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Creating Gantt Charts in Excel

Step by Step

The following instructions outline the process for creating a Gantt chart in Excel without
using a chart wizard. For creating other charts and visuals with the wizard, you may use
the documentation entitled "Creating Charts in Excel." The wizard, however, does not
effectively represent the complex information needed for the Gantt chart.

Accessing Microsoft
Creating a Title
Labeling Data
Adjusting Column
Creating Floating
Bar Chart
o To create
o To change
Adding or
Removing Gridlines
and Borders
Numbering and
Labeling Page
Adjusting Page
Adjusting Chart to
Fit on One page
o Option#1
Inside Excel

o Option#2
Inside Word

Accessing Microsoft Excel

PC Interface
1. Click on the Start at the bottom of the screen
2. Select Microsoft Office
3. Select Microsoft Excel

Creating a Title


Once you have accessed Excel, a page entitled Book1 will appear. Before starting you
will need to ensure that the Standard, Formatting, and Drawing Toolbars are visible. To
open the toolbars, select the View menu bar and choose the toolbars from there.

1. Select cell A1 by clicking on it.
2. Click on the Bold button in the menu at the top of the Workbook.
3. Click on the Font Size pull down menu button and select a larger font (14).
4. In cell A1, type the title of your chart. In the sample chart, for example, the title
"Project Schedule for Basil's Flower house" is entered.
5. Save as be sure to save this to the network.

Labeling Data

Labeling Columns
1. In cell C2, enter the name of the month in which the project will start.
2. In cell C3, enter the day the project was started and in each consecutive cell in
Row 3 enter the dates for the first month. For example, if you are starting the
project October 1st then you enter "October" in cell C2 and 1 in cell C3, 2 in cell
D3, 3 in cell E3, until you have entered all the project days in October, Remember
to Leave out Weekends and Holidays.
3. Select cell C2 and all the adjacent cells in Row 2 that coincide with the days for
4. Click on the Merge and Center button in the formatting toolbar at the top of the
5. In the cell following C2 enter the next month, November, then start entering the
days the month below in Row 3
6. Repeat for each month of the project.
7. Select columns in Row 3 that contain the dates entered. Select Format - Column -
Width from the menu bar and set the width to 2.29.
8. Select cell A1 and all the adjacent cells in Row 1 that coincide with the days for
the months entered.
9. Click on the Merge and Center button in the formatting toolbar at the top of the
10. Save frequently.

Labeling Rows

1. In cell A2, enter a heading for the Project Tasks

2. If you divide the project into different phases, enter the name for the first phase in
cell A4 (otherwise start with the first task)
3. List the specific tasks in the cells below A4 in column A. Continuing labeling
until you have entered labels for all the phases and tasks involved
Adjusting Column Width

1. Drag pointer (appears as large white cross in sheet, appears as downward arrow
on the column headings bar) over the column headings bar at top of the
worksheet. When you reach the border of the column, the pointer will change to a
crosshair with left-right arrows.

2. Double-click on the border of the column heading, and the column will autofit to
the longest entry
Creating Floating Bar Chart

To create a chart, you will need to access the Drawing toolbar if you have not already
done so.

1. Select the View menu from the top menu bar

2. In the View menu, select the Toolbars submenu
3. Select Drawing (should be checked). A Drawing toolbar will appear on your
screen (usually at the bottom)

Creating bars

1. Select a cell (day) where you want the bar (task) to begin
2. Select the AutoShapes menu
3. Select an appropriate shape from the AutoShapes menu
4. From Basic Shapes, the rectangle or the cube will work well, or from the Block
Arrows, the left-right arrow option can also be used HINT: Rectangle has a hot
button outside of the AutoShapes menu. Selecting this option can save time


5. Once you have selected the shape, the mouse pointer will turn into a crosshair.
Align center of the crosshair with the lower-left corner of the cell which
represents the day you will begin the task
6. Click, hold, and drag until the center of the crosshair is almost aligned with the
upper-right corner of the cell which represents the day the task is to be completed,
release mouse button. If necessary, resize the shape to fit the shape to the cells
7. While the shape is still selected, click on the Fill button (small paint can on
Drawing toolbar)

8. Select a color or shade

9. Continue to create bars for each task

Marking Due Dates

You can use other shapes such as a triangle, star, or oval to mark key due dates. HINT:
Selecting the oval button on the toolbar will save time.

1. Select the shape you want to use from the AutoShapes menu
2. Click and hold in the lower-left corner of the cell in which you want to place the
special marker
3. Drag up and to the right to create the shape

Changing an AutoShape

If you decide to change the type of shape you use, you do not have to re-enter each shape.

1. Click on the shape in Worksheet to select it (resizing tabs should appear).

2. On Drawing toolbar, select Draw menu
3. Select Change AutoShape
4. Select desired shape
Adding or Removing Gridlines and Borders

Excel automatically enters gridlines. Depending on the complexity of your chart, you
may want to remove or add the gridlines. While gridlines make the chart easy to read,
they can make complex charts seem overly cluttered and detailed. If you remove the
gridlines, you will need to add lines and borders to ensure that the data is easy to read.


1. Select File menu from top Menu bar.

2. Select Page Setup
3. Select Sheet tab on Page Setup dialogue box
4. Under Print, select Gridlines
5. If checked the gridlines will print, check to add or uncheck to remove
6. Click OK

If you do not want all sections of the chart to have gridlines, you will need to use the
Border feature to indicate where you want lines and borders. (The gridlines button in the
Page Setup should be turned off -- unchecked).


1. Select and highlight the area you want to underline or to which you want to add
2. For example, select the cells in Row 3.
3. With the area highlighted, click on the Border menu.
4. Click on the option with all lines showing. All gridlines will be added to the
selected area.

You can add individual lines following the same procedure.

1. For example, select all cells in column B from cell B2 down (in this example,
column B has been left empty).
2. Select Border menu.
3. Select Right line option.


1. Select and highlight area you want to be free of lines or borders.

2. For example, select all cells in column A beginning with cell A2.
3. Select Border menu.
4. Select No lines option.

Numbering and Labeling Page

You will need to label your Gantt Chart as an Appendix and number it consecutively with
the other pages of your report. To do this, you will need to access the Header and
Footer dialogue boxes.

1. Select View from the top Menu bar.

2. Select Header and Footer from the View menu. A Dialogue box will appear
(Note: this is also the Page Setup dialogue box)

3. Click on the Custom Header button

4. Click in Left Section Field box Type in Appendix A (or use the appropriate
5. Click on the Font button (marked with an A)
6. Select a Font type, style, and size that is consistent with that of the report.
7. Click OK
8. Click OK (in the Header dialogue box)
9. Click on Custom Footer button
10. Click in Field box appropriate for the pagination of the report. Remember, this
page will be read on its side.
11. Enter the page number (this will depend on how many pages have preceded the
Gantt Chart).
12. Click on the Font button (marked with A)
13. Select a Font type, style, and size that is consistent with that of the report.
14. Click OK
15. Click OK
16. Click OK again
Adjusting Page Orientation

To print or preview the Gantt Chart, you will need to change the orientation of the Chart.

1. Select File menu from the top Menu bar.

2. Select Page Setup
3. Select the Page tab (if it is not already selected)
4. Click on the Landscape radio button.
5. Click OK

Adjusting Chart to Fit on One page

Option #1-- Inside Excel

The Excel spreadsheet usually does not fit on one page. To avoid dividing your chart into
two pages (which makes it more difficult for your reader to view), you can fit the chart
onto one page. This, however, may make the chart much smaller and can result in
reduced legibility.

1. Select File menu from the top Menu bar.

2. Select Page Setup
3. Select the Page tab (if it is not already selected)
4. Select the Fit to radio button under Scaling (see above)
5. To center the Chart, select the Margin tab in the Page Setup dialogue box
6. Select Vertically under "Center on the Page" (If necessary you can also adjust
the margins through this dialogue box)
7. Click on the Print Preview button to view the finished document, or Click OK to
8. Click Close on top menu bar in Print Preview window.

Option #2 -- In Microsoft Word

You can also resize the Chart as a Graphic in Microsoft Word.

1. In Excel worksheet, select and highlight Chart area.

2. Click on the Copy button in the standard toolbar (or select Edit in the top menu
bar and select Copy)
3. Keep Microsoft Excel running and open Microsoft Word
4. In Microsoft Word, open New document
5. Change orientation of Page
1. Select Format from top Menu
2. Select Document
3. Click on Page Set Up
4. Select landscape from orientation options
5. Click OK
6. Click OK
6. Select Edit from the top Menu bar
7. Select Paste Special

8. Click Microsoft Excel Worksheet Object (Note: this option will not appear if
you have closed Excel)
9. The Chart will appear as a graphic which you can resize to fit to the page.
Caution: When resizing do not overly distort chart image. Note: You will need to
add Appendix label and page number in Microsoft word if you use this option.