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

Categories: gantt chart, Resource Planning, Project Portfolio Management, Excel
Here we’ll show you an easy, step-by-step tutorial on how to make a Gantt Chart in Microsoft Excel. Yes, you can make Gantt Chart in Excel! See how.

We will also analyze at which point you may want to consider looking for an alternative to Excel for you planning. There’s other software available which may be more useful than Excel. Such alternatives can help make your life easier and give you time to focus on more important things.

From Excel 2019 To Gantt Chart Software Planning

Thanks to Henry Gantt (1861-1919), we know the Gantt Chart these days as a loyal companion in planning. They’re such nice, helpful tools - especially for project tracking.

Thanks to Microsoft, we have Microsoft Excel. Irreplaceable for calculations, different visual graphs, and general data manipulation between its tidy 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 allows you to visualize your tables. It’s also possible to do with only 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 transform bar charts in Microsoft Excel into a Gantt Chart? This lets you 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. Enter your data on the Excel field and create a table for the project. 

To turn table info into a Gantt Chart, create a table with initial project task info. Some example field names might be:

  • Task name; 
  • Days when the task starts or Task Start Date; 
  • Days left until completion 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.

    Right-click to open the extra menu. Choose: "Select Data...".  

    This is where we start adding the right data for the graph and transform 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 the 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. Don't 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'll need to format it a bit:

    • First, 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 the Gantt Chart to begin from the right starting point ( the earliest task start date)

    • 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 simply change the starting number shown from the right-hand menu.
    Finding out the logical start for Gantt chart in Excel

    Your Gantt Chart is looking 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 to "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.

    The Gantt Chart is complete! The general “Stacked Bar” finally looks like a Gantt Chart that would get Henry Gantt's approval. Feel free to customize it with your favorite color or your company’s color scheme. It’s up to you to keep the chart legend or simply delete it. Personally, I recommend deleting it.

    Great job! Now you can even save it as a template. That way you’ll have a nice Gantt Chart template to use.

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

    Customize Your Gantt Chart 

    Now you can 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 a color which you prefer to Microsoft Excel’s Default options? It is actually possible to customize your chart by changing its colors or 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 create a new chart more quickly next time, you can even save your chart as a Gantt Chart Template. 

    That way you can reuse the chart the next time you need to create a graph. Gantt Charts make the process easier, project by project. I assure you!

    Free Excel Gantt Chart Templates

    Maybe you tried out your own Excel Gantt Chart, but it’s still not what you had in mind?

    No worries. It's likely 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 at and test with your own data.

    Some of those templates may fit you, some may not. In case you find something in-between, you still have a chance to customize it yourself. You can choose a different color, add some elements or change the general layout more to your liking. Once you find your perfect fit, you’ll have the opportunity to save it as a template and even share it with your other teammates.

    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. Its visuals and different graphs are also great.

    But since your interest here is visualizing your project and planning 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 incorrect? Or what if the resources- either people or machines - are overbooked? I bet you feel with Excel, it’s sometimes easier to start from scratch.

    Plans are never rigid and set in stone but at the same time - plans are necessary for success. Changes happen and there is a need to adapt. Your plan should be easy, convenient, and changes should be transparent.

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

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

    As Ganttic’s name lets on, Gantt charts are the basis of our planning. When they were first developed and until now, Gantt Charts have been a trustworthy companion to resource planning.. They are one of the best ways to visualize and keep track of your plans. Plus, 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 for easy changes. Controlling the project and resources aren’t always easy. But Ganttic can help give you control. While also giving transparency and flexibility to the project management process. Always.   

    If you’re interested in some other software besides Excel, have a look at our 10 alternatives to Excel.

    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 out a project, planning the order of tasks, or moving around 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 a project is never set in stone, changes happen. People change. Machines break down. Some tasks take longer than planned. Public holidays slow down progress. This is where the beauty of Ganttic comes in over Excel’s Spreadsheets. See how easy it is to make Gantt Charts in Ganttic. Save time and help your project succeed. 

    The opportunity to turn your Google Calendar into a Gantt Chart is another convenient and time-saving feature. But best of all is the feeling you'll get when you can actually control your 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 can you visualize your data with a Gantt Chart? How can you see an overview of the whole project?

    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. It's basically, like Excel rows, but visualized. Simple Gantt Chart With Complex data?  That's 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 make project planning visual. There are several ways to use Gantt Charts for your project. It can be a simple Gantt Chart in Excel or even more simple Gantt Chart software that helps you make the right decisions.

    Utilize the simplicity of a modern Gantt Chart in your planning. Thinking about more efficient planning is the key to success. And see how others planned for their success. Check out a Ganttic case study about a client who moved from resource management in Excel, to Ganttic.

    Try Ganttic for free without any obligation and contact us to book a demo if you have any questions

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