Tips and Tricks: Tweak the Timescale

You may not be able to speed up time in your project, but you can speed up the timescale-that is, how you use the timescale in views like the Gantt chart. If you’ve spent any time in Project, you may have wasted a lot of effort either scrolling the timescale or changing its time units. Fiddling with dialog boxes and scroll bars to get the timescale perfect gets old in a hurry.

Fortunately, there are a few keyboard shortcuts that will dramatically speed up your timescale tweaking.

Here is a list of my favorites:

Scroll the timescale left or right              


Show smaller time units on the timescale

CTRL +  / (slash on the numeric keypad)

Show larger time units on the timescale

CTRL + * (asterisk on the numeric keypad)

Scroll to a task’s Gantt bar


. . . And if you like these tips, let us know in the Comments section. We’ll start posting more of them.

Comments (14)

  1. Jerome C says:

    Like that tricks.

    Always good to have. more are really welcomed

  2. Joel Mabry says:

    I use two of the four tips now, and will likely start using the other two today.

  3. Dave B says:

    Here are 2 that I like that fall into this category:

    Alt Home scrolls Gantt to beginning of timeline.

    Alt End scrolls Gantt to end of timeline.

  4. Toneys says:

    Great comments, folks. Keep sending in your keyboard shortcuts, or other tip, and I’ll post them.

  5. Toneys says:

    Thanks, everyone for you tips. I see some new ones I didn’t know about. I’ll recompile into another blog.



  6. Russ Hatton says:

    I am confused.

    The help files for every version of Project from 2000 list the following shortcuts.

    Change the font.


    Change the font size.


    Increase the font size


    Decrease the font size


    But I have yet to find a context in any of these versions where these shortcuts work.

    What am I missing?

  7. Chantel Anderson says:

    A good shortcut that I’ve been using to zoom in and zoom out on the timescale is to CTRL + MOUSE SCROLL. Unfortunatly, this feature all of a sudden stopped working on my computer. It works in other MS programs such as Excel, but stopped working in my project files.

    Any tips?

  8. Toneys says:

    Chantel, are you scrolling in the Gantt side of the chart? This works for me.

  9. Project user says:

    Instead of ALT+Left arrow to scroll (handy for MS DOS 3.1 users) why not a horizontal scroll bar? Like in Windows applications since about 1999 or so.

  10. Project User – you should have scrollbars too. If they aren't showing up for you, try going to File – Options – Advanced – Display  and check "Show scroll bars". If you are using Project 2007, you can find the command at Tools – Options.

  11. JW says:

    How do I remove the timescale chart entirely? I want the typed section of the project schedule to be able to print across the entire length of a landscape printed page…so text is larger to read. But the timescale takes up too much space. Thanks!

  12. JW – do you mean the timescale that is at the top of the Gantt chart or the entire Gantt chart?

    If the former, you can't completely remove the timescale but you can set it so only one line shows up. To do this, right-click on the Timescale and select Timescale. Set Show to One Tier.

    If the latter, you can switch to the Task Sheet which doesn't have the Gantt chart. To do this in 2007 or earlier on the View menu select Task Sheet. If it isn't there go to More Views and then select Task Sheet. In Project 2010, go to the View tab – Task Views group, Other Views and select Task Sheet.

  13. Marcus Widerberg says:

    This feature is a favorite pet peeve of mine.

    1. Zooming is arbitrary. The choice of what is displayed in the timescale seems to be non-configureable: I have not found a way to change the default zoom behavior – it seems it is hardcoded somewhere? The result is that the timescale display is not relevant to how we work, say in Sweden. Relevant steps would be quarters, months, weeks, days, etc – and configured to display in a way that is expected and familiar to a Swedish user. This must be configureable, since organizations also work differently (fiscal year, for instance). Now I get months and weeks in a non-standard way, it seems.

    2. Zooming destroys the configured display – it seems. I have a view configured to display the timescale in a certain way. If I happen to ctrl-scroll its gone forever, and I have to reconfigure the timescale to get back to what I want.

    It's a not the best user experience overall, but MSP is an old tool, indeed.

  14. Shannon says:


    I work is a software company that practices Agile development. I'm trying to change the timescale to the granularity of our sprints which kickoff every two weeks. I've got it working to show two week increments but the start dates of the sprints are 1 week off. For example, our sprint starts on 3/13 yet Project is on the opposite schedule and so the timescale is showing 3/16, 3/20, … I've tried adjusting project start date and status date but I can't get the dates showing to match my cycle. Any ideas?

Skip to main content