How to Create a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets

Google Sheets provides the ability to create detailed Gantt charts right within your spreadsheet.

Even if you've had no past experience with their unique format, Google makes it easy to work with them.

Build Your Project Schedule

Gantt project schedule in Google Sheets

Before diving into Gantt chart creation, you first need to define your project tasks along with their corresponding dates in a simple table.

  1. Launch Google Sheets and open a blank spreadsheet.

  2. Choose a suitable location near the top of your spreadsheet, and type the following heading names in the same row, each in their own column, as shown in the screenshot above:

    Start Date
    End Date
    Task Name

    To make things easier for yourself later in the tutorial, you might want to utilize the same locations that we've used in our example (A1, B1, C1).

  3. Enter each of your project tasks along with their corresponding dates in the appropriate columns, using as many rows as necessary. They should be listed in order of occurrence (top to bottom = first to last) and the date format should be as follows: MM/DD/YYYY.

Other formatting aspects of your table (borders, shading, alignment, font styling, etc.) are purely arbitrary in this case since the primary goal is to enter data that will be used by a Gantt chart later. It's completely up to you whether or not you'd like to make further modifications so that the table is more visually appealing. If you do, however, it's important that the data itself remains in the correct rows and columns.

Create a Calculation Table

Calculation table in Google Sheets

Just inputting start and end dates isn't enough to render a Gantt chart because its layout relies heavily on the actual amount of time that passes between those two important milestones.

In order to handle this requirement, you need to create another table that calculates this duration:

  1. Scroll down several rows from the initial table that you created above.

  2. Type the following heading names in the same row, each in their own column:

    Task Name
    Start Day
    Total Duration
  3. Copy the list of tasks from your first table into the Task Name column, ensuring that they're listed in the same order.

  4. Type the following formula into the Start Day column for your first task, replacing A with the column letter which contains Start Date in your first table, and 2 with the row number:

    =int(A2)-int($A$2)
  5. Hit Enter when finished. The cell should now display 0.

  6. Select and copy the cell where you just entered this formula, either using a keyboard shortcut or Edit > Copy from the Google Sheets menu.

  7. Select all of the remaining cells in the Start Day column and paste them, via Edit > Paste.

    If copied correctly, the Start Day value for each task should reflect the number of days from the beginning of the project that it's set to begin. You can validate that the Start Day formula in each row is correct by selecting its corresponding cell and ensuring that it is identical to the formula typed in Step 4, with one notable exception: the first value (int(xx)) matches the appropriate cell location in your first table.

  8. Next is the Total Duration column, which needs to be populated with another formula that's slightly more complicated than the previous one. Type the following into the Total Duration column for your first task, replacing cell location references with those corresponding to the first table in your actual spreadsheet (similar to what we did in Step 4):

    =(int(B2)-int($A$2))-(int(A2)-int($A$2))

    If you have any issues determining the cell locations that correspond to your particular spreadsheet, this formula key should help: (current task's end date - project start date) - (current task's start date - project start date).

  9. Strike the Enter key when finished.

  10. Select and copy the cell in which you just entered this formula.

  11. Once the formula has been copied to the clipboard, select and paste to all of the remaining cells in the Total Duration column. If copied correctly, the Total Duration value for each task should reflect the total number of days between its respective start and end dates.

Generate a Gantt Chart

Gantt chart in Google Sheets

Now that your tasks are in place, along with their corresponding dates and duration, it's time to create a Gantt chart:

  1. Select every cell within the calculation table, including the headers.

  2. Go to Insert > Chart.

  3. A new chart will appear, titled Start Day and Total Duration. Select and drag it so that its positioned below or beside the tables, but not on top of them.

  4. Select the chart once, and from its top-right menu, choose Edit chart.

  5. Under Chart type, scroll down to the Bar section and choose Stacked bar chart (the middle option).

  6. From the Customize tab in the chart editor, select Series so that it opens and displays available settings.

  7. In the Apply to all series menu, choose Start Day.

  8. Pick the Color option and choose None.

Your Gantt chart is now created, and you can view individual Start Day and Total Duration figures by hovering over their respective areas within the graph. You can also make any other modifications that you wish via the chart editor, including dates, task names, title, color scheme, and more.