​​​Baseline is a common project management term. It refers to a set of data about project that represents state before the work actually began. A baseline is a static copy of plan data that's compared with actual and current data. Baselines helps to compare actual vs. planned. Baseline schedule means taking a copy of your schedule and set aside for comparison later on. A baseline is a snapshot/a picture of your project at a particular moment in time.

You can set one after you finished planning your project or you can set ones after you finished the critical phases of your project and each baseline will contain information about the tasks, resources and assignments within their phase. Before you begin creating your baseline, you must, however, create your Work Breakdown Structure. The project baseline should always come in-between the planning phase and the start of the project. You should only re-baseline when you have major changes in your project such as: delays, or loss of key resources. The right place in time to do the first baseline is when the initial planning is done and the plan is approved. Project managers use baselines to take snapshots of the project values that were approved and agreed upon. The baselines are used to make sure that the values don't change significantly from the original project plan.

A baseline saves nearly 20 pieces of information, including totals and time phased information for tasks, resources, and assignments. You can save 1 baseline. Baseline will essentially store 5 things: cost, work, duration, start date and finish date. The baseline is a copy of the Start, Finish, Work, and Cost for all the Resources, plus Duration for all the Tasks in your project. When you do a baseline you save the following data about the project at that specific point in time:

​​Baseline is a copy of the final approved schedule. It is the target to aim. As much is possible, the baseline should remain the same throughout the project.

Baseline fields:

FieldCopy to Baseline Field
CostBaseline Cost
DurationBaseline Duration
FinishBaseline Finish
Fixed CostBaseline Fixed Cost
Baseline Start
Baseline Work
The resource fields
CostBaseline Cost
Finish Baseline Finish
Start Baseline Start
WorkBaseline Work
The resource assignments fields
CostBaseline Cost
Finish Baseline Finish
Start Baseline Start
WorkBaseline Work


How it work

Set and save a baseline

When project manager want to know how your project is doing compared to your original plan, you can avoid that fate by setting and saving a baseline as a snapshot of your original schedule before your project gets rolling.

Click Project > Set Baseline



​Baseline for Entire Project​ will be set.

Save baseline

You don’t need to take any special steps to save the baseline. When you save your project, the baseline is saved with it.

Analyze baseline

After you set baseline, you can compare it with the scheduled and actual data to see how your project is tracking against your initial goals.

View project baseline information

After you set a baseline for the entire project, you can view the baseline data side-by-side with the current planned data, the actual data, and the variance.

  1. On the Project menu, click Project Information.

  2. Click Statistics.


Compare baseline and scheduled information

You can compare baseline and scheduled information in either of two ways:

  • To view variance information in a sheet view, on the View menu, point to Table, and then click Variance.

  • To view variance information graphically by using the Tracking Gantt view, on the View menu, click Tracking Gantt.

The Variance table shows start and finish dates for both scheduled information and baseline information, making it possible to evaluate your prediction of how the project would progress (baseline) by comparing that prediction with how the project is in fact progressing (actual).

Baseline and actual bars with a 2-day slip

If the variance in your project doesn't show the values that you expect, there are several possible explanations:

  • You might not have set a baseline. The variance is the baseline value compared with the actual value for a field. If there is no baseline, application calculates this difference by using a 0 value for the baseline fields, resulting in variances that are as large as the scheduled field itself. For example, suppose that you have a scheduled cost of $60 for a task. If no baseline is set, the baseline cost is $0. The Cost Variance field therefore shows $60.

  • You might have added new tasks to a project but not added them to the baseline plan. In this case, you might see variances that are equal to the scheduled values.

  • You might not have updated actual values for those tasks that are completed or in progress. In this case, variances might be equal to the scheduled values, or otherwise larger than you expect.

  • You might have added new tasks or assigned resources and then set a baseline plan, but the baseline information for the summary task has not yet been updated. In this case, accurate variance values are showing for the individual tasks but not for summary tasks.

Additional Baseline

To review all baseline values present on plan apply Baseline table.​

Learn more:
Apply ConstraintsBase CalendarsCalculation Duration, Start and FinishTracking GanttTablesGantt Chart
Applies to version 2015 and higher.
Project Plan 365 for:
Win PC/Server
Project Viewer for: