Placing Objects into Microsoft Project

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You can paste or insert objects into Microsoft Project in four locations:

  • In the graphics area of the Gantt Chart view

  • In the Notes box of the Task, Resource, or Assignment Information Form views

  • In the special task Objects box of the Task Form view or in the resource Objects box of the Resource Form view

  • In the Header, Footer, or Legend of a view's Page Format dialog box

The following sections show how to use objects in each of these locations. The following sections go into detail about pasting, inserting, and working with objects in the Gantt Chart view. The remaining sections focus on the differences compared to placing objects in the Gantt Chart view.

Pasting Objects in the Gantt Chart View

The Gantt Chart view is the primary view for seeing a Microsoft Project file depicted graphically. You can enhance this view by pasting Project drawings (see Chapter 7, "Viewing Your Schedule") or objects from other applications into the timescale area. To paste an object into the Gantt Chart view, follow these steps:

  1. Activate the source (server) application, and then select the source data and copy it to the Clipboard by using the Edit, Copy command.

  2. Activate Microsoft Project (the client application) and display the Gantt Chart view.

  3. Choose Edit, Paste Special to display the Paste Special dialog box (see Figure 18.13).

    Figure 18.13. You can embed or link objects via the Paste Special dialog box.


  4. Choose Paste to embed the object or Paste Link to link it.

  5. In the As list, you might have an option that includes the server application's name. You might also have an option named Picture. These choices produce picture images that look similar. The option with the server application's name allows you to open the object in the server applicationfor instance, to edit or modify the object. The Picture option places in the Project document a picture of the object that cannot be edited in the client application.

  6. Click OK to paste the image.

When the object appears in the Gantt Chart view, you can move and resize it. To move the object, click the object to select it, and then drag it to a new position. To resize the object, select it and then resize it by dragging its resizing handles to change its size . To remove the object, select it and press the Delete key.


Resizing a picture object (whether it is linked or not) might cause the data in the object to appear distorted . This is because the resizing action can cause the horizontal and vertical dimensions to go out of proportion relative to one another. To resize a picture object so that the horizontal and vertical dimensions are in proportion, hold down the Shift key as you drag one of the object's corner handles.


You can't undo resizing or deleting of an object. Be sure to save the Project document before experimenting with either of these actions.


If you have more than one object placed in the Gantt Chart view, you can scroll through your objects by pressing the F6 key repeatedly until the first object is selected. Then press the Tab key to select other objects in that pane, one at a time.

For more information on working with objects in the Gantt Chart view, see "Adding Graphics and Text to Gantt Charts," p. 247 .

Inserting Objects in the Gantt Chart View

In the examples in the preceding section, the data in an object was created as part of a source (server) application document and was then copied and pasted into the target (client) application. You can also use the Insert Object command to place a linked or embedded copy of the entire source document into the client document as an object. Of course, embedding a source document in Project increases the Project document's file size, and the embedded document is cut off from updates to the original source document.

The Insert, Object command also gives you the option of creating an object without using an existing file. You can create a new object by using the formatting capabilities of server applications that support Microsoft OLE 2.0 or higher. The server application's interface opens from within Project, to allow you to create the new data. When you close the server, the object remains embedded in Project.

To insert an object, choose the Insert, Object command. Project displays the Insert Object dialog box (see Figure 18.14). The default option button is Create New, which allows you to create a new, embedded object, using one of the applications listed in the Object Type box. Choose Create from File if the data has already been created and saved to disk and you want to insert a linked or embedded copy of the source data.

Figure 18.14. The Insert Object dialog box gives you the option of creating an object from scratch within a Microsoft Project file.


For example, suppose that you want to embed in the Gantt Chart view a new Excel worksheet object that shows budgeted (baseline) and current gross margin data for a project. To create this new worksheet object, you would follow these steps:

  1. Display the Gantt Chart view in the top pane of the combination view.

  2. Choose the Insert, Object command to display the Insert Object dialog box. It might take a little time for this dialog box to appear because Project must prepare a list of all the server applications on your system that support OLE 2.0 or higher.

  3. Choose Create New (it is selected by default).

  4. Choose the server application you want to use from the list that appears in the Object Type list. For this example, choose Microsoft Excel Worksheet.

  5. Fill the Display as Icon check box if you want to see just an icon instead of the worksheet object in the Gantt Chart view. After the object is inserted, you can double-click the icon to display the object's contents. This is the best choice if there is little room for the object in the graphics area of the Gantt Chart view. For this example, fill the check box.


