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The Gantt chart is a very useful project management tool. It allows you to keep track of tasks and shows progress in a visually intuitive way. Initially, creating a Gantt chart can be intimidating, as you’re not yet familiar with the components.

In this post, you will learn how to create and customize Gantt charts in Google Sheets. You have step-by-step instructions on how to create a simple Gantt chart, how to customize it, and how to add dependencies to your Gantt chart. Finally, you can download a ready-to-use Gantt chart template so that you can get started right away.

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You can download this free Gantt chart template to skip setting up the basic components. You can then easily customize the template for your own specific needs and add dependencies, as shown below.

How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets?

Gantt charts can be intimidating if you don’t know the components or what you can achieve with them. However, once you understand these components and how they work together, you’ll be able to create your own. Follow the steps below to create a Gantt chart in Google Sheets.

Set Up in Google Sheets

Open Google Sheets and go to the sheet where you want your Gantt chart. The first step is to build a table to keep track of the start and end dates for each task, which we will use to work out the start day and the duration of each task.

  1. 1. First, add the headers you need for the table: task, start date, end date, start day, and duration.
How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets Add Headers
How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets - Add Headers
  1. 2. Select the columns with the start and end dates. Go to Format > Number > Date.
How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets Format Dates
How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets - Format Dates

Add Project Data

Now that you’ve set up the table, you need to add your project data. You’ll need to add each task to the table, starting with the earliest task.

  1. 1. In the first column, add the relevant task names.
How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets Task Name
How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets - Task Name
  1. 2. In the second column, add the start date for each task.
How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets Start Date
How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets - Start Date
  1. 3. In the third column, add the end date for each task.
How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets End Date
How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets - End Date

Calculate Start Day and Duration

Using the data added in the previous step, you can work out the start day and duration of each task. Fortunately, Google Sheets has a very useful function to do this for you: DATEDIF. For the start day, we need the difference between each task’s start date and the earliest start date, which is the start date for task 1.

  1. 1. To calculate the start day, type in the DATEDIF function.
How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets DATEDIF Start Day
How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets - DATEDIF Start Day
  1. 2. The first parameter is the start date for the project, which is the same as the start date for the first task. Use absolute referencing for the start date so you can copy the formula down.
How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets 1st Parameter
How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets - 1st Parameter
  1. 3. For the end date, select the first task’s start date, but with relative referencing - no dollar symbols - so that you can copy the formula down to the other tasks.
How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets 2nd Parameter
How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets - 2nd Parameter
  1. 4. The last parameter indicates the unit, so you need to use “D” to get the result in days.
How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets 3rd Parameter
How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets - 3rd Parameter
  1. 5. You can use the suggested autofill or simply grab the cell’s fill handle and drag it down to the last task.
How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets Copy Formula
How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets - Copy Formula
  1. 6. You can also use the DATEDIF function to find the tasks’ duration. However, make sure you don’t use absolute referencing for any of the parameters.
How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets DATEDIF Duration
How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets - DATEDIF Duration
  1. 7. As before, accept the selected autofill or grab the fill handle to copy down to the last task.
How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets Copy Formula 2
How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets - Copy Formula
Gantt Chart Template Google Sheets
Gantt Chart Google Sheets Template

A free Google Sheets Gantt Chart Template to organize your project tasks, track progress and timelines, and identify critical paths or deadlines.

USE TEMPLATE

Add Chart

Now that you have all the required data, it's time to add a stacked bar chart.

  1. 1. Select the columns with the task, the start day, and the duration.
How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets Select Data
How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets - Select Data
  1. 2. Go to Insert > Chart.
How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets Insert Chart
How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets - Insert Chart
  1. 3. In the chart editor, select the stacked bar chart type.
How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets Stacked Bar Chart
How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets - Stacked Bar Chart

Convert to Gantt Chart

A few modifications will convert your bar chart into a Gantt chart.

  1. 1. In the ‘Customize’ tab in the chart editor, click ‘Chart & axis titles’ to type in your preferred title.
How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets Edit Title
How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets - Edit Title
  1. 2. Go to ‘Series’ and change the color of the first series, start day.
How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets Edit 1st Series
How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets - Edit 1st Series
  1. 3. Next, click ‘Legend’ and select ‘None’ as shown below.
How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets Remove Legend
How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets - Remove Legend
  1. 4. Select the vertical axis title and delete the text to remove it.
How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets Remove Axis Title
How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets - Remove Axis Title
  1. 5. Your chart now looks like a traditional Gantt chart. However, you can modify it further to match your style guide
How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets Gantt Chart
How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets - Gantt Chart
Project Management Template Google Sheets
Free Project Management Google Sheets Template

A free Google Sheets plug-and-play template to keep a comprehensive overview of your project’s progress across multiple workstreams.

USE TEMPLATE

Gantt Chart with Dependencies in Google Sheets

There are four different types of dependencies you can add to your Gantt chart. Follow the instructions below to add different types of dependencies to your Gantt chart.

Finish-to-Start

This kind of dependency refers to tasks that need to be finished for another task to start. In this example, the third task cannot begin until the first is completed.

  1. 1. In the cell corresponding to the third task’s start date, type in the MAX function and select the first task’s end date. Add 1 to ensure the task starts the next day.
How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets Use MAX
How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets - Use MAX
  1. 2. The third task’s start date now depends on the first task’s end date.
How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets Dependency Added
How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets - Dependency Added

Start-to-Finish

This type of dependency refers to tasks that must be started before another task can be finished. In this example, the fifth task cannot be completed until the sixth has started.

In this case, you need to use the MIN function for the fifth task’s end date, then add 1.

How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets MIN Function
How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets - MIN Function

Start-to-Start

This type of dependency occurs when a task must start before another task can start. In this example, the fifth task must start before the sixth can begin.

How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets Use MAX 2
How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets - Use MAX

Finish-to-Finish

The final type of dependency requires that one task finishes before the other can finish. In this case, the eighth task must be completed before the ninth can finish.

How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets Use MIN
How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets - Use MIN

That’s it. You can add as many dependencies as you need.

How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets Dependencies Added
How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets - Dependencies Added

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Conclusion

As you have seen, creating a Gantt chart in Google Sheets is not that scary. If you follow the steps, it's a straightforward process. However, you can always use the template provided to skip the initial setup. There will be dependent or concurrent tasks in almost any project, and the Gantt chart allows you to reflect that. You now know how to create a simple Gantt chart in Google Sheets, how to customize it to your needs and preferences, and how to add dependencies. Additionally, you have a Gantt chart template available, so you can skip the setup and start adding your project data.

Layer Google Sheets Add On
Get Started With Layer Today!

Share parts of your Google Sheets, monitor, review and approve changes, and sync data from different sources – all within seconds.

GET STARTED FOR FREE
Hady ElHady
Hady is Content Lead at Layer.

Hady has a passion for tech, marketing, and spreadsheets. Besides his Computer Science degree, he has vast experience in developing, launching, and scaling content marketing processes at SaaS startups.

Originally published Jan 10 2023, Updated Jan 15 2023