Quick formatting of key tasks with Microsoft Project

While we create a project plan with MS Project we often required to format few key tasks to highlight them. For example we may want all of the publishing or client review related tasks to be formatted differently against standard tasks like the one shown below,








MS Project Formatting

Formatted Tasks

To do this, most of us will navigate to the particular task entry and change the formatting of the row by changing their font properties. For an extensive plan with 100’s of such key tasks this process would test our patience.

Wouldn’t it be easy to set the formatting of a particular task entry through one keyboard shortcut? Yes, we can make use of the VBA coding facility inside MS office to quickly handle the formatting. The MS office suite comes with the Macro recorder to record the activities we do and store them as VBA coding which we can reuse for speeding up many activities.

In our case we will be recording the steps to perform the formatting for one particular task entry and then assign a short cut key to run this macro again for other key tasks.

To record the Macro follow these steps:
1) Navigate to??Tools > Macro > Record New Macro
2) Enter the Macro Properties. Assign a name and adjust the drop down setting based on your requirement.

  • if the macro required to be stored within the file select ‘This Project’ (so that the macro can be distributed with the file)
  • or select ‘Global File’ (this will store the code in your PC for reusing into other MPP files later on)


MS Project Macro Properties Window

Macro Properties Window

3) Note that while assigning a keyboard shortcut you can use 7 alphabets as a combination with Ctrl key (A, E, J, L, M, Q and T). The rest of the combinations mostly reserved for default application use.

4) Press OK to start the recording

5) For example if we would like to bold all client review tasks and color??them in blue then follow these steps:

  • select the row (select all columns of this row) of a client review related task
  • right click and navigate to font properties
  • change formatting of this particular row as we want (change the text color and bold property)
MS Project Font Properties

Task Font Properties


  • Press OK to apply the changes
  • Now that we are done with what the formatting of this particular entry we can stop the recording of this macro. For this navigate to??Tools > Macro > Stop Recorder

That’s it! the macro is ready for use now. If you want to apply the similar formatting to some other row simply go to that particular row and press this short cut key combination (e.g., Ctrl + J) and the formatting will be applied instantly.

Additional Tip:??You can bring this macro into your tool bar button as well. To do this follow these steps:

1) Right click on your toolbar and navigate to??Customize > Commands

2) You will see 2 drop down menus here. From the left side drop down scroll down and select the entry ‘All Macros’

3) This will populate the available Macros on the right side menu. Drag your macro and drop into the tool bar and it will be added as a button in your tool bar.

MS Project Macro Toolbar

Configuring Macro into your Toolbar


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  1. MS Project says:

    Great article!!!!
    Thanks for this information – it’s quite helpful :)
    And thanks for sharing :)

    Martin from MS Project

    1. electron says:

      Thanks for your valuable feedback!

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