How to make a project milestones chart

Written by melissa kelly
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How to make a project milestones chart
A project milestones chart helps project managers schedule tasks. (Chart analysis image by Dmitriy Lesnyak from

A project milestones chart, commonly referred to as a Gantt chart, is used to delineate tasks in a project and to show when the tasks are expected to be initiated and completed. Project managers use Gantt charts to present the details and steps of a project and to update team members on the status of the various tasks. The charts also can be used to show which tasks depend upon other tasks.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Computer
  • Microsoft Project or Excel

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    Making a Chart in Microsoft Project

  1. 1

    In the Microsoft Project software program, open a new document that shows two window panes--one for tasks and one for the chart.

  2. 2

    In the task column, enter each of the tasks for the project and the duration to complete each of the tasks in the duration column.

  3. 3

    For the first task, enter the date that you would like to start the task.

  4. 4

    For each of the tasks, identify which of the other tasks are predecessors or must be completed before the start of the next task. The number associated with the task that must be completed first should be entered into the predecessor column.

  5. 5

    The system will then automatically schedule an end date based upon the start date and the duration of each task, and the system will generate a Gantt chart displaying the duration for each task.

    Making a Chart in Microsoft Excel

  1. 1

    Open a new Excel worksheet.

  2. 2

    Enter the name of each task in the first column. In the second column, enter the expected start date. Enter the number of days completed for the task in the third column and enter the number of days remaining to complete the task in the fourth column.

  3. 3

    Select the spreadsheet area you want to graph and open the chart wizard. Select the "Stacked Bar Graph" as the type of graph you want to generate and select "finish."

  4. 4

    Select the start date column. Go to Patterns and select Format Data Series. Once the box has opened, choose to have "none" for both the area and border tabs. Select the y-axis of the chart and select the scale tab. Enter a value of 60 for the major unit, which represents approximately two months, and a minor unit of 1, which represents a day. The minimum and maximum values should correspond to the dates you want to capture with your chart. Be sure the box for "Category axis crosses at maximum value" is checked.

Tips and warnings

  • Microsoft's website,, provides templates and tutorials that make it relatively easy to generate a project milestones chart and other project management documents.
  • Generating a project milestones chart is much easier in Microsoft Project than in Microsoft Excel because Microsoft Project can generate such charts without manipulation of graphs.

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