Automatically update progress in Primavera: The difference between Apply Actuals and Update Progress

In Primavera, when you need to make a quick update of project (Let’s say everything goes as it’s planned) we have 2 ways of automatically update progress:

  • Apply Actuals
  • Update Progress


Here I will only explain what is the difference between these 2 options.

The Apply Actuals function will update any activities with the “Auto Compute Actuals” checkbox marked…


…whereas the Update Progress (Progress Spotlight) feature will update activities which fall within the spotlighted region regardless the status of “Auto Compute Actuals” checkbox.


And this is the rule when Primavera automatically apply the Actual (in both option):

  • Apply an Actual Start to all Activities that have a Planned Start < Data Date. The Actual Start is set to the Planned Start.
  • Level of Efforts and WBS Summary activites get there dates from other activities.
  • Planned Finish is not changed.
  • Calculates Remaining Duration as the Early Finish-New Data Date.
  • Calculates Actual Duration as Original Duration-Remaining Duration.
  • Calculates Actual Units as Activity % Complete * At Complete Units..
  • If Planned Finish is < Data Date, then an Actual Finish will be applied. The Actual Finish is set to the Planned Finish.
  • Actuals are subtracted from Budgeted values to calculate Remaining values.

Author: Khuong Do

Khuong Do is a Project Planner / Construction Claims Consultant / Delay Analyst in Civil, Transportation and Oil & Gas Industry. He has worked as a Primavera Consultant Specialist since 2006 . He holds a Civil Engineering degree and a Bachelor of Information Management System. Now he is working in SGC company, providing Delay Analysis service. They have offices in Beijing – China and Dubai – UAE.

5 thoughts on “Automatically update progress in Primavera: The difference between Apply Actuals and Update Progress”

  1. Hi,
    Planned dates in P6 are the same as in MS Project; they are stored in the project; on the contrary, P6 creates baseline dates when you run the Update baseline command, and they are stored in the baseline project.
    When you import a baseline MS Project file into P6, the P6 project is not baselined, but the MSP baseline start and finish dates are stored as planned start and finish dates in the P6 project.
    When you use the Automatically Update Progress command, P6 updates the selected activities as per the planned dates and does not take the current start and finish dates into account; in other words, the selected activities will progress as per the initial project , and P6 will not consider the variance between the current project and the baseline project.
    You may refer to Ron Winter’s “Understanding P6 Dates” paper published in 2009 for further explanation.


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