Create task dependencies (links) within your project

After tasks (task: An activity that has a beginning and an end. Project plans are made up of tasks.) are created in a project, they need to be linked (linking: In a project, establishing a dependency between tasks. Linking tasks defines a dependency between their start and finish dates. In OLE, establishing a connection between programs so that data in one document is updated when it changes in another.) to show relationships between them. Linking tasks creates task dependencies (task dependencies: A relationship between two linked tasks; linked by a dependency between their finish and start dates. There are four kinds of task dependencies: Finish-to-start [FS], Start-to-start [SS], Finish-to-finish [FF], and Start-to-finish [SF].).

 Tip   You can also show the relationships between multiple projects by linking tasks across projects, or by using inter-project dependencies.

You can link tasks within the same project by using the Gantt Chart view (Gantt Chart view: A predefined view that displays project tasks on the left side of the view, and graphical bars corresponding to the task's durations on the right side of the view.), the Network Diagram view (Network Diagram: A diagram that shows dependencies between project tasks. Tasks are represented by boxes, or nodes, and task dependencies are represented by lines that connect the boxes. In Project, the Network Diagram view is a network diagram.), or the Calendar view (calendar view: A Project view that displays a project's tasks in a calendar format.).

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About linking tasks

When you link tasks in Project, the default link (linking: In a project, establishing a dependency between tasks. Linking tasks defines a dependency between their start and finish dates. In OLE, establishing a connection between programs so that data in one document is updated when it changes in another.) type is finish-to-start. However, a finish-to-start link does not work in every situation. Project provides additional types of task links so you can model your project realistically.

Link type Example Description
Finish-to-start (FS) Finish-to-start dependency

The dependent task (B) cannot begin until the task that it depends (A) on is complete.

For example, if you have two tasks, "Dig foundation" and "Pour concrete," the "Pour concrete" task cannot begin until the "Dig foundation" task is complete.

Start-to-start (SS) Start-to-start dependency

The dependent task (B) cannot begin until the task that it depends (A) on begins.

The dependent task can begin anytime after the task that it depends on begins. The SS link type does not require that both tasks begin simultaneously.

For example, if you have two tasks, "Pour concrete" and "Level concrete," the "Level concrete" task cannot begin until the "Pour concrete" task begins.

Finish-to-finish (FF) Finish-to-finish dependency

The dependent task (B) cannot be completed until the task that it depends on (A) is completed.

The dependent task can be completed anytime after the task that it depends on is completed. The FF link type does not require that both tasks be completed simultaneously.

For example, if you have two tasks, "Add wiring" and "Inspect electrical," the "Inspect electrical" task cannot be completed until the "Add wiring" task is completed.

Start-to-finish (SF) Start-to-finish dependency

The dependent task (B) cannot be completed until the task that it depends on (A) begins.

The dependent task can be completed anytime after the task that it depends on begins. The SF link type does not require that the dependent task be completed concurrent with the beginning of the task on which it depends.

For example, the roof trusses for your construction project are built offsite. Two of the tasks in your project are "Truss delivery" and "Assemble roof." The "Assemble roof" task cannot be completed until the "Truss delivery" task begins.

When inserting a task among linked tasks, you can have a new task linked automatically or not link it at all.

  • To link the new task, click the task that you want the new task to precede, and then click New Task on the Insert menu.

 Note   If this doesn't work, on the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the Schedule tab. Make sure that the Autolink inserted or moved tasks check box is selected.

  • To add the new task without linking it, click the task with which the new task will occur concurrently, and then drag to create the new task in a blank portion of the Network Diagram.

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Link tasks by using the Gantt Chart view

  1. On the View menu, click Gantt Chart.
  2. In the Task Name field, select two or more tasks you want to link, in the order you want to link them.
    • To select nonadjacent tasks, hold down CTRL and click the tasks you want to link.
    • To select adjacent tasks, hold down SHIFT and click the first and last tasks you want to link.
  3. Click Link Tasks Button image.

Project creates a finish-to-start task link by default. You can change this task link to start-to-start, finish-to-finish, or start-to-finish.

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Link tasks by using the Network Diagram view

  1. On the View menu, click Network Diagram.
  2. Position the pointer in the center of the predecessor task box.
  3. Drag to the successor task box.

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Link tasks by using the Calendar view

  1. On the View menu, click Calendar.
  2. Position the pointer on the calendar bar for the predecessor task.
  3. Drag to the successor task's calendar bar.

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Turn autolinking on or off

By default, when you insert a task among linked tasks, the new task is automatically linked with the surrounding tasks. For example, if you have three tasks with finish-to-start links and you add a new task between them, the new task will take on a finish-to-start link with the tasks above and below it.

You can easily turn this option off, so that inserting a new task does not automatically link it with the surrounding tasks. If autolinking is turned off, you can easily turn it back on.

  1. On the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the Schedule tab.
  2. To turn autolinking off, clear the Autolink inserted or moved tasks check box.

To turn autolinking on, select the Autolink inserted or moved tasks check box.

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Applies to:
Project 2007