Tasks are the basic unit of action in Gantt Excel. You can create tasks, assign them to yourself or others, set costs and dates for tracking and add notes for context.

Gantt Chart Tasks Example

Create a Task

  1. To create a task, simply type  in the last row that contains the text “Type here to add a new task
    This is fastest way to create a new task. As soon as you hit enter a new task is created and WBS automatically updates.
    Type to add new task
  2. You can also double click the text “Type here to add a new task” to open the task in a form.
    Task Details
  3. The third method is to use the buttons in the Gantt tab. You can also add a task in between tasks by selectingAdd Task at Selection’ or ‘Add Task below Selection’ from the Gantt Tab
    Add Task Gantt Chart
  1. Add Task at Selection will insert a task at the current selection and the new task will inherit the WBS number at the location it is added. The existing task will be pushed down and it will inherit the next WBS number.
  2. Add Task below Selection will insert a new task below the task that is currently selected and the new task will inherit the next WBS numberTip: Shortcut key to add a task is Alt G-A and then you can use the arrow keys to select the options.

Edit A Task

There are multiple ways to edit a task.

  1. You can edit the task fields in the spreadsheet itself. This option is the easiest.
  2. You can also double click the Task name in the Gantt Chart and this will open the Task Details popup
  3. Or click on any row that contains a task and click the Edit button.
    Edit task

This will bring up the task detail form.

Task Details

Task Name – is the name of the task

Resource – Can we used for Task Owners or resources like equipment etc…

% Completed – Actual percentage completed for the task should be entered here.

Estimated Dates: Estimated dates are planned dates for when a scheduled task is planned to start or end

  • Estimated Start Date – The estimated date when the task should be started
  • Estimated End Date – Task Due date – The date by when the task should be completed
  • Estimated Duration – The difference between the estimated dates

Baseline Dates: Baseline dates are essentially a snapshot of the estimated dates when a task is created. While the estimated dates may change often, the baseline dates should not be ideally changed. It gives the stakeholders a fair idea as to when the task was originally supposed to start or end. These dates are useful for management.
Add the Baseline Start field to a task sheet when you want to compare baseline start dates to scheduled or actual start dates for tasks.

  • Baseline Start Date – A snapshot of the Estimated Start Date
  • Baseline End Date – A snapshot of the Estimated Start Date
  • Baseline Duration – The difference between the baseline dates

Actual Dates: Actual dates are the actual dates when the task was started and completed. They should be regularly updated to reflect task current status.

  • Actual Start Date – The actual date when the task was started
  • Actual End Date – The actual date when the task was completed
  • Actual Duration – (calculated automatically) – The actual numbers of days taken to complete the task.


  1. Dates can be easily added by typing dd/mm or mm/dd and the template automatically displays the correct date. Eg. Typing 5/12 in the United States automatically converts it to 12th May, 2015 or typing 12/5 in the UK converts to 12th May, 2015
  2. The duration is automatically calculated if you enter the start date and end date and the end date is automatically calculated if

Estimated Cost – Cost estimated for the task
Baseline Cost – When the ‘Copy from Estimated’ button is clicked the Estimated cost is saved into the Baseline.
While the estimated cost may change often, the baseline cost should not be changed ideally. It gives the stakeholders a fair idea as
to how much the task was originally supposed to cost.
Actual Cost – The actual cost of the task should be entered after the task is completed.

Notes – Task notes or comments can be added in the text area. Helpful to capture additional task info.