Get a Free Gantt Chart Excel Template!

Creating and using a Gantt Chart Excel template is one of the most popular ways to manage, organize, and track projects. Learning how to create a Gantt Chart in Excel is a key skill for anyone who wants to manage projects more effectively. In this article, you’ll learn how to create your own Gantt Charts in Excel as well as receive a free, downloadable Gantt Chart Excel template.

First Steps

First, set up your project tasks in a table as in the picture below, with the name of the task in the first column, the start date (with 0 representing the start of the project) in the second column, and the duration (in days) in the last column.

Gantt Chart Step 1

Then you will want to highlight the data in your table and insert a Stacked Bar Chart, as in the picture below.

Gantt Chart Step 2

You should get a chart that looks like this:

Gannt Chart Excel Template Step 3

Formatting the Gantt Chart

First, select the legend (on the right-hand side of the chart) and delete it. Then go up into the Ribbon, select the Layout tab under the Chart Tools group, and select “Vertical (Category) Axis” from the drop down menu on the far left-hand side of the ribbon.

Gantt Chart Excel Template Step 4

Select “Format Selection”

Gantt Chart Excel Template Step 5

Put a checkmark in the “Categories in reverse order” box.

Gantt Chart Excel Template Step 6

To complete your Gantt Chart in Excel, go back to the dropdown box in the Layout tab of “Chart Tools” and select “Series ‘Start Date'”.

Gantt Chart Excel Template Step 7

Finally, go in the Format tab (under Chart Tools) and click “Shape Fill” and then “No Fill”.

Gantt Chart Excel Template Step 8

Your final product will look like this:

Gantt Chart Excel Template Final

Of course, you can play around with the formatting to make it look a little more interesting. You can add titles, change the style, pretty much anything you can do with a normal Excel chart. For our template, we added a title and applied Chart Style 27.

Gantt Chart Excel Template Final with Formatting

Get a Free Gantt Chart Excel Template!

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How to Make a Graph in Excel: 3 Ways to Stand Out

Learning how to make a graph in Excel is relatively easy. However, when used properly, Excel graphs (or charts) can be a key contributor to the success (or failure) of your analysis or presentation. An Excel graph should complement your data and invite comparisons where possible. They can also be used to quickly summarize and display complicated data and demonstrate relationships between data. The following three tips will enable you to craft Excel graphs that are both useful and visually appealing.

1. Use Colors to Make it Look Good (But Not Awful)

When creating an Excel graph, most people fall into one of two camps. Either they simply throw a simple graph onto the page with the default settings:

How to Make a Graph in Excel

Or they go to the other extreme and change all of the settings (burning your eyes in the process):

How to make a graph in Excel

The best looking graphs usually fall somewhere in the middle:

How to make a graph in Excel

A good rule of thumb is to not change more than 3-4 of the formatting settings. Simply pick a few settings that will help make your data “pop”. The key is in moderation. If you follow this rule, your graphs will serve to strengthen your analysis (or presentation) and not distract from it.

2. Use Different Chart Types on the Same Graph

An easy way to invite meaningful comparisons in your Excel graphs is to use two different chart types within the same graph, as in the example below:

How to make a graph in Excel

This allows you to take two different sets of data and overlay them so that you can quickly demonstrate causal relationships (in this case, the relationship between the number of homework assignments returned and test scores). This is also a good way to save space if you find yourself running out of paper (or screen). However, you’ll only want to do this with chart types that will make sense. You wouldn’t want to try to overlay a pie chart on the above graph, for example. When done properly, using different chart types within the same graph allows your viewers to quickly see both the separate data series within your graph and the relationships between them.

3. Use the Secondary Axis Feature

One of the most under-taught aspects of charts is how to make a graph in Excel plotted against more than one y-axis. If you know how to make a graph in Excel using both the primary and secondary axis and you also know how to use different chart types within the same graph (Tip #2), you will be able to create very readable and very informative graphs, as in the example below.

