Gantt Charts with Excel

The Gantt Chart is a popular and easy to use technique for understanding the sequence and duration of tasks in a project. However, there is no need to purchase expensive software for this purpose. A Gantt Chart can be formed with Excel by using the chart function.

Example Gantt Chart

The type of Excel chart used to form this Gantt Chart is a "Stacked Bar" chart.

Have a go at making this Gantt Chart yourself. Click on the icon on the left and download a spreadsheet with the raw data.

You will need to add two series of data in step 2 of the Chart Wizard:

Series 1: "Start Date" (column B, cells B6:B15))

Series 2: "Duration" (column D, cells D6:D15)

You will also need to select the contents of column A (cells A6: A15) at the labels for each bar where in Step 2 you are asked for Category (X) axis labels.

Initially there are two anomalies with the Gantt Chart.

First, you need to make invisible that part of the bar that represents the start date. Simply double click on the bar then change shading to 'none' and border to 'none' also. See before and after examples below.



The blue bar represents the start date, and the maroon bar represents the task duration. Remove the blue shading and border.


This illustration depicts the chart after the start date element has been made invisible.

The second anomaly to be corrected is that the chart for some reason begins at 24/3/06 whereas it would be more beneficial for the chart to begin at 1/1/07. This can be easily changed.

Double click on any date along the axis at the botton and the following dialog box will open. The number you see in teh red circle to the left is the MS Excel number equivalent for 24 March 2006. Change this number to 39083, the MS Excel number equivalent of 1 January 2007.

The way MS Excel works with dates is that the software counts 1/1/1900 as day number 1. Then the number 39083 means that there has been 39083 days since 1/1/1900.

You will notice that you can change the alignment of the date as well. In the illustration above the text direction has been changed from horizontal to vertical.




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