How to make a GANTT Chart in Excel?

Overview of the project timeline

    Project Portfolio Management Process

    Termed as the Generalized Activity Normalization Time Table (GANTT) Chart, it is horizontal. Its foundation is back in 1917, by Henry L Gantt.

    He was an American Engineer and Social Scientist. This software is particularly used for Project Management and delivers a graphical illustration of a particular schedule that helps you plan, track, and coordinate tasks.

    What is a Gantt Chart?

    They can be as simple as versions on a graph paper or complex automated versions. These are either created using Microsoft Excel or Project. The horizontal timeline depicts the time. For instance, in days, weeks, or months, and the vertical timeline depicts the tasks. For instance, you can perform extensive research, choose and install the software if it is outfitting your computer. To put it out in better terms, if you type 'conduct research' above the vertical timeline and draw a bar, it will portray the research time. You will then have to enter the number of tasks on the bar and the respective bars when performing them. The Gantt charts provide you with a clear-cut vision of your project status. The limitation that follows with Gantt charts is that they do not update you on the delay patterns. For instance, if any of your tasks are delayed by a day or two, you will not receive any sort of notification. On the other hand, the PERT Chart is here to undo the limitation. Automated versions of the Gantt chart store data regarding the tasks. Another benefit that comes along with this version is the ability to change. They highlight the status of the project.

    What do you need to create a Gantt chart?

    When it comes to taking the key parts of a Gantt chart into consideration, it consists of 8 key components,

    • Task List

      This list runs on a vertical timeline, towards the left of the chart. It describes the work and group work performed and divided into subgroups.
    • Timeline

      The timeline runs on a horizontal timeline towards the top of the chart. It highlights the data in the form of days, weeks, months, and years.
    • Dateline

      It runs on a vertical timeline and portrays the date on the Gantt Chart.
    • Bars

      These are horizontal markers placed on the right. It represents the tasks performed, along with the progress, duration, beginning, and ending dates.
    • Milestones

      Put in the form of yellow diamonds. These are callouts for important dates, events, and decisions.
    • Dependencies

      Present in the form of light grey lines. They connect the tasks in a particular order.
    • Progress

      As the word suggests, it shows the project's development and indicates it in the form of a percentage (%).
    • Resource Assigned

      Portrays the specific person or team which is assigned to complete the tasks.

    How to create a Gantt chart in excel?

    Now that the key components are into perspective let us dive into the creation of the timeline.

    Firstly, create a spreadsheet. The elements that fall under the spreadsheet include the Duration, Description, Start, and End Date, pertaining to every task. Post the creation of the spreadsheet, and you can move on to the Gantt chart.

    Even though you will have to create a new spreadsheet for the Gantt chart, make sure that you copy the sheet's data, where the timeline is there. Now, you need to go on to the sheets and click on 'Insert from the Menu.'

    If you look at the section above, you will find the Charts section.

    Go ahead and select the Bar Chart. If you click, there will be a dropdown, and then click on the Bar Chart type - Stacked.

    This chart type portrays the indicator that is visual to the duration that every task holds. Now, the bottom legend on the chart is your focal point.

    Click on Select Data and then the Add button to make it work.

    To decide the name:

    • Click on the Series name and open the sheet from where the project has been under the collection.
    • Select the Start Date.
    • Click on the Series values and highlight the entire range of the start dates.
    • Once you have performed the following, click on 'OK.'

    Furthermore, to add the durations, click on Select Data and Add again. Play the same process on repeat and click on OK. After performing the instructions mentioned, you will notice that the chart has a bar section, segregated for every task. It will start once you have finished one of the many tasks.

    To add the descriptions for each task, choose Select Data and once you click on Horizontal Axis Labels, choose the Edit option. For the range entitled to Axis label, highlight the entire range, and add the descriptions. Click on OK, and there you are.

