A gantt chart is a horizontal bar chart used to show a project plan and its progress over time. Gantt charts are incredibly useful in project management because they allow you to track the status of project tasks. They also help keep track of deadlines, milestones, and hours worked.
Using our premade Excel gantt chart template can save you tons of time by organizing your project plan and tackling the tedious planning work for you! All you need to do is plug in your tasks and the dates, and you'll have a presentation-quality Excel gantt chart. Want to learn how? First, download the gantt chart template, then watch the video above.
We made this gantt chart template easy, powerful, and painless to use for managing your projects. This gantt chart can be used for anything, from construction projects to website redesigns and beyond.
Before you get started, check out this quick Excel vs. TeamGantt comparison to see how you can save time and effort managing projects and creating gantt charts in TeamGantt.
Want to learn how to build a gantt chart from scratch? Follow along with the instructions below on how to create a gantt chart in Excel.
Please note that we performed the following steps in Excel 2016, but the basic workflow should be the same in any version of Excel with minor changes.
Create columns for Task Name, Start Date, End Date, and Duration, and fill those cells with information from your project.
Then, format the columns as the following:
TIP: It’s best to have the Duration field calculate the appropriate duration of the task based on the start and end dates. This is a simple formula. In this case, it’s =D2-C2. If you started in different cells in your worksheet, you’ll need to adjust this formula accordingly.
Place your mouse on the right corner of E2 until you see a black + sign and double-click or drag your mouse down to paste the formula in the remaining cells in column E.
Insert the chart anywhere in the worksheet, then right-click and choose Select Data.
Click the plus under the Legend entries section to add the first data set. Name it "Start Date," and then click on the Y values field. Now select the data in the Start Date column.
Add a second entry for “Duration,” and select the Duration column.
Click the Select Data Source button in the Horizontal Axis Labels field, then select the entire Task column.
The first thing you may notice is that the dates in the horizontal axis aren't actually dated. Our gantt chart also covers much more time than we need. Let’s get rid of all that extra time first.
The first task in the project starts on 7/25/16, so there’s no need for our project to show anything before then. Copy 7/25/16 into a cell, and format that cell as a number rather than a date. Excel stores dates as numbers, and you can see that 7/25/16 translates to 42576.00.
Now highlight the horizontal axis, right-click, and select Format Axis. Under Bounds, there are fields for Minimum and Maximum. These are the first and last “dates” in the chart. If we change the minimum value to 42576.00 and hit enter, all that extra time will disappear from the beginning of our chart.
To make the correct dates, go down to the Number section, and change the category from Number to Date. Now the horizontal axis will show us readable dates.
Highlight the vertical axis, right-click, and choose Format Axis to put the tasks in the right order. Tick the Categories in reverse order checkbox. This also moves the date axis to the top of the chart where it’s a little more useful for us.
Click on one of the blue bars to select all of them. Then go over to the paint bucket, expand the Fill section, and select No fill to remove the blue bars that precede our task start dates.
Click on a single bar twice. Don’t double-click it—click it once to highlight all the bars in that color, then click it again to highlight a single bar. Go over to the paint bucket, and choose the color you want from the color fill options. Repeat this process for the rest of the bars in your newly made gantt chart to change their colors.
Congratulations! You’ve created your very own gantt chart in Excel. That was probably a few more steps than you bargained for. Especially if you have to do that every time you need to create a gantt chart for a new project. That’s where TeamGantt comes in.
Creating gantt charts that are simple, beautiful, and super-easy to manage and update is exactly what TeamGantt was designed from the ground up to do.
Forget having to keep track of multiple Excel gantt chart files for each project and wasting time making sure all your charts are presentation-ready. TeamGantt makes it easy—and dare we say FUN—to create and manage your projects with shareable online gantt charts.
Here’s a quick peek at how you can save time and headaches managing projects with TeamGantt compared to Excel:
Ready to get started? Follow these easy steps to set up your first project in TeamGantt:
1. Go to teamgantt.com/signup to sign up for your free account to get started.
2. Once you log in, go to My Projects in the sidebar, and click + New Project, then Create New Project.
3. Give your project a name, and choose a template to get you started if you want. Choose the days of the week you want to be able to schedule work in your project, and click Create New Project.
4. Your project is created, and you’re ready to start adding your tasks!
5. Once you’ve added your tasks to the task list, just click and drag each taskbar to set the dates and duration.
6. If you have tasks that can’t begin until another task is complete, you can add a dependency to make sure those tasks are always done in the proper order. Simply click the gray dot to the right of the first task, and drag the dependency to the dependent task.
You’re all done! Congratulations on creating your first project in TeamGantt!
You can create a beautiful project plan in just minutes with TeamGantt. And because everything happens online, it's easy to track project progress and collaborate with your team in real time.