How to make a graph in Excel

The advantage of the secondary axis is that it allows you to plot your different data series against two different numerical scales (one on the left and one on the right). In the example above, test scores are plotted against the left-hand axis and their numbers range from 0-120. However, the Assignments Returned data series is plotted against the right-hand axis and ranges from 0-12. This graph actually contains the same data as the graph in Tip #2, however it is easier to see how the number of assignments returned affects test scores because this chart uses the secondary axis.

Learn How to Make a Graph in Excel Using Our Tips

Excel offers many different options to customize your graphs. However, if you use our three tips above, you will produce graphs that both interesting and visually appealing.

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Five Advanced Excel Skills Every Job Applicant Should Know

Find a new job with advanced Excel skillsAdvanced Excel skills are among the most commonly requested job skills hiring managers request of new employees. Many times, a job posting will simply ask for “Advanced Excel Skills” among the list of job requirements. What are these skills? What does it take to become an advanced Excel user? What follows is a list of key Excel skills that every advanced user should know.

1. Pivot Tables

Pivot Tables are among Excel’s most mysterious functions. Yet, learning how to use them is fairly straight-forward. Pivot Tables simply summarize data, and they provide you with additional functionality to present your data in almost any way you can imagine. Want to quickly get a count of how many employees work in each department in your office? Create a Pivot Table. Want to figure out what the average performance score is across several different work units? Create a Pivot Table. Need to analyze a complex report with dozens (or hundreds) of data columns? Create a Pivot Table. Pivot Tables are flexible and dynamic, which makes them extremely useful in the business world. Knowing how to create Pivot Tables is one of the most crucial advanced Excel skills you can learn. Become a master of Pivots, and you’ll be sure to impress any hiring manager.

2. VLOOKUP Function

If Pivot Tables are used more frequently than any other Excel feature in business offices every day, VLOOKUPs are a close second. Whether you’re validating financial reports or simply summarizing and analyzing data, you’ll probably use the VLOOKUP function several times in the course of your daily work. The real power of the VLOOKUP function lies in its simplicity, enabling you to quickly find and pull the exact data you need out of large data sets. Once you learn how the VLOOKUP works, you’ll find an increasing number of opportunities for its application in your everyday work. Along with Pivot Tables, VLOOKUPs are a key advanced Excel skill. If you know nothing else, knowing how to create Pivot Tables and use VLOOKUPs will put you ahead of most applicants in the job market.

3. Paste Special

Paste Special is another key advanced Excel skill. Any job that involves Excel (which will be most jobs) will involve moving data around. Paste Special allows you to unlock the power of the Cut/Paste functions. Maybe you only need to copy the formatting of a cell and not its content, or maybe you need to copy the output value of a formula without copying the formula itself. Paste Special allows you to do all of this and more! Everyone knows how to cut and paste, very few know how to use Paste Special.

4. Macros

Knowing how to automate tasks with code will set you far and above the competition when you apply for jobs. In Excel, you can do this with Macros, and you don’t even need to know anything about code to get started! Learning how to use Macros will enable you to write code that will automatically complete repetitive tasks for you. So, if you need to run reports every week (or every day), you can write some Macros to automate things such as the formatting and even some of the analysis. This will enable you to complete your work faster and more consistently. Learn how to use Excel to write a few simple Macros, and you will be able to impress hiring managers with your ability to fly through work assignments using your advanced Excel skills.Creating powerful charts is an advanced Excel skill

5. Charts

One of the final advanced Excel skills that will set you apart from the competition is your ability to design useful and informative charts. Anyone can create a chart (or graph). It is much more difficult to create a chart that provides a useful insight into some data. Knowing how to stack charts on top of each other and how to use both the primary and secondary axis are advanced Excel skills that make a new employee very valuable. If you intend to do any sort of data analysis, knowing how to create dynamic and informative charts is crucial.

Advance Your Job Search with Advanced Excel Skills

Knowing how to use Excel is an important part of most jobs you will apply to. Having a set of advanced Excel skills, like those discussed above, will set you apart from the legions of applicants you are competing against. If you master these skills, you will stand apart and above most of your competition.

Join our mailing list to learn how to use these and other advanced Excel skills. You’ll get free tips directly in your inbox that will help you become an Excel master, and you’ll also receive exclusive discounts to our training classes.