How to Make a Gantt Chart in Microsoft Project

When it comes to keeping your team on schedule and making sure that everything gets done for your clients there’s nothing better than a Gantt chart. After all, it allows you to lay out absolutely everything that needs to happen to make sure your team is on track from beginning to end. But let’s back up just a little bit.

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What is a Gantt Chart?

Gantt charts are a single document that lays out each and every task that needs to be done for your project to be a success. You get to create every task, set the order they need to be completed in, create an overall timeline, create milestones along the way, set up intermediate deadlines as well as start and end dates, and just about everything else you could think of.

In fact, tasks can then be created that show dependencies where one task must be completed before another. They can even be assigned to specific people or groups of people to make sure they’re getting done properly and everyone knows their job. That way you know (and everyone else knows) who to follow up with if a specific part of the project isn’t getting finished on time or if you’re waiting on something. You can even show how much of a task is completed and how much of the overall project is completed with this chart.

How Do You Create a Gantt Chart in Microsoft Project?

So, if Gantt charts are so great, you’re going to want to know what to do about them, right? You want to know how to create one so that your entire team can get on the right track from the start. The good news is, they’re super simple to make. And there are even several different ways that you can create them with different services and programs. But for now, we’re going to assume that you have access to Microsoft Project and go over what you need to do to create your first chart. 

Step 1: List Your Tasks

To create your chart, you need to start by laying out each of the different tasks that need to be completed within your project. So, you’ll start by thinking really closely about what needs to be done. After all, depending on your project the task list could be quite long. You want to make sure that you don’t forget anything because Microsoft Project requires you to lay out everything from the beginning.

You also want to try and get your list of tasks in order. That means if task A needs to be done before task B you want to list them that way on your task list. This ensures that the tasks remain in the proper order when you initiate the chart.

To list out your tasks you start a new project and just start adding the tasks into what looks just like an Excel spreadsheet. You can name each one whatever you like and keep listing them down the line. At this point you can also jump around and edit your tasks and put them into different spaces until you have everything listed and in the order that you want. You’re also able to create subtasks to join some things together.

Step 2: Set Your Dates

The next step is to set up the start and end dates for your project. Once you do this you’ll be able to create the overall schedule, so it’s important to get these dates in as soon as you can, but not before your task list is completed. 

The really good thing is that this is easy to set. You simply click on the field that says ‘start date’ and select the date you want. You can do the same thing for the ‘end date.’ For those who aren’t quite sure the specific date you can choose to add a ‘duration’ for your task, such as 60 days, 2 months, one year, etc. and the system will calculate the end date based on your start date and duration.

Next up, set your task start and end dates. You can also set milestones along the way for different sets of projects that need to be completed. The good news is, this is simple to do as well. You just need to create a task for it on your spreadsheet. From there, you set the ‘duration’ at zero and the system will automatically set it as a milestone or you can create a row and then select the button to set a milestone. You can even link your tasks into the milestone.

Step 3: You’re Done

Just like that you have a Gantt chart. Yes, it only takes a couple of steps to complete and you’ll be ready to go just like that. Now, that doesn’t mean that you have to be done. There are some ways that you can add to your chart and improve it along the way, but you’re going to be ready to get started and share what you have created with your team if you choose to.

Additional Notes

First, you should know that your chart is going to be in mpp format, which allows you to upload it again to Microsoft Project and more. Note this format if you’re looking to share your chart with anyone else or send it to others. Not everyone may be able to open this type of file.

Creating Templates

Next, you have the option to create or import templates. This is great if you often have the same type of project or you want to be able to make minor tweaks to something without starting from scratch. Templates let you fill in or update a few areas and give you the ability to save some time and a whole lot of effort. You just make sure to save template instead of saving as a regular sheet. 

