How to Make a Gantt Chart in Excel

A Gantt chart is a style of bar chart that illustrates a project's scope. The different bars demonstrate elements of the project, such as the date work began or the amount of work performed as of the current date. Although Microsoft Excel has comprehensive chart-making capabilities, it does not offer a Gantt chart among its standard chart types. With a little tweaking, however, making a Gantt chart in Excel is possible.

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Use a bar chart to form the basis of a Gantt chart.

Step

Open a new Excel worksheet. For the purposes of this article, enter "Task" in cell A1, "Start Date" in cell B1 and "Length" in cell C1. Type in a few lines of chart data under the appropriate headings. The first column names the tasks, the second column provides a start date, and the third column lists the number of days each task is expected to take.

Step

Select the data table by clicking the first cell and dragging across all the cells you typed data into. Go to the Insert tab and select "Bar" from the Chart panel. Click on "Stacked Bar" under the 2D heading as the chart subtype.

Step

Click on "Select Data" in the Design tab under Chart Tools; the Select Data Source window will open. Remove any entries listed under Legend Entries (Series) by selecting them and clicking "Remove."

Step

Click on "Add" to bring up the Edit Series dialog box. Type "Start Dates" in the Series name field. Delete any values in the Series values field. Click inside the field, then drag your mouse from the first data cell to the last data cell in the Start Dates column; you will see the data range appear in the field. Click on "OK" to return to the Select Data Source window.

Step

Repeat Step 4 to add a new data series. Name it "Length" and select the data in the Length column. Return to the Select Data Source window.

Step

Click on "Edit" under Horizontal (Category) Axis Labels and drag your mouse from the first data cell to the last data cell in the Tasks column (not including the heading). Click on "OK" to return to the Select Data Source window, and "OK" again to return to the worksheet.

Step

Double-click on the colored area in the left side of any of the bars. The Format Data Point box will open. Click on "Fill" and change it to "No Fill." Click on "Border Color" and change it to "No Line." Click "Close" to apply the changes. The first color in the bars will be gone.

Step

Double-click the category axis, which is the area where the task names are listed. The Format Axis dialog box will open. Under Axis Options, click the "Categories in Reverse Order" check box. The chart order will be flip-flopped.

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Double-click the value axis, which is the white area where the start dates are shown. The "Format Axis" dialog will open. Under Alignment, change the Custom Angle to 45 degrees. Click "OK" to apply these changes.

Step

Click on the chart legend and press the "Delete" key to remove it.