How to Make a Floating Bar Chart in Excel to Show the Duration of a Project

Written by matthew weeks
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How to Make a Floating Bar Chart in Excel to Show the Duration of a Project
Floating bar charts are a built-in feature of Microsoft Excel. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Floating bar charts, or Gantt diagrams, are fixtures in the world of project management. They are a visual representation of the start and finish dates of all of the various elements of a project throughout its life cycle. They are not a specific feature of Microsoft Excel's Chart Wizard. However, it is possible to simulate a Gantt diagram by graphing two series of dependent data in a stacked bar chart. (See Reference 1)

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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  1. 1

    Create a new worksheet and label the first three column headings "Task," "Start," and "Duration." (See Reference 1)

  2. 2

    Enter the various tasks of the project in the first column, their respective start dates in the second column, and the amount of days allotted to each task in the third column.

  3. 3

    Click on any cell in the "Start" column and click on the "Sort Descending" button in the toolbar to sort the entire data set in reverse order by start date.

  4. 4

    Select all three data sets by clicking and dragging your mouse across the entire range of cells. Be sure to include the column headers.

  5. 5

    Click on the Chart Wizard button in the toolbar. Select a "Floating Bars" or "Stacked Bars" chart type, depending on your version of Excel. Confirm that it appears the way you want it to in your preview window and click "Finish." You now have a floating bar chart denoting your project timeline.

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