Critical Path

When you enable the critical path option on your project timeline, you'll quickly see which key tasks are affecting the project’s completion date. After setting up a Gantt chart with dependencies and predecessor columns, click the critical path button in the toolbar to outline the critical path tasks in red. You can easily print the critical path to PDF and share it with colleagues and managers to keep them apprised of your project’s status.

Follow these step-by-step instructions to turn on critical path.

Track the Critical Path in a Project

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.

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.

Permission Requirements

You must be the sheet Owner or have Admin-level sharing permissions on the sheet in order to enable dependencies when setting up a sheet to display critical path.

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

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.