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Highlighting Error In Task Path RRS feed

  • Question

  • Recently I've been using the Task Path feature against a Project file and it worked great for about an hour. But now when I'm selecting any task I'm seeing all but a couple of other tasks highlighted. I've tested on a different machine as well and I get the same behavior there as well.

    I'm using Project Professional 2013 with current updates. Not sure what might have triggered this erratic behavior.

    Tuesday, September 29, 2015 10:40 AM

Answers

  • Albert,

    Okay, that information helps a lot. The fact that the XML process crashed indicates that the file indeed is corrupt. And the further information you provided about the images imbedded in the Notes field confirms that.

    Some time ago a user reported a problem trying to save and re-import a Project file through XML. We could not resolve the issue through the forum so he sent me his file. After some troubleshooting I found the Notes field text on one of his tasks was causing the issue. Once that was fixed, the XML process worked without issue.

    Even though Project's Notes field will accept a ton of information, including special formatting and images, it is not optimized to store and handle that information like other Office applications (e.g. Word, Excel, etc.). If you want lots of special formatting or images to attach to tasks in Project, I suggest you consider storing that data in another application or consider switching to Project Online or Project Server, which are specifically designed to work with larger enterprise information handling.

    John

    • Marked as answer by Albert Mihai Wednesday, November 18, 2015 10:04 AM
    Monday, November 16, 2015 3:52 PM

All replies

  • I've just edited a task and replaced its predecessor task with a different one, and all of the sudden things are working again normally for all the tasks. I'll post back if I get the behavior. 
    • Edited by Albert Mihai Tuesday, September 29, 2015 10:44 AM
    Tuesday, September 29, 2015 10:43 AM
  • Found out what's actually triggering the behavior - whenever the project gets saved and reopened, immediately afterwards all the tasks show up as being a predecessor, regardless of the highlighted task (where the cursor is). The workaround involving modifying just a single task's predecessor list temporarily works just fine. As for the cause of this - I'm still in the dark.

    I've replicated the behavior on 2 different machines with Project Professional 2013.

    Saturday, October 17, 2015 9:29 AM
  • Is there anyway you can provide a video of this happening?

    Ben Howard [MVP] | web | blog | book | P2O

    Saturday, October 17, 2015 8:01 PM
    Moderator
  • Hi Ben - capture here.

    I've also discovered that it's not happening after each save and reopen, so there's an additional twist to it.

    Sunday, October 18, 2015 8:15 AM
  • Albert,

    Have you considered the possibility of a corrupt file? Try saving as XML and then re-open in Project. Note, you will lose any custom formatting using this method.

    John

    Sunday, October 18, 2015 4:25 PM
  • Hi Albert, the video was nice, but didn't capture all of the screen, and it would be nice to see the options being applied.  As it is I cannot replicate it.  Can you share the file at all?

    Ben Howard [MVP] | web | blog | book | P2O

    Monday, October 19, 2015 8:50 PM
    Moderator
  • Sorry for the long delay in getting back. Ben, can't really share the document I'm afraid. To add to the existing problem, the document become bloated and shot up from a couple of megs to >300 MB in the meantime. I've saved it as a separate file, as instructed here, which made it go down to 100 MB.

    John, would the method used above address the problem of a corrupt file in order to troubleshoot the original problem, or would the XML export/re-import would still be the cleanest way to go ?

    Sunday, November 15, 2015 5:50 PM
  • Albert,

    It's not clear which "method above" you are referring to but take a look at the following Wiki article:

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/32054.ms-project-clearing-file-corruption-andor-bloat.aspx

    As the article notes, no single method is best and using all three will maximize any potential benefit.

    John

    Sunday, November 15, 2015 9:24 PM
  • Thank you for the article, John. I went through the methods - the first one was already applied previously resulting in a shrink from >300 MB to 100 MB. Trying the second method resulted in Project crashing when importing the XML. The third method succeeded, but generated a file still 100 MB. This could be due to various pictured embedded in the Notes during the last month which generated this growth.

    I'll keep an eye out for the wrong highlighting issue which generated this post in the first place and will post back. After all, this is what I'd like to see solved.

    Monday, November 16, 2015 9:59 AM
  • Albert,

    Okay, that information helps a lot. The fact that the XML process crashed indicates that the file indeed is corrupt. And the further information you provided about the images imbedded in the Notes field confirms that.

    Some time ago a user reported a problem trying to save and re-import a Project file through XML. We could not resolve the issue through the forum so he sent me his file. After some troubleshooting I found the Notes field text on one of his tasks was causing the issue. Once that was fixed, the XML process worked without issue.

    Even though Project's Notes field will accept a ton of information, including special formatting and images, it is not optimized to store and handle that information like other Office applications (e.g. Word, Excel, etc.). If you want lots of special formatting or images to attach to tasks in Project, I suggest you consider storing that data in another application or consider switching to Project Online or Project Server, which are specifically designed to work with larger enterprise information handling.

    John

    • Marked as answer by Albert Mihai Wednesday, November 18, 2015 10:04 AM
    Monday, November 16, 2015 3:52 PM
  • Thanks, John. Probably giving it a try with Project Pro for Office 365 won't make much difference, given that the code base is pretty much the same.

    Any chance the troubleshooting steps you took against the corrupted files are placed somewhere in an URL ?

    Tuesday, November 17, 2015 3:36 PM
  • Albert,

    It won't matter which version of Project you are using, except for file structure, (i.e. Project 2010 and up versus versions prior to Project 2010), the basic underlying format of Project is still the same. In particular, I'm not aware of any changes to the Notes field since perhaps Project 98.

    As far a troubleshooting steps, no, nothing is published that I know of. I don't remember exactly how I found the problem in the other user's file but a technique I often use is to start eliminating stuff, (Tasks, notes, links, etc.), in order to pare down the size of the file for easier troubleshooting. Its a "pare and try" approach. For example, if the problem seems to be related to the Notes field, try deleting half the notes, (i.e if the file has 100 tasks and 30 of them have something in the Notes field, delete anything in the Notes field from 15 of those tasks), and see what happens. Iterate that process until you find a problem.

    Hope this helps.

    John

    Tuesday, November 17, 2015 4:51 PM
  • Thank you, John. I will look both into the options you provided as well as the troubleshooting steps.
    Wednesday, November 18, 2015 10:05 AM
  • Albert,

    It is generally not common practice to have a lot of embedded image files in the notes field.

    Also, it is possible to insert images by pasting into the Gantt Chart area. The main trouble with this is that they get lost if you change the timescale, or they get stretched and look bad in a print.

    It is also possible to insert images into the header and footer, such as a logo, but these can disappear too.

    Provided the images are small this is usually ok, but there are limits, so keep it to a minimum and if it doesn't work or they disappear, I would not get too hung up about it. Keep the file clean and focus on the main priority, which is good scheduling. Maybe it would be better to insert hyperlinks to a separate document .

    Wednesday, November 18, 2015 12:59 PM
  • Albert,

    You're welcome and thanks for the feedback.

    John

    Wednesday, November 18, 2015 3:28 PM