Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Viewing the project’s critical path
TIP Remember that the term critical in this sense has nothing to do with the task’s
importance, but only with how much or little total slack is associated with the task
and, ultimately, what effect the task has on the project’s finish date.
4 On the View tab, in the Task Views group, click the down arrow below the Gantt
Chart button and then click Gantt Chart .
Working with the critical path is the most important way to manage a project’s
overall duration. In later chapters, you will make adjustments that might extend
the project’s duration. Checking the project’s critical path and, when necessary,
shortening the overall project duration are important project-management skills.
Here are a few other things to keep in mind when working with the critical path:
▪ By default, Project defines a task as critical if it has zero slack. However, you can
change the amount of slack required for a task to be considered critical. You might
do this, for example, if you want to more easily identify tasks that are within one or
two days of affecting the project’s finish date. On the File tab, click Options, and in
the Project Options dialog box, click Advanced. In the Tasks Are Critical If Slack Is
Less Than Or Equal To box under the Calculation options of this project section, enter
the number of days you want. In the same section, you can elect to display multiple
critical paths for each independent network of tasks.
▪ Project automatically recalculates the plan’s critical path in response to schedule
changes even if you never display it.
▪ You see free slack represented in the chart portion of the Detail Gantt view, and you
can also see the values of free and total slack in the Schedule table. You can apply the
Schedule table to any Gantt chart or Task Sheet view.
▪ You can toggle the formatting of critical tasks and slack directly in any Gantt chart
view. On the Format tab, in the Bar Styles group, select or clear the Critical Tasks and
Slack check boxes.
▪ Here’s another way you can identify the tasks on the critical path. On the Format tab,
in the Data group, select Critical in the Highlight or Filter boxes.
TIP To learn more about the critical path, click the Help button (which looks like a
question mark) in the upper-right corner of the Project window, and in the Search box, type
critical path .