How To Display Lag between Tasks in Your Gantt Chart

By default, the lag set between tasks is displayed in the Predecessor column of the Gantt chart view. Neither Microsoft Project 2007 nor Project 2010 has a separate field to display the lead or lag of specific tasks.

You can display the lag as a separate field by following these steps:

  1. In Project 2007 choose Tools, Customize Fields. In Project 2010 choose Project ribbon | Custom Fields in the Properties group.
  2. In the Custom Fields dialog, select the Task radio button. Then choose the Type drop down and select Text.
  3. Select Text1 and click the Rename button. Change the name to “Lag” and choose OK. This will display “Lag (Text1).”
  4. Click the Formula button of Custom attributes, enter the following formula, and click OK:IIf(InStr([Predecessors],”+”)<>0, Mid([Predecessors],InStr([Predecessors],”+”),Len([Predecessors])), “”)You’ll get a warning message that existing data in the Lag field will be deleted because now all values will be calculated by the formula. Click OK.
  5. Insert a column with the Field name as Lag (Text1) in Project 2007 by choosing Insert | Column. In the Field name dropdown, choose Lag (Text1). In Project 2010, just right-click on the column next to which you want the new column added and choose Insert Column. Scroll down to Lag (Text1) and select it.

How To Display Lag between Tasks in Your Gantt Chart

You may be wondering about that formula I’ve asked you to enter. What does the code mean?

For the purposes of illustration, let’s say the lag between Prepare and Review tasks is 1FS+2days (translated to: “The task is planned to Start with a lag time of two days after the Finish of its predecessor task”).

The part of the code that specifies:


returns the position of + in the [Predecessors] field. That’s four in the example shown in the screenshot.

This code:


extracts the text from + to the end of the string, which is “+2days.”

If you want display the lag to the right or left of the task bar, follow these steps:

  1. In Project 2007 choose Format | Bar Styles. In Project 2010, choose Format ribbon | Bar Styles in the Bar Styles group.
  2. Select the rows in the top area that you want the lag displayed next to.
  3. Select the Text tab in the bottom and choose the dropdown for Left or Right.
  4. Select the field name Lag (Text1) and press OK.
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Written by Sai Prasad
B Sai Prasad, PMP®, PMI-SP®, MVP Project, Senior Manager - Learning & Development, has been with service provider Cognizant Technology Solutions India Pvt. Ltd since 2001 where he was named winner of the company's Global Trainer of the Year award. He has spent 13,000-plus hours in mentoring, coaching, training 9000-plus practitioners on project management topics ranging from project management concepts, project risk management, project scheduling, Microsoft Office Project® to software estimation techniques. He is a Champion of Project Management from PMI India and also Associate Champion Advisory Committee, PMI India. He is awarded the Champion of the Quarter (Q4 – 2012) and Delivery Excellence Award (2011-2012, 2012-2013) from PMI India. He's also the editor of the project management book, Forecast Scheduling with Project 2010. He is a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) in Project 2010. He is the leader of the MPUG Chennai India Group to promote and help practitioners on how to effectively use Microsoft Office Project.
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  1. Activity Time (Weeks) Preceeding Activities
    A. Obtain schedule of liabilities 3 None
    B. Mail confirmation 15 a
    C. Test pension plan 5 a
    D. Vouch selected liabilities 60 a
    E. Test accruals and amortisation 6 d
    F. Process confirmations 40 b
    G. Reconcile interest expense to debt 10 c, e
    H. Verify debt restriction compliance 7 f
    I. Investigate debit balances 6 g
    J. Review subsequent payments 12 h, I

    Given the schedule in the table above for a liability work package done as part of an accounting audit in a corporate office, find:
    The critical path
    The slack/float time on ‘process confirmations’
    The slack time on ‘test pension plan’
    The slack time on ‘verify debt restriction compliance’

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