Create a Gantt Chart in Excel

A Gantt chart is a horizontal bar chart that can display tasks that are scheduled for a period of time. There is not a specific Gantt chart type in Excel, but one can be customzed from a stacked bar chart. If you set up the data properly with start dates (or times) and time durations, Gantt charts can be created fairly easily to show the length of each task  and those that overlap, if there are any.

Here you see a Gantt chart that displays four scheduled tasks:

Gantt Chart

Using this sample data range, follow these steps:

Gantt Data
  1. Select the range A2:B5.
  2. Create a stacked bar chart. (You may have to click the Switch Row/Column command on the Ribbon).
  3. Delete the legend.
  4. To reverse the categories so that the tasks are in order starting at the top, select the category (vertical) axis and open the Format Axis dialog box.
  5. In the Format Axis dialog box, enable the checkbox to specify Categories in reverse order. Select the radio button for Horizontal axis crosses At maximum category to display the dates at the bottom. Close the dialog box.
  6. Currently there is only one series on the chart. However, before adding the second series, you will want to hide this data series. Right-click on any bar and select Format Data Series to open the Format Data Series dialog box. In the Series Options tab, set the Series Overlap to 100%.
  7. Click the Fill tab and choose No fill.
  8. Click the Border Color tab and choose No line. Close the Format Data Series dialog box.
  9. Once you have successfully hidden this data series, you can add a second data series. (If you include end dates or times, you can calculate the duration). To begin to add the second series, in the Chart Design tools, click the Select Data command on the Ribbon. The Select Data Source dialog box opens.
  10. Click the Add button in the Legend Entries (Series) section. Name this series Duration and for the Series values, specify or select the range C2:C5. Click OK twice to close the Select Data Source dialog box.
  11. Next you will need to adjust the minimum settings on the value (horizontal) axis. To do this, select the value axis and open the Format Axis dialog box.
  12. Adjust the minimum and maximum axis settings so that dates will display on the axis. These values MUST be entered as date serial numbers and not actual dates. For example, the minimum date of January 7 (2009) is 39820. (To get this correct serial number value for a particular date, you can enter the date in the spreadsheet and format it using the Number format). You can also specify different intervals. The default for this example is 10 days. Close the Format Axis dialog box.

Reference: Microsoft Office Excel 2007 Bible, Wiley Publishing Inc., 2007.


  1. PM Hut


    I am sure a lot of PMs out there found the article very useful. My opinion, however, is that Excel should not be used as a PM tool in the first place, it is extremely hard to manage and maintain. IMO, online tools are slowly taking over, and eating from MS share, whether it’s Excel or MS Project.

  2. Timeline Maker

    I know that you can create Gantt charts in Excel but it’s a pretty tough process. Isn’t it better to use a dedicated solution if you’re always in need of them? Overall it’s still a good guide but maybe you can expand on it as it’s a bit deprecated. Big up!

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