How to Import Tasks from Microsoft Outlook

By Cynthia Snyder Stackpole

Microsoft provides an easy-to-use import feature that transfers the tasks you create in Outlook to Project 2013. After you start thinking about what has to be accomplished in a project, tasks start resembling breeding rabbits; what might start as a series of simple to-do tasks in Outlook often becomes a full-fledged project. That’s where the import comes in.

The Import Outlook Tasks feature is essentially an import map that’s preset to work with Outlook task fields. Follow these steps to import Outlook tasks into Project:

  1. Open the plan that you want to insert tasks into, or open a new project (choose File→New, click Blank Project, and click Create).

  2. Click the Task tab on the Ribbon, click the bottom part (with the down arrow) of the Task button in the Insert group, and click Import Outlook Tasks.

  3. If a Microsoft Outlook warning message appears, click Allow.

    The Import Outlook Tasks dialog box appears.


  4. Select the check box beside each task you want to import, or click the Select All button to import all Outlook tasks.

    By default, Outlook stores tasks in the Tasks folder. Selecting the Folder: Tasks check box is another way to select all tasks in Outlook.

  5. Click the OK button.

    The tasks are imported and then appear at the end of the list of tasks with change highlighting applied.

When you import a task from Outlook, its name, duration, and notes (if any) are also imported. If a task in Outlook has no duration, and you’ve set Auto Schedule as the project task mode, Project creates the task with an estimated one-day time frame.

Inserting hyperlinks

You can insert hyperlinks in a project outline, which provides a handy way to quickly open another project, another file of any type, or a web page.

You can insert a hyperlink and create a task that you can use to represent the timing or costs of another project or subproject in the plan because the timing and cost information isn’t transported from the hyperlinked project. Hyperlinks are more often used to link to documentation for an existing task, such as technical documentation, assumptions, or external information.

To insert a hyperlink to another one in the project, follow these steps:

  1. Type the name of the new task in a blank task name cell.

  2. Right-click the new task name cell for which you want the hyperlinked task to appear.

  3. Choose Hyperlink.

    The Insert Hyperlink dialog box appears.


  4. In the Text to Display box, type the text that you want to appear for the hyperlink.

    Ensure that this text clearly states what information is being summarized.

  5. In the Link To area, click the Existing File or web Page icon.

    You can link to a document of any type or to a web page.

  6. In the Look In list, locate and select the file to which you want to insert a hyperlink.

  7. Click the OK button.

    The link text is inserted, and a hyperlink symbol appears in the Indicator field. You can simply click that link symbol to open the other file.

Inserting one project into another

You can also insert tasks from one project into another. You do this by inserting an entire, existing project into another project. The project that’s inserted is a subproject. This method is useful when various project team members manage different phases of a larger project.

The capability to assemble subprojects in one place allows you to create a master schedule from which you can view, all in one place, all the pieces of a larger, more complex project.

If you insert multiple subprojects, create a pool of resources that you make available to all subprojects for resource assignment consistency.

Follow these steps to insert another Project file into the schedule:

  1. In Gantt Chart view, select the task in the task list above which you want the other project to be inserted.

  2. Choose Project→Subproject.

    The Subproject command is in the Insert group.


  3. Using the navigation pane and file list, locate the file that you want to insert, and click it to select it.

  4. If you want to link to the other file so that any updates to it are reflected in the copy of the project you’re inserting, make sure that the Link to Project check box is selected.

  5. Click the Insert button to insert the file.

    The inserted project appears above the task you selected when you began the insert process.

The inserted project’s highest-level task appears at the level of the task you selected when you inserted the project, with all other tasks below it in outline order. If you need to, use the Outdent and Indent tools on the Formatting toolbar to place the inserted tasks at the appropriate level in the project.