  1. Select ‘file’
  2. Select ‘options’
  3. Select ‘save’
  4. Select ‘save templates’
  5. Select ‘save as template’
  6. Select ‘file’
  7. Select ‘new’
  8. Select ‘personal’
  9. Choose the template you want. 
  10. Set your start date
  11. Select ‘create’
  12. Start updating your new chart

Exporting and Sharing

If you need to export your chart you can do so easily. That’s important because you need the rest of your team to see the chart and know what they’re supposed to be doing. That means you’ll need to be able to send the information to them and then get feedback or anything else you might need. 

Make sure the people on your team, or whoever you’re sharing the information with, has Microsoft Project so they can open it. Then, save your chart to your computer or other device. You won’t be able to send the chart directly through Microsoft Project, but you can still share it.

You’ll need a third-party program that reads and uses Microsoft Project files (remember those are mpp files). You can upload your chart to the program and save it there. You’ll then be able to edit, adjust, or just view the chart you’ve created. You can also send and share the project through the program but you’ll still need the right programs to download or view. 

Printing Your Chart

If you’re ready to print out the chart so you can have a physical copy you can do this as well. You’ll want to upload your chart directly into a third-party program so you can access all of the features and make sure that you’re printing the format that you want. In fact, from there you’ll be able to export to a PDF, which makes it easier to see what you need.

Once you’ve exported your chart you can take a look at it in PDF format and then set your print settings. From there, you can print it out and do whatever you need with it. Though, of course, you’ll get the best features and abilities out of keeping your chart editable.

Gantt Chart in Microsoft Project

How to Make the Most of Your Gantt Charts

Now, Microsoft Project does give you the basics on Gantt charts. And it lets you achieve some of the things that you need. You’ll be able to get a simple chart and you’ll be able to edit it and do what you need to in order to stay on top of your tasks. But there are a lot of things that you’re going to miss out on.

Microsoft Project just doesn’t offer a lot of advanced features for those who need more detailed charts or those who are working on extensive projects. On top of that, Microsoft Project just takes a lot of time and effort to set up. And then to have very few features when you’re done … it’s just not going to give you and your team everything that you need. So, what do you do? 

The first thing you do is look for a platform that’s going to make things a whole lot easier for you, and jump in.

Why You Need Instagantt

When it comes to Gantt charts you may not even realize all of the things that you can and should be doing. But we can help you there. Instagantt offers you all of the features that you’re looking for when it comes to creating Gantt charts and getting your entire team on board in no time at all. 

With Instagantt your process of creating tasks is easier than ever. You can set up as many or as few tasks as you want for each project and then set things like start dates, deadlines, dependencies, and a whole lot more. Even add in notes, assign each task to a person or group, ask questions, and anything else you might need.

Once you’ve created tasks you can easily edit and update them as you go along. Plus, you can work with your team in real-time to collaborate on different things that are happening with each of your tasks and projects. You can also color code things, create templates, add, delete or move around tasks and milestones, and link your Instagantt account to your other favorite services.

With Instagantt you’ll have everything that you need to keep your project on task this time and every other time as well. All you need to do is get started and you’ll quickly see why it’s a great program for you, that allows you to achieve all of the things that you need within your business. Whether you run a small operation or a large one, Instagantt can help.

Also, Instagantt gives you full access to absolutely all of their features at a set price. You can try out the service completely free for five projects, with full access. Then, pay only for the number of people you have, without having to worry about groups (like 10 to 20 or 20 to 50) and without having to worry about the ‘bonus features’ that some systems charge.

With Instagantt you pay one price per person who gets access. And that price includes access to 100% of the features that are available through the service. That way, you’re not getting upcharged just to get additional access.

Gantt Chart in Instagantt


When it comes to creating Gantt charts we believe that it should be as simple and efficient as possible. We believe that you should always be able to get the quality that you’re looking for and the ease of use that you need. That’s why Instagantt prides itself on providing everything you’re looking for in one place. Take a minute to check out the service and everything it has to offer. You’ll be impressed with just how much easier it is for your team to stay on track throughout the days, weeks, months, and longer that it takes to achieve all of your projects. 

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