    The final touch to the chart will be to click on the blue bars, as it will show on your chart, and click on the Formal Data Series. After this, go on to the Paint icon and click on No fill and then No line under the Border option. You shall notice that the Gantt Chart looks like one. But your tasks are placed in reverse. Instead of creating a mess, click on the left axis and choose the axis that says – Format. Under that, click on the Categories, but in the reverse order of how you wanted it. Now, polish it up. Make sure to go through with things like dates, right-click, and choose Format Axis. Once you do that, in the axis, you will find Bounds. Under that, you can increase the Minimum Bounds.

    Note: Do not increase it too much. Because then, it will move off the display area. Just click on Reset and start again.

    There are two types of ways to work on the Gantt Chart Software - Desktop and Online. The desktop version is suitable for a manager who will like to plan on an individual level. Like Microsoft Excel or Word, the desktop software provides you with a local version with a license per user.

    But the limitation that comes with using the desktop version is that you need to have a SharePoint. It is if you need to share gigantic files. The receiver will also need to have the desktop license and will lead to additional costs.

    The online version of the Gantt Chart is that the software is capable of being spread across and collaboratively performing tasks and sending large files across. Like Google Docs or Sheets, the online version can not just be edited by someone online, but the other individual can also add to the tasks. Being cost-friendly, most people prefer the online medium rather than the desktop version.

    To make it a little convincing, let us get to know the benefits of using Gantt Charts


    A Gantt Chart provides you an overview of the project timeline. It helps you to figure out how progressive the tasks have been. It can also help you with providing an on-point status to stakeholders and managers within an instant.


    In today's time and age, the Gantt Charts are beneficial for you. Why? Because they make it easy for you to move tasks around without having to do them all over again. With this, you can also keep these tasks connected.

    Be on the 'Same Page'

    The phrase, 'Communication is the key,' does not go wrong with Gantt charts. Life without these charts would be delays in projects and cost overruns. Charts owing to 'TeamGantt,' ensures that nobody is in the dark. It is because all of your tasks and work placement is safe onto these charts. It will assure you productivity and profit.

    Who is busy and isn't?

    You need to be smart if you need to run a business. The key to efficient business is to have a good hold over things. With Gantt, Resource Management will not feel tedious anymore.

    After you have had a thorough read on the charts, their benefits, and usage, you will be able to derive a clear-cut understanding of how things work. It might seem complicated, but it isn't. Having the right choice is all it will take for you to grab the 'golden opportunity.' With this, you will have internal confidence to keep up with your team buddies and manager to assure them with 100% quality. You will never miss a deadline and will be ready for the next task in line.

    So, why waste time when the next task is already headed your way? This year, you have a guaranteed promotion. Roll up your sleeves and pick on the online version of the Gantt Charts. Be it construction, design, or creativity, with these charts, you cannot go wrong. Because, if not now, then never.

    Steps to Make a Gantt Chart in Excel:

    Microsoft Excel doesn't have a specific tool for the Gantt Chart. You have to create a Gantt chart table on your own. You can build a Gantt Chart in Excel with the use of Excel tools.

    You may construct a Gantt chart in Excel by customizing the form of a Stacked Bar chart. With the Role Representing Bars. Usually, an Excel Gantt chart includes days around the horizontal plane as the time unit.

    Data required for creating a Gantt Chart: To create a Gantt Chart in excel, we need all these data. 1. Project's Details 2. Name of Each Task 3. Starting Date of the projects 4. End Date of the projects 5. Duration of the Project

    Microsoft Excel doesn't have a specific tool for the Gantt Chart. You have to create a Gantt chart table on your own. You can build a Gantt Chart in Excel with the use of Excel tools.

    You may construct a Gantt chart in Excel by customizing the form of a Stacked Bar chart. With the Role Representing Bars. Usually, an Excel Gantt chart includes days around the horizontal plane as the time unit.

    Data required for creating a Gantt Chart: To create a Gantt Chart in excel, we need all these data. 1. Project's Details 2. Name of Each Task 3. Starting Date of the projects 4. End Date of the projects 5. Duration of the Project

    Step 1. Creating a project table:

    Start it by entering all the project related data into the Excel sheet. Every project will have several tasks.

