smaller time-scale units|
|F6||Select any drawing object|
|Alt + Shift + hyphen||Hide subtasks|
|Ctrl + Delete||Clear or reset the selected field|
|Ctrl + Minus sign||Delete row with a selected cell|
|Ctrl + D||Fill down|
|Shift + Arrow keys||Add network diagram boxes to a given selection|
|Page Up||Move up one window height|
|Page Down||Move down one window height|
|Arrow keys||Nudge any shape up, down, left, or right|
|Shift + Right/left arrow key||Increase/decrease a shape’s width by 10 percent|
|Shift + Up/down arrow key||Increase/decrease a shape’s height by 10 percent|
|Ctrl + A||Select all text|
|Ctrl + Z||Undo|
|Ctrl + Y||Redo|
Microsoft Project is extensively used in simple as well as sophisticated projects. It has a universal template form which makes it worth sharing with others. Hygger.io is also a good project management suite which is worth consideration.