With baselines, you can establish the start, finish, and variance of dates for individual tasks and rows on your project sheet. When enabled, you can also view the project baseline summary to see the overall project status.
When you enable baselines, three non-editable columns will now be added to the sheet:
- Baseline Start - The date in your start column.
- Baseline Finish - The date in your end column.
- Variance - The difference between Actual End Date and Baseline End Date.
Additionally, you will see visual Gantt bars for baseline dates and actual dates. If you change your preferences to display or hide baseline bars in Gantt view, the change will be saved for your user only and other users will not be affected.
Baselines will appear as read only cell data. Because of this, baselines will be surfaced in reports, dashboards, and other Smartsheet items, but cannot be modified.
- You can only add one baseline to a project sheet. If there are multiple start and multiple end date columns, only one set of Start date and End date columns can be associated with baselines.
- A baseline will not be added to a row that does not have a start and end date, or a row with a start date that is after the end date. The cell data must also be an acceptable date format. For example, text values, such as ‘TBD’ or ‘July’ will not work.
- Historical baseline modifications are not captured in the activity log, but are available in the cell history.
Set up your project sheet to use baselines
To enable baselines on your project sheet:
- If your project sheet does not yet have Start date and End date columns, you will need to add them. Baselines can only be created if a sheet has Start/End date columns.
For more information about setting up a project sheet, see Modify Project Settings.
- Switch to Gantt view, then click on the Baselines button in the toolbar. You will see the current earliest and latest day in the sheet’s start and end dates.
- To enable, click the Set button.
That’s it! Your sheet now has baselines enabled.
View the Baselines summary
Once enabled on your project sheet, you can use the Baselines summary to view, edit and remove baselines information.
To open the baselines summary, switch to Gantt view, then click on the Baselines button again in the toolbar.
In the baseline summary view, you will see the following:
- Show baseline in Gantt - Toggle for enabling baseline in Gantt view.
- Actual - The earliest actual start and latest end dates in your columns.
- Baseline - The earliest and latest baseline start and end dates in your columns established at the time when you enabled the baseline originally.
- Variance - The difference between Actual End Date and Baseline End Date calculated in decimal days according to the working schedule defined for your project. Variance will display the overall status of your project as Days behind, Days ahead, or On schedule.
- Reset - Establish a new baseline start and end date.
- Remove - Remove the baseline from your sheet (see the Edit or remove baselines from your sheet section for more information.)
Edit or remove baselines from your sheet
To view, edit, or remove baselines, switch to Gantt view and select the Baselines icon.
As dates change, the variance values will be updated automatically. You can view the full variance with the baselines summary view.
Baseline Start/Finish dates are locked from modification. Updating actual project dates will trigger Variance column recalculation.
If you want to remove the baseline bars from Gantt, you can toggle them on and off. While the Variance, Baseline Start and Baseline Finish columns will be visible in a report, baseline bars from Gantt view do not appear in reports or dashboard widget reports.
You can remove the baselines by selecting Remove, and confirming your selection. This will remove the baselines, but will not delete the custom baseline columns. These columns will be converted to date (Baseline Start and Baseline Finish) and text/number (Variance) columns. The cell data will remain unchanged.
To reset your baseline, select Reset. This will reset the variances to 0, and set the values in the baseline columns to the current values in the start and end date columns.
This will create a new snapshot of project dates and the Variance will display On schedule.