Importing a Project Task List from Excel

You can make your project plan more accurate and inclusive by integrating the suggestions and concrete input of team members and stakeholders into the project plan. Specifically, you can have others on the team create a task list from an Excel workbook and quickly incorporate it into Microsoft Project. Using the Microsoft Project Task List template in Excel, introduced in Project 2002, this process becomes seamless.

The standard Excel importing process involves mapping the Excel columns to the corresponding Microsoft Project columns to ensure that the right information ends up in the right places in your Gantt Chart task table. Microsoft Project is supplied with an Excel Task List template set up for this very purpose.

For example, suppose that the marketing department is suggesting an addition to the project plan that will provide more detail for their test marketing efforts. They want to develop a list of detailed tasks in Excel. You have them use the Microsoft Project Task List Template in Excel, as follows:

1 In Microsoft Excel, click File, New.

2 In the New Workbook task pane, click General Templates.

3 In the Templates dialog box, click the Spreadsheet Solutions tab.

4 Click Microsoft Project Task List Import Template and then click OK.

A new file is created that contains columns that correspond to the default Gantt Chart in Microsoft Project.

5 Enter the task information in the Task_Table sheet (see Figure 17-17).

The columns in this Excel template are specifically designed for integration with Microsoft Project. For example, the ID, Duration, Start, and Deadline fields are all set up to flow in to the Microsoft Project fields in the correct format and data type.

Also, the second worksheet, labeled either "Info_Table" or "Microsoft Project," contains a brief explanation of how Microsoft Project can use and augment the template.


Figure 17-17. Share the Excel Task List template with your team to help build your project plan.

6 When you finish entering task information, click Save on the Standard toolbar and give the file a name.

Make sure that you're saving the new task list as an Excel workbook (*.xls), not overwriting the template (*.xlt).

7 Close the file.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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