Trying to Auto-update due dates based on actual completion date

edited 12/09/19 in Smartsheet Basics


I am new to smartsheet and I am finding it very useful; except that I can't figure out how to auto-update completion dates.


For example, when I plan out my project, I put start dates, duration, predecessors and who it's assigned to so I know when the project should be done.  Building a house may require someone to build the foundation, then the floor, then walls, then a roof.  If I have a roofer scheduled for a certain date, but the foundation hasn't been pour the week before, then the start date needs to change for all the other dependent projects and the roofer would know he has more time before he is needed.


I know that if I go in and manually change the due date, start date, and/or the duration then dependent rows will change, but I don't want to update all that every morning based on what's done or not.  I would like to have it update the "duration" cell based on when the task is marked complete so the rest of the project can either move ahead of schedule if, in my example the foundation is build early, or shows the delays if that part of the project is delayed.


Seems like a simple adjustment but can't seem to figure it out.  I made a column where it tells me how many day past due a task is if it's not marked "complete" but can't adjust automatically adjust the due date or duration.


Thanks for any help!


  • Alejandra
    Alejandra Employee


    Currently, the only way to change a duration (when dependencies are enabled) is by manually updating the value in the duration column or by changing the start or end date of a task.

    When you have a moment, please submit a Product Enhancement Request to let our Product team know that you'd like to have this functionality in Smartsheet. 

    For more information on project columns see:

  • Phil Croker
    edited 07/06/20

    Hi @Alejandra @FTKF,

    My organization is having the exact same issue. Has there been any development on the product enhancement request, or has a workaround other than manually updating each duration been found?


  • Genevieve P.
    Genevieve P. Employee Admin

    Hi @Phil Croker

    No, there currently isn't a way to automatically adjust this - you would need to manually change the start date or end date of the previous task to push forward or adjust the dependent tasks.

    You could potentially set up some automatic workflows that notify you if that would help!

  • Paul Newcome
    Paul Newcome ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    In reference to the product enhancement request for this...

    I feel like if we could have "actual" start and finish date columns specified in the Dependency Settings that are tied in with the current start and finish date columns (that could possibly be relabeled as "baseline") then this process could be very smoothly accomplished.

    Ideally this would then also pull into the gantt so that baseline and actual could be shown on the same row.

    Just a thought.

  • Why are Start and End dates or even Duration not available to update via Workflow?

    It would be so helpful to be able to create a workflow that updates any of these when say, a task, due to be completed by a certain date, is not done.

    Picture updating either of these three dynamically just because the task is not completed (or completed late) and now we need to change either the Duration, the Start Date, or even the End Date.

    Having to manually update these seems a major shortcoming for software in the PM space.

    Any feedback other than "Complete the Form"?

  • Paul Newcome
    Paul Newcome ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    @Sergio Seplovich1 Have you looked into using predecessors?

  • Philip Robbins
    Philip Robbins ✭✭✭✭

    Old post, I know, but I just wanted to add that if you're lucky enough to have access to Bridge by Smartsheet, you can set up a workflow that looks for updates to rows, such as an Actual Completion Date field, and use it to drive an update to the task Duration. You cannot directly update the End Date, even using Bridge, as you get the following error:

    Failed to call update rows : End Dates on dependency-enabled sheets cannot be created/updated. Please update either the Duration or Start Date column.

    To get around this, you need to calculate a revised duration based on the Start Date and Actual Completion Date, then use Bridge to pass the value to the Duration column.

    But only 0.00000001% have access to Bridge, so I guess I've solved nothing 🤷‍♂️