    • You must write the heading names of the tasks. Write each task in different rows (in order).
    • Write the starting and the end date of the project in separate columns.
    • You must also write the duration of the task in a separate column.

    Step 2. Build an Excel Bar chart based on the Start date:

    You can form your own Gantt chart in Excel by setting up a Bar chart.

    • Select your range (here, you have to select all the starting dates)
    • Go to the Insert tab.
    • Go to the Chart groups.
    • Click on the Bar Graph.
    • Go to 2-D Bar.
    • Select the 100% Stacked Bar.
    • A Stacked Bar Graph will open on your Excel Sheet.

    Step 3. Add duration's data in the chart:

    You should add the duration to the existing chart. steps:

    • Press Right-click anywhere on the sheet.
    • Click on Select Data
    • To plot more data (duration) in the Gantt chart, click the Add icon.

    The Edit Series window is open, and you are doing the following things:

    • In the Series name section, type "Duration" or any other name you choose. Likewise, you may put the mouse pointer throughout this area. Next, select the column header on the spreadsheet. Insert the header as the Gantt chart sequence term.
    • Click on the Selection icon beside Sequence Values.
    • A tiny window for the Edit Series opens. Choose the Duration data by selecting the Duration cell. (check that you are not selecting any empty cell or heading)
    • Click on the Exit. It brings you back to the same Edit window. It has a Series name & Series values on it. Click on OK.
    • You will be back at the Select Data Source window with both Start Date and Duration added under Series.
    • Click Ok.

    Step 4. Add Description of the task to the Gantt Chart:

    Now, swap the days on the left side of the table with the task list.

    • Right-click somewhere inside the chart plot region.
    • Click Select Data to restore the Select Data Source pane.
    • Pick the Start Date (to the left side).
    • Click on the Edit button on the right side, which is below Horizontal Axis Labels.
    • Axis label window will open then > Click on the range selection icon. > Select the task. (Make sure you are not selecting the heading and the empty cells.)
    • Now click the OK to close the window.

    You can remove the chart label by:

    • Right-click on chart label Select Delete from the menu.

    You can see your Gantt Chart with the job description on the left side.

    Step 5. Convert the Bar Graph to Excel Gantt chart:

    You still have a stacked bar chart. Add the proper formatting. It would make things appear like a Chart in Excel. You have to render it translucent or clear. Now click on any bar in the Gantt chart to select all. Right-click and then select Format Data Series from the menu. The Format Data Series window will appear. Follow the steps:

    • Switch to tab Fill, select No Fill.
    • Go to tab Border Color, select No Line.
    • Correct the order; make it in the ascending order.

    Now, your Excel Chart must have started looking like a Normal Gantt Chart Excel. With the aid of several resources, you will build your Excel Gantt Chart. You may adjust the color and can also add a visual 3-D experience. Either you can save it as an image or convert it into HTML.

    You can get a few templates in Microsoft Excel:

    • Go to File> New > Search Gantt Chart Planner >Download it.

    How can you create a project timeline in Excel?

    In Excel, You can create a Project timeline with charts related to the datasheet when you change something in a data table, the chart updates.
    Excel Timeline Gantt Chart Template:
    The easiest way is you can download an Excel Timeline Gantt Chart Template. You can download a free Excel Project Timeline and add the details. When you add the details, the Gantt Chart will adjust.
    For Eg. Excel Gantt Chart with Dates:
    If you add a date, the Gantt Chart will show that date.
    At the start of the table, you'll notice plenty of extra room. You must adjust it to meet the specifications. If you click on the date of the Gantt table, a small box will appear. Right-click and pick Format Axis. In the pop-up box on the left, pick a size. You may adjust the number of boxes to alter the gap.

    Steps for Creating a Project Timeline in Excel:

    • Choose the Excel Timeline Gantt Chart Template
    • Add Your Data to the Excel Timeline Gantt Chart Template (Excel Gantt chart hours
    • Excel Gantt chart with dates)
    • Customize the Table

    How to add Milestones in Excel Gantt Chart?

