View and update task dependencies (links) across projects

When a task in one project has an external dependency (external dependency: A relationship in which the start or finish date of a task depends on a task in another project.) on a task in another project, you should review and update that dependency periodically to make sure that the dependent task isn't affecting your project's critical path (critical path: The series of tasks that must be completed on schedule for a project to finish on schedule. Each task on the critical path is a critical task.). After dependencies are updated, you can filter your tasks to show only those that have external dependencies.

 Note   Your project schedule is not updated automatically when external dependencies change, so it is important to review and update dependencies regularly. Viewing and updating external dependencies on tasks in other projects is not the same as viewing and updating inter-project dependencies. Inter-project dependencies are not associated with specific tasks.

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View and update external dependencies

  1. On the View menu, click Gantt Chart.
  2. If AutoFilters are turned on, click AutoFilter Button image to turn them off.

When AutoFilters are turned on, an arrow is displayed to the right of each field heading. Turning off AutoFilters displays all tasks.

  1. On the Tools menu, click Links Between Projects.
  2. View external predecessor tasks or successor tasks:
    • To see a list of tasks that are linked to external predecessor tasks, click the External Predecessors tab.
    • To see a list of tasks that are linked to external successor tasks, click the External Successors tab.
  3. For changes to external predecessors that affect the successor tasks in your project, review the Differences column.

Differences usually include a new start or finish date for the external predecessor or external successor. The new date is typically the result of a changed duration, constraint, tracked progress, or other parameter. Changes to a task's name are also shown in the Differences column.

  1. Review and accept changes to external links:
    • To selectively accept changes to external predecessors, in the Task column, select each external predecessor or successor that has changes that you want to accept, and then click Accept.
    • To accept all changes, click All.

 Notes 

  • You cannot undo acceptance of the changes after you click OK — however, you are assured that the project is synchronized with all external files.
  • Be careful to remember which changes you do not accept, because your project will not be synchronized with the external files that contain any changes that you reject. There will be no record of the rejected changes.
  • By default, you are notified whenever data in an externally linked task changes. When you open a plan that has external links, the external predecessors, external successors, and effects on your schedule are displayed, and you can choose to accept any or all changes. If you do not want to be notified of such changes, on the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the View tab. Under Cross project linking options for, clear the Show Links Between Projects dialog on open check box. To automatically accept changes each time that you open the plan, select the Automatically accept new external data check box.
  • If you want to hide external tasks, on the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the View tab. Clear the Show external successors and Show external predecessors check boxes.

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Show only tasks that have external dependencies

  1. On the View menu, click Gantt Chart.
  2. If AutoFilters are turned on, click AutoFilter Button image to turn them off.

When AutoFilters are turned on, an arrow is displayed to the right of each field heading. Turning off AutoFilters ensures that all tasks are displayed.

  1. On the Project menu, point to Filtered for, and then click More Filters.
  2. In the More Filters dialog box, click Task.
  3. Click New, and then type a new name for the filter in the Name box.

For example, you can type Tasks with external dependencies.

  1. In the first row of the Field Name column, click Predecessors.
  2. In the first row of the Test column, click contains.
  3. In the first row of the Values column, type a backslash (\) to indicate that you are adding a link to an external predecessor.

Next, create the test string for successor tasks:

  1. In the second row of the And/Or column, click Or.
  2. In the second row of the Field Name column, click Successors.
  3. In the second row of the Test column, click contains.
  4. In the second row of the Values column, type a backslash (\).
  5. Click OK to close the Filter Definition dialog box, and then click Apply.

Microsoft Office Project filters the task list to show only those tasks that have external predecessor tasks or successor tasks.

 Notes 

  • To turn off a filter, click All Tasks in the Filter list Filter list.
  • When you open a master project and expand all subprojects, all dependencies between these subprojects are automatically accepted, without notification.
  • By default, you are notified whenever data in an externally linked task changes. When you open a plan that has external links, the external predecessors, external successors, and effects on your schedule are displayed, and you can choose to accept any or all changes. If you do not want to be notified of such changes, on the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the View tab. Under Cross project linking options for, clear the Show Links Between Projects dialog on open check box. To automatically accept changes each time that you open the plan, select the Automatically accept new external data check box.

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Applies to:
Project 2007