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View All Predecessors and Successors for a Task

A question in the Project Standard and Professional user forum caught my eye recently. I answered the user’s question in the forum and then decided to blog about it.

The user asked how to create a view in which he could select any task and see all of the task’s Predecessors and Successors, along with their Start dates, Finish dates, and Percent Complete values. Following are the steps to follow to meet this interesting reporting requirement:

  1. Apply the Gantt Chart view with the Entry
  2. Right-click on the Start column header and select the Insert Column item on the shortcut menu
  3. In the list of available task columns, select the % Complete
  4. Drag the split bar to the right edge of the Finish
  5. Click the Format tab to display the Format
  6. In the Bar Styles section of the Format ribbon, click the Task Path pick list button and select the Predecessors item on the pick list.
  7. Click the Task Path pick list button again and also select the Successors item, such as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Use the Task Path pick list button


After completing this setup, select any task in your schedule. Microsoft Project will format the Gantt bars of all Predecessors with a light orange color and will format the Gantt bars of all Successors with a light purple color. For example, notice in Figure 2 that I selected task ID #60, the Construction Complete task. You can clearly see that task IDs #53-59 are Predecessor tasks, as indicated by their light orange Gantt bars. You can also clearly see that task IDs #62-66 are Successor tasks, as indicated by their light purple Gantt bars.

Figure 2: Predecessors and Successors displayed


If you want to save this customized version of the Gantt Chart view as your own personal custom view so that you can quickly reapply it when needed, complete the following additional steps:

1. Click the Task tab to display the Task
2. In the View section Task ribbon, click the Gantt Chart pick list button and select the Save View item at the bottom of the menu.
3. In the Save View dialog shown in Figure 3, enter a name for the custom view in the Name field, such as Predecessor and Successor Analysis, and then click the OK

Figure 3: Save View dialog

4. Click the Gantt Chart pick list button again and select the Gantt Chart This view is currently customized and needs to be reset back to its default settings.
5. Click the Gantt Chart pick list button one final time and select the Reset to Default item on the bottom of the menu.
6. In the confirmation dialog shown in Figure 4, click the Yes

Figure 4: Confirmation dialog


When you saved your new custom view using the Save View dialog, Microsoft Project saved both the customized view and the customized table (set of columns on the left) in your Globlal.mpt file. This means the custom view is now available for you to use in any project you open. When you reset the Gantt Chart view back to its default settings, Microsoft Project reset the defaults for both the Gantt Chart view and the Entry table as well.


Written by Dale Howard

Dale Howard is the Director of Education for PROJILITY. He has used Microsoft Project since version 4.0 for Windows 95 and he has used the Microsoft PPM tool since the first version of released as Project Central in the year 2000. He is the co-author of 21 books on Microsoft Project, Project Server, and Project Online. He is currently one of only 28 Microsoft Project MVPs in the entire world and one of only 6 in the United States.

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  1. Great article I have 2010 version so Task Path not available is there another way to achieve the same??

  2. Michael —

    Thank you for your kind comments. If you are using Microsoft Project 2010, your only alternative to mimic the Task Path functionality is to purchase a macro. I did a quick Google search and found such a macro at:


    Hope this helps.

  3. thanks Dale – nice trick

  4. Hi Dale,
    Thanks for this nice, compact procedure to generate specific views with Task Path bar styles. I hope you will permit two minor clarifications and a substantial comment:
    1. In response to your comment to Michael; it is not necessary to “purchase” the macro you reference. The QuickTrace code is free – the main investment is the time to get comfortable with vba.
    2. Among users of Task Path bar styles, there is a common demand for a view that filters out unrelated tasks. I shared another vba macro/module – TaskPathFilters – to do that.
    3. While the title and content of the article are mutually consistent for most users, to me they highlight a need to clarify the definitions of “predecessors” and “successors.”
    Microsoft Project literally defines a task’s predecessors as ONLY those tasks with a direct predecessor link to the selected task. These are:
    a. Listed in the text of the “Predecessors” field/column of any task table;
    b. Tabulated on the “Predecessors” tab of the Task Information dialog for a task;
    c. Included on the corresponding tables of the Task Form and Task Details Form for a task.
    d. Programmatically, included as members of the PredecessorTasks collection for a task.
    e. Programmatically, linked indirectly through the Dependencies collection for the task.
    The desire to inspect these specific task predecessors (and the corresponding successors) for a given task was behind the original question on technet: https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/projectserver/en-US/096a0730-26c2-4c4a-b5f7-e5e7deb5af86/how-to-create-a-custom-view-to-inspect-a-task-activity-predecessor-successors?forum=projectprofessional2010general

    Your article (like most of mine) employs a broader, fairly common view of “predecessors” as including the task’s predecessors (defined above), the task’s predecessors’ predecessors, their predecessors, and so on back to the beginning of the project. For this group, Microsoft Project uses “Path Predecessor” exclusively – as a task property and a bar style name.


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