Letting Microsoft Project Add Outline Numbers - dummies

By Elaine Marmel, Nancy C. Muir

Microsoft Project 2007 can assign outline numbers to the tasks in your schedule based on the task’s level in the outline. The outline numbers help you visually identify each task’s hierarchical position in the outline. In addition, you can easily and clearly refer to tasks by using their outline number. When you use outline numbers, Project automatically updates the numbers if you change your project’s outline structure.

Project uses an outline numbering system that’s similar to the numbering system you find in most legal documents. You usually find a whole number preceding each major heading in a legal document. Headings subordinate to the major heading are numbered with the major heading’s whole number, a period, and then a subordinate paragraph number. So, the first paragraph under the first major heading is numbered 1.1, and the second paragraph under the first major heading is numbered 1.2.

By default, Project uses the same numbering scheme, assigning whole numbers to tasks that aren’t indented at all. Subtasks are assigned outline numbers based on what task they fall under and how many times they are indented from the left edge of the outline.

Like the legal numbering scheme described above, Project assigns whole numbers to the tasks at the left edge of the outline, which are tasks at the top level of the outline. To each subtask of a task at the left edge of the outline, Project assigns the whole number, followed by a period, and then a sequential number for each subtask. Project continues to follow this pattern for any subtasks that appear beneath other subtasks. Each subtask displays a number that includes its parent number and a sequential number for its place in the outline.

You can let Project assign outline numbers that identify each task’s level in the outline, but know that you can’t edit these numbers. To be able to edit outline numbers, you need to design your own outline code.

To enable Project to assign outline numbers, follow these steps:

1. In Microsoft Project, choose Tools –> Options to display the Options dialog box.

2. Click the View tab.

3. Select the Show Outline Number check box in the Outline Options section.

4. Click OK.