    Milestones in Excel Chart helps in marking the major goals. Settings and describes the role are a simple route. Milestones are part of the Excel and Gantt Chart. However, we need a Milestone for a high-level summary. A milestone in Excel and Gantt Chart offers a snapshot of the project. It is useful for critical meetings and consumer and senior executives' interactions.
    We use milestone charts to present important facts to upper management. We also use it to create an impression among clients. The primary goal is to highlight a project's significant events, mission, and strategies.
    The beginning or completion of especially substantial or important operations may be a milestone. Key shipments, ratings, or acceptance deadlines may also be key. It allows the milestone chart to become a guide for project preparation & management. It helps to imagine the main pieces. It is in the style of the Sequential Order. You can present in various colors to show e unique things.
    They are easier to communicate than a Gantt chart consisting of various tasks. Milestone charts provide a summary of the process of a project.
    You may mark milestones in Excel with the aid of drawing instruments. You can do this in another way by drawing milestone markers using another chart element. (scatter chart with rows). The bonus is that it is dynamic. It can be possible in a table whether your chart shifts or not if you need to adjust the achievement dates or marks and represent any list adjustments.

    Measures to add a zero-duration milestone:

    It is the next move to incorporate a zero-duration milestone:

    • The initial phase is to connect the task and the project.
    • Click on view > then go to Task Views group > then click on Gantt Chart.
    • In the first blank lines, simply type milestones. But then you can choose a task to be turned into a milestone.
    • Then select 0 > in the Duration box >, and then hit Enter.

    The milestone reveals the essential portion of your diagram of Gantt.

    Measures for incorporating a zero-duration milestone

    There are the following measures for incorporating a zero-length milestone:
    Attaching the task to the project is the first move.

    • Click on view > Go to task views group > Click on Gantt Chart.
    • In the first empty row, select a milestone name or select a task you want to convert into a milestone.
    • Click the milestone > click the Task icon.
    • Click on the Task Info in the Properties category.
    • Click on the Advanced tab> Enter milestone duration in the Duration box.
    • The Marked task is the Milestone. Click on ok.

    • The milestone mark will display on the last day of the project. And if it has length, this doesn't show as a bar.

      Introducing an external milestone:

      You might need a milestone often to track a task that is beyond your project's reach.

      Suppose the milestone relies on a project that is outside your reach. For example, such as software that another organization is creating. Then use the measures in the previous section to establish a milestone. You should also observe and monitor the external mission.
      You can watch it through a cross-project connection if the milestone is part of a project in your company.

      Steps that one needs to follow to transfer a Gantt chart from Excel to Word:

      • First, open the Excel sheet. After opening the Excel sheet, then select the embedded chart or the chart sheet that you need to transfer to the Word document.
      • The next step to be followed is to select the Home tab. From the home tab, you need to click the copy button from the clipboard group.
      • The third step is to open the Word document. In the word document, go to the space where you want to copy the chart. Then, click where you want the chart to be copied on the space.
      • The last step is to paste the copied chart. You need to go to the Home tab. From the clipboard group, you need to click on the paste option.
      • Next to the chart, it will display a Paste Options Button image. Five options are available there.
      • From, The paste options button, you have the option to embed or link the copied chart. You have also got the option to choose the destination theme or the source formatting and the picture.

      The five options are as follows:
      • Embedding: On choosing the embed the chart option, the chart would no longer be linked to the Excel sheet.
      • Linking: On choosing the link the chart option, the updates that are done within the Excel sheet will in some or other way affect the chart in the word document.
      • Source formatting: This helps to keep any of the formatting options set in the Excel sheet.
      • Destination theme: This theme allows to change and modify the chart's look based on settings in the word document.
      • Picture: The picture option helps to paste the chart as a graphic.

