How To Create Summary Task To Outline The Plan In Microsoft Project 2013

In my previous articles, I have explained the basics of Microsoft Project.

  1. How to Create Project in Microsoft Project 2013
  2. How to Baseline your project in Microsoft Project 2013
  3. What is a milestone in Microsoft Project 2013

As a follow up to the articles, today, let’s discuss creating summary tasks in Microsoft Project 2013.

Let’s begin our discussion by referring to our previous work program.

This is my work program in Microsoft Project.

Actually, the purpose of creating a summary task is, it would help in organizing the groups of related tasks into an outline using summary tasks. When the summary tasks are sequenced over time, the highest level summary tasks are called Phases.

If you create summary tasks, then when we review a projects plan, seeing tasks in an outline structure helps us to think in terms of major work items.

For e.g.,

It's common to divide software development project into Kickoff meeting, Requirements, Design, Development, UAT, Deployment. With an outline structure applied, you can then expand or collapse the outline to show just  the level of details you want. We can also create outline structure by Indenting and Out-denting tasks.

In the project, the tasks that are indented below as summary tasks, are called subtasks.


Summary tasks are automatically scheduled by default. So, the duration of an automatically scheduled summary task is calculated by the project as a span of time from Start date to finish date of its subtasks. If summary task is manually scheduled, then its duration will be calculated based on its subtasks. Let's work on a sample exercise. Outline your task list by creating summary tasks.

Open your Microsoft Project 2013 Professional and create some sample tasks. In my case, I created some tasks, as shown in the below figure,

Let us select subtasks.

On the Task tab, in the schedule group, click indent task.

Then, all the selected tasks will become subtasks to software development, as shown below.

Now, you can see from the above figure that Software Development is the summary task and the tasks given below it are subtasks.

Also, observe the change in Gantt Chart too.

Like this, we can create any number of summary tasks in our project.

Thanks for reading this article.

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