Gantt Chart Excel
As we know, MS Excel is one of the essential spreadsheet tools and visualizing the data using charts is one of the core features of this powerful tool. Excel offers a wide range of chart types, and each chart has a specific purpose. Gantt Chart is one specific type of Excel chart that allows users to track their progress in a particular project, task or other activities.
In this article, we discuss the brief introduction of the Gantt Chart used in MS Excel. We also cover the basic steps on how to create a Gantt Chart in Excel easily. The Gantt Chart is a very useful chart type for project managers.
What is a Gantt Chart in Excel?
A Gantt chart in Excel represents the breakdown structure of any project by displaying project start dates and end dates, along with intermediate relationships between relevant activities. This chart mainly shows projects or related tasks through cascading horizontal bars, which helps us monitor the project's overall performance for a defined timeline or planned milestone.
Gantt charts are considered an essential tool for the graphical representation of tasks or activities against pre-determined standards. It helps the users to regularly track the progress of tasks, projects or any relevant activity. Gantt chart is one of the essential tools in the field of project management. Unfortunately, the Gantt chart is not a part of the Excel inbuilt chart. Instead, it is created using a 2-D stacked bar chart that includes durations for tasks and specific formatting.
Note: The Gantt chart is named after Henry Gantt, an American mechanical engineer and management consultant who first introduced this chart type around the 1910s.
Uses of Gantt Chart in Excel
The Gantt Charts are mostly used to plan or schedule products, and project managers use this chart type to simplify the entire project in easy steps that can be completed sequentially. Moreover, the chart also helps to determine the real-time progress of the project as it progresses. We can easily find the use of Gantt Charts in almost every industry to plan, schedule and execute specific projects, including construction, marketing, manufacturing, software development, consultation, and event planning.
When should we use a Gantt Chart in Excel?
When it comes to deciding whether we should use Gantt charts or not, we should examine the following requirements:
If any of the above requirements are applicable in our project, we can consider using the Excel Gantt Chart.
How to create a Gantt Chart in Excel?
When it comes to creating Gantt charts in Excel, it is unfortunate that we do not have a direct option to select this particular chart from the Charts section in one click like other popular Excel charts. We should use a bar chart in excel and then arrange its formatting, styles to make it look like a Gantt chart. Each bar plotted in the plot area represents the specific tasks and the time taken to complete the specified tasks.
Although creating a Gantt chart is a bit lengthy, it is quite easy to create. The same process works for all the Excel versions, including Excel 2019, 2016, 2013, and others.
Steps to create a Gantt Chart in Excel
We need to follow the below steps to create or insert Gantt chart in our excel sheet:
Step 1: First, we need to create a project table (entering data) in an Excel sheet with the columns, such as the tasks, start dates and durations. These columns are necessary to create a Gantt Chart. Despite this, each task must be listed in a separate row in the column named tasks.
Step 2: Next, we need to select the Start Dates with header and insert a Stacked Bar Chart from Insert > Charts > Bar > Stacked Bar.
Step 3: After that, we need to right-click on the inserted chart and click the 'Select Data' option to add the second necessary column data, i.e., Duration Data.
Step 4: After selecting the desired data, such as the start dates and durations, our stacked bar chart with default formatting will be inserted in our sheet.
Step 5: Like the previous step, we need to supply tasks descriptions to our chart.
Step 6: Lastly, we need to convert the Stacked Bar Chart to Excel Gantt Chart. For this, we must format the Data Series of Start dates and make the corresponding data transparent or hidden. Since the supplied tasks appear in reverse order by default, we need to format axis options and put the categories in reverse order to arrange the tasks properly.
That is how we can insert/ create a Gantt Chart in Excel. Although the process is a bit lengthy, it is better to understand the process with an example.
Let us understand the step-by-step tutorial on creating a Gantt chart in Excel with the help of an example and relevant images:
Example: Creating a Gantt Chart to track Program Schedule
Let us consider our monthly activities for software development as an example. We need to enter day to day activities in an Excel sheet and mention start times, durations, and end times, including the activity names. The start times and corresponding durations for each activity are the important factors, while the end times are used as references. After creating a project table, our example sheet looks like this:
In the above sheet, we have applied the following formulae:
We need to create a Gantt Chart for our month's activities to track our schedule easily. For this, we need to perform the following steps:
Saving Excel Gantt Chart as Template
Since creating a Gantt chart in Excel is a bit lengthy, it is good to save the created Gantt chart as an Excel template. So, whenever we need to use the Gantt chart again in future, we can easily work on the saved template and modify the data accordingly.
To save the inserted Excel Gantt chart as an Excel template, we need to complete the steps listed below:
In addition to saving the created Gantt charts as templates, we can also download the Gantt chart template. Excel has several built-in chart templates that are ready-to-use templates. We can download the specific Gantt Template from 'Microsoft Template Store for Excel'. For this, we need to go to File > New and enter 'Gantt' in the search box to filter templates by chart type. We can download any desired template from the store.
Advantages of using Excel Gantt Chart
Some of the major advantages of using Excel Gantt charts are listed below:
Disadvantages of using Excel Gantt Chart
Some of the major disadvantages of using Excel Gantt charts are listed below:
Important Things to Remember