Remember when MS Excel first came out with the Formula Auditing feature?  No longer did you have to leave fingerprints on your screen while troubleshooting the elements of your formulas.  Instead, with Trace Dependents and Trace Precedents on, you could easily see the actual cells referred to in your formulas.  Confirmation–or troubleshooting–of formulas was now a breeze.

Have you ever wished for a similar feature for MS Project?  Say your project plan has hundreds of lines in it.  You about get dizzy scrolling to predecessor task “327FS+10”.  Or, maybe, a task has multiple successors that you would like to visualize quickly without having to write down task numbers and scroll from screen to screen.

Sure, you could use the ubiquitous Gantt chart.  Good luck with that.  You still have the problem of scrolling vertically to find the task(s).  In addition, you’ll likely have to scroll horizontally due to the added component of the time scale.  And, yes, the network diagram might help a bit.  Only one problem: too much information.

The relationship diagram is what you need.  Here’s how it works.

First, select Window–>Split, then click anywhere in the lower half.

Next, select View–>More Views–>Relationship Diagram.

Finally, click Apply and select the task on which you wish to trace predecessors and successors.

The resulting diagram will look something like this:

Nice, huh?

Now, sure, if your project plans are only a hundred lines or so and will fit onto a single screen, then maybe confirming predecessor and successor relationships is no chore.  But, for those managing complex projects, this tip can make your job as a project manager a little bit easier.

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