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Showing Baseline Slippage in Microsoft Project

Only display baselines when the Microsoft Project schedule has changed

If you are baselining your Microsoft Project plan and then including that baseline in your Gantt chart or timeline, you know that baseline information can quickly become overwhelming. This article shows you how to conditionally show baselines only when the project schedule has changed, so that you can more quickly identify movement in your plan.


Here's how to get started:

  1. We'll start with a Microsoft Project plan. This is a simple example with three milestones, but the same concept will work with tasks of a longer duration as well. Notice that the first and third tasks have been rescheduled from their baseline, but that the second task is still scheduled in accordance with the baseline date:
    Microsoft Project milestone plan with actual start and finish, plus baseline start and finish.
  2. We're going to set up a pair of custom date fields in Microsoft Project which will identify when the milestones have moved away from the baseline, and when they haven't. To do this, click Add New Column in Microsoft Project. We'll add "Start 1" and "Finish 1", but any pair of custom date fields from Microsoft Project will work just fine.
    Add custom date fields to Microsoft Project.
  3. Next, we want to set up a formula to identify when a baseline has slipped, and when it hasn't. For both of the custom fields that you just added, right-click on it, and choose Custom Fields and then click on the Formula button:
    Microsoft Project Formula Screen.
  4. For both of the two custom fields, write a formula like this:

    For Start1: IIf([Start]=[Baseline Start],"NA",[Baseline Start])

    For Finish1: IIf([Finish]=[Baseline Finish],"NA",[Baseline Finish])

    In plain English, these formulae will show "NA" if the baseline hasn't slipped. If the baseline has slipped, then the baseline date will show. This gives us a pair of date fields that only show the baseline date when it differs from the current schedule.

  5. The new columns should now populate with a mixture of baseline dates and "NA" values, depending on the status of each baseline. Notice that the second milestone, whose baseline has not slipped, appears with the "NA" value, meaning that baseline information for the second milestone will not be displayed in OnePager:
    Show an alternate baseline in your OnePager chart.
  6. Now, we want to use those new conditional baseline dates to drive the baseline markers in OnePager, substituting them in place of the standard baseline date fields. You can either create a new project view, or update one that already exists. Once you are in your report, go to Home > Project View Properties > Field Mappings. Locate the Baseline Start and Baseline Finish field mappings, and change their fields to "Start1" and "Finish1", respectively:
    Show an alternate baseline in your OnePager chart.
  7. After clicking OK, OnePager will show baselines only where they've slipped:
    Show baselines only where they've slipped

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