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A spreadsheet is the simplest tool for project management and other business operations. Microsoft Excel is one of the most popular and accessible tools for creating and managing spreadsheets, so it’s naturally a go-to for project managers without access to (or a need for) more robust project management software.

When projects get more complex, you can still keep track of them in the humble spreadsheet—grab our Gantt chart Excel template to step up your project management game without investing in new software.

How To Use a Gantt Chart

A Gantt chart is a project management tool used by teams to create a visual timeline of a project. It includes a list of tasks for the project and the project dates, with bars representing the duration of each task, as well as its start and end dates.

Project managers and teams use Gantt charts to visualize the timeline and workload of a project. The tool makes it easy to set achievable delivery dates because it’s easy to see and adjust for the time spent on any contingent tasks.

The layout of a basic Gantt chart is similar to the information you find in a spreadsheet, so it’s easy to create the visual using a tool like Excel.

Gantt Chart Excel Template

With a few simple formulas and settings, you can create a Gantt chart in Excel that gives you a visual view of your project at a glance.

Example of a Gantt chart in Excel

If you want to skip a few steps, we created a simple Gantt chart Excel template you can download here:

Download Free Template

This is a basic template you can use to set up a Gantt chart for any project. Once you’ve updated it with your project data, you can make modifications to adjust the look and feel of the chart as well as add more complexities to your project.

How To Edit a Gantt Chart Template in Excel

Once you’ve got your basic Gantt chart uploaded to Excel, start by entering your project’s information into it.

Then, you can make modifications to get it to look the way you want.

Eliminate Empty Space

Depending on your first start date, your Gantt chart might have unused space along the left between your task names and your diagram. To remove them and make better use of the space on your chart:

  1. Right-click the first start date in the spreadsheet, and select “Format Cells.” A “Format Cells” window will open.
  2. Under “Number” > “General,” you’ll see a number in a field called “Sample.” This number represents the date listed in your spreadsheet (Excel represents numbers based on the number of days since January 1, 1900). Highlight and copy this number.
  3. Hit “Cancel” to close the box without making any changes.
  4. Click a date in your Gantt chart to select all dates. Then right-click and select “Format Axis” from the menu.
  5. Under “Axis Options,” change “Minimum” from “Auto” to “Fixed,” and paste the number you copied in step two.

Change the Number of Dates Shown in the Chart

The duration of your whole project will determine how many dates you want to show in the chart. For example, if it’s a 30-day project, you might show every two dates. But if it’s a six-month project, you might only want to show the 1st and 15th of every month to avoid overcrowding your chart.

To customize how the dates show up on your Excel Gantt chart:

  1. Click a date in your Gantt chart to select all dates. Then right-click and select “Format Axis” from the menu.
  2. Under “Axis Options,” change “Major unit” and “Minor unit” from “Auto” to “Fixed.”
  3. Set the “Major unit” number to the interval you want to be displayed between days. For example, if you want to show the beginning and middle of each month, enter 15.
  4. Set the “Minor unit” number to the interval you want to display tick marks between displayed dates. For example, if your “Major unit” is 15, you might want a tick mark every five days for an additional guideline.

Fatten the Bars

Most Gantt chart software shows wider bars and less white space than what Excel automatically generates in a bar chart. You can get that effect in Excel with a quick adjustment to your chart.

  1. Click one of the bars in your Gantt chart to select all the bars.
  2. Right-click and select “Format data series” from the menu. A “Format data series” window will open.
  3. Under “Series Options,” use the slider to set “Series Overlap” to 100% (all the way right to “Overlapped”).
  4. In the same tab, use the second slider to set “Gap Width” to 0% (all the way left to “No Gap”).
Screenshot of Excel menu, "Format Data Series"

You can change the bar width of your Gantt chart to suit your preferences.

Update Your Gantt Chart With Project Changes

Now that you have the chart looking the way you want it, you can update it by making changes to the data in the Excel table. You can:

  • Add or remove tasks by inserting a row above the bottom row of the list.
  • Change start dates and durations for tasks by editing the corresponding cells.
  • Share the spreadsheet with colleagues for real-time collaboration through Microsoft 365.
  • Save the Excel chart as an image or PDF to share a snapshot with colleagues.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a Gantt chart template in Microsoft Excel?

Excel doesn’t include a native Gantt chart template, but you can download the above template, then upload it to use in the program.

How do I create a Gantt chart in Microsoft Excel?

To create a Gantt chart in Excel, you’ll enter project data into an Excel table and create a stacked bar chart. To get the look of a Gantt chart, you have to make a few modifications to the way the data is presented.

Source : https://www.forbes.com/advisor/business/gantt-chart-excel/

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Download Our Free Gantt Chart Excel Template For Your Business

Source:Forbes

Download Our Free Gantt Chart Excel Template For Your Business

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