How to Create a Simple Gantt Chart in Excel: Free Template

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Create an easy Excel gantt chart with our free template

Our easy premade Excel gantt chart template can save you tons of time by organizing your project plan and tackling the tedious scheduling work for you!

Use this Excel gantt chart to simplify complex projects into an easy-to-follow plan and track the status of tasks as work progresses. This free template is also useful for keeping track of project deadlines, milestones, and hours worked. Learn more about gantt charts.

Before you get started, check out this quick Excel vs. TeamGantt comparison to see how you can save time and effort managing gantt charts in TeamGantt.

How to use our free gantt chart Excel template

We made this Excel gantt chart template easy, powerful, and painless to use for projects of any kind—from construction projects to website redesigns and beyond.

You can customize our Excel template to view and manage projects over any time period, whether it’s weekly, monthly, or quarterly. Simply plug in your tasks, dates, and resources, and you'll have a presentation-quality Excel gantt chart. Be sure to update the percent complete as work progresses to stay on top of project tracking.

Want to learn how? First, download the Excel gantt chart template, then watch our Excel gantt chart tutorial on YouTube below.

Additional Excel project management templates

If you want to spend less time building spreadsheets, check out some of our other Excel project management templates. Here are a few you can download for free:

How to make a simple gantt chart in Excel

Want to learn how to build an Excel gantt chart from scratch? This step-by-step tutorial guides you through how to do an Excel gantt chart that maps out dates on your project timeline.

Note: We performed the following steps in Microsoft Excel 365 for Mac, but the basic workflow should be the same on a PC or in any version of Excel with minor changes.

1. Add tasks and dates to the Excel worksheet for your gantt chart.

Create columns for Task Name, Start Date, End Date, and Duration, and fill those cells with the basic details for your project tasks.

Add tasks and dates to Excel worksheet

Format these columns as follows:

Want to organize your Excel gantt chart into phases with subtasks? Add a row before the first task in each project phase, and enter the following dates for each task group:

Insert phases and subtasks

2. Apply an automatic formula to calculate task duration

Use a simple formula to subtract the start date from the end date. That way your Excel worksheet will automatically calculate the length of each task in your gantt chart. For instance, we entered =C2-B2 into the Duration field for our first task.

Apply formula for Duration column

Tip: If you started in different cells in your worksheet, be sure to adjust this formula accordingly.

Place your mouse on the right corner of D2 until you see a black + sign and double-click or drag your mouse down to paste the formula in the remaining cells in column D.

Paste Duration formula in full column

3. Insert a Stacked Bar Chart from the Insert menu

Click the Insert tab, and select the bar chart icon.

Choose Stacked Bar from the 2-D Bar section to add a chart to your Excel worksheet. This chart type most closely resembles a gantt chart.

Insert stacked bar chart into Excel worksheet

4. Set up your Excel gantt chart data

You should see a blank chart in your Excel worksheet now. Right-click the chart, and choose Select Data.

Select data source for blank bar chart

Click the plus sign (+) under the Legend entries section to add the first data set. Name it "Start Date." Then click on the Y values field, and select the data in the Start Date column.

Select data source for Start Date column

Repeat this process to add a second entry called “Duration,” making sure to select the data in the Duration column for the Y values. Click the Horizontal Axis Labels field, and select the entire Task Name column.

Select data source for Duration column

Tip: Make sure the Show data in hidden rows and columns checkbox is ticked so your Excel gantt chart will still work if you decide to hide any of the columns or rows in the worksheet.

5. Add the project title to your chart

Double-click the Chart Title textbox to select the full title.

Enter the name of your project to replace the generic placeholder text.

Replace chart title with project name

6. Change the chart date range to your project start and end dates

Copy the Start Date for the first task in your project into a blank cell below your task list, and format that cell as a number rather than a date. Repeat this process for the End Date for the last task in your project.

Convert task start and end dates to numbers

Tip: Excel stores dates as numbers. In our gantt chart example, Excel converts the Start Date for our first task from 9/1/22 to 44805.00, while the End Date for our last task becomes 44865.00 instead of 10/31/22.

Now select the horizontal axis of your gantt chart, right-click, and choose Format Axis.

Under Bounds, there are fields for Minimum and Maximum. These are the first and last “dates” in the chart.

Change the Minimum value to the number you got when you converted the first task date into a number and the Maximum value to the number for your last task date.

Set Minimum and Maximum bounds for your chart

Hit Enter to remove the extra time from the beginning of your chart.

7. Format the horizontal axis as dates

If the labels on the horizontal axis of your gantt chart show numbers instead of dates, click the Number section of the Format Axis window to expand it.

Change the category from Number to Date. Now the horizontal axis will show readable dates.

Format horizontal axis as dates

8. Set your Excel gantt chart at weekly intervals

Under Units in the Axis Options section, you’ll find Major and Minor fields. These determine the timeline intervals for your Excel gantt chart.

