Understanding Estimated vs Confirmed Durations

Any value in the Duration field that's followed by a question mark is considered a duration estimate. Technically, all planned durations are only estimates because you don't know how long a task takes until it's completed and you have an actual duration. However, the question mark indicates what you might consider an "estimate of a duration estimate." Estimated durations are calculated into the schedule the same as confirmed durations; they simply serve as an alert that a duration is still more of a guess.

Tip Turn off estimated durations

If you have no use for the estimated durations question mark, you can turn it off. Click Tools, Options, and then click the Schedule tab. Clear the Show That Tasks Have Estimated Dura tions check box. Also, clear the New Tasks Have Estimated Durations check box.

By default, a duration estimate of 1 day is entered for any newly added task (1d?). Use this value as a flag to indicate that the duration still needs to be entered for this task. You can also enter a question mark (?) after a duration; for example, 2w?. Any durations with question marks can serve as a flag to indicate that the duration is still under consideration and might change after you receive more solid information. When you remove the question mark from a duration, the duration is confirmed; that is, you're now confident of this duration.

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Tip Rearrange your view by estimated durations

You can sort, group, or filter tasks by whether a task has an estimated or confirmed dura tion. For more information, see "Rearranging Your Project Information" on page 123.

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