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How To Create a Gantt Chart in PowerPoint

Oct 25, 2022
Image for PowerPoint Gantt chart

Did you know that you can make Gantt charts in PowerPoint?

Microsoft PowerPoint allows users to create Gantt charts in various ways. You can manually build a PowerPoint Gantt chart or generate it from an Excel spreadsheet. You can also make one using a Gantt chart template.

We will show you how to use each of these methods, so you can choose the option that works for you.

Method 1: Make a PowerPoint Gantt Chart Manually

You can manually create a Gantt chart by using the PowerPoint chart function. We have broken down the steps below:

Step 1: Open a Stacked Bar Chart Graphic

  1. Launch PowerPoint and go to the Home tab.
  2. Click on the Layout drop-down menu and select Blank.
  3. Go to the Insert tab.
  4. Select Chart > Bar > Stacked Bar

Step 2: Add Your Project Schedule Data

You should now see a chart and Microsoft Excel table on your screen. Follow these steps to edit the Excel data:

  1. Enter the title of each of your tasks in column A. Note that the app will arrange your tasks from the bottom of the chart to the top. So, the first task in the column will come last.
  2. Edit the titles of the other columns. Rename Series 1 as Start Date, Series 2 as End Date, and Series as Duration (Days).
  3. The columns labeled Start Date and End Date aren't in the right format. To format them, select and right-click on them.
  4. Click on Format Cells to open up its dialog box.
  5. Click on Date in the category list and choose your preferred date format under Type.
  6. After changing their format, you can enter each task's start and end date.
  7. You can make the app calculate the duration of each task for you using this formula: =$C2-$B2. Input it in cell D2 and drag the cell's fill handle downwards until you cover all activities in the column. (the little box in the bottom right corner is the fill handle). This will prompt the app to calculate the duration of all tasks in the table.
  8. Delete the End Date section from the chart to make the Duration section more visible. Go to Chart Filters and uncheck End Date in the series group. Select apply.

Step 3: Convert the Bar Chart Into a Gantt Chart

You have a stacked bar chart on your screen. To make it appear like a Gantt chart, make the blue bars transparent. The grey bars that remain will be your tasks.

  1. Select any blue bar to highlight the entire series.
  2. Right-click it to launch a toolbar.
  3. Select Fill > No Fill.

Step 4: Customize Your Gantt Chart

You can customize your Gantt chart in various ways depending on your needs.

Changing task colors

You can change the color of the task bars to make your chart more visually appealing or unique. To change the color of all tasks, select and right-click any of them to open the toolbar. Select Fill and choose your preferred color.

Additionally, you can give each task a unique color. To do this, double-click on the task and select Fill.

Reversing the order of tasks

You can reverse the order of your tasks. Double-click the y-axis (the list of task titles on the left). Once the Format Axis menu opens, select Axis Options and tick Categories in reverse order. You will now see the last task at the top of the chart.

Delete excess Space

You can move the task bars closer to the y-axis by deleting the gaps between them. Select a date on the upper part of the chart and right-click it. Go to Format Axis in the new window and then, Axis Options. Below Bounds, increase the number in the Minimum box.

Add effects

PowerPoint allows users to add effects to their Gantt charts. However, you should avoid adding too many effects as this can get in the way of the information you want to convey. You will find the available effects in the Format tab and then, Shape Effects to view the effects.

Delete the legend

If you don't need the legend, you can remove it. Right-click on it and select Delete.

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Method 2: Generate a PowerPoint Gantt Chart From Microsoft Excel

You can import your Excel Gantt chart into a PowerPoint file. We have listed the steps below:

  1. Launch Excel and go to the Gantt chart.
  2. Select and right-click the chart. Click on Copy.
  3. Open PowerPoint and return to your presentation.
  4. Right-click on the slide you want the Gantt chart and select Paste.

After pasting the Gantt chart, you can always return to the Excel sheet whenever you want to change the dates. Your PowerPoint Gantt chart will be updated automatically.

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Method 3: Develop a Gantt Chart Using a PowerPoint Template

Another way to add Gantt chart templates to your PowerPoint presentation is to use a Gantt chart template. PowerPoint offers its users five pre-installed Gantt chart templates.

  1. Launch PowerPoint and select the New tab.
  2. Go to the template search box and enter "Gantt chart." Choose your preferred Gantt chart template.
  3. Click Create.
  4. You will find the Gantt chart on the first PowerPoint slide. Edit the placeholders i.e., the title and duration of the tasks.
  5. To set your project's start date and deadline, look at the symbols in the top left and bottom right corners. Edit them accordingly.
  6. The length of each task bar symbolizes its duration. Hence, you can change the duration of any task by selecting and dragging its bar.
  7. Change the color of any taskbar by selecting it and then, choosing the following options. Format tab > Shape Styles > Shape Fill.

Download a Professional PowerPoint Gant Chart Template

We have shown you different ways to make a Gantt chart and you will agree that methods 2 & 3 are the most convenient. However, the templates offered by PowerPoint are limited.

If you want a professionally-designed and visually appealing template, download our PowerPoint Gantt chart template. It is fully customizable and compatible with all presentation software.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Gantt chart?

A Gantt chart is a project management tool that depicts a project timeline using horizontal lines.

Why is a Gantt chart important?

A Gantt chart is vital for project planning and management. This chart will help you determine the duration of your project along with the necessary resources and order of execution. It can also help you monitor a project's progress and task dependencies.

Can I make Gantt charts in PowerPoint?

You can make a Gantt chart in PowerPoint manually and automatically. To make it automatically, you can use a Gantt chart template or import it from an Excel sheet.

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