Track the Critical Path in a Project

Applies to

  • Pro
  • Business
  • Enterprise


Who can use this capability

The sheet Owner and Admins can enable dependencies to display critical path.

Anyone shared to the sheet with Editor or higher-level permissions can choose to display or hide the critical path.

Track the key tasks in your project by setting it up to display the critical path. As task dates or predecessor relationships change, this can impact the project's critical path. Smartsheet will update automatically and always highlight the tasks on the current critical path.

What is Critical Path?

Your Critical Path is the longest distance between the start and the finish of your project, including all the tasks and their duration, which gives you a clear picture of the project’s actual schedule.

TIP: After you’ve set up the critical path using the steps below, you’ll be able to apply a filter to your sheet to only display tasks in the critical path. Information on how to filter on your project’s critical path tasks can be found in Using Filters to Show or Hide Sheet Data.

Set Up a Sheet to Display the Critical Path

To use critical path, your sheet must be in Gantt View. (You can switch to Gantt View using the top toolbar.)

  1. Enable dependencies on the sheet by right-clicking any column header and selecting Edit Project Settings.
  2. Set up tasks in the sheet with dates and duration values that represent the shortest amount of time the task may take.
  3. For the critical path to be useful, it's important to use the Predecessors column to define relationships (finish-to-start works best with critical path) between tasks.

    Learn more about using the Predecessors column in our article on Enabling Dependencies & Using Predecessors.
  4. Click the Critical Path icon in the upper-right of the sheet.


All tasks and milestones that make up the project's critical path will be highlighted in red in the Gantt chart.