In this tutorial, I will provide an overview of the Project X-Ray Predecessor and Successor Trace functions.

The Predecessor and Successor Trace functions are feature that are found in the Project X-Ray Standard License and the Project X-Ray Free License.

Predecessor and Successor Traces

Project X-Ray provides the capability to conduct predecessor and successor traces. Predecessor and successor traces are useful for reviewing schedule logic to see how tasks are linked. I regularly conduct predecessor traces in schedules that I am analyzing to quickly and easily review how work is sequenced and organized.

Running a Predecessor or Successor Trace

Here are the steps to run a predecessor or successor trace:

Step 1: Select any task or milestone in your project schedule and click on it. The task or milestone can be complete or incomplete.

Step 2: Click on the ‘Predecessor Trace’ or ‘Successor Trace’ button.

Project X-Ray will then perform its trace and show either all of the predecessors or successors in your view, depending on which function you selected. This trace will include all complete and incomplete tasks and milestones.

Removing Completed Tasks and Milestones from the Trace

Because the predecessor and successor traces include both complete and incomplete tasks and milestones, the resulting view can quickly become very cluttered if there are a lot of completed tasks shown on the view. We can see that in the previous screen capture from my demo file. After running a predecessor trace, the resulting view includes literally hundreds of completed tasks and milestones. Great info, but it is too much info. To focus my attention on incomplete tasks, I am going to remove the completed tasks and milestones from the view.

To remove the completed tasks and milestones from the predecessor or successor trace, complete the following steps:

Step 1: Run the predecessor or successor trace.

Step 2: Modify the Project X-Ray filter by going to the View ribbon menu tab, clicking the Filter dropdown, and choosing Edit. The Project X-Ray filter should already be applied since you just ran a predecessor or successor trace. If the Project X-Ray filter is not automatically selected, click Cancel and rerun the predecessor or successor trace.

Step 3: Click ‘Edit’ to go to the Filter Properties window.

Step 4: Create a new entry in the Project X-Ray filter using the following properties and then click ‘Save‘:

  • And/Or – And
  • Field Name – % Complete
  • Test – does not equal
  • Value(s) – 100

Step 5: Click ‘Apply’. The modified filter will then be reapplied and the completed tasks will be removed from the view.

Step 6: Reapply a sort to the view by going to the View ribbon menu tab, clicking the Sort dropdown, and then choosing Start to sort the filtered tasks by Start date.

And now we can see the results of our predecessor trace showing only incomplete tasks and milestones sorted by Start date…

Clearing the Results of the Predecessor or Successor Trace

Once you have reviewed the results of the predecessor or successor trace, you can remove the filtering by clicking the ‘Clear All Filters‘ button.

Summary

Now you have enough knowledge to use the Predecessor and Successor Trace functions to gain insight into how tasks are sequenced and organized.