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I am detailing the tasks that I have to do for a certain project (am the sole developer), so I do not have the luxury of MS Project etc., and it has to be in MS Excel. What I would like to do is the following -

Create Tasks, Sub Tasks in a way that the SubTasks are hidden beneath the tasks with a "+" sign for the Tasks, which when expanded, shows the SubTasks.

This is similar to Grouping.

How do I do that?

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4 Answers 4

Does it really have to be in Excel?

How about a different project management tool, such as OpenProj, Planner or GanttProject?

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<field orientation="left">

A quick and dirty solution for creating a task list is to use the file system and create folders in the file system for tasks, and files/folders inside that for sub-tasks.

In Explorer's Folder view it looks okay. Completed tasks can be deleted and viewed in the Recycle Bin.

A nice side effect of this is that you can store actual files related to each task inside the appropriate folder.

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For exactly what you described use MS Word (if you insist on excel, see below):

In MS Word, switching to Outline view (View > Outline) allows you to assign different outline levels for each paragraph ("task"). Create a paragraph at level 1. That's your "Task". Now create more paragraphs but assign them a lower level. These are the tasks items. Word gives you the plus/minus exactly as you described. You could expand/collapse each group, move it up or down and more.

In Excel, you can get plus/minus functionality by using the subtotals tool (not subtotal function). Copy this sample:

Task    Subtask Items   Details Due By
Task 1  Sub1    Do this asdf    1/1/2010
Task 1  Sub1    Do that asdfw   1/1/2010
Task 1  Sub2    Do this sdfa    1/2/2010
Task 1  Sub2    Do that wef 1/2/2010
Task 2  Sub1    Do this sdfa    1/3/2010
Task 2  Sub1    Do that fasdf   1/3/2010
Task 2  Sub2    Do this ytgj    1/4/2010
Task 2  Sub2    Do that ewrf    1/4/2010

Now use the subtotals tool found in Data > Subtotals... to create a subtotal for each change of value in the Task column. Rerun the Subtotals tool but make sure "Replace current subtotals" is unchecked and specify the Subtask column as the "for each change in" column to add another level. It's ugly, but you could expand/collapse.

If you have Outlook (most office installations include outlook) you could try using the task folder in outlook. You can customize the view, sort the items, filter the list, add attachments, due dates, alarms and much more. I don't know of a way to group things though.

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You can use Excel templates for project management. There are some original templates on Microsoft Office Online. I've filtered the list by Excel.

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