What is a Gantt Chart?

Gantt charts are widely used in managing resources, operations, production, and other fields. The start and end times of each item is portrayed using the X axis scale and the bar length.

Thanks to the way this chart is structured, you can see progress and breakdown of tasks of a project at a glance. It’s no surprise that managers and analysts use this chart frequently.

Excel doesn’t have a native Gantt chart tool. However, the functionality and looks of this useful tool can be matched by modifying a bar chart.

In this article, we’re going to create a chart to visualize the progress and overlaps of 10 different tasks. You can download our sample workbook below.

How to do this in Excel

  1. Let’s see how to do this using a list of tasks and corresponding dates.
  2. First thing we need to do is creating a column for task durations, which is essentially what we’re going to be visualizing in the Gantt chart.
  3. We’re going to create a Stacked Bar chart and modify it to get the layout of a Gantt chart. You can do this from INSERT > Bar Chart > Stacked Chart.
  4. Next, we need to select the chart data. Excel usually makes this selection for you if your table is selected. Make sure that you are using the corresponding columns for both axes. To add or edit chart data, right-click the chart and click on Select Data.
  5. The Series are numeric values that will be displayed on the chart. To add series click the Add You can fill Series name and Series values by selecting ranges coming from the worksheet.
  6. First series in our example is going to be the task start date, which will be hidden later.
  7. Second will be the task durations. Following the same steps as above, we need to select the duration data.
  8. After adding both series, Excel will automatically generate items under the Category section with sequential numbers. The Category is the set of labels for the data that will be shown on each axis. Click Edit button to change them.
  9. Finally, we’re going to select Task names for Category.
  10. At this point, our chart should look like as shown below. Now, we need to hide the blue bars and add some visual tweaks to make this chart look like a Gantt chart.
  11. Right-click the Start Date, click Fill and select No Fill. Doing this will remove the blue bars.
    Manage Tasks Better by Visualizing the Data in Gantt Chart
  12. Set min and max points for both axes to eliminate unnecessary space. You can use number values for dates defined in Excel. For example, 43263 is equal to 6/12/2018 and 43293 is equal to 7/12/2018.
    Manage Tasks Better by Visualizing the Data in Gantt Chart
  13. Next, reverse the order of all tasks to match the Gantt chart layout.
    Manage Tasks Better by Visualizing the Data in Gantt Chart
  14. Our chart is almost ready! We’re going to change a few visual elements to better reflect the chart properties.
    Manage Tasks Better by Visualizing the Data in Gantt Chart
  15. Decrease the Gap Width to reduce the area between bars. This can be done by double-clicking the Duration bars and setting a lower value to the relevant option.
    Manage Tasks Better by Visualizing the Data in Gantt Chart
  16. Gridlines can be added for even better readability.
    Manage Tasks Better by Visualizing the Data in Gantt Chart
  17. Major Units frequency can be reduced to highlight small details. We also recommend adding appropriate format for date values and labels to better fit repeating date labels.
    Manage Tasks Better by Visualizing the Data in Gantt Chart
  18. And we are done! The final chart will look like below.

Manage Tasks Better by Visualizing the Data in Gantt Chart

Gantt charts are very helpful for project management and time tracking purposes. Even though Excel doesn’t have a built-in Gantt chart, it’s possible to get the same result using workarounds like this one.