In this article, the step by step guide on how to make a Gantt chart in excel is provided with pictures for easy understanding.
Also, a free Gantt chart template is available to download and use for any type of project with simple editing and customization steps.
So, read the full article to learn how to create a Gantt Chart in Excel with tips of formatting for creating stunning visual effects.
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What is a Gantt Chart?
A Gantt Chart is a type of visual timeline that contains tasks scheduled over the time axis. So, the Gantt charts in excel are very useful for planning project tasks of all sizes and nature of projects.
Also, it maps the tasks as per their inter-dependencies and duration. So, the project team knows what tasks are scheduled to perform on a specific day of project execution.
Thus, making a Gantt chart in excel also provides a very simple view of tasks start and end dates, duration, and sequence.
Further, the following information is available on the Gantt chart.
- Project Start Date
- Project Tasks
- Task Requirements
- Start and Finish Date of Task
- Task Duration
- Tasks Inter-Links
- Project Finish Date
There were a lot of tools available for creating Gantt charts before the advancement of computer technology such as magnetic blocks and Legos TM.
So, now mostly Gantt charts are created using Excel, google sheets, and project management or Gantt chart software.
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Free Download Excel Gantt Chart Template XLS File
I have prepared a template to make the Gantt chart in excel a matter of few clicks.
So, simply free download the pre-made excel Gantt chart template file and customize the tasks description, start date, end date, and duration in the project schedule table.
Thus, it will automatically create the Gantt chart for your project with little to no effort.
How to Make a Gantt Chart in Excel?
There are a lot of tools to make a Gantt chart. However, Microsoft Excel is very useful due to its advanced graphing features such as 2-D and 3-D bar charts.
Moreover, it requires minimum effort to make a Gantt chart in excel. Thus, many project management companies prefer to use excel or google sheets for Gantt chart making.
Furthermore, the presentation of the Gantt chart to clients and executives require easy steps to make a Gantt chart in MS Project, PowerPoint, or Word.
So, the step by step complete guide for making a Gantt chart in excel XLS using bar chart feature is given below.
1. Make a Project Schedule Table in Excel
- Break the overall project into tasks and enter the data of tasks description, start date, end date, and duration. Also, it’s important to list down the task in the proper dependency sequence in Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, or 2019.
- In this tutorial, I will use the following construction project schedule template to make Excel Gantt chart.
2. Set up a Stacked Bar Chart to Make Excel Gantt Chart
- Click on the empty cell of the same spreadsheet.
- Then go to the insert tab from the excel ribbon and drop down the bar charts from the Charts section.
- There are three options in the bar chart drop-down under 2-D and 3-D chart heads. So, choose the middle one pop-up as a stacked bar chart. It will insert the blank chart plot area in the worksheet. Further, the option of clustered bar or 100% stacked bar will not work for making a Gantt chart in Excel.
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3. Add the Tasks Start Dates Data
- Right-click on the empty chart area and choose the select data option. So, it will popup the excel Select Data Source window.
- Then click on the add button under Legend Entries (Series) head to enter open the Edit Series popup.
- Click on the Series name field and tap on Start Date heading cell to choose the series name.
- Now click on the Series values field and choose the start dates of all the project tasks. So, just click on the start date of the first task, hold on the Shift button, and keep on tapping the Downward Arrow button until reaching the start date of the last task.
- Finally click on the OK button to create the Legend Entry Series. So, it will return you to the Edit Series pop-up. However, it will create the bar chart view of blue bars of selected data on the plot area.
4. Add the Description of Tasks in Excel Gantt Chart
- Staying in the Select Data Source windows and click on the Edit button under Horizontal Axis Labels head on right.
- Now an Axis Labels pop-up will appear. So, click on the Axis Label Range field on the pop-up window and choose the tasks description using the same steps as start dates were selected.
- Then click on the OK button and you will see the description of tasks on the vertical axis of the Excel Gantt chart.
5. Add the Tasks Duration Data
- Follow the same steps to create the Duration Legend Entry Series as followed for adding Start Dates on the stacked bar chart in Excel.
