What is a Gantt chart? How to draw Gantt charts and templates

Gantt chart is a tool to assist businesses in synthesizing and setting work plans, thereby making the workflow more efficient. What is a Gantt chart? How to draw a Gantt chart? Let's find out more information related to this in the article below of Viindoo.

What is a Gantt chart?

Gantt charts, commonly used in project management, are one of the most popular and useful ways to present activities (tasks or events) on a timeline. The vertical axis of the chart is a list of tasks and people in charge, and along the top horizontal axis is the corresponding timeline. The Gantt chart reflects the start date, end date, duration of each task, and so on.

With the Gantt chart, users can quickly check the progress of each task and see:

  • Overview of project progress in real-time;
  • Progress and deadlines of all tasks;
  • Relationships and dependencies among tasks;
  • Project phases.

Project management solutions that integrate Gantt charts give managers visibility into their team's workloads, as well as their availability at different times, which allows for more precise scheduling. Learn more about Gantt chart samples in the article Gantt Chart Examples for Beginners.

Gantt analysis chart
Gantt analysis chart

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History of Gantt Charts

The first Gantt chart was created in the mid-1890s by Karol Adamiecki, a Polish engineer. He ran a steel mill in southern Poland and became interested in management ideas and techniques.

About 15 years later, Henry Gantt, an American engineer and project management consultant invented his own version of the chart and popularized it in Western countries. Gradually, Gantt's chart proved to be effective with the management system and became famous. Consequently, Henry Gantt's name has become associated with charts of this type.

Initially, Gantt charts were carefully prepared by hand. Therefore, every time there is a change in the project, the manager has to draw the chart again. This limits their usefulness, as constant change is a common feature of most projects.

Today, however, with the advent of computers and project management software, Gantt charts can be easily created, updated, and printed.

Basic Gantt chart template on Google Sheet
Basic Gantt chart template on Google Sheet

 See also: What is Agile model? Advantages, disadvantages, and effective implementation

When should businesses use Gantt charts?

Gantt chart contributes significantly to improving the working efficiency of enterprises. When should companies use this type of chart? Here are some use cases of the Gantt chart for readers to refer to:

  • Plan and set a timeline for the project: Gantt charts are extremely suitable to show the implementation progress and results of the project. From there, managers can clearly grasp work performance and make next plans with schedule management software.
  • Collaborative work from many members: In a project, each member will perform a separate task. Gantt charts help managers know clearly the workload and completion of members at each time and motivate others if necessary.
  • Estimated working time and workload: This tool can give an estimate of each member about their completion time as well as the amount of work. As a result, the manager can divide the work appropriately so that the project is better completed.
  • Schedule work: The Gantt chart offers a simple, easy-to-understand view that ensures every individual can grasp the information quickly. Therefore, Gantt is often applied when businesses want to give a summary of the project's workflow.
Gantt chart helps businesses manage their work more effectivelyGantt chart helps businesses manage their work more effectively

Advantages and disadvantages of Gantt charts

Everything is not omnipotent, and so does the Gantt chart, which also has strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, the best way for businesses to maximize the strengths of this tool is to know how to apply it appropriately. In particular, users also need to understand the advantages and disadvantages of Gantt charts.


Advantages of the Gantt chart:

  • Manage large amounts of data at once: Gantt gives viewers important information about the project. For example, the person who did it, the time it took, the relationship between the individual task and the project, etc.
  • Improve work productivity: The data about the project is publicly displayed on the online Gantt chart. Therefore, each individual will know what he or she needs to do and how to complete the project in the best way.
  • Plan human resources effectively: Through this diagram, managers know the status and progress of completing tasks. From there, they can quickly make appropriate adjustments if problems occur.
Gantt chart Users can view important information in the project


Here are some disadvantages of Gantt charts that you can keep in mind as you proceed to use Gantt:

  • Depends on the pre-generated schematic model: To draw a Gantt chart and divide duties among members, the data may be updated. At this point, the user will have to repeat all the above steps to re-draw the Gantt chart, which is difficult and time-consuming.
  • Suitable for medium-sized projects: Gantt charts provide an overview, so the amount of data displayed on this chart is limited. This diagram will not be suitable for huge, complex projects or projects that change and update frequently.
  • Not suitable for constraints: Time, budget, and scope are common constraints at work. This information will be difficult to show clearly on the Gantt chart. In addition, this chart can hardly show the priority of each type of task.
Gantt chartGantt does not contain data on large, complex projects

How to Draw a Gantt Diagram in Excel

To exploit the benefits of Gantt charts in work, managers must know how to draw Gantt charts. The most common way to draw Gantt diagrams for beginners is to draw in Excel. Let's find out more through the following steps.

Prepare Data

First, in the Actual table, the user needs to add the % completion column and the Days completed item in the Data Preparation section, equivalent to the completion rate and the time taken for the job in days.

Preparing data for Gantt chartPreparing data for Gantt chart

Note, the content of the Project timeline in section Plan is not the number of days taken, but the expected time to complete the project. If the estimated time matches the Actual table, the user can calculate the number of days taken by multiplying the % completion rate by the number of days. The formula % Completion x Days completed.

