How to create a Gantt chart in Excel

Excel Gantt chart - excellytics.com

Hey, in this tutorial you are going to learn how to create a basic Gantt chart in Excel. A Gantt chart shows the timeframe of an overall project broken down by each individual task. In other words a Gantt chart shows the timeframe each task will take to complete from start to finish.




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How to create a Gantt chart in Excel step by step

Creating the table

Example of a table as the starting point to creating a Gantt chart in Excal

Example of a table as the starting point to creating a Gantt chart in Excel

To begin, we have to create a table with our data consisting of at least tasks, start date and duration (time to complete in days or weeks). So in the first column we need to list the tasks the project consists of. The second column with the dates represents the day the respective task has to start. The third column with the duration shows how long each task takes (in our example in days) to be completed.

Creating the chart

Select a 2D stacked chart

2D stacked chart – Excellytics.com

Click the insert tab in the Excel top menu bar. In the chart`s group we then need to go to the insert bar chart (which is like a sideways bar chart) and select an 2D stacked chart. Then a blank chart area appears. Next we need to click into the chart areas and with a click on the right mouse button we choose select data. The select data dialogue box appears. Click the add button and the edit series dialogue box will appear. Under series name we are going to select the start date column header and under series values we are going to select the range that contains the start dates. Then click ok and move the chart where you want it to appear.

Do a right click on a blank spot in the chart to get back to the select data dialogue box. Now we like to add a new series. For this click the add button and under series name we select the duration (days to complete). Under series values we remove the default data and select the cells that contain the days to complete. Click ok.

At this stage your Gantt chart in Excel should look like the following screenshot.

How to build a Gantt Chart in Excel - Excellytics.com

Now click back into your chart and with a right click choose the select data button. Click edit on the horizontal axis values and select your cells with your tasks.  So you see we are well on our way of creating a Gantt chart in Excel.

But there are a few issues we still have to fix. First, the order the tasks should be reserve. The blue bars that represent the start dates and dates that do not fit with our task duration.

1. Get your tasks in the right order

Click on the tasks in the chart, then right and choose format axis. Click categories in reverse order. Therewith the first problem has been solved.

2. Get rid of blue bars

We only want the timeframe of the tasks. So click on the blue bars, then right click and select data series. The format data series dialogue box appears and we select no fill for these bars. In some cases, depending on the Excel version, you may also have to change the default setting to no shadow.

3. Adjust gaps in dates

Dates in Excel are represented by serial numbers. In order to know which serial number represents our start date, you need to change your start date to a number format, copy that serial number, undo the change. Then click on dates, right click and under format axis and in the minimum bounds enter the serial number for your start date.

Formatting the Gantt chart in Excel

Gantt Chart in Excel - ExcellyticsYou can change the layout. For instance there is a layout that shows the table with the absolute values for each task below the chart, which seems particularly useful for this purpose.




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Remarks: All screenshots in this article are taken from Microsoft Excel.