Conditional Formatting in Microsoft Project Gantt Charts
Part one of a three-part series of blogs

Formatting Gantt Charts in Microsoft Project is a time-consuming process. This blog series explains how to create task bars that format themselves as you change information in the table.

  1. Step 1 - creating a custom field in Microsoft Project (this blog)
  2. Step 2 - creating a custom format in Microsoft Project
  3. Step 3 - creating a calculated custom field in Microsoft Project

Posted by Andrew Gould on 01 June 2011

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Project conditional formatting - creating a custom field

Changing the colour of task bars in a Gantt Chart is a relatively simple process, but getting the bars to change colour automatically based on information in the task table is much more complicated!  This blog series explains how to go about creating conditional formats for task bars in Microsoft Project 2003 and 2007.

Conditional formatting in action

The Holy Grail of formatting in Project: Gantt chart bars that change colour automatically based on task information.

Creating a Custom Field

Our goal is to create a conditional format that will change the colour of a task bar when a particular resource is assigned to a task - specifically, task bars will turn red when Santa is assigned to that task (silly example, useful technique!). The first step in creating a conditional format in a Gantt chart is to create a custom field.  To do this, from the menu choose: Tools -> Customize -> Fields…

Setting up a custom field

To make things more clear we can temporarily insert the custom field into the task table.  To do this:

Inserting a custom field

Right-click the top of any column in the table and choose Insert Column…


You can now choose which field you want to insert.

Choosing the field to insert

Choose the field you customised earlier and then click OK


You should now have a column in the table that you can manually select Yes and No from.  Our next task is to create a task bar format based on this field - read the next part of this series to find out how!

Manully selecting an option

So far, so good. Now we need to link this to a custom format.

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