Present your data in a Gantt chart

Need to show status for a simple project schedule with a Gantt chart? Though Excel doesn’t have a predefined Gantt chart type, you can simulate one by customizing a stacked bar chart to show the start and finish dates of tasks, like this:

Note: An Excel Gantt chart typically uses days as the unit of time along the horizontal axis.

Sample simulated Gantt chart
Sample simulated Gantt chart in Excel 2016 and 2013
Example of a Gantt chart in Excel
Sample simulated Gantt chart in Excel 2010 and 2007

The following procedure will help you create a Gantt chart. For this chart, we used the example worksheet data below. You can also use your own data, as long as you use the same column headers and worksheet structure.

Tip: If your project has a more complex schedule and you want to capture dependencies, you might want to create the Gantt chart in Microsoft Project instead.

To create a Gantt chart like the one in our example that shows task progress in days, follow these steps:

  1. Create the following data in an Excel spreadsheet.

    sample table data for the Gantt chart

    If your data’s in a continuous range of cells, select any cell in that range to include all the data in that range.

    If your data isn't in a continuous range, select the cells while holding down the Ctrl key.

    Tip: If you don't want to include specific rows or columns of data you can hide them on the worksheet. Find out more about selecting data for your chart.

  2. Click Insert > Insert Column or Bar Chart > Stacked Bar.

    Stacked Bar in Excel 2016

  3. Next, we’ll format the stacked bar chart to appear like a Gantt chart. In the chart, right-click the first data series (the Start part of the bar in blue) and click Fill > No Fill.

    stacked 2-D bar chart with one data series selected

  4. If you don’t need the legend or chart title, click on it and press DELETE.

  5. Let’s also reverse the task order so that it starts with Task1. Right-click the vertical axis (Tasks) and click Format Axis > Categories in reverse order box.

  1. In your email message, click the Insert tab, and in the Illustrations group, click Chart.

  2. In the Insert Chart dialog box, click Bar > Stacked Bar, and click OK.

    Excel opens in a split window and displays sample data on a worksheet.

  3. You can replace the sample data with your own data. To do that, simply click inside the window and start editing the sample data.

    Sample data for a chart
  4. You can also replace the sample axis labels in Column A and the legend entry name in Row 1.

    Note: After you update the worksheet, the chart in Outlook will be updated automatically with the new data.

  5. Optionally, save the worksheet.

The following procedure will help you create a Gantt chart. For this chart, we used the example worksheet data below. You can also use your own data, as long as you use the same column headers and worksheet structure.

Tip: If your project has a more complex schedule and you want to capture dependencies, you might want to create the Gantt chart in Microsoft Project instead.

To create a Gantt chart like the one in our example that shows task progress in days, follow these steps:

  1. Create the following data in an Excel spreadsheet.

    sample table data for the Gantt chart

    If your data’s in a continuous range of cells, select any cell in that range to include all the data in that range.

    If your data isn't in a continuous range, select the cells while holding down the Ctrl key.

    Tip: If you don't want to include specific rows or columns of data you can hide them on the worksheet. Find out more about selecting data for your chart.

  2. Click Insert > Insert Bar Chart > Stacked Bar.

    the chart selection on the Ribbon

  3. Next, we’ll format the stacked bar chart to appear like a Gantt chart. In the chart, right-click the first data series (the Start part of the bar in blue) and click Fill > No Fill.

    stacked 2-D bar chart with one data series selected

  4. If you don’t need the legend or chart title, click on it and press DELETE.

  5. Let’s also reverse the task order so that it starts with Task1. Right-click the vertical axis (Tasks) and click Format Axis > Categories in reverse order box.

  1. In your email message, click the Insert tab, and in the Illustrations group, click Chart.

  2. In the Insert Chart dialog box, click Bar > Stacked Bar, and click OK.

    Excel opens in a split window and displays sample data on a worksheet.

  3. You can replace the sample data with your own data. To do that, simply click inside the window and start editing the sample data.

    Sample data for a chart
  4. You can also replace the sample axis labels in Column A and the legend entry name in Row 1.

    Note: After you update the worksheet, the chart in Outlook will be updated automatically with the new data.

  5. Optionally, save the worksheet.

The following procedure will help you create a Gantt chart. For this chart, we used the example worksheet data below. You can also use your own data, as long as you use the same column headers and worksheet structure.

  1. Create the following data in an Excel spreadsheet.

    sample table data for the Gantt chart

    If your data’s in a continuous range of cells, select any cell in that range to include all the data in that range.

    If your data isn't in a continuous range, select the cells while holding down the Ctrl key.

  2. On the Insert tab, in the Charts group, click Bar.

  3. Under 2-D Bar, click Stacked Bar.

  4. Click the chart area of the chart.

    This displays the Chart Tools, adding the Design, Layout, and Format tabs.

  5. On the Design tab, in the Chart Styles group, click the chart style that you want to use.

    Excel Ribbon image

  6. In the Format tab, Current Selection group, in the Chart Elements dropdown, select the Series "Days since start" option.

    Chart Elements dropdown
  7. On the Format tab, in the Current Selection group, click Format Selection.

    excel ribbon image

  8. Click Fill > No fill > Close.

  9. In the chart, click on the legend, and then press DELETE.

  10. In the Format tab, Current Selection group, in the Chart Elements dropdown, select the Vertical (Category) Axis option .

  11. On the Format tab, in the Current Selection group, click Format Selection.

  12. In the Format Axis dialog box, under Axis Options, select the Categories in reverse order check box, and then click Close.

    Format Axis dialog box
  13. If you want to use theme colors that are different from the default theme that is applied to your workbook, do the following:

    1. On the Page Layout tab, in the Themes group, click Themes.

      Excel Ribbon Image

    2. Under Built-in, click the theme that you want to use.

  1. In your email message, click the Insert tab, and in the Illustrations group, click Chart.

  2. In the Insert Chart dialog box, click Bar > Stacked Bar, and click OK.

    Excel opens in a split window and displays sample data on a worksheet.

  3. You can replace the sample data with your own data. To do that, simply click inside the window and start editing the sample data.

    Sample data for a chart
  4. You can also replace the sample axis labels in Column A and the legend entry name in Row 1.

    Note: After you update the worksheet, the chart in Outlook will be updated automatically with the new data.

  5. Optionally, save the worksheet.

Did you know?

If you don't have an Office 365 subscription or the latest Office version, you can try it now:

Try Office 365 or the latest version of Excel

See Also

Create a chart from start to finish

Save a chart as a template

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