A good project manager is one who is able to track everything that goes in with the project he is managing. To do this however, he needs to be able to have a tool that allows him to see the where the project is going. The tool allows him to visualize what has been done as well as the things that need to be done to accomplish the project and get positive results. One tool used by most project managers is a Gantt chart. According to Wikipedia, a Gantt chart is a ‘type of bar chart that illustrates a project schedule.
How to make a Gantt Chart Template For Excel 2010
The easiest way to make a Gantt chart template without buying a software is to create one using Microsoft Excel. Excel does not have a built-in Gantt chart, but you can use this program to create one yourself. This involves three easy steps.
First, you need to encode the data in a blank excel file. The data you will need are as follows:
- The name of the task
- The start date
- Number of days completed
- Number of days remaining
Each of the information above represents a column in your Excel file. This means that ‘name of task or task name’ can be in column A, ‘start date’ in column B, days completed will be in column C and days remaining will be in column D. Once you have the data in place, the next step is to create your bar chart. Considering that you are using Excel 2010 to do this, creating your bar chart will be as easy as 1-2-3. All you need to do is follow the simple steps below:
Highlight your data.
Find Chart Type and click Bar then choose the Stacked Bar sub-type.
Click next, next and finish.
The next step is to make your chart look like a real Gantt chart. Here are the steps to follow:
- Double-click the first series in the chart. This represents your chart date and is usually colored in blue.
- Look for Format Data Series and choose the patterns tab.
- Click none for border as well as area.
- If you want to change the font of your chart you can do so by doing the following:
double-click the category whose font you want changed.
click on the scale tab and select categories in reverse order
click the font tab and change the font and font size the way you want it to appear
- Double click the horizontal axis. This axis represents the dates to be used in your chart. Type in the appropriate boxes the general number representations of the dates you need.
To know the general number format of a date, you simply type the date in a cell then format the cell to the general number format.
- On the scale tab, you can do the following:
check the box stating: category (x) axis crosses at maximum value.
- On the alignment tab:
Find orientation and then type 45 in the degrees box
- On the font tab: you can change the font as well as the font size
If you want to format your legend, simply right click on the legend and choose format legend.
- Click the placement tab and choose where you want it on your chart.
- Still in the legend, click to highlight the start date and then press delete.
How to use Gantt Chart Template in Excel
The downside with using Microsoft excel to create your Gantt Chart is that it does not automatically reflect the changes you make on your data. For instance, if a certain task is accomplished and you enter the data, the chart will not change automatically to reflect the accomplishment. You will need to recreate the chart to reflect the change you made.
Where to Find Free Gantt Chart Excel Template
If you find the steps in creating a Gantt chart in an excel spreadsheet discussed above too complicated to follow, you can find a free Gantt chart excel template online. Sites such as www.vertex42.com offer free charts that you can download without going through the hassle of creating one from scratch. All you need to do is download the free spreadsheet and start encoding the data you need to create your chart and voila, you have an easy to read Gantt Chart that would be perfect not only in tracking the progress of your project but it is also easy to use on your reports.
What is the Best Gantt chart Software
As mentioned in the introductory paragraph, another way of having a Gantt chart at your disposal is when you buy a Gantt Chart software. Getting a software may cost a lot of money but it does a lot of things that you cannot do using an Excel spreadsheet. One of the biggest advantage of using a Gantt chart software is that it has the ability to integrate with your email calendar which is impossible to achieve with Excel. This helps you manage your time better as you need not spend so much time checking and rechecking your emails for schedule changes especially those encoded by others in your team.
The most popular software that you can find is the Microsoft Project and is perfect for those running the Windows platform. For those who are using Mac, you have a choice between AgileAgenda and Merlin2. The AgileAgenda is a good choice for Google calendar and iCal users as the software can integrate with these two platforms easily. However, if you are an avid iPhone or iPad fanatic, the Merlin2 would be the better choice although it is a bit pricier at $199 compared to the $79 price of AgileAgenda.For those who love the convenience of working online, you can also get Gantt chart softwares such as Gantic, TeamGantt, and Liquid Planner. Gantic claims to be the better alternative to Microsoft Project however, the most attractive difference Gantic is that it allows changes to be made real time. This means that every time someone enters a change in the project, the change is reflected immediately to the rest of the team. TeamGantt on the other hand is a great software to use if you are managing several projects at the same time.
The software allows you to view multiple projects and it lets you see how tasks overlap. Liquid Planner is a bit more sophisticated compared to the two other online Gantt chart softwares. The most awesome feature of this software is that it can churn a project analysis as well as a detailed report which is very useful especially for those who need to turn report the progress of their project on a regular basis. This means that you can concentrate on other things and making sure that the project is managed properly to ensure success without having to worry about creating your progress reports all the time.