How to create Gantt Chart using Microsoft Excel

Project management is a foundation to meet any business goals within the given time constraints.  It ensures that there is a proper plan for executing on strategic goals. Whether you run small scale business or long scale business, a good project management tool is necessary for framing a well-planned task and the successful completion of any project. That being said, Gantt Chart is the popular project management tool for planning projects, determining project resources and scheduling the project tasks.

What is Gantt Chart

Gantt Chart is a horizontal bar chart which illustrates the overall tasks of the project and depicts how long the task will take to complete a project. The chart shows the project tasks on the vertical axis with the time duration on the horizontal axis.

Gantt chart gives the bird’s eye view of the essential milestones of the project and key tasks to be accomplished in the multiple phases of the project. It is a graphical representation of a project plan that helps to keep track of all the tasks in a project over a period of time, boosts creativity, makes way for easy coordination that helps the team understand how the task progresses and manage the overall project.

The charts are mostly used by project managers for its simplicity and the ease with which it can be constructed. It gives the clear picture of the multiple phases of projects, resources, and its time duration all in one place. Gantt chart plays an important role in making effective decisions about project resources and the duration of time required for the completion of any task. In this article, we explain how to create Gantt Chart in Microsoft Excel.

How to create Gantt Chart in Excel

Create a Project Schedule Table

Open Excel worksheet and Create a table listing each task in your project by order with the earliest start date task entered first and the latest task entered to the end. Enter the complete data to the table containing columns like Start Date, End Date, Description and Duration.

create Gantt Chart in Excel

Now click on any black cell on the worksheet and navigate to  Insert tab from the Excel ribbon.

Click the Bar chart icon.

Select stacked Bar chart on the Bar chart drop down menu. This will create an empty chart.

Right click on the empty chart and click Select Data from the drop-down menu. This will open a Select Data Source window.

In the Select Data Source window, click Add under Legend Entries (Series). This will open Edit Series window.

In the Edit Series window, Move your cursor to the empty field in the series name and click on the Start date in the table from your worksheet.

Now move the cursor down to Series value in the Edit Series window. Click on the spreadsheet icon at the end of the Series values field. This will open a small Edit Series Window.

Now click on the first date in the Start date column from the table and Drag your mouse down to the last date of the column start date This will add start dates of project tasks to the Gantt Chart.

Click on spreadsheet icon again which will take you back to the Edit series window. Click Ok on the Edit Series window.

Add duration to Gantt Chart

Once the start dates are added to the Gantt chart, the next step is to add task duration in the Select Data Source window.

In the Select Data Source window, click Add under Legend Entries (Series). This will once again open Edit Series window.

In the Edit Series window, Move your cursor to the empty field in the series name and click on Duration in the table from your worksheet.

Now move the cursor down to Series value in the Edit Series window. Click on the spreadsheet icon at the end of the Series values field. This will open a  small Edit Series Window.

Now click on first data in the Duration column from the table and Drag your mouse down to the last data of the Duration column  This will add the duration of the project tasks to the Gantt Chart.

Click on the spreadsheet icon again which will take you back to the Edit series window. Click Ok on the Edit Series window.

In the Select Data Source window, hit the OK button to build Gantt Charts.

Add descriptions of tasks to Gantt chart

Follow the below steps to add descriptions of tasks to Gantt chart.

In the Gannt chart, Right click on the blue bars

Choose select Data from the drop-down menu. This will once again open Select Data Source window.

Click Edit button under Horizontal (Category) Axis Labels. This will open an Axis Labels window.

Click on spreadsheet icon in the Axis Label window and select the first data in the Description columns of the table from the worksheet and drag them till the end of the Description column.

Once done, click on spreadsheet icon again in Axis label and click Ok in the Select Data Source window.

Format the Chart

The last step is to format the chart so that it looks similar to a Gantt chart. To make your bar chart appear like Gantt chart make the blue parts of the stacked bar transparent so that only orange parts are visible. Follow the below steps

Right click on the blue bar in Gantt chart and choose Format Data Series from the menu. This will open the Format Data Series window.

Click on Paint icon and choose No fill.

Under Border, choose No Line.

You will see that the Gantt chart is in reverse order and to change this click on the task along the vertical axis in the Gantt chart. This will open the Format Axis window.

Click Bar chart icon and select the option Categories in the reverse order under the subheading Axis Position.

Your Gantt Chart is ready.

That’s all.

Hope you find this tip useful!

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Pavithra is a Windows enthusiast, who loves keeping abreast with the latest in the world of technology.

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