Projects can get of hand quickly. Before you know it, a simple building project becomes loads of smaller projects, such as design, excavation, foundation work, and marketing. You can have more control over your project by creating smaller projects in Microsoft Project and then linking them into a single Project file to show where they fit in your master project.
What is a Master Project?
Think of a master project as a collection of consolidated projects that show a hierarchy among multiple related projects. Projects inserted into a master project are called subprojects. When you insert a subproject, a small Project icon distinguishes it from summary tasks that are part of the master project. In the master project, subprojects appear as summary tasks that you can easily arrange in an outline. To expand that subproject’s tasks for viewing, click on the plus sign next to a subproject . Effectively, each subproject represents a different phase or other functional group in the main project.
When you insert a subproject into the master project, the two projects are linked and you can view all the information in the subproject from the master project. When you update a subproject from the master project, it is updated in its source file as well. If you just must combine files to create a report or print a view of combined-project information, you can also consolidate them temporarily in a view.
Creating a master project and subprojects lets you break down a large project and delegate its parts to the necessary people. In project-management terms, assigning subprojects in this manner gives responsibility to those who do the work and matches authority with accountability. In Project terms, creating subprojects in a master project helps project managers gain access to, and control over, their parts of the schedule.
To insert a project into a master project
By consolidating related projects into a master project, you can organize and manage complex projects or multiple related projects more effectively.
- Open the project that you want to become a master project.
- In the Ribbon on the the View tab, in the Task Views group, click on Gantt Chart.
- In the table pane on the left, select the row below where you want to insert the project.
Note: You can insert a project at any level of the master project’s outline.
- In the Ribbon on the the Project tab, in the Insert group, click on Subproject.
- Navigate to the folder that contains the project that you want to insert.
- Select the project that you want to insert. To insert multiple projects, hold down CTRL and select the projects in the order that you want to insert them.
- Click on the Insert button.To insert a project in read-only format, click on the drop-down selector on the Insert button, and then select Insert Read-Only.
How resources are affected when you combine files
After you consolidate files into a master project file, the resources for both files remain separate, just as the tasks in a subproject remain in the subproject. You can change resource information in the master project and the changes will be replicated in the subproject’s source file. You can view all resources in the master project and subprojects together in the Resource Sheet view, but you can’t assign a resource to any project other than the subproject it came from.
Note: If the same resources are used in multiple subprojects, you see duplicate resource names because the resources are not combined. However, if you want to assign the resources in different subprojects and resolve duplicate resource names, you can combine them in a resource pool and make them available to the other files.