Gantt chart help with late, but active task formatting

Copper Contributor

I have a master project file, where I have several sub projects linked in and I'm having multiple issues, but one thing at a time.


First up, I have Baseline Start and Baseline finish set up to capture the forecasted starting and completion dates of the task.  Then I have Actual Start and Actual Finish set up to capture the actual dates for those events.


In the gantt, I THOUGHT Project would show my estimated timeline in one color (let's say blue), and then another color would designate the actual timeline (say green). 


So an example would be I have Task 1 that I estimate will run from Baseline Start of 2/1/23 to Baseline Finish of 2/28/23.  I'd have a blue line in the gantt connecting those 2 dates.  However Task 1 doesn't actually start until 2/10/23 as identified by the Actual Start date of 2/10/23 being entered.  So starting on 2/10/23 a green line would appear, and as each day passed, it would grow to match that day until the Actual Finish value is entered. This doesn't happen.  What am I missing?


As a final "wish list" item, if we surpass the Baseline Finish date of 2/28/23, I'd like that line to turn from green to red, either in entirety, or at least from the Baseline Finish date onward.


How can I do what I'm looking for here?  What am I missing?


15 Replies


The green Gantt bar you mention (i.e. Actual Progress) will indeed grow--but you have to tell it "how much to grow" by making entries in the % Complete column for this task.  Alternatively, you can use the "Update Project" feature in the ribbon to mark selected tasks (or all tasks) as complete through a specified date.  That too will grow your green Progress bars.


As Dr_Edward_Hanna pointed out, you need to tell Project how much progress has been made. That will address your first desire to have expanding progress. However to get your "final wish" you will need to create a custom field and special Gantt bar style to make it happen.


First, create a custom Flag field (e.g. Flag1) using the following formula:

IIf([% Complete]<100 And [Current Date]>=[Baseline Finish],"yes","no")


Second, create a custom Gantt bar Style such as the following:


You could do a normal progress bar up to the Baseline Finish and then have it turn red after if the task still isn't complete, but doing so gets more complex.


Hope this helps.



Ok, so it only moves as you update the % complete. Makes sense.
I don't understand "Update Project". I don't want it to do either of the options it presents, completing or re-scheduling.

@John-project, I tried everything that you show, but it's not working....not sure what I missed.


Further troubleshooting shows that the flag never evaluates to "Yes" (overdue). So there's something wrong with that, though what that is I'm unsure of.


I noticed that 2 of the bars in the "late" snip (Start and End) were still black, though Middle was red. I tried changing all 3 to red and Start and End will not "stick"?
First of all, why are you using manual scheduling? From my view, if you want to do manual scheduling forget Project, do your plan in Excel.

I see you added the new Gantt bar style at the beginning of the list. The Gantt bar style list has a reverse order precedence, that is, bar styles lower in the list take precedence over bar styles at the beginning of the list, if there is a conflict. Could be your new bar style is getting "upstaged" by a bar style lower in the list.

In order to help further with your formula, I'll need to see a screen shot showing the relevant fields such as Start, Finish, Duration, % Complete, Flag 1, Baseline Finish.




Because I have 6+ people managing projects that I need to consolidate into a summary type doc for my superiors.  We were using Excel and I was spending hours per week to sync their top level tasks with my project master.  I thought creating a master project doc, and then adding all of theirs as linked sub-projects would fix that and I don't know why the type of scheduling matters?


I've attached a snip.  Everything looks like it should to me, but the formula (Overdue?) isn't evaluating correctly.Request.JPG


Manual scheduling has one purpose and that is to help create a rough outline of a project plan. It basically replaces the "stickies on a wall" approach from yesteryear. However, once a plan is developed, all tasks should be set for auto-scheduling. That's the only way Project's scheduling engine can help show how the plan will play out with each task contributing to the total network logic of the plan. Manual scheduling for an active plan is no better than doing the whole plan in Excel. The only thing Excel lacks is the Gantt display but I've seen add-ins to create to create Gantt type graphics in Excel.

That's why the type of scheduling matters.

I think the issue with your Flag1 formula not working is because you have calculation set to "off". In Project go to, File > Options > Schedule group and set Calculation to "on".

In your initial post you mentioned you have a master file with inserted subprojects. Just a word of caution about using that structure. None of the files in the structure should ever be renamed, moved, written over or "saved off" to another location. Ideally all files should be in a single directory on a local drive and not on a remote server. If those "rules" are an issue for you, there are other ways to set up a reporting structure.


Ok, I can look into changing the scheduling to see what effect that has. Thanks for the explanation.

Calculation was already on...


All the project files live on a shared network drive. The master sits at the root of the parent folder. The sub projects all live one step down in a child folder for that project with all project related materials.


I'm open to other ideas on how to configure this.  I'm brand new to Project and am pretty overwhelmed at the moment.


Freeboro --

Pardon me for bumping into this thread. What happens if you insert the Status column in the Gantt Chart view? Do you see the word "Late" in the Status column for tasks that are late? Just a thought. Hope this helps.
Your screen shot shows calculation set to "on". Is that before or after I told you that was the issue with your formula (i.e. is the formula now working)?

As I noted, ideally all files in a linked structure should be in a single directory on a local drive. The problem with a remote drive is network glitches. If your network is very stable then it should work okay and as long as nobody moves the files to different folders, the parent/child structure should be okay.

I assume you have a dynamic master which is the default when you create a master with inserted subprojects. However, if all you need is periodic updates of subproject tasks to dovetail with your master, you might be better off with a static master. A static master is simply a snapshot in time of all the files, there is no linked structure and hence the possibility of corruption is essentially null. However, a static master needs to be rebuilt anytime an update is desired but this can easily be accomplish by recording a macro of the first time you set it up. As long as none of the file are moved (i.e. path), just run the macro and you've got an update. To create a static master un-check the "link to project" option just below the selection list in the Insert Project window.

All are welcome! LOL

I don't follow what you mean?
It was already on and the calculation doesn't work, even after closing and re-opening project just to be sure.

Our network is very stable, and until I can prove with very overwhelming evidence that we MUST re-locate the files, this is how it needs to be.

Based on your comment about how to create static masters, mine are dynamic.

The child projects should never move until the project is closed. Then the folder is archived but I can remove the affected subproject from the master at that point. To date, none of that has happened.
Sorry, when I suggested the calculation issue I forgot you are working with a dynamic master. The reason the formula doesn't work is because you customized the Flag field at master level. You need to customize it at subproject level. Oh the fun of working with a dynamic structure.

I like your last statement, "to date, none of that has happened". Using a dynamic linked structure in Project is an exercise in probability. As one of our fellow MVPs used to say, "it's not if, but when", when it comes to seeing/feeling the effects of corruption. But, it's not all bad news, linked structures do work but it requires the utmost file management discipline and that can fall apart when multiple users manipulate the files. I think a static master might still be a better option for you but if you still want to stick with the dynamic structure then when a child project is completed, definitely remove it from the master before you archive it.

Ok, I added the calculation to all of the subprojects and that is returning the correct value now, even for the summary rows.

Now back to figuring out the status bars because that isn't working still.