    Even if you want the object to appear as a mini-worksheet in the Gantt Chart view, it is generally best to choose Display as Icon when you are initially inserting the object. If you choose Display as Icon, Project opens Excel in its own full- sized window, in which you can enter and format your Excel data. You then also have full access to all of Excel's features and toolbars . After the data has been entered and formatted, you can convert the object to display as a mini-worksheet. If Display as Icon is not selected, you have to create the object in a small window within the graphics area of the Gantt Chart view, and not all Excel menu commands are available there.

  6. Click OK to insert the object. If you had selected the Display as Icon check box, Project opens Excel in a new window for you to create the worksheet.

  7. Edit the spreadsheet to include the data and formatting that you want to appear in the Gantt Chart view.

  8. When the worksheet is completed, choose File, Close and Return to Filename (where Filename is the name of the Project document in which you inserted the object). The icon for the object is then displayed in the Gantt Chart view (see Figure 18.15).

    Figure 18.15. Relevant cost and gross margin data are shown in the Gantt Chart view as a worksheet object that is displayed as an icon.


After the object is embedded, you can double-click the icon to open or edit the data. You can also convert the object to display itself as a worksheet instead of an icon.

To convert the object by changing its display, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the object icon to select it.

  2. Choose Edit, Worksheet Object, Convert to display the Convert dialog box (see Figure 18.16).

    Figure 18.16. You can use the C onvert command to change the display of an object from an icon to formatted data.


  3. Clear the Display as Icon check box and click OK. The object appears as a small worksheet, as shown in Figure 18.17.

    Figure 18.17. Relevant cost and gross margin data are shown in the Gantt Chart view as a worksheet object that is displayed as an icon.


The previous example shows how to create a new object by using the Insert, Object command. You can also insert an object into the Gantt Chart, using a file that already exists, by following these steps:

  1. Display the Gantt Chart view in the top pane of a combination view.

  2. Choose Insert, Object to display the Insert Object dialog box.

  3. Choose the Create from File option. The File text box appears, with a Browse button beneath it, to help you select the filename (see Figure 18.18).

    Figure 18.18. You can use the Insert Object dialog box to insert external document files as objects.


  4. Either type the file's path and filename into the File box or use the Browse button to locate the file.

  5. Select the Link check box if you want to insert a linked copy of the file's data. Leave the check box clear if you want to embed a copy of the file.

  6. Select the Display as Icon check box if you want only an icon to appear in the Gantt Chart view.

  7. Click OK to create the object.

To open or edit an object, you click the object to select it. At the bottom of the Edit menu, you see a submenu that is named for the object type. For example, the submenu for an object that originated as a worksheet might be titled Worksheet Object, and the submenu for a sound file might be titled Wave Sound Object. Depending on the format of the object, the submenu should contain one or more of these commands:

  • Edit This command opens the server application to allow you to edit the object. After editing, close the server application, and you are returned to Project.

  • Open This command is equivalent to the Edit command for text-based formats such as worksheets and documents. For media objects, this command displays a picture in the server application, plays the sound file, runs the video, and so on. Typically, the media object is not open for editing.

  • Play This command appears for some media objects, such as sound files and video. It plays the media data and then closes . For media objects, this is the default action when you double-click the object icon.

  • Convert This command appears only for some objects and can be used to change the Display as Icon choice for the object or to change the format of the object itself.


You can use the Edit, Links command to manage linked objects just as described in the section, "Refreshing Linked Data in Microsoft Project," earlier in this chapter.

Placing Objects in the Notes Field

You can place objects in the Notes field for individual tasks , resources, or assignments (see Figure 18.19). The Notes field is the most obvious place to attach links to supporting documentation that is stored elsewhere on your computer, on your organization's network, or in an intranet folder. For example, you could insert into a note a group of objects, displayed as icons, that provide links to documents that define the scope, authorization, and budget for the project; or you could insert into a task note links to drawings or specifications for completing the task. By using links to external documents, you can provide reliable access to relevant documentation.

Figure 18.19. The Notes field can display embedded and linked objects as formatted data or as icons.



If you insert objects in the Project Summary Task note, they will be lost if you later edit the note in the Comments text box on the File, Properties dialog box. When you click OK after editing the Comments box, you will receive a warning that objects will be lost if you change the note. You can then choose No to cancel the changes.

If you display links as icons, you do not increase the project file size by any substantial amount. If you display the linked object as formatted data, and especially if you embed the object, you may substantially increase the file size of the project document and thereby reduce the speed with which Project can open the file and process it. Furthermore, as the following Caution points out, a linked object in a note is not updated until you double-click the object to open the source document.


You will not find the linked objects you place in notes in the Links dialog box when you choose Edit, Links. The only way to update a linked object in a note is to double-click the object to open the source document.

