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Microsoft Project Tips, Tricks, and Unusual Bugs

This page is provided to share some little-known and generally undocumented tips and tricks I have come across -- or learned from others -- in my years of using Microsoft Project.

1. The "Khoshnoodi Reset" for Unique IDs. This one is part trick and part bug. A professional colleague of mine recently discovered a way to do something in Project that I had believed was impossible: resetting all task Unique IDs in a schedule, so they start at 1 and match the line numbers (IDs). This colleague, Bardia Khoshnoodi, has graciously allowed me to include his discovery in my Web site -- we call it the "Khoshnoodi Reset".

The Khoshnoodi Reset allows the user to assign new Unique IDs to all lines, in sequence, without altering most of the other properties of the file. This can be beneficial if the file has been used extensively over a long period of time, with many adds and deletions, resulting in long Unique ID numbers in chaotic order. This may also be beneficial if one is creating a template from a schedule file, and one wants to have the Unique IDs line up in order. Without this trick the only way to renumber the Unique IDs has been to start a new Project file, copy over all the tasks, and then to spend a substantial amount of time using the Organizer to copy over all the customized views, tables, filters, groups, and other properties and artifacts associated with a mature, well-used schedule file. Even then, some views such as network diagrams do not seem to copy over properly with the Organizer.

Here are the steps for the Khoshnoodi Reset:

  • Copy the entire file to a duplicate file by using "save as" and providing an alternate name.
  • Delete all tasks in the original file.
  • Save the (empty) original file.
  • Close Microsoft Project.
  • Reopen both the empty original file and the duplicate.
  • Copy all tasks from the duplicate into the original file. (This will be easier if you use the "show" icon to show only level 1 tasks before copying.)
  • Notice the Unique IDs now begin with 1 and continue in order.

This works in Project 2003 and 2007, and perhaps also in earlier versions. The key trick here is to close Project immediately after saving an empty file.

Caution -- (Here is the "bug" part of this trick) -- If you have custom line formats applied to any lines, such as changes to fonts, colors, background colors (2007), or line spacing, do not use this trick, since these formats will be lost, or worse, will be applied to the wrong lines. Project remembers which lines have custom formats by their Unique IDs.

More tips and tricks will be added here as time permits.

David H. Hunsberger
3827 N. Chesterbrook Road
Arlington, VA 22207
Cell Phone: 202-669-7601

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