How to make a Gantt Chart in Excel? And In Ganttic?

Categories: gantt chart, Resource Planning, Project Portfolio Management, Excel
We give you a step-by-step easy tutorial on how to make Gantt Chart in Microsoft Excel. Yes, you can make Gantt Chart in Excel! See how.

As well we analyze when it would be more convenient to start using some alternative to Excel for your planning. Just to make your life easier so you would have time to focus on more important things.

From Excel 2019 To Gantt Chart Software Planning

Thanks to Henry Gantt (1861-1919), we know Gantt Chart these days as a loyal companion in planning. Nice and helpful tool - especially for project tracking.

Thanks to Microsoft, we have Microsoft Excel. Irreplaceable for calculations and different visual graphs and general data manipulation between its columns and rows.

Using Gantt Charts in a project is common for tracking your progress. We also have an article about how to use Gantt Charts to Create a Project Management Schedule. Check it out!

Using Gantt Charts in Microsoft Excel to visualize your tables is also possible with some simple hacks. Here’s how to do it!

How to make the Gantt Chart in Microsoft Excel 2019?

Did you know it is actually possible to customize one of the bar charts in Microsoft Excel into Gantt Chart? So you can actually track your progress on different tasks with ease! 

Excel does not have a built-in Gantt chart template available, but with some formatting, it is easy to get one. Just follow these simple steps. We have a step-by-step guide for you:

1. Get your data on the Excel field and create the table for the project. 

To turn the table info into Gantt Chart, you need your table with initial project task info. For example with the field names as:

  • Task name; 
  • Days when the task starts or Task Start Date; 
  • Days left for completing or Task Duration; 
  • TIP: You can calculate Task Duration with the help of Excel by adding the Task End date. Here is the easiest way: 
    • You can use the "days" function ( =DAYS(end-date; start-date) )  - just make sure you have dates formatted as dates.
    Calculating Task Duartion In Excel.
    Start with your project Task dates and info.

    2.Find the Chart menu with Bar charts (Insert —> Bar Chart --> Stacked Bar). 

    Choose "Stacked Bar" for the next steps. 

    TIP : You can just enter the graph without selecting any data to start building your Gantt Chart in Excel.

    Use the right-click on your mouse to get the extra menu open. Choose: "Select Data...". 

    This is where we start adding the right data for the graph to get the usual "Stacked Bar" into a Gantt Chart.

    Selecting right data to Excel Stacked Bar to get it into Gantt Chart

    Add "Start Date" & "Duration" in "Select Data Source" window.

    • Choose little "+"as series/legend entry; 
    • Choose "Start date" column  as the Name,  real start-dates as the Y values; 
    • Add another series with "+". Choose "Duration" column as the Name,"duration values" as the Y values; 
    • Add task names (excluding the header) as the Horizontal (category) axis label. 
    ! Make sure you have 2 series of data and you added Start Dates and Duration to the Legend Entries and Y values. See if you chose "task names (without header)" to horizontal axis labels. 

    Adding info to Stacked Bar to make it as a planning graph.

    5. Stacked Bar Chart Appears. Do not worry if it looks slightly different from a Gantt Chart since it is a general Stacked Bar. To make it look like a real Gantt Chart, we will format it a bit:

    • First, we will reverse the data by selecting the tasks and choosing "Axis Options" from the right menu that appeared. We simply choose "categories in reverse order". This way our dates and data are in the correct order for the Gantt Chart. 
    Reverse data on Stacked Bar to make it look a bit more like Gantt Chart

    6.Getting Gantt Chart beginning to the right starting point (as the earliest task start date)

    • Make a right-click on the earliest starting-time column in the table and choose Format Cells. See the column category in NUMBER value. Remember or copy it!
    • Use that number to format the graphs date-line axes in the same way. Click on the existing chart dateline and just simply change the starting number shown from the right-hand menu.
    Finding out the logical start for Gantt chart in Excel

    Already pretty good?We are getting there! Time to activate the left axes series on a graph (Start date section) and choose their Fill from the right menu as "No Fill".

    This move makes half of the previous graphical info in the data series transparent.

    Removing part of stacked bar coloring to have the Gantt Chart look.

    Gantt Chart is there! General “Stacked Bar” finally looks like The Gantt Chart and gets Henry Gantt's approval. Feel free to customize it to your favorite or your company colors. It is your option to keep the chart legend or simply delete it. I would recommend to delete it.

    Great job! Now you can save it as a template to have a nice Gantt chart template to use.

    Simple Gantt Chart in Excel.
    Simple Gantt Chart made in Excel 2019.

    Customize Your Gantt Chart 

    You already got a nice Gantt Chart out of your tasks. Good job! 

    Now you see your project and action flow way better! If you have a lot of data, some extra info might be helpful to get everything under control. Or maybe you have some favorite color to prefer better than Microsoft Excel Default colors? It is actually possible to customize your chart by changing colors and adding a bit of information using the Chart Design tab.

