What is a Gantt Chart?

By | October 25, 2017

Gantt Chart?

A Gantt chart is a popular type of bar charts used to illustrate the plan, the schedule of work for a project. It is one of the methods of project planning, used in project management applications.

Most of the times the chart displays a horizontal bar chart.

Different sizes of the rectangular bars represent the duration of work to be completed.

There are triangles at the ends of the bars, that we will talk about a bit later. Sometimes bars have different colors related with the percent of completed work.

Gantt Chart Example

Gantt Chart Example


You can create your Gantt chart in Excel, following step-by step instructions below.


  • Go to Microsoft Office Excel, label the data information and enter in your data below. As an example, you write the heading Task and list all the tasks under it. Then near the heading ‘Task’, you add another one called ‘Start Date’ and add the starting dates of those tasks.
  • You also have to enter in how long is each task to last, so create one more heading and label the number of days under it. In total, you should have 3 columns.
Gantt Chart Example

Gantt Chart Example


  • Click on the INSERT part (near HOME)
  • select ‘Insert Bar Chart’ from chart’s group.
  • Choose the 3-D stacked bar.


  • Right click on the appeared blank chart area,
  • select ‘Data’ from the short cut menu.
  • On the popped up ‘Select Data Source’ dialog box,
  • press the ‘Add’ button.
Gantt Chart Example

Gantt Chart Example


You will see ‘Edit Series’ dialog box appear with two little boxes.

  • In ‘Series Name ‘, select the ‘Start Date’ column header,
  • for ‘Series Values’ select all the start dates under the header
  • click OK.

Step 5

You should have been seen your first chart by now. Few steps left.

  • Right click on the blank area of the chart,
  • choose ‘Select Data’ – Add.

In the appeared dialog box,

  • select your ‘Days to complete’ header for ‘Series Name’ and all the data under that header for ‘Series Values’,
  • click OK.
Gantt Chart Example

Gantt Chart Example


You are back at ‘Select Data Source’ dialog box.

  • Click ‘Edit’ on horizontal Axis Label,
  • select all of your tasks (do not include heading)
  • press OK.


Your chart is almost ready; it will be completely done within a few quick steps. First, since the tasks appear in reverse order, we want to get them in right order. To do that,

  • Right click on the Tasks- Format Axis- tick on ‘Categories in Reverse Order’.

And to get rid of the blue bars, which we do not need, because there is nothing going on on those days,

  • Click on the blue bars-
  • Right Click
  • Format Data Series-
  • Fill button- No fill.
Gantt Chart Example

Gantt Chart Example


Gantt Chart Example

Gantt Chart Example

To get a better understanding on interpreting the Gantt charts, let’s look at an example above and discuss it.

What is shown on the graph?

  • The dates are on the x-axis, since it plays a role of independent variable, and names of the tasks are on the y-axis, since it is dependent.


  • The rectangles show the start and end dates of the tasks.


  • The overall architecture had started on 13th of September and had finished on 27th by Planning Team.


  • Test Plan, on the other hand, had started on 4th of October and finished on 18th by a Planning Team, and on 25th Of October the development team had started working on it and was done on 8th of November.
Gantt Chart Example

Gantt Chart Example


If you do not have enough time or experience to make the Gantt charts in Microsoft Excel or any other program from the zero, you can make use of quicker ways to make it, and this are – the easy Gantt chart makers. You can find lots of them online and for free.

  • Office Timeline (officetimeline.com),
  • Gantter (gantter.com),
  • Mind Tools (mindtools.com),
  • SmartSheet (smartsheet.com),
  • GanttPRO (ganttpro.com),
  • Canva (www.canva.com)

Are only some of them.

We hope you have enjoyed our article and now, have a clear understanding of a Gantt chart, how to make and interpret it.