Microsoft Project – The Critical Path

Is it really that critical?
What is it?
How do I display it?

Microsoft Project is a project management software designed to help individuals and collaborative teams plan, track, and manage tasks for their projects.

Every task is important, but only some of them are critical. The critical path is a chain of linked tasks or deadlines that directly affects the project finish date. If any task on the critical path is late, the whole project is late.

The critical path is vital for anyone involved in the project. It helps you know if your tasks are on target or not, so you can adjust accordingly. The more accurate you are with your schedule, the better aware of issues ahead of time you are, which means faster resolution times and less problems down the line.

In this article, we will outline, step-by-step, how to set the critical path in Microsoft Project.

Click View > Gantt Chart.

Click Format, and then select the Critical Tasks check box. Tasks on the critical path now have red Gantt bars.

microsoft project screenshot

Show The Critical Path In Other Task Views

You can see the critical path in any task view by highlighting it.

Click the View tab, and then pick a view from the Task Views group.

Staying on the View tab, select Critical from the Highlight list.
The critical path shows up in yellow.

To see only the tasks on the critical path, click the Filter arrow, then pick Critical.

Tip:  In a Network Diagram, tasks on the critical path automatically show up in red. No highlighting is needed.


Learn more about Microsoft Project

Microsoft Project is an incredibly useful program for anyone and can save you a lot of time and effort. Make sure you’re using the full Microsoft suite to your advantage so that your work can be just a bit easier.

We invite you to learn more about Microsoft Project by looking at our courses.


Click here for more information on our Microsoft Project training services.

Contact us to help you get the most out of your Microsoft Project training.

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