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How to Create a Simple Gantt Chart in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

Are you looking to create a gantt chart in Excel? This comprehensive tutorial will walk you through the process of building an Excel gantt chart from scratch. Whether you're a beginner or experienced with Excel,...

Are you looking to create a gantt chart in Excel? This comprehensive tutorial will walk you through the process of building an Excel gantt chart from scratch. Whether you're a beginner or experienced with Excel, this guide will help you map out dates on your project timeline using a gantt chart.

Getting Started

To get started, follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Add tasks and dates to the Excel worksheet

Begin by creating columns for Task Name, Start Date, End Date, and Duration. Fill in the basic details for your project tasks. Format the columns accordingly:

  • Task Name = Text format
  • Start Date and End Date = Date format
  • Duration = Number format

If you want to organize your Excel gantt chart into phases with subtasks, simply add a row before the first task in each project phase, and enter the appropriate dates for each task group.

Add tasks and dates to Excel worksheet

Step 2: Apply an automatic formula to calculate task duration

Use a simple formula to calculate the length of each task in your gantt chart. Subtract the start date from the end date. For example, you can enter "=C2-B2" into the Duration field for your first task. Make sure to adjust the formula if you started in different cells.

Apply formula for Duration column

Step 3: Insert a Stacked Bar Chart from the Insert menu

Click on the Insert tab and select the bar chart icon. Choose Stacked Bar from the 2-D Bar section to add a chart to your Excel worksheet. This chart type closely resembles a gantt chart.

Insert stacked bar chart into Excel worksheet

Step 4: Set up your Excel gantt chart data

Now that you have a blank chart in your Excel worksheet, right-click on the chart and select Select Data. Add the necessary data sets by clicking the plus sign (+) under the Legend entries section. Name the first data set "Start Date" and select the corresponding data in the Start Date column. Repeat this process for the "Duration" data set, ensuring you select the data in the Duration column. For the Horizontal Axis Labels, select the entire Task Name column.

Select data source for Start Date and Duration columns

Step 5: Add the project title to your chart

Double-click on the Chart Title textbox and enter the name of your project to replace the placeholder text.

Replace chart title with project name

Step 6: Change the chart date range to your project start and end dates

Copy the Start Date for the first task in your project and format it as a number. Repeat this process for the End Date of the last task. Adjust the Minimum and Maximum values in the Format Axis window to match these numbers. This will set the date range for your gantt chart.

Set Minimum and Maximum bounds for your chart

Step 7: Format the horizontal axis as dates

If the labels on the horizontal axis of your gantt chart show numbers instead of dates, click on the Number section of the Format Axis window and change the category from Number to Date. This will display readable dates on the horizontal axis.

Format horizontal axis as dates

Step 8: Set your Excel gantt chart at weekly intervals

Specify the timeline intervals for your gantt chart by entering a value into the Major field under Units in the Axis Options section. To set your project timeline at weekly intervals, enter 7.0 in the Major field. You can adjust this value to suit your needs, such as setting it to 30.0 for monthly intervals.

Set weekly intervals for your chart timeline

Step 9: Reorder tasks and move the date axis to the top of your gantt chart

Right-click on the vertical axis of your gantt chart, select Format Axis, and tick the Categories in reverse order checkbox. This will reorder your tasks. Additionally, it will move the date axis to the top of the chart for better visibility.

Reverse task order on Excel gantt chart

Step 10: Format your stacked bar chart to look like a gantt chart

To customize the appearance of your gantt chart, click on a single bar of a task and select the desired color from the color fill options. You can differentiate project phases from subtasks by giving phase taskbars a neutral color, and color milestones in yellow or gold to make them stand out easily.

Change the color of a task in your Excel gantt chart

That's it! You've successfully created your very own weekly gantt chart in Excel. However, if you find these steps overwhelming or time-consuming, there's a better solution available.

Build a gantt chart in minutes with TeamGantt

TeamGantt is a powerful project management tool that allows you to create, update, and track gantt charts effortlessly. With its user-friendly interface and collaboration features, TeamGantt provides a better, faster, and more efficient way to manage your projects.

A better, faster, and more collaborative way to create gantt charts

TeamGantt is designed from the ground up to simplify the process of creating and managing gantt charts. Say goodbye to multiple Excel files and the hassle of ensuring they are presentation-ready. With TeamGantt, you can easily create beautiful and shareable online gantt charts in minutes.

Comparison: TeamGantt vs Excel gantt chart

Using TeamGantt offers several advantages over Excel for creating and managing gantt charts. Here's a quick comparison:

  • Simplicity: TeamGantt provides a streamlined and intuitive interface that eliminates the need for complex Excel formulas and formatting.
  • Collaboration: TeamGantt allows multiple team members to collaborate in real-time, making it easy to share updates and track progress.
  • Automation: Unlike Excel, TeamGantt automates many aspects of gantt chart creation, saving you time and effort.
  • Presentation-ready: With TeamGantt, your gantt charts are always ready to be presented or shared with stakeholders.

So why struggle with Excel when you can enjoy the benefits of TeamGantt? Sign up today and experience a better way to create, update, and track your gantt charts.

Remember, building a gantt chart is just the beginning of effective project management. With the right tools and techniques, you can ensure the success of your projects and achieve your goals. Happy charting!