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Fine-Tuning Task Details in Microsoft Project 2010

Inactivating Tasks

You can include tasks in a project plan that you might later decide you don’t want to have completed, but you also don’t want to lose the details about those tasks by deleting them. You might for example develop tasks that pose “what-if” questions that you can’t begin to answer until preliminary questions get answered. Or you could design a project plan that describes a likely-case scenario for completion but also includes more optimistic and pessimistic sets of tasks as well.

In Project, you can inactivate a single task or multiple tasks. Inactivating tasks may be preferable to deleting tasks, in that it keeps the task information in the project plan but removes the scheduling effect of those tasks. A task that drives the start of a successor task, for example, remains visible when inactivated, but it has strikethrough formatting applied in the Gantt Chart and other views, and its link relationship is broken and its successor is rescheduled.

Should you later wish to reactivate inactivated tasks, you can easily do so, and Project restores them as active tasks with the same scheduling impact as they previously had.

In this exercise, you inactivate a summary task and its subtasks.

  1. Select the name of task 39, Design book’s companion website.

    This summary task and its subtasks reflect an initial plan to account for the work of designing a Web site that would promote the new book at its launch. You still think you might want to include this work in the new book plan, but for now, you’d like to inactivate these tasks.

  2. On the Task tab, in the Schedule group, click Inactivate.

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    Project inactivates the summary task and its subtasks.

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    The original task information is still visible, but now it has no impact on the overall project plan. Later, should you decide to include these tasks in the project plan, you could reactivate them by clicking Inactivate again.