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Unable to synchronize the project with the SharePoint tasks list due to a circularly-linked task

If you see this error “Unable to synchronize the project with the SharePoint tasks list due to a circularly-linked task” it is most likely because you linked a task to itself.

Notice in the task list, the Predecessor is the same as the Title.

So, to rid yourself of the error, remove the self-referencing task from the predecessors list, save the item, and go back to Open Schedule to get back into MS Project.

Note: See the task item edit form below. The predecessors list allows the selection of itself. This can’t happen in the create form, but it can when you edit an existing one. It would have been nice if Microsoft would have thought of this and changed the form to lookup GUIDs and refrained from using it’s own GUID. Obviously a seperate form form the create form would be needed, but I don’t think that would have been too much for MS to do. Perhaps in the RTM version it will be enhanced.

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“Unable to open tasks” mesagebox while trying to Open Schedule in SharePoint Tasks List

If you see this message box

You may have a dialog box open in MS Project, such as this one:

Close the dialog and try again.

Displaying a SharePoint Task List as you see it in MS Project

So in our MS Project file, which was sync’d with a SharePoint task list, we had this information.

But in SharePoint, we see this.

So the first thing to do is to remove the folders from the view. Edit your view, look at the Folders section, and select this:

Now your SharePoint view will look like this.

But that’s not good enough. Notice the tasks aren’t grouped like they are in Project? That’s okay. We have a fix for that, too. In MS Project, add a new column and select WBS.

Here is the WBS column. You can edit it if you like. You can make it letters and numbers, mix and match. I like Numbers and decimals, so I’ll leave it as is.

Now that you have an extra column in MS Project, you need to get that column into your task list. This becomes really easy. Just go to backstage (Green file tab) and under neath Sync, you’ll see Manage Fields.

After clicking Manage Fields, you get a dialog showing the fields in MS Project and the columns in your SharePoint task list. Notice that WBS doesn’t even show up? So click add field.

Even though you didn’t add all those fields to your MS Project view, they still exist. So you can choose from seemingly countless fields. Scroll down to the WBS field and click it.

MS Project will automatically name the SharePoint Column WBS. Sounds logical to me. So click OK.

Here’s the new Manage Fields dialog with our WBS field.

Now click Sync again.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, or back on our list anyway, we cannot see the WBS column. Again, that’s OK. I’d prefer that SharePoint automatically add it to our default view, but I can understand not everyone is of the same opinion. So edit your view again, add WBS. I’ll make it column 3 so it shows up to the left of Title. Scroll down in the edit view page and change the sorting, too. I forgot to here, so I’ll do it later.

Now, it appears in our view. Since I forgot to change the sorting, I’ll do it in the view for display. Here is our Task List, grouped and sorted just like in MS Project.

Editing SharePoint Tasks with MS Project

So I have a client who wants to use SharePoint for about everything, including “project management.”  Now, these aren’t enterprise projects, but SharePoint could still handle them. So let’s quickly cruise thru how you can edit your SharePoint tasks list in MS Project.

So go to the task list and show the ribbon, and click “Open Schedule.”

MS Project will open on the computer. Unfortunately, you’ll get a new project which is blank, and you’ll get your SharePoint tasks list in another project. If you have no tasks in your SP List, then it’ll be hard to distinguish which one is the real mccoy. If you have some tasks in your list, it should be pretty obvious.

I’ll start with a blank list and edit in my task information.

Finished task information.

Now sync your project back to SharePoint. You’ll find this icon in backstage (the colored File tab).

Note: On occaision, I have seen this error. When this happens, there is an issue with syncing up the the assigned to column. I click ok, go to the SharePoint list, and assign a task to each person manually. Afterwards, syncing again will sync up all tasks.

Now go refresh your SharePoint task list. In my case, I only see folders! What the heck!! As it turns out, SharePoint will keep your tasks grouped. That’s pretty cool. “But I hate folders!” you say. That’s okay. Here it’s good. We’ll adjust the view and get rid of the folders.