MS Project 2010 linked task by order, drag and drop, new links according by order RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hello, in MSP 2007 I could drag and drop a single  task and the links were established just by the order of apearance while the old links just disappeared. This does not work any more in the 2010 version. dragging and dropping task keep the original links


    order of task a, b, c and links a to b to c

    changing the order by drag and drop to a, c, b keeps the links

    I would like to establish links purely by the order

    I hope you can advise



    Monday, October 14, 2013 7:02 PM

All replies

  • Thomas --

    I do not remember the functionality you describe in Microsoft Project 2007, but if you say so, I will believe you.  On the other hand, the functionality you want in Microsoft Project 2010 is simply not available.  When you drag and drop tasks that are already linked, the software maintains the original links, even though the tasks are in a different order.  If you INSERT a new task that is not linked between two tasks that are linked with a Finish-to-Start dependency, the software will automatically link the new task with an FS dependency with the task immediately above it and immediately below it.  You can insert the task as a totally new task, or you can drag and drop and unlinked task.  Hope this helps.

    Dale A. Howard [MVP]

    Monday, October 14, 2013 8:03 PM
  • Hello Thomas,

    Using Project 2010 with Service Pack 2 installed, I see the behavior you are describing.  Please check: File > Options, Schedule and ensure the option "AutoLink inserted or moved tasks is unchecked.

    I hope this helps.

    Monday, October 14, 2013 8:04 PM
  • Thomas,

    I just tried the scenario you describe in Project 2007 with SP3. I cannot duplicate a condition wherein the links are re-established by order. The only option I see for auto-linking in Project 2007 is under Tools/Options/Schedule tab. With the option "autolink inserted or moved tasks" checked, moving task b after task c simply removes any link to task b. With that option unchecked, moving task b after task c will retain the original link chain - task a to task b to task c.

    This is all very interesting because the option appears to do the exact opposite of what it is supposed to do. Go figure, maybe it's an artifact of SP3.

    Nonetheless I do not see the functionality, (re-link by task order), you describe for Project 2007.

    The interesting part is that Project 2010 at least gets it part-way correct. With the option to "autolink inserted or moved tasks" checked, moving task b after task c will retain the link structure (i.e. task a to task b to task c), but, it also adds in a new little wrinkle, namely a new link is added between task a and task c (partial task order linking). With the option unchecked, moving task b after task c simply retains the original link structure, namely task a to task b to task c.

    Gotta say, this is interesting if nothing else. More likely it appears to be a bug in both Project 2007 with SP3 and Project 2010 SP2 but I'd love to be "shown the light".


    Monday, October 14, 2013 8:37 PM
  • Okay.  I clearly have either had too much coffee or not enough.  I withdraw everything I said :-)
    Monday, October 14, 2013 9:12 PM
  • If you click and drag to change task order and want the links to be in teh new id sequence, the quick way to re-link is:

    Select all 3 tasks then Ctrl+Shift+F2 to unlink then Ctrl+F2 to link in sequence.

    Rod Gill

    The one and only Project VBA Book

    Rod Gill Project Management

    Tuesday, October 15, 2013 5:32 AM
  • Hi Dale

    This functionality was definitely is till definitely there in MS Project 2003. I believe it has been removed or changed starting from 2007 or  2010 versions. May be there are some setting we need to do. I am trying to write a VBA code simulating that functionality.

    This function is very useful when you constantly throughout the day drag and move task to evaluate the task completion dates. I have been using this to plan the production in a factory for quite some time. Now after updating to 2013 version it has become a nightmare. Every time I move a task the whole group need to be unlinked and relinked. I think Microsoft need give us an option to the original functionality.



    Friday, October 16, 2015 9:37 PM
  • Hi Julie

    I tried in 2013 version with the "AutoLink inserted or moved tasks" option unchecked. The problem is still there.



