MS Project 2003 Pro - Link task from other Project files RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • Starting yesterday I wanted to find a way to link a task in one Project File to a task in another Project File. The idea being I have a Site Development Project File, and wanted a certain task in that schedule to drive tasks in individual House Development Project Files so we wouldn't need to use one large cumbersome Project File for the entire Development. So like other users I've read about I tried copy task and paste special into an existing task cell, a predecessor of other tasks, which of course resulted in the "OLE Paste operation cannot be completed" error. So as a test I saved two Project files, Project1 and Project2. I then tried to "Paste Special" into a "New Task" row, which was instead empty and found that would work without the OLE error, except the linked task's Predecessor copied with the linked task so it's predecessor was now that numbered task within Project2 which I didn't want. So looking at Project1 since I set them both up as one parent task with five subtasks for simplicity, I copied the parent task from Project1 (no predecessor) into a blank Insert / New Task row in Project2, then made the linked task a predecessor to the next task below and voila! Viewing the two Project Files in Window / Arrange All, when the duration of one of the Subtasks in Project1 is adjusted, it drives the overall duration in Project2 just like I wanted. So while most of you may already know this trick, as I could not find much information on doing this (somewhere they suggested "Insert Project", which did work but was not what I wanted), I thought I'd still share this in case it helps someone else. You just need to copy a parent task with no predecessor, paste special into a blank New Task row then make that the appropriate predecessor in the pasted Project File. Cool!
    Friday, April 25, 2014 7:37 PM

All replies

  • Hi and thanks for sharing your hints with the Project community.

    As an advice, I suggest not to use the paste special method, since it can corrupt file. Another cons is that it is particularly difficult to track down the impact of those links, since nothing appears in the predecessor column.

    As a workaround (assuming we are talking about Project standard), I'd rather suggest to use the cross-projects links. You said that it wasn't what you wanted but I didn't understand why. You'll find below two methods : one using a master project (without saving it) and another using the "arrange all" command:


    Hope this helps.

    Guillaume Rouyre - MBA, MCP, MCTS

    Friday, April 25, 2014 7:52 PM
  • J.L.Fitzpatrick,

    I second the strong caution on the use of paste links in Project as indicated by Guillaume. It is the same as playing with fire and it sounds like you already got burned. Paste links do work but they are NOT for the casual user and their use requires the upmost in file creation expertise and file management discipline.

    Let me highlight a couple of things I think I understood in your description. First, it sounds like you were paste linking the whole task link. Paste links on individual field cells are tenuous enough but doing a whole line will only result in disaster. Second, it sounds like you were trying to paste link into a summary line. That is equally a really bad idea. With that construct I can virtually guarantee file corruption.

    I can understand why Insert Project did not meet your needs. You are trying to link a single task in one file with another. That is achieved with a cross-project link (i.e. external predecessor/successor). Insert Project is exactly what it says, the WHOLE project is inserted, not just a single task. So Insert Project and cross-project links are NOT the same thing.

    Bottom line. What you want is a single cross-project link. Even then you still open the door to potential file corruption. Once you have that link established, never move, rename, or save to a different location. Ideally both files should be in the same folder on a local drive, not on a shared network.


    Friday, April 25, 2014 9:43 PM