Because linked objects in a note are not listed in the Links dialog box, if you change the filename or path to a linked object, you must delete the original link and place the object in the note again.

The only drawback to using the Notes field as a repository for links to supporting documentation is that there is no automatic way in Project to identify the notes that contain links to external documents. Although there is a filter called Tasks with Attachments, this filter displays all tasks with any type of text in the Notes field, whether those Notes contain any attachments or not. Thus, you have to find the links on your own.


Because there is no filter or indicator to tell you if a note contains an object, you should adopt the habit of placing a keyword such as Attachments just before the inserted or pasted objects in a note. Then you can create a custom filter to search the Notes field for notes that contain the text Attachments . You must place this keyword before any objects because the Find command stops searching a note when it encounters an object.

You can paste objects into a note by using the Paste or Paste Special commands on the shortcut menu for the Notes box. You can also insert objects in notes by using the Insert Object tool that is displayed above the Notes box (refer to Figure 18.19). If you paste objects, you can only embed themthere is no paste-link option within notes. If you insert them, however, you have the choice of embedding or linking most objects.

To paste an object into the Notes box, follow these steps:

  1. Copy the object to the Windows Clipboard from within the server application.

  2. Activate Microsoft Project, display an appropriate view, and select the task, resource, or assignment record whose note you want to paste into.

  3. graphics/tasknotes_icon.gif

    Click the Notes button on the Standard toolbar. The Notes tab of the Information dialog box is displayed, as shown in Figure 18.19.

  4. Click in the Notes box at the location where you want to insert the object.

  5. Right-click to display the shortcut menu and choose the Paste command, or choose the Paste Special command if it is available. Using the Paste command immediately pastes the object as a picture that cannot be opened by the server application after it has been pasted. If you are pasting a media object, such as a sound wave file, the Paste command pastes an icon, but the icon does not play the sound file. You need to use the Paste Special command for media objects.

    If you select the Paste Special command, the Paste Special dialog box (see Figure 18.20), which usually provides multiple formatting options in the As List box, appears:

    • The Picture option is usually the equivalent of the Paste command's actiona picture of the data in its original format. For media objects, this is simply an icon that doesn't do anything.

    • If there is an option that contains the name of the object's format, such as Microsoft Excel Worksheet or Wave Sound, you can open the object by using the server application to view and edit (in the case of a worksheet) or to play (in the case of a media object).

    • If there is a Text option, the text that was copied to the Clipboard is pasted into the note as regular text.

    Figure 18.20. You can use the Paste Special dialog box to embed an object in different ways.


  6. If you chose the Paste Special command, select the format for the object in the As List box.

  7. Click the OK button to paste the object.

  8. If you want to resize the object, click the object to display the object's sizing handles, and then use the mouse to drag the sizing handles.

  9. Click OK to save the note.


The Notes box in the Information dialog box cannot be enlarged, and you might find it too small for your tastes. You can increase the display size of task and resource notes (but not assignment notes) by viewing them in the Task Name Form view or the Resource Name Form view. These views can be displayed as full-screen views or in the bottom pane of a split window, under a task or resource view.

Placing Objects in the Task or Resource Objects Box

Project has three standard task form views (the Task Form, the Task Details Form, and the Task Name Form views) that can display an Objects box, in which you can place objects that you want to associate with a task. Similarly, there are two standard resource form views (the Resource Form and the Resource Name Form views) that can display an Objects box for displaying objects that you associate with a resource. These forms are the only places you can view an Objects box onscreen. However, you can include the contents of the Objects boxes in custom reports (see Chapter 22, "Using and Customizing the Standard Reports ").

You can paste objects in the Objects box by using either the Paste or Paste Special commands, and unlike with pasting notes, you can paste links to objects by using the Paste Special command. You can also use the Insert Object command to place embedded or linked objects in an Objects box.

Project also has a task Objects field and a resource Objects field. If you display the Objects field in a table, it shows the number of objects that are stored in the Objects box for that task or resource. The main usage of the Objects field is in filters, to identify tasks or resources that have objects in their Objects boxes. The standard filters Tasks with Attachments and Resources with Attachments select those tasks or resources whose Objects field have values greater than zero or whose Notes fields contain some text. You could make a custom filter to focus on just records that have objects stored in their Objects boxes.

In Figure 18.21, the Task Form view is displayed beneath the Gantt Chart view, with the Objects box displayed in the details area. The gross margin worksheet that was used in previous examples is displayed in the Objects box.

Figure 18.21. The Objects field displays objects that are attached to an individual task or resource.


The table in the Gantt Chart has been modified to display the Objects field. It shows that there are two objects attached to this resource. You would use the scrollbar next to the Objects box to see the next object.

