Gantt Chart Excel Tutorial with Pictures and Free Template

Gantt Chart Excel

Looking for a gantt chart excel tutorial and template? We have prepared a step-by-step guide for creating a gantt chart in Excel. The same process applies for Excel 2010, 2013 and 2016 for both Mac and PC. We have also included a template so you can get started quickly.

If you are reading this page then you are likely creating a project plan. Managing a successful project requires keeping track of timelines, tasks, and due dates. It is easy to become confused without a project plan; watch out for the project planning fallacy. Fortunately, we have gantt charts. Gantt charts are a time-tested tool for keeping track of who should be doing what when.

What is a gantt chart?

gantt chart is a simple project management tool depicting tasks, timelines and duration used by thousands of organizations around the world. Gantt charts can be created in Excel and as a result can be used with the entire Microsoft Office Suite. This tutorial shows how easy it is to make an Excel gantt chart in six simple steps.

Keep in mind that there are slight aesthetic differences between different versions of Excel. However, the basic steps apply to all Excel versions.

Gantt Chart Excel Template

Using our free gantt chart excel template is very simple. Just download the Excel spreadsheet attached to this article. The spreadsheet is separated into two parts. The top part is for inputting your unique tasks and the bottom part is the outputs.

Download the Template

Gantt Chart Template Inputs

Simply fill in the relevant information for your project in the cells. Name the task and select your start and end dates. The duration is calculated automatically.

gantt chart excel template cells

If you need more cells for additional tasks it is simply a matter of selecting all the cells in the bottom row…

gantt chart excel template select

Selecting the blue square in the bottom right-hand corner and pulling down as many cells as you need.

gantt chart excel template drag

You will only need to fill in the task, start and end dates. The duration is automatically calculated by Excel.

Gantt Chart Template Outputs

Once you put in your information to the cells it will automatically reflect in the gantt chart excel template. This simple box is completely customizable. The font, colors, sizes and themes are completely up to the user to manipulate. This reflects your vision and passion in one simple, east to understand chart.

gantt chart excel template output

Gantt Chart Excel Tutorial in 6 Steps

Step 1. Create a task table

First, create a comprehensive list of all project tasks and include start dates.

This is the data that becomes a Gantt Chart. The table lists all tasks by row in chronological order. At a minimum each task requires a “what” and a “when”.

Adding an end-date provides extra detail and as a result Excel calculates each event’s duration. This is accomplished using the formula bar to subtract the start date from the end date.

As a result, the final product should look like the table below.

Gantt Chart Excel Task Table

Especially relevant: Remember to format all the Start and End Date cells as dates and the Duration cells as numbers.

2. Build a bar chart

Next, use the data provided by the tasks table to create a bar graph.

Select the Start Date cells with column header:

Gantt Chart Excel Select Start Date

Then locate the Insert tab then Chart bar and choose Bar. Select Stacked Bar from the 2D renderings:

GANTT CHART SELECT CHART

 

This step converts the same data into a bar graph that horizontally displays the different pieces of the project relate to each other.

As a result, there should be a chart similar to this:

Gantt Chart Excel start date graph

3. Add Duration Data Series

Next, bring in more data from the Excel spreadsheet.

Sub-step 1: Right-click anywhere on the chart and choose Select Data.

gantt chart excel select data source

 

This opens the same Select Data Source menu.

This menu shows the same Start Date data are available.

gantt chart excel start menu data available

Sub-Step 2: Select the Add button to bring the Duration data into the graph.

This adds an empty data series to the Select Data Source menu populates from the task table:

gantt chart excel data series 2

The information is added into the Name and Y-values fields. Select the cell break-out icon to the right of each field.

Especially relevant: Name can be provided by either typing “Duration” into the empty field in addition to selecting the Duration column header.

Select the Duration cells from the task table.

gantt chart excel duration series

Cross-referencing these data updates the chart with Duration data stacked over the Start Date data. As a result there should be a chart similar to this:

gantt chart excel start duration chart

Step 4: Add Task Table

Next, replace the numbers on the chart’s left with the associated task table entry.

This step is the same to Step 3 and follows 2 sub-steps for manipulating data sets.

Sub-step 1: Right-click anywhere on the chart and choose Select Data.

gantt chart excel select data 2

 

This opens up the Select Data Source menu, again. Ensure the Start Date data series is highlighted.

Sub-step 2: Locate the Category (X) axis label heading. Press the breakout box to the right of the empty field. Utilize the data selection tool on all task cells.

Especially relevant: It is not necessary to select the column heading.

gantt chart excel select task cells

These data replace the numbers on the left with the information contained in the task cells producing a chart similar to the following:

gantt chart excel task to chart

Especially relevant: The tasks are in reverse chronological order. This is normal and will be corrected in Step 5.

Remove the chart labels by right-clicking on the item and selecting Delete.

Due to the completion of Step 4 all the components of the Gantt Chart are assembled and the interim product resembles the following:

gantt chart excel step four complete

Step 5: Conversion into a Gantt Chart

This step formats the completed bar chart into a Gantt Chart.

This step contains two sub-steps to properly reformat the information.

Sub-step 1: Right click on the blue bars and select the Format Data Series menu.

gantt chart excel format data series

In the Format Data Series window manipulate the Fill and Line menus. Switch from Automatic to No Fill and No Line, respectively. Turn off Shadow or Glow& Soft Edges effects if necessary.

gantt chart excel no line

This formatting makes a proper Gantt Chart:

gantt chart excel proper

Sub-step 2: This sub-step is the final structural procedure to create a Gantt Chart. In this sub-step tasks are reversed into their proper order.

Right click on the tasks listing on the left side of the chart. Select the Format Axis menu.

gantt chart excel format axis

This opens the Format Axis window.

gantt chart excel reverse category

Locate the Scale submenu on the left side, find the Categories in reverse order box and select. This places your tasks in chronological order.

gantt chart excel tasks proper order

Especially relevant: The orange bars are not flush with the tasks. Step 6 addresses this.

Step 6: Aesthetic Format Choices

Finally, the chart is adjusted to display the information for viewers.

The biggest concern seems like the white space between the tasks and the orange bars. Select the first date on the task table, right click on it and select the Number menu. Under General locate the sample number. Record it for future use; it is a numeric representation of a date.

gantt chart excel format number

Return to the Gantt Chart, right click on the dates and select Format Axis.

gantt chart excel format date

 

Hence, there are two keys tasks to complete on this menu:

  • Uncheck all the Automatic boxes except for maximum.
  • Put the previously recorded number into the Minimum box.

gantt chart excel format dates 2

This brings the orange bars left to the task list and adjusts the dates.

gantt chart excel end step 5

Finally, the main efforts of the Gantt Chart are complete. Different colors, sizes and thicknesses of the chart’s elements can be made at the discretion of the user. These changes are simple and as a result can be made through the relevant format menus by right-clicking on that portion of the Gantt Chart.

In conclusion, creating a Gantt Chart in Excel is a rather simple process. While the different versions available all follow similar rules for creating the product. Best of luck with your new project plan and thanks for stopping by.

Projects are Three-Dimensional

Gantt Charts are a great place to start, but they don’t tell the whole story. They track the tasks and the time, but they don’t reflect client expectations, invoicing or personnel management. This is where Bric takes you to the next level. More than just a simple gantt chart template, our state-of-the art software brings analytics directly to your fingers tips. Allowing you to track time, build capacity and project manage without having to reinvent the wheel.

Get back to the work you love with Bric.