    • Edited by Irfan Nizar Friday, October 16, 2015 9:49 PM
    Friday, October 16, 2015 9:49 PM
  • Irfan,

    Sorry but I cannot replicate what you say occurs with Project 2003. I set up three tasks a, b and c all linked in series. If the option to "autolink inserted or moved tasks" is checked, when I move task c such that it is ID 1 instead of ID 3, the link to task c is removed altogether and tasks a and b remained linked. If I uncheck the autolink option, when I move task c, the task link sequence is maintained (i.e. task a > task b > task c), but the linking does NOT re-order itself to follow the task ID sequence. The option seems to be the opposite of what it implies, but that's another matter.

    So, as far as I can tell there never has been functionality in Project that changes the linking sequence to follow the task ID sequence as tasks are moved. Maybe I misunderstood what you think Project used to do in previous versions that it doesn't do now with regard to links and moving tasks.

    A similar issue was raised in January of this year. You might want to take a look at the following thread:


    Saturday, October 17, 2015 4:46 PM
  • Hi John

    I just opened up my old laptop with Project 2003. To be more clear I have created 5 subtasks namely A, B, C, D and E, all linked in the given sequence.

    Scenario 1 (Autolink is On):

    When I drag and drop task D between A and B Project 2003 automatically unlinks task D with C and E and recreates links with A and B as if I have originally schedules in the order of A, D, B, C and E. All task starting from D are rescheduled automatically.

    Scenario 2 (Autolink is Off)

    When I drag and drop task D between A and B Project 2003 retains the existing links and no new links are created. Only the task is moved and start and finish dates remains same.

    I have been using the scenario 1 over 10 years for planning purposes and had no problem until I upgraded to Project 2013 from Project 2003. In Project 2013 when I keep the Autolink On after drag and move projects recreates the new links which is necessary but it retains the original links as well which I do not need. The very reason I am moving the task is to reschedule and not to maintain the same start and finish dates.

    Please let me know what I am missing. I prefer not to run a VBA code every time I move a task and manually unlink and link each time. My project would have about 500 subtasks divided among about 10 main tasks. My team keeps moving this task every now and then to plan the production and new orders. I believe I cannot continue with Project 2003.

    Project 2003 linking sequence follows the ID sequence when Autolink is On. I am running the Project on my other laptop while typing this.



    • Edited by Irfan Nizar Saturday, October 17, 2015 5:42 PM
    Saturday, October 17, 2015 5:36 PM
  • Irfan,

    Okay, I stand corrected. . . partially. Try this. In your example, move task D above task A or below task E and you will see that the link to/from task D is removed entirely. In other words, with Project 2003 and the option turned on, the link sequence will re-order according to the ID sequence ONLY if the task is moved within the set of tasks. If the task is moved just outside the group, the link sequence will not be re-ordered. That's the test I did before I wrote my last response (i.e. moved the task just outside the group).

    So I guess if you only moved tasks within their current group, the link sequence will re-order.

    However, starting with Project 2010, the behavior of the option has changed and to be honest, there appears to be a glitch in the current way the option is implemented. With current versions of Project, when the option is off, the original task dependencies are maintained when a task is moved. In your example, if task D is moved either within or just outside the group, the original link is maintained (i.e. task C remains the predecessor of task D and task E remains the successor of task D regardless of where task D is moved). That makes sense as the option creates NEW links when tasks are moved so when the option is off, no new links are created.

    However, the issue arises when the option is on. Under that condition, when a task is moved, new links are created, but not, in my opinion, in the way they should be. Again in your example, if task D is moved, a new predecessor task for task D is created from the task directly above it in the ID sequence (unless it is moved to the top of the sequence such that there is no task directly above it), but the old links for task D are retained. I don't think that is the intent of the option, but I could be wrong.

    This is what I will do. First I will contact a couple of MVPs for confirmation. If they concur that a bug exists, I will contact Microsoft and present the issue. Hopefully I will either be enlightened as to why the option does what it does, or get confirmation that a bug does exist. If and when I hear back, I will update this thread.


