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View the Critical Path in Project – Instructions

/ / Latest, Microsoft, Office 2013, Office 2016, Office 365, Project 2013, Project 2016
View the Critical Path in Project - Instructions: A picture of a critical path within a project file in Microsoft Project.

View the Critical Path in Project: Overview

            You can view the critical path in Project. The critical path is the set of tasks that will extend the project file’s end date if they are delayed. The term “critical,” in this context, has nothing to do with the importance of the task to the project’s completion. Rather, it is called a critical task if its delay would extend the ending date of the project. Therefore, a project’s critical path is the path of tasks that cannot be delayed without delaying the entire project’s deadline.

            If a project falls behind schedule, these tasks’ durations must be shortened to “bring in” the project’s deadline. Shortening the critical tasks’ durations to shorten the project deadline is also called “crashing the critical path.”

            To view the critical path in Project, switch the project file’s view to the “Tracking Gantt” view. To apply this view, click the “Task” tab in the Ribbon. Then click the “Gantt Chart” drop-down button in the “View” button group. Then select the “Tracking Gantt” choice from the drop-down menu that appears.

            In the “Tracking Gantt” view, Microsoft Project shows critical task bars in red within the bar chart area. It also shows noncritical task bars in blue. For noncritical tasks, the thin teal line represents the slack time associated with the task.

View the Critical Path in Project - Instructions: A picture of a critical path within a project file in Microsoft Project.

View the Critical Path in Project – Instructions: A picture of a critical path within a project file in Microsoft Project.

View the Critical Path in Project: Instructions

  1. To view the critical path in Project, switch the project file’s view to the “Tracking Gantt” view.
  2. To apply the Tracking Gantt view, click the “Task” tab in the Ribbon.
  3. Then click the “Gantt Chart” drop-down button in the “View” button group.
  4. Then select the “Tracking Gantt” choice from the drop-down menu that appears.
  5. In the “Tracking Gantt” view, Microsoft Project shows critical task bars in red within the bar chart area.
  6. It also shows noncritical task bars in blue.
  7. For noncritical tasks, the thin teal line represents the slack time associated with the task.

View the Critical Path in Project: Video Lesson

            The following video lesson, titled “Critical Paths,” shows how to view the critical path in Project. This video lesson is from our complete Microsoft Project training, titled “Mastering Project Made Easy v.2016-2013.”

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