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Google Sheets is a great tool for organizing information and projects in just about any organization. It’s included with a Google Workspace account, and real-time collaboration and cloud sharing help you eliminate messy back and forth with collaborators.
When you’re ready to handle more complex projects, you may want to move on to more sophisticated project management methods. You can do this without jumping into expensive new software — just grab a Gantt chart template for Google Sheets.
How to use a Gantt chart
A Gantt chart is a project management tool that helps you visualize your project timelines at a glance. It includes information about the tasks you need to complete, the start dates for each task, and the time it will take to complete each task.
Designing a Gantt chart helps you set realistic start and end dates for the project and individual tasks, as it helps you easily see where deadlines may overlap and overload team members. It also helps you organize priorities and deadlines, as you can see how contingent tasks fit into the plan.
The basic layout of a Gantt chart is similar to a spreadsheet, making it easy to use for a tool like Sheets.
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How to Create a Gantt Chart in Sheets
Follow these steps to create a Gantt chart in Google Sheets from scratch.
(Don’t want to start from scratch? Grab our Gantt Chart Template for Google Sheets!)
Step 1: Create a sheet for the project
Open a new sheet in the app and enter your project information into the spreadsheet, just as you would if you were creating a basic spreadsheet project management system.
List the project tasks, with one line per task, in the leftmost column. For each task, include two additional columns:
- Start Date: The date you will start working on the task.
- End date: when you complete the task.
Set date format in cells as you want.
Step 2: Add duration data
Below the project information in the spreadsheet, add duration information by creating the following columns:
- Task name: same as above.
- Start day: the day, noted in number of days from the start day of task 1, which is 0.
- Duration: the number of days to complete the task.
You can manually enter the duration or calculate with this Google Sheet formula:
- End date – Start date = Duration
For example, if your start date is in column B and the end date is in column C, use this formula:
Repeat the formula for your entire to-do list by selecting the first duration cell where you entered the formula, clicking the blue box in the corner, and dragging it down the column.
Step 3: Create a stacked bar chart
To visualize your data, you’ll start by creating a bar chart. To do this:
- Highlight the cells of the second table you created.
- Select “Insert” from the menu, then “Chart.”
This creates a stacked bar chart with your start days as the X axis. You can also see your duration highlighted on the bars in red.
Step 4: Change the settings on the bar chart to get a Gantt chart look
The first thing you want to do is get rid of the blue bars representing your start days. To do this:
- Click on the chart, then on any blue bar to select them all.
- The chart editor should open on the right. In the “Customize” tab, under “Series”, set the “Fill Opacity” (which is 100%) to 0%.
This will eliminate the blue lines and make your chart look like a Gantt chart.
Step 5: Get rid of labels
To remove the column labels at the top of your chart, click the chart, then click the Start Day or Duration label to select both.
Then press “delete” on your keyboard or in the “graph editor” under “Customize” → “Legend” → “Position”, select “None”.
Step 6: Adjust your Gantt chart titles
You can name your chart after your project by double-clicking the existing chart title to highlight it, then typing the new chart name. Or you can update the “Title Text” in the “Chart Editor” under “Customize” → “Chart and Axis Titles”.
In the same section, you can change the axis titles by clicking on the drop-down menu labeled “Chart title” and selecting the titles you want to change.
Then you will have a Gantt chart! The chart is linked to your spreadsheet tables, so any adjustments you make to the tables will automatically update the visual chart.
Step 7: Share the Gantt chart with collaborators
You can share a Gantt chart in Google Sheets in different ways, depending on your colleagues’ preferences.
- Share the sheet in Google Drive. Click the “Share” button at the top right of your Google Sheets screen to adjust the sharing settings for the sheet. You can configure it so everyone in your organization has access, only certain email addresses have access, or anyone with the link has access. Also choose the access levels: Editor, Commentator or Viewer. This sharing allows your collaborators to always have access to the most recent version of the graph.
- Email attachment. Under “File” → “Email” → “Email this file”, you can send your sheet as an attachment by e-mail. Once the “Email this file” window appears, you can select from a drop-down list of file format options: PDF, Open Office Spreadsheet, or Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet.
- Download the table. Under “File” → “Download”, you can download a version of your spreadsheet and Gantt chart in PDF, Microsoft Excel, OpenDocument and other formats.
Gantt Chart Template for Google Sheets
Don’t want to work from scratch? Take our Gantt chart template for google sheets, and simply enter your project data to get started!
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Google have a Gantt chart?
You can create a more sophisticated Gantt chart via Google Charts, a tool from Google developers. Its chart gallery includes a guide to creating a Gantt chart. If you’re working in Sheets, there’s no native Gantt chart template, but you can grab our template above or follow the steps above to create your own.
What are Google Sheets Templates?
A template in Google Sheets (or other Workspace apps, including Docs) is a file that you can share with collaborators, your organization, or publicly. It allows them to create a new file using your existing design and formulas. You can find them in the template gallery from your Google Sheets (or other app) screen.