    Saturday, October 17, 2015 9:34 PM
  • Hi John

    You got it right.

    When the option is on and the D task is dragged and moved within the group the exiting links between C<->D, D<->E and A<->B should be broken. New link should be created between A<->D, D<->B and C<->E. this is what we had in Project 2003. In Project 2013 D<-> is not created. Other 2 are okay.

    I await for you update in order to overcome my problem.



    Sunday, October 18, 2015 12:12 PM
  • Irfan,

    I got confirmation of this behavior from an MVP contact. I've sent a message to a Microsoft contact. Hopefully I'll get a response back in a couple of days and when I do, I'll update this thread. However, be advised that not all bugs get fixed, so the end result may be a workaround done manually or with some VBA.


    Sunday, October 18, 2015 3:56 PM
  • John

    Any feedback from Microsoft?


    Wednesday, October 28, 2015 10:41 AM
  • Irfan,

    Matter-of-fact, yes, I just got a response. It is as follows. Note, the example cited is show below.

    Depending on your perspective, this is or is not a bug.   A pretty significant change in how this all works was shipped in 2010 and it now resides in 2013 and 2016.  Prior to the change, moving stuff around or cutting and pasting could lose a lot of the relationships you’d added. Therefore, the change was made.
    In this simple example, you probably just want task A to link to task D to link to task B and so forth. That makes sense and so what it’s doing doesn’t look right.  I don’t think the feature is going to be able to accommodate both needs, however (this simple move a task into the middle of a chain vs. copying/pasting outside of a chain).  The chances of this getting changed/fixed are near zero unless we get a customer who submits a fix request and has a good use case.

    Based on this response you have three choices. First, manually edit the links as you move tasks around (i.e. what you are probably doing now or as Rod suggested in his response). Second, if you have a Microsoft support contract, request a custom hotfix. Third, implement a VBA approach similar to what I referenced in one of my previous responses.

    To put things in perspective, with any new version of software, changes are made that some users like and other don't. It's impossible to make everybody happy. For those changes that are not liked by some users, the option is to no longer use the software or find a viable workaround. In this case I believe the best option is a viable workaround.


    Screen Shot made using Project 2010 with option to "autolink inserted or moved tasks" turned on. All tasks were linked finish-to-start in sequence. Task d was then moved and inserted between tasks a and b.

    • Proposed as answer by David E. Long Wednesday, November 23, 2016 2:48 PM
    Wednesday, October 28, 2015 5:36 PM
  • John

    Thank you for the detail mail. I hoped it would have been a bug. Microsoft could have kept the previous linking method (I would call it "Simple Relationship") as an option.

    Since I see there is no possibility of getting this fixed I do see only viable option would be to find a VBA workaround. I do not wish to update the links manually which would be tedious and time consuming. Neither I do have a Microsoft support contract nor want to stop using the software.

    I am not a very proficient VBA programmer but can manage with some help. May I ask you what are the event names that could be used to capture before drag and drop/move event, or before autolink. I could not find any events under task object.


    Saturday, October 31, 2015 5:09 PM
  • Irfan,

    As far as I know, there are no Events that trigger with a drag and drop or move. The best choice is probably the ProjectBeforeTaskChange Event. You would need isolate the change to the Predecessor field with appropriate code so the event only executes for changes of interest, but it will fire with every task change, except for a few noted in the help file.

    Setting up Event macros can be a little more challenging that normal macros so you might want to consider starting with a macro similar to the one I wrote in the post I referenced earlier in this thread. That macro should give you a good start but you will have to initiate it each time you make a change, or after a group of changes.


    Saturday, October 31, 2015 7:58 PM
  • John

    I have started working on Application_WindowSelectionChange event. I will keep you updated the progress.


    Wednesday, November 4, 2015 8:44 AM
  • Irfan,

    Okay, I'm anxious to hear how it works for you.


    Wednesday, November 4, 2015 4:04 PM