To paste an object into an Objects field, follow these steps:

  1. In the source (server) application, select the object and copy it to the Clipboard.

  2. Activate Project, and then display one of the task or resource form views, depending on the type of record into which you want to paste the object.

  3. Choose Format, Details, Objects (or right-click anywhere outside a field box on the form and choose Objects from the shortcut menu).

  4. Click in the Objects field at the bottom of the form to select it. A thick black border appears around the field, to indicate that it has been selected (see Figure 18.22).

    Figure 18.22. Remember to select the Objects field of the Task Form view before pasting or inserting objects into it.


  5. Choose Edit, Paste Special from the menu, to display the Paste Special dialog box.

  6. Choose Paste or Paste Link.

  7. Choose the format option in the As list box.

  8. Click OK to finish pasting the object.

To insert an object in the Objects box, select the Objects box and choose Insert, Object to display the Insert Object dialog box, and use the dialog box options as described previously for inserting objects in notes and in the Gantt Chart view.

You can place multiple objects in the Objects box. The first object you paste or insert appears immediately and is selected. When you place additional objects, they are inserted below the one that is currently selected and displayed. However, the selection does not change and the new object is not displayed. You can use the scrollbar or the down arrow to select and display the newly placed object.


If you have multiple objects placed in an Objects box and would like to change the order in which they appear, you can use the Cut and Paste tools to move objects in the stack. Display the object to be moved and choose the Edit, Cut command. Then select the object after which you want to place the cut object and choose the Edit, Paste or Paste Special command. If the object being moved is not formatted as a simple picture object, you must use the Paste Special command to retain its format.


The Objects box scrollbar does not scroll through a single object, even if it is too large for the area it is displayed in. If you can't see the entire object, increase the size of the form. If you still can't see the entire object, open it in the server application. You cannot resize the objects that are pasted in the Objects box. If the object is pasted as a picture and you can't see all of it, you are out of luck.

If you want to delete an object in the Objects box, scroll to display that object and press the Delete key. The object is then deleted from the document.

Placing Objects in Headers, Footers, and Legends

You can customize printed views and reports by placing graphics such as an organization's logo or a symbol for the project in the print header, footer, or legend area. In Figure 18.23, the running dog graphic has been inserted into the left header in the Gantt Chart Page Setup dialog box. This graphic represents the logo for this project. You can either paste a picture or insert a graphic file to create the object in this context, but you can only embed objectsyou can't link them.

Figure 18.23. You can place objects such as a company logo or project logo in print headers, footers, or legends.


To place a graphic object in a view or report's header, footer, or legend, you must first display the Page Setup dialog box for the view or report. For views, you simply display the view and then use the View, Header and Footer command. You can also use the File, Page Setup command and then click the Header or Footer tab. To place a graphic object in a report, follow these steps:

  1. Choose View, Reports to display the Reports dialog box.

  2. Select the Custom box and click Select to display the Custom Reports dialog box (in which all reports are listed).

  3. Select the report in the Reports list and click Setup.


You cannot define a legend for any of the reports, and the Project Summary report doesn't even allow you to create a header or footer.

When the Page Setup dialog box is active, follow these steps to embed a picture:

  1. If you are copying a picture, select the picture in its source application and use the Copy command to place it on the Clipboard.

    If you are inserting a graphic file, you should create a copy of the graphic that is sized appropriately for the report. It can be awkward trying to resize pictures in the Page Setup dialog box.

  2. Select the Header, Footer, or Legend tab, as appropriate.

  3. Select the Left, Center, or Right tab to position the picture on the page.

    The customized area of a legend occupies only the left portion of the legend. The position tabs place the picture within that area of the legend.

  4. If you are pasting a picture, right-click in the text box below the alignment tab and select the Paste command from the shortcut menu (or press Ctrl+V).


    Although the Paste Special command might be available on the shortcut menu and it might offer to paste an object in the server application's format (which should let you edit the object from within the header, footer, or legend), you should be very wary of using this option. Server-formatted objects tend to be very unstable and can actually make the project file unstable as well. It is recommended that you use the Paste command and place only simple pictures in headers, footers, and legends.

    If you are inserting a picture file, click the Insert Picture tool and browse to find the file. When the file is selected, click the Insert button to place the image in the tab.

  5. If you want to resize the object, click it to display sizing handles and use them to change the size.

  6. When the picture is embedded, click the OK button; or proceed to print by clicking the Print Preview or Print buttons .

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Special Edition Using Microsoft Office Project 2003
Special Edition Using Microsoft Office Project 2003
ISBN: 0789730723
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 283
Authors: Tim Pyron

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