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Task Linking Methods in MS Project

Creating task linking relationships is a fundamental aspect of project management in Microsoft Project. Our expert trainer recently demonstrated three quick and efficient methods to establish Finish to Start (FS) task linking relationships, which can streamline project schedules and ensure dependencies are properly maintained.

Let’s delve into these three methods and explore how you can utilize them for effective project management.

1. Using Task IDs

The most straightforward method to create task links in MS Project is by using Task IDs. Each task in your project is assigned a unique ID, allowing you to link tasks based on their sequence within the project. Here’s how to do it:

  • Step 1: Identify the tasks you want to link in the Gantt chart view.
  • Step 2: In the “Predecessors” column, enter the Task ID of the task that should be completed before the current task begins.
  • Step 3: Press “Enter,” and MS Project will create a Finish to Start (FS) relationship between the tasks.

This method is quick and intuitive, and particularly useful for creating straightforward FS relationships that follow a natural sequence.

2. Using the Ctrl Key

Another method for creating FS relationships involves using the Ctrl key to link tasks visually in the Gantt chart. This approach is more interactive and can be helpful when you need to create multiple links quickly. Here’s how it works:

  • Step 1: In the Gantt chart, select the tasks you want to link by holding down the Ctrl key and clicking on each task.
  • Step 2: With the tasks selected, right-click, and choose “Link Tasks” from the context menu.
  • Step 3: MS Project will create a Finish to Start (FS) relationship between the selected tasks.

This method is ideal for quickly establishing links between tasks in close proximity or when visual feedback is essential perhaps for a stakeholder presentation.

3. Using the Task Information Dialog Box

For more comprehensive control over task linking relationships, the Task Information dialog box is the best option. It allows you to create any type of linking relationship and add positive or negative lag to refine task scheduling. Here’s how you can use this method:

  • Step 1: Select the task you want to link in the Gantt chart view.
  • Step 2: Right-click the task and select “Task Information” from the context menu.
  • Step 3: In the Task Information dialog box, go to the “Predecessors” tab.
  • Step 4: Click the “Task Name” column and choose the predecessor task you want to link with.
  • Step 5: In the “Type” column, select the desired relationship type (Finish to Start, Start to Start, etc.).
  • Step 6: In the “Lag” column, add a positive or negative lag value as needed.
  • Step 7: Click “OK” to create the link.

This method offers greater flexibility, allowing you to create various task relationships and fine-tune them with lags. It’s perfect for more complex project schedules where additional control over task dependencies is required.

Understanding these three methods for creating task linking relationships in MS Project is key to mastering project scheduling and ensuring smooth project execution without over complicating things.

Ready to take your MS Project skills to the next level? Our course, Project Management with Microsoft Project, covers all these techniques and much more. It’s designed to help you excel in project scheduling and deliver projects on time and within budget.

Join us to learn from experienced trainers and gain hands-on experience with the industry’s leading project management software.

Leave a comment

  1. Your article on task linking methods in MS Project is informative and well-structured, with clear examples and helpful screenshots. It’s a valuable resource for users of all levels. Well done!


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