Create a new diagram

The user needs to create a new diagram to start drawing a Gantt chart. At the taskbar, readers need to select Insert, then select Chart/2-D Bar, and select the Stacked Bar diagram type.

Create Gantt charts in ExcelSelect Stacked Bar to create a new diagram

Enter data into the diagram

Next, the user needs to enter the necessary data into the Gantt chart. The procedure includes the following steps:

  • Step 1: At Chart Tools, select Design and then Select Data.
  • Step 2: At Chart data range, select the data range to update to Chart.
  • Step 3: If you want to add a data area, the user selects Add at Legend Entries.
  • Step 4: In addition, at Legend Entries, users can also adjust the position of the Start date item to the front and edit the Horizontal Axis Labels section.
Create Gantt charts in Excel

Sort the order of tasks

To work better, managers need to arrange the order of tasks one by one reasonably. Readers can refer to the order of arrangement as follows:

  • Step 1: Select the name of the work tasks in the diagram.
  • Step 2: At Axis Options, click Categories in reverse order.
Create Gantt charts in ExcelSelect Categories in reverse order to sort the tasks in order

Keep the number of days to perform the task

If too much data is displayed, it can be confusing for the viewer, so users should only keep the number of days to perform the tasks. The Gantt chart will display in blue and yellow, as the blue color is the number of days to perform the task. To hide the yellow content, users click on the chart, select Format Data Series, at Fill select No fill, and select No Line at Border.

Create Gantt charts in ExcelSelect No Fill to hide the yellow part

Adjust the period of the chart

After entering the data and performing the steps above, Excel will suggest a time period for the tasks in the project. Management will follow the actual plan to reset the time by entering the completion date in any box.

Then we set the General format for the imported cells. The above values ​​represent the working time period based on the actual plan. Then we use these values ​​to replace the old time set by Excel itself.

Keep track of task completion rates

Users can track the completion rate by letting the data in the Days completed section display on the Gantt chart. At the same time, these data also need to combine with Days and add Error Bar to the diagram.

Steps to track completion rate:

  • Step 1: Click to select the diagram, in the Add Chart Element section of the Chart tools/Design select Error Bars.
  • Step 2: Select More Error Bar Options.
  • Step 3: Add Error Bars based on the Series that appears and select the Start date.
  • Step 4: As Format Error Bars appear, users need to set up some features Direction (Plus), Andsyle (No cap), Error Amount (Custom/ Specify Value, select the Days Completed area)
  • Step 5: Set display format including color and width selection. Note, users should choose bright, high-contrast colors, and the width of the area ensures that the previous part of the original diagram can be inserted.
Create Gantt charts in ExcelSetting up features for Gantt charts

Gantt chart software

To create a Gantt chart, depending on the purpose of use, you can choose different tools. Usually, there are 3 options: Excel, specialized Gantt chart software, and Project management software with built-in Gantt Chart.


This is the most popular Gantt chart builder because of its flexibility and easy customization. Although excel doesn't have sample Gantt charts available as a selection, users can create them manually using the column chart feature and a bit of formatting.

Building a professional plan with a Gantt chart in excel requires users to have the knowledge, data processing skills as well as proficient use of excel.

One limitation of building Gantt charts with excel is updating information. Since the excel files are opened directly on the personal computer, if there is any change in the plan, others will have to download the updated plan to replace the old version. This will slow down the process of receiving information for those involved.

Specialized Gantt Chart builder software

One of the alternatives to Excel today is to use the Gantt chart software. The software provides users with diverse and professional Gantt chart templates. Users only need to enter the task and time to complete it, and the person in charge of these applications will automatically calculate and produce a complete Gantt chart.

However, everything stops at the project planning stage. That means you will have a beautiful plan while managing tasks, controlling execution time, assigning work, and exchanging information on another platform.

Project management software with integrated Gantt chart ​

The current technology trend is no longer the use of single applications to meet a specific requirement. Instead, businesses choose the all-in-one Integrated Administration Solution.

With Project Management software with integrated Gantt Chart work progress, managers will have at hand all the tools they need to manage a project from start to finish. The Project Management application of Viindoo Solutions is a prime example of that. Users can easily plan, assign tasks, check implementation progress, update information in real-time, and make detailed summary reports right in the software.

Gantt Chart view in Project Management application of Viindoo SolutionsGantt Chart view in Project Management application of Viindoo Solutions

In addition to displaying work and progress in the form of a Gantt Chart, users can monitor the project under many other interfaces such as Kanban, Checklist, Calendar view, etc. Each view represents a different information dimension.

The project management software like Viindoo allows users to manage large, complex projects containing numerous tasks. Each task can be broken down into other subtasks and assigned to different individuals.

Another useful function of the project management application in Viindoo Solutions is to allow a direct exchange of information right in each task, tagging the people involved. Users can also create automatic actions to remind and send notifications when there are any adjustments or changes.

In particular, the feature of granting access rights allows the security of important and essential information.

Assign work and communicate directly in each taskAssign work and communicate directly in each task

The article has compiled information related to the Gantt chart. This is a useful tool for businesses to manage the work of the team well. Hopefully, with the above information Viindoo provided, you would have a better understanding of the Gantt chart and how to draw a Gantt chart properly.

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What is a Gantt chart? How to draw Gantt charts and templates
Hue Nguyen 10 March, 2021

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