Start a new plan

  • 10/10/2016

In this sample chapter from Microsoft Project 2016 Step by Step, learn how to create a new plan and set its start date. This action makes all tasks begin as soon as possible and gives you the greatest scheduling flexibility.

A project’s schedule or plan is essentially a model that you construct of some aspects of a project you are anticipating—what you expect will happen, or what you want to happen. This model focuses on key aspects of a project, such as tasks, resources, timeframes, and possibly their associated costs. Note that throughout this book, we’ll refer to the types of documents that Project 2016 works with as plans, not documents or schedules.

This chapter guides you through procedures related to creating a new plan and setting its start date, setting nonworking days in a project calendar, and entering a plan’s title and other properties.

Create a new plan and set its start date

As you might expect, Project focuses primarily on time. Sometimes you might know the expected start date of a project, the expected finish date, or both. However, when working with Project, you specify only one date, not both: the plan’s start date or finish date. Why? Because after you enter the plan’s start or finish date and other details, Project calculates the other date for you. Remember that Project is not merely a static repository of your schedule information or a Gantt chart drawing tool—it is an active scheduling engine.

Most plans should be scheduled from a start date, even if you know that the plan should finish by a certain deadline date. Scheduling from a start date sets all tasks to begin as soon as possible, and it gives you the greatest scheduling flexibility. In this and later chapters, you will see this flexibility in action as you work with a plan that is scheduled from a start date.

To create a new plan

  1. In Project, if the File tab is displayed, click it, and then click New.

  2. In the list of templates, click Blank Project or any other template you want.


  1. If you already have a list of available templates on the Start screen, click Blank Project or any other template you want.

    When you create a new plan, Project sets the plan’s start date to the current date. Project draws a thin green vertical line in the chart portion of the Gantt Chart view at the current date.


The current date is shown in the Gantt Chart view; look for the green vertical line (your current date will likely differ)

Click to view larger image

To set (or change) the plan’s start date

  1. On the Project tab, in the Properties group, click Project Information.

  2. In the Project Information dialog box, in the Start Date box, enter the start date you want or click the arrow to select one from the calendar.

  3. Click OK to accept the start date and close the Project Information dialog box.

To save the new plan

  1. Click the File tab, and then click Save As.

  2. On the Save As page, navigate to the location where you want to save the plan.