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Create Work Items from Microsoft Project Tasks

Visual Studio 2010

If you use an Office Project plan to manage a project, you must incorporate the project tasks into a team project as work items. You can then import the tasks of the plan into Team Foundation Server.

Important noteImportant

An Office Project plan maintains some data about work item scheduling that is not maintained in Team Foundation. You should save the Office Project plan in order to preserve this scheduling information. For more information about how Office Project and Team Foundation Server manage scheduling information, see Quick Tips and Operational Differences when Tracking Tasks Using Microsoft Project and Team Foundation.

Required Permissions

To perform this procedure, you must be a member of the Contributors group or have your View work items in this node, and your Edit work items in this node permissions set to Allow. For more information, see Team Foundation Server Permissions.

To add Office Project tasks to a work item database

  1. Start Office Project. 

  2. Open the plan that contains the tasks that you want to add to the work item database.

  3. On the Team menu, click Choose Team Project.


    If this option does not appear, you have not installed Team Explorer on this computer. You must install Team Explorer on this computer in order to connect to Team Foundation Server.

  4. In the Connect to Team Project dialog box, click the name of the server that contains the team project that you want. For more information, see Connect a Microsoft Office Document to Team Foundation Server.

  5. Under Directory, click the name of the project collection that hosts the team project.

  6. In the Team Projects list, click the team project to which you want to add work items, and then click OK.

    Team Foundation Server populates the Office Project plan with columns that represent Team Foundation fields from the team project. The view changes to Team Foundation Gantt.

  7. In the Work Item Type field, set the work item type for each work item that you want published to Team Foundation Server. 

  8. If a task is assigned to more than one resource, divide the task into separate tasks, each of which can be assigned to one resource.

    Team Foundation Server does not support assigning a work item to multiple resources.


    When you assign resources to tasks, you should specify those resources by their display names from Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS). If you assign a resource by its alias or by another shortened form of the name, you risk introducing inconsistencies that will cause validation errors. For more information about how to assign resources, see Assign a Work Item to a Team Member.

  9. (Optional) Link tasks, and create subtasks using native tools in Office Project.

    For more information, see Sequence or Subordinate Tasks in Office Project.


    When you use Office Project to create parent and child tasks, the default behavior is to assign parent tasks the rollup of hours that are assigned to all its child tasks. Rollup hours are not published to Team Foundation so that the hours are not double-counted in certain reports. The Office Project mapping file attribute, IfSummaryRefreshOnly, suppresses the hours that are assigned to summary tasks. You can view the rollup of hours for summary tasks in Office Project but not Team Foundation. For more information, see The Microsoft Project Field Mapping File.

  10. To group a set of tasks, create an area in Team Foundation Server, and then group tasks by setting the Area Path field to the name of that area. For more information about how to create areas in Team Foundation Server, see Create and Modify Areas and Iterations.

  11. Review the work items for which you want to change the publishing status, and in the Publish and Refresh column, click one of the following options:

    • No disables both publishing and refreshing

    • Refresh only allows for refreshing but not publishing

    • Yes enables both publishing and refreshing


    Certain fields, for example, a date-calculated field, may be customized so that it is published but not refreshed, even when the Publish and Refresh column for the work item is set to Yes. For more information, see Quick Tips and Operational Differences when Tracking Tasks Using Microsoft Project and Team Foundation.

  12. On the Team menu, click Publish to publish the project plan to Team Foundation Server. For information about publishing, see Publish or Refresh Work Items in Office Project.

  13. (Optional) Save the Office Project plan.

    Caution noteCaution

    Office Project maintains scheduling data that Team Foundation does not, so that if you make changes that can affect work item scheduling, you must save the plan.