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Baseline Functionality

03/23/15 Edited 12/09/19

I have played around with templates and looked through the help center but I have not been able to locate any information on showing planned vs actual timelines. Does Smartsheet have the ability to show a baseline or are there any workarounds?



  • Hey BobbyLite,


    Thanks for the question. We don't currently have a native way to handle baselines, what most people do is create additional baseline date columns. So when you reach a given milestone you would copy and paste your planned dates into baseline columns. Then as your schedule evloves you can see the value vs the baselines. Some people also create formula columns to show offset from plan. 


    That being said, native baseline funcationality is something we are intestested in evaluating. Are you mostly interested in seeing the baseline in the Gantt? or would better tools in the grid be more valuable? How often would you capture baselines? Is baselining a manual process, or are you more interested in seeing it on a regular reporting period? e.g. The 5th of every month? 




  • Tim PattersonTim Patterson ✭✭✭✭✭

    I would like to see this functionality to.  I would be most interested in seeing this in the Gantt.  The planned, or Baseline, would always stay the same through the project, but Actual dates would be manually entered and changed as the schedule progresses.  Also, the Actual predecessor would be the Actual date, not the Baseline date.  The Actual gantt would overlay on top the Baseline, so it is like having two gantts.


    An added convenience would be a button that copies the the Baseline dates to the Actual dates, to be used when first setting up the schedule.  I know this is a bit lazy of me, but it would be nice.



  • Jeremy MichelsJeremy Michels ✭✭✭✭✭

    I do the added columns now. We use it for both schedule and budget reasons.  If you create a master row that does the functions that you need and copy it to fill out the sheet you need.  We measure actual against planned and start date against actual start date. Some of these can be column hogs to get it done but the key is to build the three levels. Master Parent Row, Master Parent Child as we call It and then Master Child.  We use this to be a template in the template and then build the sheet. 

    We have also  used this is our sheet structures. Master Sheet to Master Budget sheets to Master Project Sheets to Project Sheets. They report both dates actual and planned and budget planned and actual up to the master sheets.  I can then see at the parent rows at the top of each proect how many days past we are and how many dollars in the bdget are remaining overall and per task. The down side to all of this work is you need to watch the size you make your sheets as they can get large. Keep the page size in check and it works like a dream. 

  • Dean KrontzDean Krontz ✭✭✭✭✭


    As Bobby mentioned a baseline feature would be great especially if it will reflect a critical path highlight on the gnatt chart. As any variances in the original schedule evolves some sort of visual indication on the gnatt chart would be appreciated for quick glance when sending updates to stakeholders. Right now I have to send the origional schedule and the updated schedule so they can compare the gnatt charts.


    I suppose you could work in duplicate tasks and name one origional and the other current to display the comparision on the gnatt chart. But that seems like it would add clutter.

  • Jeremy MichelsJeremy Michels ✭✭✭✭✭

    There is an option to show the progress bar inside of the gantt line. Has anyone tried to see if you can apply this to show the offset in the start date from the actual? I know you can use if for percent of completetion. 

  • Tim PattersonTim Patterson ✭✭✭✭✭

    Jeremy, it looks like the progress bar is tied only to the Percent Complete.  No way to put dates to it.

  • TravisTravis Employee

    Jeremy - while it may be possible to build a formula that would do what you are suggesting with the percent complete bar (or at least get close), you cannot add formulas to the percent complete column if you use it with dependencies. Disabling dependencies would remove additional functionality from your sheet which would likely not be worth it.

  • Jeremy MichelsJeremy Michels ✭✭✭✭✭

    Is there a way Travis to use the graph is Smartsheet Labs to do this and provide a graph that will reflect the data? 

  • TravisTravis Employee
    edited 03/04/16

    Jeremy, the charts function was not designed to compare two sets of date columns. I tried playing around with it but couldn’t come up with a good solution. I was able to compare the actual and baseline percent complete for a tasks and display it in bar chart. The percent complete in this example is calculated by how far you through a task based on todays date and the length of the task.

    I don’t think it's what you are looking for but this is what it looks like: 




    Basic Project with Gantt & Dependencies (1) 2.55.48 PM.png

  • +1 on the need for Baseline / Planned vs Actual dates.


    I like to conditionally format based on how the project is tracking to the baseline.

  • Having native baseline for start and end dates would be very helpful. As of now, we create extra columns and use formulas to calculate actual dates

  • Another one in favor of this enhancement.

  • It would be great to see the baseline greyed-out once the precent complete is added. The actual finish could also trigger the greying-out the baseline gantt chart. The actual gantt chart would be the normal color. 


    There could also be a "button" at each row, which would copy the baseline to the actual, if the task was complete per baseline. 


    is there any way to see two sets of dates on the gantt chart for one row (task)? If so, this would be pretty easy. 

  • JWeintrab - The gantt chart only supports one set of Start and End dates but you can easily switch between two sets of date columns through the dependency settings (you just can’t see them side by side)

  • edited 08/05/15

    I agree that baselines are a definite feature that should be on the roadmap for a release in the near future. TeamGantt does a really great job of showing baselines and allowing a user to create multiple baselines throughout a project.

This discussion has been closed.