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Excel Gantt Chart
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Excel Gantt Chart

Excel Gantt Chart | Microsoft Excel XP

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Learn step-by-step on how to create an Excel Gantt chart.

A Gantt chart is a type of bar chart that illustrates a project schedule.

Gantt charts illustrate the start and finish dates of the terminal elements and summary elements of a project. Terminal elements and summary elements comprise the work breakdown structure of the project. Some Gantt charts also show the dependency (i.e., precedence network) relationships between activities. Gantt charts can be used to show current schedule status using percent-complete shadings and a vertical "TODAY" line.

Although now regarded as a common charting technique, Gantt charts were considered revolutionary when they were introduced.

This chart got its name from Henry Gantt and his contributions in management and community service.

This chart is used also in Information Technology to represent data that have been collected.

Excel Office Helper What's on this page...
Data Requirements
Creating a Gantt Chart

See also...
Excel Charting Elements

Data Requirements For An Excel Gantt Chart

There are several ways to create a Gantt chart. The most popular program to use is Microsoft Project, a task-planning program, which makes it easy to track and chart project timelines with a built-in Gantt chart view.

You can also use Excel for this purpose. But, in using Excel you can only create a small and simple Excel Gantt chart which doesn't get too complicated.

Excel does not contain a built-in Gantt chart format, however, you can create a Gantt chart in Excel by customizing the Stacked Bar chart type.

Usually a Gantt chart needs a time guide, as in days or hours. Following is an example of data that would be sufficient enough to create a simple Excel Gantt chart.

Excel Gantt Chart data table example 

From the above data a simple Excel Gantt chart can be created.

Excel Gantt Chart example 

Creating An Excel Gantt Chart

Following are the steps used to create an Excel Gantt chart from the above given data table.

Do 1st... (Create data)

1. Type the sample data given above on a new worksheet in cells A1 through to D8.
  The values in columns C and D ("Completed # of Days" and "Remaining # of Days") represent numbers of days.
2. Format the dates used in column B to the format that you want.
Excel Office Helper

1. Select the cells to format.
2. Click Format ► Cells from the menu bar.
3. Click the Number tab.
4. From the Category list, select Date and then choose the date format that you want.


Do 2nd... (Create Chart)

1. Create the Stacked Bar chart using the Chart Wizard
Excel Office Helper

1. Select from cells A1 through to D8.
2. Click the Chart Wizard button
3. In Step 1 of the Chart Wizard, choose the Stacked Bar chart type.
4. Click Finish.


Do 3rd... (Customize Chart)

1. ► Double-click the first series in the chart. This is the series for Commence Date. As default, it's the blue part of the bar chart.

► Click the Patterns tab.

► From the Border options, click None.

► From the Area options, click None.

► Click OK.
2. ► Double-click the category (x) axis, which in a bar chart is the vertical axis - the axis with the words. (In a bar chart, the traditional x and y axes are reversed.)

► Click the Scale tab, and checkmark Categories in reverse order.

► Click the Font tab, and choose 8 from the Size list.

► Click OK.
3. Double-click the value (y) axis, which in a bar chart is the horizontal axis - the axis with the dates. After completing the last step, this axis should be located at the top of the chart plot area.

► Click the Scale tab and type the following values in the appropriate boxes:
Minimum : 39814
Maximum : 40578
Major Unit : 61
Minor Unit : 1
Category (X) axis Crosses at : 39814

Excel Office Helper These values are serial numbers that represent the dates to be used for the value (y) axis.

The minimum value 39814 represents the date January 1, 2009.
The maximum value 40578 represents the date February 4, 2011. The major unit of 61 represents about two months.
The minor unit represents one day.

To see the serial number of a date, enter the date in a cell, and then choose Format ► Cells. Change the Number category to General.

► Click the Font tab, and choose 8 from the Size list.

► Click the Alignment tab, and under Orientation, type 90 in the Degrees box.

► Click OK.
4. Double-click the outline of the Legend.
► Click the Placement tab, and choose Bottom.
► Click OK.
5. Click the words "Commence Date" in the Legend so that only the single words are selected.
(You'll know it's selected by the 8 selection squares at each corner and side of the words "Commence Date".)
► Press the Delete key on the keyboard.

After doing these steps, your Excel Gantt chart should look like the example given above.

Resize the chart as needed.

You can also format any other aspect of the chart as needed.
See also... Charting Elements for more information on charts
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