Last week I wrote an article on how to create a Dynamic Pareto Chart in Excel. With the charting fever still riding high, today I will show you how to create a Gantt Chart in Excel.
Gantt Chart is a simple yet powerful project management tool that can be used for creating a schedule or tracking the progress.
Let’s say Bruce Wayne (Batman) wants a new Batsuit and instructs Alfred (the butler and his confidante) to get it made. Alfred, who is an avid project management student, comes up with a simple Gantt Chart in Excel to get the plan ready. And this is what he shows Mr. Wayne when asked for a status report:
Creating a Gantt Chart in Excel
Here are the steps to quickly create this Gantt Chart in Excel:
- Get the Data in place. Here we need three data points:
- Activity Name
- Start Date
- Number of Days it takes to complete the activity
- Go to Insert –> Charts –> Bar Chart –> Stacked Bar. This will insert a blank chart in the worksheet.
- Select the Chart and go to Design tab. In the Design Tab, Go to Data Group and click on Select Data.
- In Select Data Source dialogue box, click on Add. In the Edit Series dialogue box, enter the following data:
- Series Name: Start Date
- Series Values: =’Gantt Chart’!$B$2:$B$12
- Again click on Add in Select Data Source dialogue box and use the following data:
- Series Name: Number of Days
- Series Values: =Sheet1!$C$2:$C$12
- In the Select Data Source dialogue box, in the right half of the pane titled Horizontal (Category) Axis Labels, click on Edit.
- In the Axis Labels dialogue box, select the range that has all the activities names.
- Now your chart would look something as shown below. You would notice that the activities are in the reverse order (for example, Test for Survival is the first one).
- To correct the order of activities, right click on the vertical axis (that has activity names) and select Format Axis. In Format Axis Pane, under Axis Options, click on the checkbox – ‘Categories in Reverse Order’
- As of now, your horizontal Axis (which has dates) is at the top. Right click on the Horizontal Axis (which has dates) and select Format Axis. In the Format Axis Pane make the following changes:
- In Axis Options, change the Minimum to 2/25/2015 (you can also type 42060, which is the number that represents this date) [This ensures that your chart starts at 2/25/2015]
- In Labels, change Label Position to High
- Now your Gantt Chart is almost ready. Just select the blue bars and remove the color fill and border color.
- Change the Title, do some formatting to make it look awesome (and it makes you look awesome).
Gantt Chart is so powerful, even Batman uses it 🙂
I would love to learn from you. Let me know how you use Gantt Chart and/or other project management tools. Leave your footprints in the comments section below!
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