How To: Add Progress Lines in MS Project

Progress lines in Microsoft Project help see where tasks are behind schedule.  They’re hideous to look at, but serve a useful purpose.  This post shows how to add progress lines to a Microsoft Project file.  Buckle up; this may get rough.  🙂


Start by adding a few tasks to a new project:

  1. Add Task 1, with 10 hours duration
  2. Add Task 2, with 20 hours
  3. Add Task 3, with 30 hours

The tasks and Gantt bar should look like this.  At this point, we have no progress lines, just simple task bars in the Gantt chart.



Add a Project Status date:

  1. Choose Project, Project Information
  2. Enter a ‘Status date’ for when you would like to check task status (the status date progress line will be red)
  3. Click OK


Add progress lines:

  1. Choose Tools, Tracking, Progress Lines
  2. Click ‘Always display current progress line’
  3. Click ‘At project status date’
  4. Click ‘Display selected progress lines’
  5. Click in the list and choose the dropdown arrow
  6. Select a date for a progress line (these lines will be black)
  7. Click OK

You should now have two progress lines on your Gantt chart, and things may have gotten a little ugly.  As you move the task bars, the progress lines will update.  Tasks before the progress line will cause the line to go leftward (that’s the ugly part).  What good are they?  Backward facing lines are those tasks you need to move forward.  They need to be rearranged to meet your current project plan.  The image below is an example.  Notice how the lines go backwards to tasks that are behind schedule.