|This article's factual accuracy may be compromised due to out-of-date information. (January 2013)|
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (February 2011)|
Microsoft Project 2013 screenshot, showing a blank project
|Operating system||Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows Server 2008 R2 or Windows Server 2012|
|Platform||IA-32 or x64; .NET Framework 3.5 or later|
|Type||Project management software|
Microsoft Project is a project management software program, developed and sold by Microsoft, which is designed to assist a project manager in developing a plan, assigning resources to tasks, tracking progress, managing the budget, and analysing workloads.
Microsoft Project was the company's third Microsoft Windows-based application, and within a couple of years of its introduction it became the dominant PC-based project management software.
While part of the Microsoft Office family, it has never been included in any of the Office suites. It is available currently in two editions, Standard and Professional. Microsoft Project's proprietary file format is .mpp.
'Project' was an MS-DOS software application originally written in Microsoft 'C' (and some assembly) language for the IBM PC. The idea originated from the vision of Ron Bredehoeft, a former IBM S/E and PC-enthusiast in the early 1980s. This original vision was simple: express the recipe and all preparation for a breakfast of Eggs Benedict in project management terms. Mr. Bredehoeft formed Microsoft Application Services (MAS) during the birth of the application and the company later entered an OEM agreement with Microsoft Corporation. Alan M. Boyd, Microsoft's Manager of Product Development, introduced the application as an internal tool to help manage the huge number of software projects that were in development at any time inside the company. Boyd wrote the specification and engaged a local Seattle company to develop the prototype.
The first commercial version of Project was released for DOS in 1984. Microsoft bought all rights to the software in 1985 and released version 2. Version 3 for DOS was released in 1986. Version 4 for DOS was the final DOS version, released in 1986. The first Windows version was released in 1990, and was labelled version 1 for Windows.
In 1991 a Macintosh version was released. Development continued until Microsoft Project 4.0 for Mac in 1993. Microsoft Project 4 for the Mac included both 68k and PowerMac versions, Visual Basic for Applications and integration with Microsoft office 4.2 for the Mac. In 1994, Microsoft stopped development of most of its Mac applications and did not offer a new version of Office until 1998, after the creation of the new Microsoft Macintosh Business Unit the year prior. The Mac Business Unit never released an updated version of Project, and the last version does not run natively on Mac OS X.
Microsoft Project 95 was the first to use common Office menus.
Microsoft Project 98 was the first to use Tahoma font in the menu bars and to contain Office Assistant, like all Office 97 applications. Project 98 SR-1 was a major service release addressing several issues in Project 98. 
Versions were released in 1992 (v3.0), 1993 (v4.0), 1995 (v4.1a), 1998 (v9.0), 2000 (v10.0), 2003 (v11.0), 2007 (v12.0), 2010 (v14.0) and 2013 (v15.0). There was no Version 2 on the Windows platform; the original design spec was augmented with the addition of macro capabilities and the extra work required to support a macro language pushed the development schedule out to early 1992 (Version 3).
Project creates budgets based on assignment work and resource rates. As resources are assigned to tasks and assignment work estimated, the program calculates the cost, equal to the work times the rate, which rolls up to the task level and then to any summary tasks and finally to the project level. Resource definitions (people, equipment and materials) can be shared between projects using a shared resource pool. Each resource can have its own calendar, which defines what days and shifts a resource is available. Resource rates are used to calculate resource assignment costs which are rolled up and summarized at the resource level. Each resource can be assigned to multiple tasks in multiple plans and each task can be assigned multiple resources, and the application schedules task work based on the resource availability as defined in the resource calendars. All resources can be defined in label without limit. Therefore it cannot determine how many finished products can be produced with a given amount of raw materials. This makes Microsoft Project unsuitable for solving problems of available materials constrained production. Additional software is necessary to manage a complex facility that produces physical goods.
The application creates critical path schedules, and critical chain and event chain methodology third-party add-ons also are available. Schedules can be resource leveled, and chains are visualized in a Gantt chart. Additionally, Microsoft Project can recognize different classes of users. These different classes of users can have differing access levels to projects, views, and other data. Custom objects such as calendars, views, tables, filters, and fields are stored in an enterprise global which is shared by all users.
Project is available in two editions, Standard and Professional; both editions are available either as 32 or 64bit options. The Professional edition includes all the features of the Standard version, and additionally includes the features identified separately below.
- Microsoft Project's capabilities were extended with the introduction of Microsoft Office Project Server and Microsoft Project Web Access. Project Server stores Project data in a central SQL-based database, allowing multiple, independent projects to access a shared resource pool. Web Access allows authorized users to access a Project Server database across the Internet, and includes timesheets, graphical analysis of resource workloads, and administrative tools.
- User controlled scheduling
- User-controlled scheduling offers flexible choices for developing and managing projects.
- The timeline view allows the user to build a basic Visio-style graphical overview of the project schedule. The view can be copied and pasted into PowerPoint, Word, or any other application.
- SharePoint 2010 list synchronization
- SharePoint Foundation and Project Professional project task status updates may be synchronized for team members.
- Inactive tasks
- help experiment with project plans and perform what-if analysis
- The Team Planner view
- The new Team Planner shows resources and work over time, and helps spot problems and resolve issues.
What's new in Project 2013 includes new Reports section, better integration with other Microsoft products, and appearance of user interface items: 
- An entire Reports section is added to the ribbon for pre-installed reports. Project 2013 includes graphical reports so that you can create graphical reports and add clipart without having to export data to another program. For example, the Burndown reports show planned work, completed work, and remaining work as lines on a graph.
- Trace task paths
- This feature allows you to highlight the link chain (or 'task path') for any task. When you click on a specific task, all of its predecessor tasks show up in one color and all of its successor tasks show up in another color.
- Project 2013 improves the sharing and communication in multiple ways without leaving Project. With Lync installed, just hover over a name and start an IM session, a video chat, an email, or even a phone call. You can copy and paste content to any of the Microsoft Office suite. You can sync content to Sharepoint or a SkyDrive to share without going through Project and with Project Online can access a full version of Project from almost anywhere.
- "About Microsoft Office 2013 Click-to-Run Updates". Microsoft. August 13, 2013. Retrieved August 15, 2013.
- "Project Requirements". Microsoft Office website. Microsoft. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
- "PRJ98: List of Fixes in Microsoft Project 98 SR-1". News Center. Microsoft. 18 September 2011. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
- Previous Versions of Microsoft Project at the Wayback Machine (archived January 12, 2009)
- "Steve Ballmer: Microsoft Office Project Conference 2007". News Center. Microsoft. 30 October 2007. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
- "Microsoft Project 2010 Ribbon Guide" (Silverlight animation). Microsoft Project Training. Microsoft. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
- "What's new in Project 2013". Microsoft. Retrieved 10 October 2013.
- Official website
- Microsoft Project blog on MSDN Blogs
- Project Programmability blog on MSDN Blogs
- Project 2003: Project Guide and Custom Views
- Microsoft Project 2010: Interactive menu to ribbon guide
- The Project Map: Your road map to project management