Applies to

  • Pro
  • Business
  • Enterprise


Who can use this capability

The sheet's Owner and Admins can modify the sheet Project Settings.

Enable Dependencies and use Predecessors

You can use the Dependencies functionality in Smartsheet to automatically calculate and adjust dates as values for Duration and Predecessors (what must happen first) change.


  • Smartsheet
  • Pro
  • Business
  • Enterprise


The sheet's Owner and Admins can modify the sheet Project Settings.

Once you enable Dependencies, your sheet has the following functionality:

  • Altering the start or end date on the predecessor immediately adjusts the dates of any dependents.
  • Entering any two values for the Start Date, End Date, and Duration columns automatically calculates the third value.
  • Start Date, End Date, Duration, and % Complete roll up to parent rows as summary calculations.
  • Parent row values are read-only, as they’re calculated automatically based on values in the child rows
  • You can highlight the critical path in the Gantt chart to visualize what drives the overall project duration.

Enable or disable Dependencies in a project

To enable dependencies in your sheet, follow these steps

  1. Select the dropdown arrow down-arrow under any column header and select Edit Project Settings.
  2. In the Project Settings form, under Dependencies, select the Dependencies Enabled checkbox.

    View of the Project Settings window.

    New options appear in the Project Settings form.
  3. Select which columns to use as the Predecessor column and the Duration column.

    If you don't have columns set up for this, Smartsheet inserts columns named Predecessors and Duration for you when you enable dependencies.

To stop using dependencies and remove the automation from the sheet:

  1. Select the dropdown arrow down-arrow under any column header and select Edit Project Settings.
  2. Uncheck the Dependencies Enabled box, and then select OK to apply the changes.

Work with Duration and Predecessors

When you enter a duration or predecessor value in a row, the Start Date and End Date populate automatically based on the working days schedule established in the Project Settings


Duration is the amount of working time between the start and end dates. The system can automatically calculate Duration based on a start and end date, or you can manually enter it in the Duration column.


When you calculate Duration automatically using start and end dates, your duration is returned in days. For other units, enter Duration manually. 


The following table includes examples of how to format values in the Duration column.

Whole working days4d
Partial working days3.5d
Combination4h 30m


Elapsed time can be used in the Duration column to ignore non-working time (including non-working days and holidays). Lead with an “e” to indicate duration in elapsed time (e3d, e5h).



Use Predecessors to create dependencies between items. 

Create a Dependency by specifying a predecessor

  1. Find the row for which you want to create a predecessor.
  2. In the Predecessor column, type the row number for the item that must occur first.

Keep the following tips in mind:

  • Make dependencies on multiple predecessors by entering the row numbers into the cell and separating them by a comma (as in row 7 in the image).
  • Smartsheet takes all predecessors into account when determining the dates of the dependent. For example: On Finish-to-Start relationships, Smartsheet schedules the dependent's start date after the latest occurring end date of all predecessors.
  • Adding predecessors to a parent row in hierarchy applies the predecessor to all of its child rows due to the parent roll up functionality.
  • This predecessor relationship prevents direct changes in the dates in child rows. For example, if a Finish-to-Start predecessor is set in a parent row, all of the child tasks start on the same date regardless of the predecessors set at the child row level. To work around this, set predecessors at the lowest-level child rows whenever possible.

View of predecessors in a sheet.

Change the attributes for a predecessor relationship

By default, when you specify a predecessor, a Finish-to-Start relationship is established between items. 

To make changes to the relationships between dependents and their predecessors, select edit-predecessorsEdit Predecessors (click any cell in the Predecessors column). From the Edit Predecessors form, you can change the relationship type or add lag time.

View of the Edit Predecessors window.

You can choose from the following dependency types:

  • Finish-to-Start (FS): Start after the predecessor finishes.
  • Finish-to-Finish (FF): Finish at the same time the predecessor finishes.
  • Start-to-Start (SS): Start at the same time the predecessor starts.
  • Start-to-Finish (SF): Finish before the predecessor starts.

Lag Time and Lead Time

To represent a period of inactivity or overlap between the predecessor and dependent, you can use Lag Time. For instance, entering 1d into the Lag (days) field for a Finish-to-Start dependency causes the dependents to start an additional working day after its predecessor finishes.

To schedule the dependents to start before the predecessor finishes, use a negative number (for example, -1d) to create Lead Time


You can enter Lag and Lead Time in increments of weeks, whole working days, partial working days, hours, minutes, seconds, milliseconds, or a combination (in similar fashion to the Duration examples).


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