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In MS project, when I updated the "actual finish" dates of some tasks, the formatting of Gantt chart bars on some of the following/dependent tasks automatically changed to be thicker/taller than they were. Why did this happen / what do the thicker/taller bars represent? Can I reset the formatting to the original? enter image description here

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I don't believe the bar changed it has merely shifted to the right and is showing more of the original bar. If you compare the "unexpectedly changed" bar to the bar above it - I believe you'll see they are the same. When you shifted the schedule, it is no longer partially hidden by the baseline bar.

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July is right, it seems to just be a shift of your bars showing the bottom bar completely. If you would like to change that bar to be thinner and higher, you can right click on your gantt and click on bar styles. Have Tasks highlighted and change the Shape section at the bottom.

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