How to Make a Gantt Chart in Word

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  • 0:01 What Is a Gantt Chart?
  • 0:42 Gantt Chart: Step-By-Step
  • 2:46 A Professional Look
  • 3:58 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Lucinda Stanley

Lucinda has taught business and information technology and has a PhD in Education.

In this lesson you will learn about Gantt charts and how they are used to manage projects. You will also learn how easy it is to create one using the Table feature in Microsoft Word.

What Is a Gantt Chart?

Do you get overwhelmed by large projects? Do you wish you had a way to keep track of how the project is coming along? Well, you have a way to do just that! It's called a Gantt chart, and it is super easy to create one in Word.

The Gantt chart provides a structure to break a large project into manageable sections that allows the project manager to see the status of the work as it is completed. Its name comes from its creator in the 1900s, Henry Gantt. The Gantt chart shows the specific activities for the project, the point in the process each activity should start, the length of time allotted for each activity, and any overlap of activities leading up to the end of the project.

Gantt Chart: Step by Step

Let's walk through the process together step by step. The first step in creating a Gantt chart is to plan the project. Before you start, you need to know how many activities are involved and what the expected due date is.

You will use a Gantt chart to manage your process for writing a business report. Your deadline is to submit within 7 days, so you'll want to break the project down to work on it a little each day. You will need 8 columns (one column for each day and one column for a label). You break the project into 9 segments or activities, so you will need 10 rows (one row for each activity and one row for the label).

Here is the step-by-step process:

  • Open the Microsoft Word application.
  • From the 'Insert' tab, click on the 'Table' icon and choose 'Insert Table'. Type '8' in the number of columns text box and '10' in the number of rows text box. Hit OK.
  • Fill in the top row with the time segments (leave the far-left one blank): Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, etc.
  • Fill in the first column with the activity segments: Type of report, Collect data, Organize, etc. You can see in the image the activity segments I used.

Now you can start filling in the time blocks with your expected length of time to complete that activity. For your chart, you determine the type of report you need on Day 1, so you color block the cell that intersects at Day 1 and Type of report. Add the color block by putting your cursor in the cell you want to color. From the Home ribbon, Paragraph group, select the 'Shading' drop down list - it has the icon of a paint can - and choose a color.

Continue adding color blocks according to how much time you might need to complete each activity. You want to give plenty of time. How about: 2 days to collect the data, 2 days to organize the data, 2 days to write a rough draft, 2 days to write the executive summary, a day to create any graphs or tables, 2 days to proofread, which leaves you 2 days to proofread again and submit the report.

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