- Such as click on the Add button, select the Series name as Duration cell, and select the Series values as a range of duration cells from first to the last task of the project.
- Now you can see the bars against tasks description are extended with a different color (Orange) to show the duration of the task.
- Thus, as the data entry process is complete. So, click on the OK button to close the Select Data Source window.
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6. Steps for Formatting of Gantt Chart
All the above steps help to create a stacked bar chart. Now, a few formatting edits are required to make it looks like a Gantt chart.
Hide Blue Bars
- Left-click on the blue bar for selections of all blue bars. Then right-click and choose the Format Date Series option from the pop-up.
- Now a Format Series Data ribbon will open on the right side. So, click on the Fill & Line paint bucket icon and market No Fill option from the Fill section dropdown.
- Also, choose the No Line option from the Boarder dropdown to hide the borderline of blue bars if any.
- It will hide the blue bars completely and only orange bars will remain on the Gantt chart to represent the start date, end date, duration, and sequence of project tasks.
Format the Tasks Description Order
Please note that the description of the task on the vertical axis is listed as reversed.
So, the last task of the project is appearing at the top while the first task is on the bottom of the Gantt chart in excel. Thus, follow the below steps to change it in Excel.
- Right-click on the Tasks Description on the vertical axis and choose the format axis option from the pop-up list.
- So, it will open a large Format Axis ribbon on the right hand with a lot of formatting options.
- Click on the Axis Options (Vertical Bars Icon) and checkmark the Categories in Reverse Orders setting.
Remove Empty Space on Gantt Chart
There is a lot of space on the left of the Gantt chart from where the blue bars were hidden.
So, you have to adjust the minimum and maximum bounds of the horizontal axis from Format Axis options.
- Right-click on the horizontal Start Date values axis and choose the Format Axis option.
- Navigate to Axis options minimum and maximum bounds settings.
- Adjust (Increase) the Minimum Bounds value to remove the extra white space from the left side of tasks Gantt chart bars.
- Adjust (Decrease) the Maximum Bounds value to remove the extra white space from the right side of tasks Gantt chart bars.
Tips to Make Stunning Gantt Chart in Excel
The Gantt chart created by following the above steps may not visually fit the color scheme of the project team and executive meeting presentation.
So, the following tips are helpful for excel Gantt chart creator to make a visually stunning Gantt chart in excel.
- Left-click anywhere on the Gantt chart to select the chart and Chart Design tab will appear on the excel top ribbon.
- Choose the desired format from the Chart Styles section or click on the down navigation arrow to see more styles.
- Now as the chart style is selected. So, click on the Add Chart Element button in the Chart Layouts section of Chart Design tab.
- Adjust the Axes, Axis Titles, Chart Title, and Gridlines settings from the dropdown list to make stunning effects.
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Frequently Asked Questions
There are many questions in the FAQ list of Gantt Charts. However, the basic ones are:
A Gantt chart is a visual time-based scheduling of project tasks. Also, it provides information about the project start date, tasks start and end dates, task duration, dependency sequence, and project end date.
Excel 2007, 2013, 2016, or 2019 is very helpful to create a Gantt chart using a stacked bar chart feature.
Start dates and duration series of project schedule data are created. So, the start date bars are made hidden to create a Gantt chart look.
The following are the four simple steps to create a Gantt chart in Excel 2007 to 2019.
1. Create a Project Schedule Data Table
2. Set up an Empty Stacked Bar Chart
3. Add values of Start Date, Tasks Description, and Tasks Durations.
4. Format the Stacked Bar Chart to look like a Gantt Chart.
The following simple steps are useful to make a Gantt chart in word.
1. Go to Insert tab, click on the “Chart” button, choose Bar from a list of charts option on left, choose stacked bar chart, and click on OK to insert.
2. A Chart in Microsoft Word window will pop-up with the creation of a stacked bar chart. Insert your project schedule data in the pop-up window such as start dates, task titles, and durations.
3. Hide the start date data bars and format the chart to look alike Gantt Chart.
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