How to Create a Gantt Chart in Excel? - Gantt Chart Excel
Step-by-Step Gantt Chart Tutorial for Making a Gantt Chart in Excel
Gantt Chart Excel is everyone’s new favorite project management software with the ability to create Gantt Charts in minutes.
We all love Microsoft Excel and we use it almost every day for everything – from a simple calculator to tracking massive projects.
There’s just one thing that Excel is not good at and that is creating Gantt charts. In fact a lot of users on the internet search for “How to Create a Gantt Chart in Excel?”.
Create Gantt Charts in Excel 2007, Excel 2010, Excel 2013, Excel 2016 & Excel 2019
Gantt Excel – Quick Start Guide
Open the Gantt Chart Template
Download the Gantt Chart Excel template if you haven’t done so already. Open the template.
The Gantt Menu tab in the excel ribbon will instantly load (see image below).
- Create a New Gantt Chart
Click on the Add New Gantt Chart button to bring up the Project Details window.
Enter the Project Name, Worksheet Name, Project Lead and the Estimated/ Baseline Budget for the Project.
You can also use Gantt Excel to track project budget and task costs.
Click the Ok button when done.
A brand new gantt chart with the gantt timeline is created for you. By default, a task is added with the start date set to today.
- Add Tasks
Gantt charts don’t give useful information unless they include all of the tasks/ milestones needed for a project to be completed.
So, to start, list all of the activities as tasks. There are three ways to add tasks in Gantt Chart Excel
Method 1: Type directly in the excel grid. If you type a task where it says “Type here to add a new task“, it will automatically create a new task with default start and end dates and the timeline will instantly update.
Method 2: Click the Add Task button on the Gantt tab
The task details form will open up where you can enter all the task details including task resource, estimated, baseline, actual – start and end dates. You can also keep track of costs including estimated, baseline and actual costs, therefore making it an excellent budget and costs planner.
Task notes can also be captured to include a short description of the task to clarify its purpose or scope and to provide additional info to everyone involved.
Click the Ok button when done. The newly added task will show up in the excel grid with all the details.
Go ahead and add a few tasks as in the example below and set the start and finish dates.
Importantly, note that the Work Break Structure (WBS) is automatically calculated and set for you.
- Set Parent and Child Tasks
If a task is relatively large and requires several users with different skills to manage, break the task into subtasks and create parent-child relationships.
To set parent-child relationships, select a task that you want to convert to a child task and click on the Make Child button.
Shortcut – Alt + Right arrow key
To create a parent task from a child task click on the Make Parent button.
Shortcut – Alt + Left arrow key
As a result, when you group child tasks together under a parent, values such as dates, costs etc. aggregate and roll up to the parent task.
This is how the tasks look when I set a few tasks as child tasks.
- Add Milestones
Milestones help your team stay on track and to more accurately determine whether or not your project is on schedule.
To add a milestone click on the Add Milestone button on the Gantt Menu.
This will bring up the Add Milestone details window. Enter the milestone details and click the Ok button when done.
To illustrate, see the example below. The milestone and a diamond-shaped symbol show up in the timeline.
- Setup Timeline
Click on the Setup Timeline button in the Gantt Menu.
Set the Start and End Date of the timeline and click the Update Timeline button.
Gantt Excel will instantly recreate the calendar timeline with the selected dates.
- Setup Gantt Chart Resources
Click on the Resources button in the Gantt Menu.
You can create as many resources and assign them to the tasks. You can also add Holidays and Non-working days in the Resource window. The Holidays and Non-working days will be considered while calculating end dates.
- Gantt Chart Excel Settings
Equally important, is to set up the Gantt chart correctly. Let’s look at all the settings screens and go through them one by one.
Click on the Settings icon in the Gantt Menu.
By default, the Display tab opens up first. Here you can set the general theme colors including the different timeline bar and milestone colors.
You can also choose to show additional timeline bars for baseline, actual dates and the overdue bar for all overdue tasks.
Lastly, one of the most sought out features is to show text within the Gantt Bars. You can check the Enable Text Display option and select any text from any column to show within the Gantt bars.
This is how it looks when the Show Text in Gantt Bars is enabled. We think it is one of the finest features of Gantt Chart Excel.
Switch over to the General tab to setup cost and date calculations, currency symbol, and the Date format.
Additionally, you can define how the Percentage complete is calculated for the tasks. You can use the Manual or Automatic mode for entry and use Simple or Weighted calculation for the Parent task roll-up calculation.
Finally, we have the columns tab where you can hide or unhide existing columns. You can also insert up to ten custom columns or delete them if required.
You can watch this video tutorial on "How to Create a Gantt Chart in Excel"
GANTT CHART EXCEL – THE SMART WAY TO PLAN
In Conclusion, the beauty of Gantt Chart Excel is we have seven calendar views to choose from namely Hourly, Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly, Half-Yearly and Yearly View.
From here you can easily customize the Gantt chart by changing timeline colors, and adding various details like percent complete, costs etc… As shown below, with some tweaks you can create a timeline that’s sure to impress.