Outline Tasks into Subtasks and Summary Tasks (Indent/Outdent)

Online Help > Outline Tasks into Subtasks and Summary Tasks (Indent/Outdent)

What is Outline?

The "outline" feature allows you to break down your task list to make it appear more organized and readable by just indenting and outdenting the project's tasks to create an outline of the summary tasks and subtasks.

What is a Summary Task?

A summary task is a higher level task, grouping related activities. Summary tasks behave as recipients and their content is addressed as subtasks.

What is a subtask?

A subtask is a task that is part of a summary task. Commonly several subtasks that denote related activities are grouped beneath a summary task, that summarizes the data of their subtasks.

How to create an Outline structure?

To create an outline structure, select the desired tasks then use indenting and outdenting functionality to create the summary tasks and subtasks.

How to create a subtask?

To create a subtask, indent a task below another task.

How to create a summary task?

To create a summary task, indent a task below another task. By default, the summary tasks are bold and outdented, and the subtasks are indented beneath them.

How to organize my tasks?

You can group the tasks that share characteristics or that will be completed in the same time frame under a summary task. You can use the summary tasks to show the major phases and sub-phases in the project. Summary tasks summarize the data of their subtasks, which are the tasks that are grouped beneath them. You can indent the tasks as many levels as you need to reflect the organization of your project.

What are the methods of organizing tasks?

Tasks can be organized using a top-down method or bottom-up method. 

Note: If you can think of tasks that don't fit under the phases that you defined, you are probably missing a phase.

What is top-down organize method?

Organize tasks using the top-down method, you identify the major phases first and then break the phases down into individual tasks.

The top-down method gives you a version of the plan as soon as you decide on the major phases.

What is bottom-up organize method?

Organize tasks with the bottom-up method, you list all the possible tasks first, and then you group them into phases.

After you decide on a method for organizing your tasks, you can begin outlining them into summary tasks and subtasks.

How are the summary task values calculated?

Not all summary task values show the combined total of your subtask values. Although some summary task values (such as cost and work) represent the total subtask values, others (such as duration and baseline) do not. For example, application calculates the duration of a summary task as the total work time between the earliest start date and the latest finish date of its subtasks.

The summary task information summarizes the period between the earliest start date and the latest finish date of all the included subtasks. It does not show the sum of all the subtask durations. Because application calculates the summary task values, they cannot be edited. If you need to change a summary task's values, such as duration, update the individual subtasks. Summary task values are then recalculated.

How to Indent a task?

To indent a task, go to menu Task-Indent or drag and drop with mouse from Task Name column.

How to Indent tasks using a mouse?

To Indent a task with the mouse, point to the first letter of the task name. When the pointer changes to a double-headed arrow, drag right to indent. You can indent a single task corresponding to single row selection  or multiple tasks corresponding to multiple row selection.

How to Outdent a task?

To Outdent a task, use Outdent button under Task menu or drag and drop with mouse.

How to Outdent tasks using a mouse?

To Outdent a task with the mouse, point to the first letter of the task name. When the pointer changes to a double-headed arrow, then drag left to outdent the task. You can outdent single task corresponding to single row selection   or multiple tasks corresponding to multiple row selection.

Is it possible to indent multiple tasks at a time?

Indenting multiple tasks can be done via mouse drag to the right after selecting multiple grid rows (using the Shift or Ctrl keys). It can also be done using the Indent menu option.​

Is it possible to outdent multiple tasks at a time?

Outdenting multiple tasks can be done via mouse drag to the left after selecting multiple grid rows (using the Shift or Ctrl keys). It can also be done using the Outdent menu option.​

The task I selected doesn't move when I click one of the outline buttons. What's happening?

If you are unable to indent or outdent your tasks:

1. You may be trying to outdent the first-level task. Tasks at the first outline level cannot be outdented. Instead, indent those tasks that you want to include as subtasks to the first-level summary task.

2. You may be trying to indent or outdent assignments, not tasks. The Resource Usage and Task Usage views display task and resource assignments with indentations similar to those of subtasks. Although assignments may be shown or hidden along with subtasks, they cannot be indented or outdented.

3. You may be working in a view that doesn't use the outline buttons Outline buttons (such as Outdent or Indent ) work only in the Gantt Chart, Task Sheet, or Tracking Gantt views.

Step by step how to organize task using Indent / Outdent:

1. Go to menu View - Gantt Chart.

2. Click the row for the task that you want to indent as a subtask or outdent as a summary task.

3. Click Indent to indent the task, making it a subtask.

4. Click Outdent to outdent the task, making it a summary task. 

Note: When creating the work breakdown structure of your project, you may find helpful to use Undo or Redo options, that allows you to go one step backward or forward relative to your recent changes.