Gantt Excel – Quick Start Guide

A step-by-step guide to help you get started with Gantt Excel.

Create Gantt Chart in Excel

HERE ARE THE STEPS TO CREATE GANTT CHARTS IN EXCEL USING GANTT EXCEL

  1. OPEN THE GANTT CHART TEMPLATE

    Click on the Enable Macros & Enable Editing button. Note that there is no installation. It’s just a simple excel template and it opens just like any other excel file.
    Gantt Excel Macros
    The Gantt tab in the excel ribbon will instantly load.

    Gantt Excel Ribbon

  2. CREATE A NEW GANTT CHART

    Click on the Add New Gantt Chart button to bring up the Project Details window.
    New Gantt Chart

    Enter the Project Name, Worksheet Name, Project Lead and the Estimated/ Baseline Budget for the Project.
    Project Details

    Click the OK button when done. A new Gantt Chart is automatically created for you.Default Gantt Timeline

  3. ADD TASKS

    Gantt charts don’t give useful information unless they include all of the tasks/ milestones needed for a project to be completed.
    So, to start, list all of the activities as tasks. There are three ways to add tasks in Gantt Chart Excel

    Method 1Type directly in the excel grid. If you type a task where is says “Type here to add a new task“, it will automatically create a new task with default start and end dates and the timeline will instantly update.

    Method 2Click the Add Task button on the Gantt tab
    Add Task Gantt Chart

    The task details form will open up where you can enter all the task details including task resource, estimated, baseline, actual – start and end dates. You can also keep track of costs including estimated, baseline and actual costs, therefore making it an excellent budget and costs planner.
    Task notes can also be captured to include a short description to your task to clarify its purpose or scope and to provide additional info to everyone involved.

    Gantt Chart task form
    Click the OK button when you are done. The newly added task will show up in the excel grid with all the details.

    Go ahead and add a few tasks like in the example below and set the start and finish dates.
    Tasks in Gantt Chart Excel

    Importantly, note that the Work Break Structure (WBS) is automatically calculated and set for you.

  4. SET PARENT AND CHILD TASKS

    If a task is relatively large and requires several users with different skills to manage, break the task into subtasks and create parent-child relationships.

    To set parent-child relationships, select a task that you want to convert to a child task and click on the Make Child button.
    Make Child Task
    Shortcut – Alt + Right arrow key

    To create a parent task from a child task click on the Make Parent button.
    Make Parent Tasks
    Shortcut – Alt + Left arrow key

    As a result, when you group child tasks together under a parent values such as dates, costs etc. aggregate and roll up to the parent task.

    This is how the tasks look when I set a few tasks as child tasks.
    Child tasks

  5. ADD MILESTONES

    Milestones help your team stay on track and to more accurately determine whether or not your project is on schedule.

    To Add a Milestone click on the Add Milestone button in the Gantt tab.
    Add Milestone

    This will bring up the Add Milestone details window. Enter the milestone details and click the OK button when done.
    Add Milestone Details Window

    To illustrate, see the example below. The milestone and a diamond shaped symbol shows up in the timeline.
    Tasks with milestones

GANTT CHART EXCEL SETTINGS

Equally important, is to set up the Gantt chart correctly. Let’s look at all the settings screens and go through them one by one.
Click on the Settings icon in Gantt tab.

Display Settings
By default the Display tab opens up first. Here you can set all the different timeline bar and milestone colors.
You can also choose to show additional timeline bars for baseline, actual dates and the overdue bar for all overdue tasks.

If you want to see more of the timeline then you can increase the “No of weeks to display in timeline” setting.

Lastly, one of the most sought out features is to show text within the Gantt Bars. You can check the Enable Text Display option and select any text from any column to show within the Gantt bars.

Gantt Excel Settings

This is how it looks when the Show Text in Gantt Bars is enabled. We think it is one of the finest features of Gantt Chart Excel.
Gantt Excel Timeline Bars
Calendar Settings
The calendar tab is where you can select Workdays. You can also select the way the week numbers are calculated by either using Excel’s week calculation or use the ISO week calculation.

Gantt Calendar Settings

Other Settings
Switch over to the Others tab to set Currency symbol and Date format.
Additionally you can define how Percentage complete is calculated for the tasks. You can use the Manual or Automatic mode for entry and use Simple or Weighted calculation for the Parent task roll up calculation.

Other Settings

Columns Settings
Finally, we have the columns tab where you can hide or unhide existing columns. In like manner, you can also insert your own custom columns or delete them if required.

Column Settings

GANTT CHART EXCEL – THE SMART WAY TO PLAN

In Conclusion, the beauty of Gantt Chart Excel is we have six calendar views to choose from namely Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly, Half-Yearly and Yearly View.

Gantt Calendar Views

From here you can easily customize the Gantt chart by changing timeline colors, and adding various details like percent complete, costs etc…  As shown below, with some tweaks you can create a timeline that’s sure to impress.

Create Gantt Chart in Excel