What's the best software to use? — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

What's the best software to use?

Get PDF file

by on
in Admin Pro Forum

Question: I have to create a single detailed schedule of several major projects to be completed over the next several months. What's the best software to use: Excel? Outlook?  -- Novice in Virginia


Microsoft Project is a great resource for managing multiple projects.

I would personally create it in Excel. Excel is good for creating tables that allow columns for all of the details, and you can easily add information into this software. My vote is for Excel, since it is a pretty straight-forward program. Good luck!

I would say microsoft project. This is meant to track projects and easily readable.

I just did this in excel myself since my PC does not have project on it. (temporary set back for now)

If you use excel, use only two colors to color the time line. Multiple colors makes it hard to read.


Not sure what you could accomplish with Outlook but I suggest Microsoft Project. If you don't have access to that, then a combination of Excel and Powerpoint (perhaps showing it in graph form) would work. Project is the best application because it will be able to mark key dates, etc.

Find out exactly what you need and ask around in your company (if that's okay) who can help you put this together. Good luck!

I recommend MS Project, but it is not the easiest program to use. The advantages, however are the ability to split up large tasks into smaller ones, link the deadlines, and have the whole thing respond to changes in any one of them. It makes fairly nice charts of the overall project and can even handle some estimates of resources.

It could take you a few days to come up to speed on using it to the point where you are ready to input your large projects. It is one of the more complex products from MS.

There may be other prject management software out there, but I have not seen anyone using other programs. Perhaps it is because MS Project is often bundled in the Office suite of programs.

If your only options are Outlook or Excel, then I would use Excel. Microsoft Project is also good. My favorite for project tracking (and many other items) is Mindjet. You can create "maps" that allow you to link directly to Outlook (emails, to-do's, calendars), all Microsoft Office applications, to enter project notes directly to the project and to add key resources and designate priority levels.

I'm not familiar with Microsoft Project, but I would use Excel for the tasks that need to be completed and set a timeline. Then you could use Outlook to flag and set reminders for the tasks. It sounds like Project could be used for both of these processes, but you may not have time to purchase and become familiar with a new program.

Good luck.

Personally, I prefer Visio, while MSPROJECT is designed for multiple projects, it can be time consuming for individuals who are not used to it. Visio is alot easier to learn on the fly and is full of useful charts, graphs, timeline layouts and milestone markings that are drag and drop.

If you use Excel, there is a free download for a Gannt chart that will layout your schedule quite nicely (office.microsoft.com/en-ca/assistance/HA010346051033.aspx)

Good luck

I think it would be best to use some kind of project management software (like MS Project) if available.

I find that it's always easier to use software that's designed for a specific pupose (i.e. project management), rather than trying to use software that's meant for something else totally different (like Excel, which is meant to be used as a mathematical spreadsheet program). You can "make do" with something else, but if they make a software package specific to your needs, why not use it? I'm sure MS Project has many useful features for project management that Excel just doesn't have.

My personal recommendation is MS Project, which was designed specifically for your situation. In addition to displays at the ground and 80K' level, it can also demonstrate effects of constrained resources. (What if we lose a project member? What if the budget gets cut?) It will probably take 2-3 full days for you to become comfortable with the package, but will be well worth the time. Plus, you can add this knowledge to your toolkit! Project works well with Outlook, too, so you don't need to make separate calendar entries.

Hope this helps -- good luck!

Good Afternoon:

Novice in Virginia, I agree that Excel is the best option because it is very versatile. I have never actually used Microsoft Project but if you are a techie... and it may be a awesome approach and a away to show off a greater skill... when it comes time for that evaluation.

Leave a Comment


Previous post:

Next post: