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Create A Gantt Chart With Step-By-Step Instructions

The Gantt chart can be a good and valuable tool for project planning. All arranged errands are shown in an outline. This kind of visual portrayal makes it clear to all interested parties whenever occupation should be finished.

Definition: What Is A Gantt Chart?

A Gantt chart, also known as a bar chart, is a project management tool. This tool shows the activities over time in the form of bars. This makes it clear initially which stage the venture is right now. A bar addresses the beginning date, the length, and the end date. A Gantt chart can be handy, especially for project management. Project management is the application of specific methods for planning, controlling, and implementing a project by a project manager and his project staff. The main task is to achieve all goals and milestones, considering the project parameters. Most often, project parameters include:

  1. scope of services
  2. time
  3. budget

The Purpose Of The Gantt Chart

The Gantt chart is a tool that graphically shows the planned exercises of an undertaking. Simultaneously, it is a reasonable correspondence method between the undertaking members. The outline has a significant degree. The following components are displayed in a Gantt chart:

  1. bulk operations
  2. completed operations
  3. milestones
  4. tasks
  5. relationships
  6. restrictions
  7. buffer times
  8. a critical path

The Gantt chart should therefore optimize project planning and, above all, project implementation.

For Which Projects Is A Gantt Chart Suitable?

Above all, the clarity of the Gantt chart is frequently applauded for more modest tasks. This is immediately lost in additional critical and broad undertakings. From a particular size, you need to find out if the instrument is as yet the right one. The Gantt chart quickly becomes too large for projects with many employees and different teams. Presenting all these tasks at different lengths rapidly becomes complicated to understand. In the worst case, the diagram can hinder complex projects. The Gantt chart on relatively straightforward projects is limited. It is best to use it only for small to medium-sized projects with at most 30 different activities.

Creating A Gantt Chart – Step-By-Step Instructions

To give you an idea of ​​how to create a Gantt chart, you will find a step-by-step guide below :

Task Table

The task table is elementary to create. Create a simple table in the program (you probably already know this from other tasks) and enter the tasks that still have to be completed. So that no one delays the project, start and end times are entered in addition to the lessons to be completed. Everyone involved in the project can access the table and thus knows which task is always pending. Progress on certain sub-goals can also be seen from the diagram. You can also see the milestones the project entered. As you can see, this is a slightly more involved method of planning and managing the upcoming project. Therefore, it is more of a tool for straightforward projects.

Network Plan

In contrast to a Gantt chart, each project activity is represented as a square in the network plan. The technical dependencies between the two activities are shown as lines between the squares. A tilted square symbolizes a milestone. The time factor plays only a small role in the network plan. The primary aim is to show only the functional order of the activities in the program, so it needs to be clarified whether a task should be finished or finished because the network plan is primarily there to explain the logical relationships of all activities in the project.

Bar Graph

The bar chart is the simple implementation of a Gantt chart. In theory, it works just like the Gantt chart. The bar chart is usually a popular element for explicitly representing numerical values. Its primary purpose, like the column chart, is to establish a ranking. It is effortless to see because the differences in size are immediately recognizable.

Derivation Of Measures

Before measures can be derived, an analysis is required. The results of this analysis are compared to the set goals of the project. Depending on how significant the differences between the research and the plans are, you can initiate different measures in the project team. A huge advantage is if you want to quickly get an overview of where the project is currently stuck.

Create Gantt Chart In Excel

In addition to software and special tools, you can create your own Gantt chart in Excel. Advantage: almost every computer user already has the program installed. However, you must know that you cannot create a complex Gantt chart with Excel. What needs to be added is the possibility to switch from months to days with one click. However, this is intended in the original because it increases the clarity of the project.

Create Initial Data

First, you create a table with the headings of your work breakdown structure. In the “Start” column, you assign provisional start dates for the PSP elements. Now you have to enter a calculation rule for the end dates. Attention: In the formula to be used, one day is subtracted because you should work with working days, not 24-hour days. This is the only way to get an overview of the realistic workload over time. Sometimes, an element differs significantly from the element before it. In this case, you have to move the starting point backward. It’s easy to get to the start date. You take the formula stored for the predecessor and adjust it accordingly.

Also Read: Focus On The Classic Method Of Project Management

Create Gantt Chart

Then it’s time to create the actual diagram. You must first select the WBS Element and Start columns, including the column headings. Then, insert a stacked bar chart via the “Insert – Charts” item. Then the second data series is added. To do this, you must select the chart and the data on Chart Tools in the ribbon. Done. Now the basic structure of the Gantt chart is in place. The only problem is that it still needs to look like one. This is often because the order needs to be corrected, the date axis looks ugly, or the display of the first data series is superfluous. 

