Show the critical path

To meet a specific finish date, it's important to keep an eye on the critical path (critical path: The series of tasks that must be completed on schedule for a project to finish on schedule. Each task on the critical path is a critical task.). To verify that adjustments you make to the project plan don't adversely affect the critical path, you can review the critical path and critical tasks in several ways.

ShowShow the critical path in the context of all tasks

  1. On the View menu, click More Views.
  2. Click Detail Gantt, and then click Apply.

ShowShow only critical tasks

  1. On the View menu, click Gantt Chart.
  2. Click Critical in the Filter box Filter box.


  • To display all tasks again, click All Tasks in the Filter box.
  • You can also group all critical tasks together. On the Project menu, point to Group by, and then click Critical.

ShowShow the critical path with the Gantt Chart Wizard

  1. On the View menu, click Gantt Chart.
  2. Click Gantt Chart Wizard Button image.
  3. Follow the Gantt Chart Wizard instructions to format the critical path.

By default, the critical task Gantt bars (Gantt bar: A graphical element on the chart portion of the Gantt Chart view representing the duration of a task.) and link lines (link line: On the Gantt Chart and Network Diagram, the line that appears between two tasks to indicate a task dependency.) are red.

 Note   This formatting of critical tasks applies only to the current Gantt Chart view in the current file, although you can use the Organizer (Organizer: The tabbed dialog box in which you can copy custom views, tables, filters, grouping definitions, calendars, reports, forms, toolbars, maps, field attributes, and VBA modules to other documents and to other users.) on the Tools menu to copy formatted Gantt Charts to other files. Also, this format change overrides any direct formatting changes you might have made to bar styles or individual bars.

ShowShow multiple critical paths

  1. On the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the Calculation tab.
  2. Select the Calculate multiple critical paths check box.

ShowShow the overall critical path across multiple projects

Important     This procedure is only effective in a consolidated project (consolidated project: A project containing one or more inserted projects [also known as subprojects]. These can retain links to their source projects and may be linked to one another. A consolidated project is also called a master project.). If you don't have a consolidated project, you need to create one first.

  1. On the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the Calculation tab.
  2. Select the Inserted projects are calculated like summary tasks check box.

 Note   This is a project-level setting.

Applies to:
Project 2003