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How to create a Gantt Chart in Excel

This article shows how to make Gantt charts in excel. Though Excel remains the preferred choice for creating simple Gantt charts, there are other commercial tools available for developing more complex versions of the Gantt chart.


GANTT Charts are an important project management tool. In this article, I will describe how to create gantt chart in excel with a marker for show today’s date. Using a stacked chart in excel, we will divide each activity into two parts – the first half showing the portion that has already been completed and the other representing the portion that still needs to be done. The development of Gantt charts is attributed to Henry Gantt in 1910 and they have been used ever since in project scheduling, phasing and activity breakdown.

How to create Gantt Chart – 8 step process

laying-out-the-data-for-a-gantt-chartGantt chart in Excel is essentially a horizontal chart with three series – the first one (which is hidden) represents the time elapsed before the activity begins, the second showing the completed portion of the task and the third one representing the portion of the task which still remains to be done. Often, a fourth element, in the form of a marker, which represents the present date, is introduced so that the progress of the tasks can be ascertained. Before we begin, you will need to have the data laid out in the format shown on the right. It has four data series with the fourth one being optional (today’s date).

Step 1 – Insert a horizontal stacked chart with 3 series

Insert a simple horizontal stacked chart by using Start Date, Completed and Remaining data range.

Step 2 – Insert additional series for today’s date

Insert an additional data series which represents the Today’s date range.

Step 3 – Change axis to secondary

Double click on the Today’s Date series and change it’s axis to secondary axis

Step 4 – Set Today’s date area to blank by double clicking on date series

Double click on Today’s Date series to set ‘Area’ to none. (Hide the area and retain only the border)

Step 5 – Format the chart

Double click on the ‘Completed’ series to remove it’s border and change color to Grey.
Double click on the ‘Remaining’ series to remove it’s border and change color to Red.
Double click on the ‘Start Date’ series to remove both it’s border and area.

Step 6 – Add Y axis Error Bars to today’s date series

Double click on Today’s Date series to set ‘Border’ to none.
Set ‘Y Errror Bars’ to ‘Custom’ and ‘+0’
Double click on ‘Y Error Bars’ and change pattern to a thicker weight value


Step 7 – The Final Steps

Double click on Y axis and enable ‘Categories in reverse order’
Double click major gridlines and format them to a lighter shade
Click on bottom X axis and press ‘Delete’
Double click on top X axis. Chage Date format as required.
Right Click chart. In Chart Options, set Legend to display at bottom
Remove legend border and remove the start date and today’s date labels.


This article outlined steps to on how to make Gantt charts in excel. You can always add other steps to create a better looking (an importantly better functioning) Gantt chart in Excel. If you do….don’t forget to leave a comment and let me know !!!

Excel Formula, Excel Chart, Excel Macro, Excel VBA, Pivot Table Excel, Excel Dashboard

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Comments and Trackbacks

  1. Denis J Collins wrote:

    Excellent site.
    This gantt chart is a very smart solution to a common problem.

    Keep up the good work
    Denis J

  2. Ajay wrote:

    @Denis – Thanks a ton.

  3. Jason H wrote:

    Any thoughts or tips to add and display dependencies?

  4. Charlene wrote:

    This is really useful! I have since created a template based on your instructions, and it has helped me save plenty of time.

    Thanks alot!

  5. Charlene wrote:

    Just to add on – I am thinking of also including a column for Target End Date, is it possible to also show this in the chart? Similar to the ‘Today’s Date’ Error Bar.

  6. barbra caranza wrote:

    Excellent post ! I am thankful for the information . Does anyone know where I would be able to acquire a blank Profit & Loss Statement Sample document to use ?

  7. fcl wrote:

  1. How to Create a Dashboard in Excel | da TaB is On wrote:

    […] profit and loss statement, use a waterfall chart (if needed). If it’s a project timeline, use a gantt chart. While using a chart in your Excel dashboard, follow these simple […]


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