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How to Assign Resources to a Task in Microsoft Project

The following guide demonstrates how you can assign resources in various ways and avoid some overallocations by using tools available through the Assign Resources dialog box. These techniques apply whether you are working with local resources or those from the enterprise resource pool.

We will cover Assigning Resources in the Split Screen View, Using the Assign Resources Dialog, Assigning Multiple Tasks to One Resource, and Assigning Multiple Resources to Tasks.

We will use an example project to illustrate what this looks like in live time.

Assigning Resources in the Split Screen View

  1. From Task:View apply the Gantt Chart view, and in Task:Properties click Details. Select a task.
  2. Click the first Resource Name cell in the Task Details Form (bottom pane). Type in the name of one of your resources.  The illustration below shows what it looks like when we assign Task ID2 (Create Statement of Work) to Frank Goren.

Using a split screen view to add assignments

  1. Click OK in the Task Details Form to assign the resource to the task and add them to your resource sheet.

You can also add a name directly to the Resource Name field in the Gantt Chart Entry table or in the Assign Resources dialog box. In these cases, just like in the preceding split screen example, the default values will be applied in the Resource Sheet until changed. Since these methods are only necessary for local resources, the Resource Sheet view is the most efficient approach to use.

Please note: the above method of adding resources is dangerous as you could spell a name incorrectly and end up with two or more of the same resources on your project. It’s a good practice to instead choose from resources as in the following methods.

Using the Assign Resources Dialog Box

A Project Server administrator can create entries for the enterprise resource pool manually using the techniques already described, but he/she will generally use an existing resource database to populate the resource pool.

  1. If necessary, from Task:Properties click the Details icon to split the window. Right-click in the gray area of the Task Details Form (lower pane) and click Cost from the dropdown list to view Cost information.
  2. Select a task in the upper pane.
  3. In the upper section of the pane, click the Assign Resources icon [Assign Resources icon] under Resource:Assignments.

You will see the Assign Resources dialog box.

Assign Resources dialog

  1. Select a resource in the Assign Resources dialog box and then click Assign. In the example project, we assigned Task ID 3 Obtain approval of Statement of Work to Patrick Rierdon, and the resulting view looks as follows:

New task assignment

Notice in the bottom pane that Microsoft Project has automatically calculated the cost by multiplying the work (8 hours) by Patrick’s standard rate ($150/hours).

Assigning Multiple Tasks to One Resource

  1. Click a task and Ctrl-click to another click. Then, click a resource in the Assign Resources dialog box and click Assign. The resource you seleccted is now assigned to both tasks. In our example project, we linked Create Project Plan (Task ID 4) to Obtain approval of project plan (Task ID 5) and assigned them to Patrick Rierdon.  The screen resembles the following:

Multiple task assignment

Assigning Multiple Resources to Tasks

Just as you can assign one resource to multiple tasks, you can assign multiple resources to one task or several tasks at the same time:

  1. Select a task. Notice how Microsoft Project calculates a cost for that resource’s time.  (In our project, we selected Task ID4, and it calculated $36,000 for Patrick’s time).
  2. We assume that Patrick needs a software license for the task, so we select Software License in the Assign Resources dialog box, and then click Assign. The following is the resulting screen:

Material resource assigned

Notice that Microsoft Project has assigned 1 software license to the task (by default) and calculated the cost as $180.

  1. Because we think Patrick will need 2 licenses, we change the value in the lower pane appropriately and click OK.
  2. There will also be travel costs associated with this task. We click the Cost cell for Travel in the Assign Resources dialog box, enter “$3,000” and click Assign. The screen resembles the following:

Cost resource assigned

Notice the recalculated cost for 2 software licenses ($260) and the Travel cost in the lower pane.


When assigning Material resources to a task, assign the resource first, accepting the default units value, and then modify the Units field in the Task Form (lower pane). For Cost resources, type the predicted value in the Cost cell for the resource and press Enter. Using the Assign button with a Cost resource can lead to unexpected and undesirable results if other resources are already assigned.

In the next post, we will cover Replacing Resources on Task Assignments.

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