Enter 7.0 into the Major field to set the project timeline in your Excel gantt chart at weekly intervals.

Set weekly intervals for your chart timeline

Tip: Want a monthly gantt chart? Set the Major field at 30.0 for monthly intervals.

9. Reorder tasks, and move the date axis to the top of your gantt chart

Select the vertical axis, right-click, and choose Format Axis.

Format vertical axis of gantt chart

Tick the Categories in reverse order checkbox.

Reverse task order on Excel gantt chart

This also moves the date axis to the top of the chart where it’s a little more useful.

10. Format your stacked bar chart to look like a gantt chart

Click on the first portion of a taskbar with 2 colors to select all of the bars in your first data series. In the Excel chart below, our first data series is represented by the blue taskbars.

Select first data series in chart

Then click the Paint Bucket tab, and expand the Fill section.

Select No fill to remove the blue bars that precede your task start dates.

Apply no fill to first data series

11. Change taskbar colors for a customized look

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.

Click the Paint Bucket icon, and choose the color you want from the color fill options.

Change the color of a task in your Excel gantt chart

Tip: Differentiate project phases from subtasks by giving phase taskbars a neutral color, such as gray.

Apply a neutral color to Excel gantt chart phases

Tip: Color milestones yellow or gold in your gantt chart so they stand out easily from other tasks.

Color milestones on your gantt chart yellow

Repeat this process for the rest of the bars in your newly made gantt chart to change their colors.

Change colors on your entire gantt Excel gantt chart

Congratulations! You’ve created your very own weekly 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.

Build a gantt chart in minutes with TeamGantt

A better, faster, and more collaborative way to create, update, and track gantt charts

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.

Comparison: TeamGantt vs Excel gantt chart

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 making gantt charts and managing projects with TeamGantt compared to Excel:

ExcelTeamGantt
Presentation-quality gantt chartsYes represented by a green checkmark icon
Yes represented by a green checkmark icon
Compatible with Mac & Windows Yes represented by a green checkmark icon
Yes represented by a green checkmark icon
Drag & drop schedulingNo represented by a grey X icon
Yes represented by a green checkmark icon
Calendar, task list, & kanban board viewsNo represented by a grey X icon
Yes represented by a green checkmark icon
Track & collaborate on tasks in real timeNo represented by a grey X icon
Yes represented by a green checkmark icon
Upload important project filesNo represented by a grey X icon
Yes represented by a green checkmark icon
Share view-only linksNo represented by a grey X icon
Yes represented by a green checkmark icon
Keep tasks in order with dependenciesNo represented by a grey X icon
Yes represented by a green checkmark icon
Compare planned vs. actual timelinesNo represented by a grey X icon
Yes represented by a green checkmark icon
See team availabilityNo represented by a grey X icon
Yes represented by a green checkmark icon
Track hours workedNo represented by a grey X icon
Yes represented by a green checkmark icon

How to create a gantt chart in TeamGantt

Ready to get started? Follow these easy steps to set up your first project in TeamGantt.

Example of a TeamGantt project

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 project template to get you started if you want. Choose your default project view and the days of the week you want to be able to schedule work in your project. Then click Create New Project.

Create a new gantt chart in TeamGantt

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.

Add and schedule tasks in your gantt chart

6. If you have tasks that can’t begin until another task is complete, you can add a dependency to your gantt chart 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.

Add dependencies between Gantt chart tasks

You’re all done! Congratulations on creating your first project in TeamGantt!

Get started with TeamGantt today

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.

Sign up for your free account today!

Excel Gantt Chart FAQs

Is there a gantt chart template in Excel?

Unfortunately, Excel doesn’t come with a built-in gantt chart template. You’ll need to create a gantt chart manually in Excel, then save it as a template for future project use.

How do I create a gantt chart template in Excel?

You can save any Excel file you make as a template. Simply follow these steps to build a gantt chart of your own in Excel. Then click File >Save as template to create an Excel gantt chart template you can use again and again to schedule project timelines.

How do I format a weekly Excel gantt chart?

To format your Excel gantt chart by week, right-click on the date axis, and select Format Axis. Expand the Axis Options section, and enter 7.0 into the Major field below Units for weekly intervals.

How do I format a monthly Excel gantt chart?

To format your Excel gantt chart by month, right-click on the date axis, and select Format Axis. Expand the Axis Options section, and enter 30.0 into the Major field below Units for monthly intervals.

It won’t be a perfect monthly picture since some months have more or less days, but it should provide a decent visual approximation for your Excel gantt chart.

How do I track work progress in Excel?

Start by downloading our free gantt chart Excel template, which has progress bars built-in. Then all you have to do is update progress in the Percent Complete column, and Excel will adjust the taskbar on the gantt chart to reflect the current status.