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Placeholder tasks are manually scheduled tasks that do not have enough information to be scheduled. When you enter a manually scheduled task without a valid start or finish date and without a valid duration, Microsoft Project designates the task as having a Placeholder task mode.

Data Type    Yes/No

Entry Type    Calculated

How Calculated    If there is not enough information in at least two of the start, finish, or duration fields for a manually scheduled task, Project sets its task mode to Placeholder.

Best Uses    With manually scheduled tasks, you can enter tasks even if you have insufficient information about the start or finish dates or the task duration. Entering placeholder tasks this way is helpful when you know of the existence of a task and want to add it to the project, but you don’t have the scheduling details just yet.

Add the Placeholder field to a task sheet, such as the Gantt Chart view, when you want to see which of your manually scheduled tasks have insufficient scheduling information, that is, without a start date, finish date, or duration. Sort, group, or filter on the field to see all the placeholder tasks together.

You can also scan through, or sort, group, or filter by Placeholder in the Task Mode field, which is shown by default on all task sheets.

Example     In your Project plan, you have some manually scheduled tasks for which you are waiting for date information from the stakeholder and duration information from the assigned resources. You have entered “TBD” in those fields. Because of the incomplete scheduling information, Project has designated these tasks as placeholders. You want to view all the placeholder tasks so you can follow up on the needed information. You add the Placeholder field to the table portion of the Gantt Chart view, and then you sort by the Placeholder field to see all tasks with the “Yes” value together.

Remarks     Project displays the Placeholder icon in the Task Mode field for any placeholder tasks. Although the Task Mode field shows the Placeholder icon, you cannot select Placeholder as a task mode, because Project does this automatically for any manually scheduled task with insufficient scheduling information. When a placeholder task includes a recognizable start or finish date, the chart portion of the Gantt Chart shows an end mark on the date that looks like a bookend.

When a placeholder task includes only a duration, the Gantt Chart view shows a lighter-colored placeholder Gantt bar drawn from the start date of the task’s closest summary task. When two of the three fields include validated data, Project changes the task from a Placeholder to a Manually Scheduled task.

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