      • Steps you need to follow to make a monthly Gantt chart in Excel:

        You can create a Gantt chart in an Excel sheet to show all the project tasks and the timelines with a stacked bar chart in Excel itself. You can also use additional milestones for the purpose.
        The advantage of using Excel is that when a chart is used, and when the tasks change, the Gantt chart automatically updates the new date, avoiding hassle.
        The article here uses a monthly timeline. You can also create a Gantt in a PowerPoint.
        Steps to be followed are:

        Step 1: The first step should be to create a simple list of tasks and identify the milestone.

        Initially, you need to start with a straightforward list mentioning all the tasks and the start months, and the end months. Also, you need o to identify the tasks which are milestones.
        Start months and end months are better than the durations as in most cases, and durations do not involve the weekends and the holidays, which makes the calculations very difficult.

        Step 2: The next step is to create a table for the Gantt chart.

        For the next step, you need to calculate the duration for each task; for this, it is necessary to convert the catalog of tasks and dates into a table to form the Gantt chart.
        After this, you need to assign and categorize which tasks are milestones.
        In the task column, all you need to do is copy the original table's task name. For this, you need to enter the formula simply.
        A formula is needed for the Start Month column. When the Start Month is in the whole number, the task starts at the month's advent. When the Start month includes a decimal, it begins in the middle of the month.
        For the Duration column, if the task is not assigned as a milestone, you must create a formula to calculate its duration.
        The Duration formula works the same way as the Start month formula. It takes into account the concept of a whole number and decimal to calculate.
        The milestone task column consists of a series name in the small letter U. It allows you to show a diamond character in the graph for the milestones and a diamond is a standard used in project management for a milestone task.
        For the milestone task, the formula enters 0.1 in the cell and #N/A for the task, which is not a milestone task.
        A milestone generally has no standards in project management standards, but you still need a small amount of space for the graph's diamond.

        Step 3: Creating a graph:

        The third step is to select the table for the graph. And then, insert a Stacked Bar chart.

        Step 4: Formatting the chart:

        The chart title can be either eliminated or edited to indicate the name of the project.
        Legend is to be deleted. In the axis options, there is a vertical axis and a horizontal axis. You can order the task according to the needs of the options available. The vertical grid lines should be set to a bright color to make them visible, although not as central as the bars. They can also be made dashed. You should show the start date series and Duration series options in the Shape Fill. In the milestone (u) series, you should set the Shape fill to No Fill to make the segment invisible. You can add a Data name of the Series Name. You can change the font to Wingdings to change the lower case 'u' to a diamond shape. Again, you can change the font size accordingly. The Gantt chart automatically updates as and when the table of the dates is updated. It is because the table of the chart takes into account the original table and calculates the value according to it.

        Let’s Conclude

        A Gantt chart got its name after its inventor, Henry Gantt. It is a sort of a bar chart that displays a project schedule. The modern Gantt chart also illustrates the dependency of activities on the current schedule status.
        A Gantt chart is the modern way to display the activities against time. It is one of the most popular ways used in project management. The left of the chart displays a list of activities, and the top of the chart displays an adequate time scale. The activities are displayed by a bar. The position and length of the bar in the project display:

        • the start date,
        • duration, and
        • end date of the activity.

        The major eight components of a Gantt chart includes:

        • The task list
        • The timeline
        • The Dateline
        • The milestones
        • Dependencies
        • Progress
        • Resources assigned
        • Bars.

        With the help of sharing hubs like Sharepoint, it has become easy to share large Gantt or plan file sizes. Though, Sharepoint might too require the desktop license of the planning software, increasing the cost.
        With the changing times, Online Gantt Chart software has gained more importance. When extras are required, and you want more people to be added to the activity, it becomes much simpler and easier to create the Gantt chart online.
        A few uses of a Gantt chart is as follows:

        • To plan as well as schedule projects.
        • To schedule the tasks.
        • The plan and schedule the tasks across many projects.
        • For team collaborations.
        • For planning in sprints.
        • To determine the plan against actual timelines on a project .
        • To view all the tasks over time.

    PlanStreet’s gantt chart ensures that you create, schedule and manage projects efficiently.

    Successfully execute your cases and projects with PlanStreet and stay on top of every activity.