Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Entering task durations
Entering task durations
A task’s duration represents the amount of time you expect it will take to complete the
task. Project can work with task durations that range from minutes to months. Depending
on the scope of your plan, you’ll probably want to work with task durations on the scale of
hours, days, and weeks. Giving your tasks duration values is one of the benefits of using a
scheduling tool like Project over a simple checklist or to-do approach to organizing work.
Let’s explore task durations with an example. Let’s say a plan has a project calendar with
working time defined as 8 A.M. through 5 P.M. with one hour off for lunch breaks Monday
through Friday, leaving nonworking time defined as evenings (after 5 P.M.) and
weekends. (If you need a refresher on the project calendar , see “Setting nonworking days in
the project calendar” in Chapter 3, “Starting a new plan.”) If you estimate that a task will
take 16 hours of working time, you could enter its duration as “2d” to schedule work over
two eight-hour workdays. You should then expect that starting the task at 8 A.M. on a
Friday means that it will not be completed until 5 P.M. on the following Monday. No work
would be scheduled over the weekend because Saturday and Sunday have been defined as
nonworking time.
You can use abbreviations when entering durations.
If you enter this abbreviation
It appears like this
And it means
30 mins
30 minutes
30 m
6 hrs
6 hours
6 h
4 days
4 days
4 d
3 wks
3 weeks
3 w
2 mons
2 months
2 mo
As noted earlier, Project handles task scheduling in two ways. Automatically scheduled tasks
always have a duration (one day by default). Manually Scheduled tasks, however, do not
initially have any duration. A task’s duration is essential for Project to schedule a task, so it
makes sense that a manually scheduled task, which is not scheduled by Project, does not
require a duration. You can, however, enter duration values for manually scheduled tasks—
you’ll do so in this section.
With manually scheduled tasks, you can enter regular duration values using the
abbreviations shown in the preceeding table—for example, “3d” for three days. You can
also enter text values, such as “Check with Bob.” Such text values are replaced with the
default 1-day duration value when you convert a task from manual to automatic scheduling.
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