Gantt Chart template

In this article we will look into Gantt chart template using Excel. Gantt chart is one of the many different types of charts in Microsoft Excel. Before moving in to see how to create a Gantt chart in Excel lets look in some details about what are Gantt charts.

What is a Gantt chart template?

A Gantt chart is a type of bar chart that illustrates a project schedule. This chart was named after its inventor, Henry Gantt (1861–1919). It is generally used in planning and scheduling of project .

The Gantt chart provides a graphical illustration of a schedule thereby helping in planning, coordinating, and tracking specific tasks in a project.

Gantt Chart template
Gantt Chart template

What does a Gantt chart contain?

The Gantt chart contains the following on its two axes :

  • The vertical axis of a Gantt chart lists the tasks that are to be performed, and
  • The horizontal axis of a Gantt chart shows the time intervals broken down into increments like days, weeks, months. The horizontal bars on a Gantt chart could be of varying lengths and represent :
    • The order in which each task is to be executed or carried out
    • When the tasks are to be started, and
    • The duration or the time span for each task

Why are Gantt charts useful?

Gantt charts are useful in planning and scheduling of projects. They help

  • Assess the total duration, a project will take to get completed,
  • Determine what all resources are needed, and
  • Decide the order in which the tasks will be completed,
  • Manage the dependencies between the various tasks that are a part of the project.

Gantt charts help in giving a clear illustration of the project status. But there is a problem with these types of charts. And the problem is that they do not indicate task dependencies i.e. It is difficult to tell how one task falling behind schedule will affects other tasks.

Disadvantages of Gantt Charts

  • Gantt charts can become extremely complex.
  • It is difficult to identify the amount of work required from the size of the bar.
  • Gantt charts need to constantly updated.

Ideally you would use an excel template or some software to create a Gantt chart. But for understanding purpose let us explore a simple Gantt chart in Excel.

How to create a Gantt chart in Excel

For this example, we will use a sample project schedule.

We will be using the following sample data for our Gantt chart example

Excel Gantt chart template example

Task nameStart DateEnd dateDuration
Pre project workFri 01-May-2020Tue 05-May-20203
Part 1 of the projectWed 06-May-2020Fri 15-May-20208
Part 2 of the projectMon 18-May-2020Fri 29-May-202010
Project TestingMon 01-Jun-2020Fri 05-Jun-20205
Project DeliveryMon 08-Jun-2020Mon 08-Jun-20201

The Steps to create a Gantt chart in Excel

  1. Copy the date in the table into a blank excel worksheet.
  2. Select a blank cell below the table.
  3. From the Excel ribbon, select the INSERT tab. In the Charts section of the ribbon, drop down the Bar Chart selection menu. Select Stacked Bar which will insert a large blank white chart space onto your Excel worksheet. As can be seen in the following image. sections with the red border.
    different types of charts in Microsoft Excel
  4. You get the following screen containing an empty chart
  5. Right click on the empty chart and click on Select Data
  6. You will get the following screen
  7. Click on add as highlight in the above image. You get the following image.
  8. Fill in the details as shown below and click ok.
    You get the back to the following screen
    Again click on Add and fill in the details as shown below. Next click ok.
  9. Now your screen should like the following image
  10. Click ok. Your Chart Should like the following image
  11. Right-click on one of the blue bars in the Gantt chart, then click on Select Data again to bring up the Select Data Source window
  12. You get the following image
  13. Click on Edit as highlighted in the above image. You get the following
  14. Make changes as highlighted in the previous image. Next click on OK.
  15. Now your chart should look like this
  16. Now we will remove the blue bars. To do this right click on any of the blue bar (all blue bars will be automatically selected) and select Format Data series.
  17. In the Format data series pane, click on the Fill & Line icon to get the Fill & Line options. Under Fill, choose the No Fill radio button and under Border choose the No Line option. Like in the following image
  18. You probably must have noticed that the tasks on your Gantt chart are listed in reverse order with the last task on top of the Gantt chart and the first Task listed at the bottom. This is easy to change in Excel.
  19. To do the changes right click on the vertical axis of your Gantt chart and select Format Axis as shown below
  20. Click on the Bar Chart icon in the Format Axis Task Pane and expand out the Axis Options menu. In the Format Axis task pane under the header Axis Options and the sub-header Axis Position put a check into the checkbox called Categories in reverse order as shown in the below image
  21. You will notice that Excel has arranged your tasks into the correct order, listing them from first to last on your Gantt chart. You will also notice the date markers have been moved from beneath to the top of the Gantt chart. Now it is really starting to look more like a Gantt chart should as shown in the below image
  22. Let us add chart title to our Gantt chart.
  23. Ensure the chart is selected. Then click on Design tab. Next click on Add Chart Element. From the drop down click Chart Title and then click on Above chart
  24. A new Chart title is added to the char with the default value of Char Title.
  25. To change the Chart title double click on the chart title and change the chart title to “My Project” as followsExcel Gantt chart
  26. You can play around with the settings of the axes, axes titles, Adjust the density of the dates across the top of your Gantt chart, thicken the Task bars on your Gantt chart to reduce white space, etc.

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