    From Chart Design tab menu you can:

    • add some additions to your Gantt Chart; 
    •  change the general layout and design options. 

    To make your life easier and new chart quicker next time, you can even save the already made Gantt Chart Template

    That way you can reuse the chart in the next time and save time on creating the graphs. Gantt Chart making process is getting more easier project by project, I assure you!

    Free Excel Gantt Chart Templates

    You tried out your own Excel Gantt Chart and still did not find the right one you had in mind?

    No worries. There is a high chance that someone else had the same problem. Projects and needs are usually very different, even unique. Luckily there are also a few Free Excel Gantt Chart templates you can take a look and test with your own data.

    Some of those templates may fit for you, some of them may not. In case you find something in-between, you still have a chance to customize it yourself. You can choose your favorite or company colors, add some elements or make the general layout a bit different. Once you find your perfect fit, you have the opportunity to save it as a template and even share it with others in your 

    But What If There Is A More Flexible Way To Track Your Projects And Resources?

    Microsoft Excel really is an amazing tool to handle your data. Visualizing and different graphs are also great.

    But since your interest here is visualizing your project and plan available resources, it gets tricky. There is a high chance that Microsoft Excel is not the most effective and convenient way for your planning.

    Planning in Excel with Gantt chart can be a real hassle because:

    • You may miss some tasks and end up starting from scratch;
    • You may miss a few of your resources if you do not have the correct overview of them;
    • You may overbook some people, machines or even meeting rooms;
    •  Changes in Excel spreadsheet can be incorrect, difficult to notice and cause mistakes in planning.

    Think for a second… what if the task needs to be moved? Or what if the time predictions were not correct? Or what if the resources- as people as machines are overbooked? I bet you feel at one point that starting from the ground zero pays back more easily.

    Plans are never rigid and set in stone but at the same time - plans are needed to succeed. But changes happen and there is a need to adapt those. Your plan should be easy, convenient and transparent to change.

    Plans are essential for success. Reorganize your plans!
    Planning is essential for a success. Adapting plan changes as well. 

    All those reasons are the WHY-s behind Ganttic - the project resource planning and managing software. 

    As Ganttic name gives out, the Gantt charts are the base of planning. With their best usage from history in a modern way, Gantt Charts are still a trustworthy and best visual way to keep track of your plans. Gantt Charts are super easy to create, change and manage.

    In Ganttic we believe in the power of Gantt Charts but in a modern and customizable way. You have a visual overview of who is doing what and when. Customizability leaves your projects agile and allows easy changes. Controlling the project and resources has never been that easy. Ganttic leaves in the transparency to the whole project and resources. Always.  

    We have also introduced 10 alternatives to Excel. You can peek on that one as well to collect ideas.

    Getting Started With Ganttic - Simple And Customizable Resource Management Tool

    Gantt charts have some minor flaws but they are pretty irreplaceable when it comes to mapping down the project, planning the order of tasks, people and other resources (like machines, rooms, tools, etc). They are also a reliable way to arrange a realistic timeline and see the dependencies between different tasks.

    But since the project is rather a living being than set in stone, changes happen. People change. Machines get broke down. Some tasks take more time than planned. Public holiday slows the plans. This is where the beauty of Ganttic plays over the Excel Spreadsheets. See how to make Gantt Charts in Ganttic, save time and succeed in your project. 

    The opportunity to turn your Google Calendar into the Gantt Chart is another convenient and time-saving feature. But best of all is to actually feel that you can control those changes. Easily!

    You might have a lot of data. And a lot of complex data. And this is again something to think about in your planning phase in Excel… how does Excel handle the big data in a project-type changing form? How to visualize your data and have it in a Gantt chart with a great overview?

    Ganttic dashboard with visual Gantt Charts

    Use the visual power in planning! Ganttic is using the Gantt Charts in the modern way. 

    There are perfect ways to visualize your big data. Your complex data. And your company-specific custom data. Ganttic has special Custom Data Fields to add specific metrics or info that is important for you. Basically, like Excel rows, but visual. Simple Gantt Chart With Complex data?  Not a problem anymore.

    Look Over Your Needs And Try Different Options

    Planning is important, but plans need to be flexible, adjustable and easy to understand. Gantt Charts help to make project planning visual. There are several ways to use the Gantt Charts for your project. It can be a simple Gantt Chart in Excel sheet or even more simple Gantt-chart software that helps you to do the right decisions. 

    Use the beauty of a modern Gantt chart in your planning. Thinking about more efficient planning is already the key to success. Here is a Ganttic in use case study how one our client moved from resource management in Excel to Ganttic.  

    Try Ganttic for free without any attachment and contact us to book a demo or questions

    We help to keep your project and resources under control. And you can focus on what is important