Start fields

The Start field shows the date when a task, resource, or assignment is scheduled to begin. You can have Microsoft Project calculate the start date, or you can enter it yourself.

There are several categories of Start fields.

Data Type    Date (date field: A type of field whose content is a date. Examples include the Baseline Start and Early Finish fields.)

ShowStart (task field)

Entry Type    Calculated or Entered (calculated or entered field: A field in which the value is determined by Project based on information in other fields. Information that you enter in the field yourself overrides calculated values.)

How Calculated    Project calculates the task start date from the project start date and any 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].). Project might also use task duration (duration: The total span of active working time that is required to complete a task. This is generally the amount of working time from the start to finish of a task, as defined by the project and resource calendar.) and other task constraints (constraint: A restriction set on the start or finish date of a task. You can specify that a task must start on or finish no later than a particular date. Constraints can be flexible [not tied to a specific date] or inflexible [tied to a specific date].). If resources are assigned, Project also considers the resource calendar (resource calendar: A calendar that specifies working and nonworking time for an individual resource. A resource calendar differs from a base calendar, which specifies working and nonworking time for more than one resource.) and assignment units.

If you enter a start date for an automatically scheduled task (automatically scheduled task: This type of task is scheduled using Project's scheduling engine, taking into account task constraints, dependencies, project calendars, and resource calendars.), Project assigns a Start No Earlier Than constraint to the task and uses your entered start date as the constraint date. If your project schedules from the finish date, and if you enter a start date, Project automatically applies a Start No Later Than constraint to the task.

 Note   For Microsoft Office Project 2007 and earlier versions, all tasks are automatically scheduled.

If you are using Microsoft Project 2010, and you enter a start date for a manually scheduled task (manually scheduled task: This type of task can be placed anywhere in the schedule without Project rescheduling it; it does not move as related information about the task changes.), the date is simply entered as is, and Project does not assign a task constraint or make any other scheduling changes.

If you enter an actual start date that is different from the scheduled start date, Project changes the scheduled start date to match the date in the Actual Start field.

Best Uses    Add the Start field to a task sheet to see or filter for task start dates. The Start field appears on the Gantt Chart view by default.

Example    You need to filter for all start dates scheduled after March. You filter on the Start field to see only those tasks scheduled with a start date beyond March 31.

Remarks    In a manually scheduled task, you can enter a valid start date, or you can enter text such as TBD or unknown. A manually scheduled task is considered a placeholder task until two of the three scheduling factors—start date, finish date, and duration—contain valid schedule information.

When you enter percent complete or actual work, Project might reschedule remaining work around the status date, and this can change the this scheduled start date. If you prefer, you can leave these tracking fields in the project as originally scheduled, even if completed work is shown in the future or remaining work is shown in the past.

For Office Project 2007 and earlier versions, on the Tools menu, click Options. On the Calculation tab, clear the check boxes labeled Move end of completed parts after status date back to status date and Move start of remaining parts before status date forward to status date. To set the status date to a date other than today's date, click Project Information on the Project menu, and then enter the date in the Status date box.

If you are using Project 2010, click

the File tab

, click Options, and then click Calculation. Clear the check boxes labeled Move end of completed parts after status date back to status date and Move start of remaining parts before status date forward to status date. You can set the status date to a date other than today's date. On the Project tab, in the Properties group, click Project Information, and then enter the date in the Status date box.

ShowStart (resource field)

Entry Type    Calculated (calculated field: A field in which the value is determined by Project based on information in other fields. Project may recalculate the value automatically or when you specify, depending on your choice of calculation settings.)

How Calculated    Project calculates the resource start date as the earliest start date of all assignments for the resource.

Best Uses    Add the Start field to a resource sheet to see or filter for the earliest start dates for resources.

Example    You need to see when Jamie is scheduled to start the first of 10 assigned tasks. In the Resource Sheet view, you add the Start field. You see the earliest start date of all of Jamie's assignments.

ShowStart (assignment field)

Entry Type    Calculated or entered (calculated or entered field: A field in which the value is determined by Project based on information in other fields. Information that you enter in the field yourself overrides calculated values.)

How Calculated    Project calculates the assignment start date based on the resource calendar (resource calendar: A calendar that specifies working and nonworking time for an individual resource. A resource calendar differs from a base calendar, which specifies working and nonworking time for more than one resource.) and 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].). It also takes into consideration the task start date and any assignment delay as follows:

Start (assignment) = Start (task) + Delay (assignment)

If you enter a start date for the assignment that is later than the start date for the task, Project enters the difference as assignment delay.

Best Uses    Add the Start field to the Task Usage or Resource Usage view when you want to review, filter, or edit start dates scheduled for assignments.

Example    You need to review all the start dates for the seven people assigned to the "Write proposal" task. In the Task Usage view, you add the Start field. Under the "Write proposal" task, you can see the start dates for each resource assigned to the task.

Remarks    When you enter percent complete or actual work, Project might reschedule remaining work around the status date, and this can change scheduled start dates of successor tasks and associated assignments. If you prefer, you can leave these tracking fields in the project as originally scheduled, even if completed work is shown in the future or remaining work is shown in the past.

For Microsoft Office Project 2007 and earlier versions, on the Tools menu, click Options. On the Calculation tab, clear the check boxes labeled Move end of completed parts after status date back to status date and Move start of remaining parts before status date forward to status date. To set the status date to a date other than today's date, click Project Information on the Project menu, and then enter the date in the Status date box.

If you are using Microsoft Project 2010, click

the File tab

, click Options, and then click Calculation. Clear the check boxes labeled Move end of completed parts after status date back to status date and Move start of remaining parts before status date forward to status date. You can set the status date to a date other than today's date. On the Project tab, in the Status group, click Status Date, and then enter the date.

 
 
Applies to:
Project 2010