This means that you now have the y-axis mark and there select the option axis option. After selecting the “Categories in reverse order” item, the Project Kick-Off is shown as the first element in the diagram. To customize the data bars, select the Start data series in the chart and remove the fill and border in the right sidebar. Then select the Duration data series that is still visible and reduce the spacing of the bars. You do this in the row of options in the right sidebar. Then, mark the x-axis and format the values ​​using the right sidebar “Axis option – number.” From the drop-down menu that then opens, you should select the date. 

You can distribute the individual bars better if you want to rearrange the elements. To do this, mark the x-axis and enter the start date of your diagram in the right sidebar under Axis options under Minimum. In the last step, you have to format your bars as you wish – that’s it! Now that might sound a bit complicated. However, if you follow these instructions for your Gantt chart, you’ll quickly find that it’s not that bad. Don’t you think? Then try it out!

Create A Gantt Chart In PowerPoint

It is also possible to create a Gantt chart in PowerPoint itself. However, this requires a specific add-in. This add-in is called Office Timeline, and it is available for free. So download first, then you can start. Once you have downloaded this add-in, it will appear as a separate tab in PowerPoint. You can create a Gantt chart with a click on “New” in the add-in tab. The program will then guide you through making the chart. You only need to specify the dates and names of the milestones you want to see on the chart. Then you enter all other required data. The advantage: PowerPoint creates the diagram for you without much effort, and you can use it immediately.

Create A Gantt Chart Online

Of course, there is also the option of creating a Gantt chart online and downloading it at the end. Several templates, freeware tools, and entire software enable you to make such a diagram. Examples are Asana, Planview, or Monday.


For example, GanttProject is one of the tools that you can get for free. It allows using this technique for project management. The individual sub-steps can be quickly created and provided with parameters. But you can also set milestones yourself. You can export your finished diagrams as PDF, HTML, or CSV.


Edraw is the ideal software. Edraw is an easy-to-use project management and business diagramming program simultaneously. When you buy this software, you also get some Gantt templates that can be used for free.

The Difference Between Work Breakdown Structure And The Gantt Chart

The Gantt chart always includes the actual work breakdown structure and is based on it. In a project structure plan, the work is repeatedly divided into smaller, coherent units and individual work packages. The Gantt chart, on the other hand, defines the timing of this project, among other things. The diagram is, therefore, more comprehensive and detailed than the simple work breakdown structure.

Always The Best Solution For Project Planning?

After reading this article up to this point, you must wonder what a Gantt chart’s pros and cons are. Of course, you will also get the answer from us:

Benefits Of The Gantt Chart

  1. Gantt charts are particularly well suited for the sequential and parallel representation of progress.
  2. They offer an excellent graphical overview for small to medium-sized projects. The duration of individual activities is recognizable.
  3. The Gantt chart is easy to understand, and the procedure is very intuitive.

Disadvantages Of The Gantt Chart

  1. They are not suitable for representing complicated dependencies and interdependencies.
  2. To use them successfully, one needs to know ​​the results before the project starts.
  3. For more complex projects, the project manager must constantly adjust the diagram.
  4. They are easy to read if all project parts have approximately the same scope.

Alternatives To The Gantt Chart – They Still Exist

Of course, project planning is about more than just the Gantt chart. There are other ways to plan your project and specify the tasks. For example, this one:


Kanban is a method of production process control. The procedure is only based on the actual consumption of materials at the point of provision and consumption. With Kanban, getting a detailed overview of the stocks directly on-site is possible. The goal of the Kanban method is to control the value chain at every production level of a multi-level integration chain in a cost-optimal manner.

Burn Up Chart

The burn-up chart is an essential and justifiable instrument for project control. It shows you how much work has proactively been finished about the time. Furthermore, with it, how much actually should be spent? You can likewise go through the consumption diagram to show when the extent of a particular subtask or the whole venture has changed.

That makes this apparatus very understandable. The rest is simple. Eventually, the consumed outline imagines an arrangement and a natural bend. Over the task, the specific point gets increasingly close to the arranged curve. It approaches until the two angles meet. The necessities have been executed whenever they have met, and the venture is finished.

Project Management Timeline

A project management timeline is an easier way to plan a project. It simply creates a timeline starting with the project and ending with the goal. Intermediate goals and milestones are defined between the start and endpoints. At the same time, the deadlines are written. Each project participant then has an easy-to-understand overview of how the project should proceed. And above all, which sub-step each project participant is currently at?


A Gant chart can be a handy tool for planning projects. However, you should note that the Gantt charts are only suitable for small to medium-sized projects. A Gantt chart would have to be manually adjusted far too often to use it for large projects. In addition to Gantt, other options can help you plan your project. Just take a look at the different options. Experimenting is the quickest way to determine which method and tool best suit your needs.

Also Read: How To Choose Document Management Software For PEC

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