How do I set a baseline in Microsoft Project?

A baseline in a project is a minimum or starting point used for comparisons. Saving and setting a baseline can help determine how your project is doing compared to your original plan as it is a snapshot of your original schedule before your project gets starts. The baseline reflects the schedule agreed upon at the start of the project as well as any approved changes along the way. Plus, it is a tool to help identify variance since progress on tasks is measured against the baseline to identify any finish variance and work variance. The baseline feature in Microsoft Project can be used as a snapshot taken at of a point in time which can be used to compare against a current schedule to see if and how things are different. Up to eleven baselines can be set in a Microsoft Project schedule, and up to three baselines can be displayed in the Gantt Chart. This article covers setting a baseline in a Microsoft Project schedule.

1. Launch Microsoft Project

  1. Select the desired project item.
  2. Click Edit Plan.

1.1. Enter Credentials

  1. Enter your Username and Password.
  2. Check the Sign me in automatically box.
  3. Click Sign In.

2. View the Gantt Chart

  • View the Gantt Chart and the blue task bars. The blue bar indicates task durations.

Note: No baseline has been set.

3. Click Set Baseline

  1. Click the Project tab.
  2. Click Set Baseline from the drop down menu.

3.1. Click OK.

  • Click OK. The original baseline has been set.

4. Save Baseline 1

  • You may want to save additional baselines in the future, but before doing so, you should set the existing baseline. To do so, click Set Baseline from the drop down menu again.

5. Set Baseline 1

  • Select Baseline 1 for the first baseline to be saved. By doing this, when additional baselines are set, the first baseline will still be available to refer back to in the future.

5.1. Click OK

  • Click OK. If changes to your plan occur while your project is underway, you may find it helpful to save a second set of baseline or interim data, rather than updating your existing saved data.

6. View the Baseline

The tasks’ start and finish dates appear in the Baseline Start and Baseline Finish columns. And in the Gantt chart section, the gray bar beneath each of the blue bars indicates baseline that has been set.

7. View Variance

The task durations have been changed on task 6, task 7, task 9 and task 14. View the variance (Start and Finish dates) in the schedule and the gray bars to the right.

8. View the Variance Table

Comparing the original with its baseline is simple. From the View tab, in the Data group look for Tables and then in the drop-down choose Variance.


9. View Multiple Baselines

  • View the existing baselines.



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