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About This Page
Vertex42's Gantt Chart Template Pro spreadsheet contains a Help worksheet inside that explains how to use it and answers many common questions. There are also multiple videos on the Gantt Chart Pro web page showing how to use it and demonstrating some features. This blog post provides answers to various questions that may or may not be included in the Help worksheet. You can also use this post as a place to ask additional questions about using Gantt Chart Pro (although if you need a response within a couple of business days, please use email instead).
Have questions prior to ordering the pro version of Vertex42's
Gantt Chart Template? FAQ - Prior to Ordering >
FAQ Quick Links:
- Most Important: How to add new rows?
- Why are there some formulas in the input cells?
- The Percent (%) Complete must be
- The spreadsheet is being slow. How do I speed it up?
- How to I see/print my entire project? I can only see/print what is currently viewable on my screen.
- Dates in dd/mm/yy format
- German Date format (TT – MMM – JJJJ)
- Creating Custom Date Formats
- Can I Import into Microsoft Project®?
- Is there a way to transfer data from some other Gantt chart spreadsheet?
- The red line marking Today’s Date disappeared.
- Increasing the number of columns in the Gantt Chart in Excel 2007+.
Most Important: How to add new rows?
See the Help worksheet for instructions on how to add new rows. It is critical that formulas are copied down after inserting new rows.
Why are there some formulas in the input cells?
If an input cell contains a formula, that formula is there to provide an example of what you can enter in that cell. You can overwrite that formula by entering a value manually if you want to. For example, instead of manually entering today's date in the Today field, you could use the formula =TODAY() to have it automatically update.
See the Help worksheet for examples of ways to use formulas to define tasks.
The Percent (%) Complete must be entered manually
Some people have asked why the % Complete value doesn't update automatically, based on the current date. The % Complete is always a manually entered value (unless you are using formula to calculate the % Complete for a summary task, which is explained in the Help worksheet).
A main assumption in the Gantt chart is that the % Complete for a task can only be estimated by the task lead or their team members. In some cases, the % Complete may be represented as a gray portion of the bar in the Gantt chart. This is fairly accurate for the Daily view, but is much less accurate in the Weekly/Monthly/Quarterly views because you might have only one or two columns for representing the duration of a task in the monthly view.
The spreadsheet is being slow. How do I speed it up?
The additional color-coding and other advanced features in Gantt Chart Pro can sometimes make the spreadsheet recalculation sluggish. The key to speeding this up while you are making changes is to display less of the Gantt chart on your screen at one time. Here are some ways to do that:
- Zoom In, using the zooming feature in Excel (View > Zoom)
- Hide columns and rows that you do not need to see for now. For example, hiding columns starting from the right side of the Gantt chart, or hiding a group of rows for sub-tasks that you are not working on.
How to I print my entire project?
In Excel, you can only print what is currently viewable in the worksheet. You can change the range of dates viewable in the Gantt chart (using the scroll bar), but to increase the range of dates, you will need to either:
- A. Use the Weekly or Monthly view. Displaying and printing a larger range of dates is what this new feature was designed for.
- B. Add more columns to the right side of the gantt chart and then update the print area. See the FAQ below for a video that shows how this is done. Note that adding more columns can significantly slow down the recalculation speed in the XLSX version (depending on how much of the worksheet you are viewing on your screen at one time - see the previous question).
There is also the old-school method: If you must use the daily view and want to print your entire project and you can't add more columns, you can try using scissors and tape. Print, change the date range, print, etc. then cut and tape to assemble a wide view of the chart on multiple pieces of paper.
Dates in dd/mm/yy format
By default, the spreadsheet uses the mm/dd/yy format to display the Start and End dates. See the Help worksheet for a new option that uses conditional formatting to let you display dates in dmy format.
To manually change date formats to the UK format (dd/mm/yy), you can change the custom date format by selecting the cells containing dates and pressing Ctrl+1 to get to the Format Cells dialog box. Go to the Number tab and change the Custom format to "ddd dd/mm/yy". Depending on your computer's regional date settings (system preferences), you may then need to enter dates as "26 Jul 09" to make sure that Excel interprets the date correctly.
German Date format (TT - MMM - JJJJ)
Some labels may use the TEXT() function to display dates in different formats based on whether you are viewing daily, weekly, or monthly. For the German locale, you'll need to change those formulas to "TT - MMM - JJJJ" instead of "dd - mmm - yyyy" and " MMM JJJJ" instead of " mmm yyyy". You can make the change in one cell and then copy/paste to fix the others.
Creating Custom Date Formats
The following is a pretty good article on working with custom date formats: "How to change date format in Excel and create custom formatting" on ablebits.com.
Finding Your Locale Code: If you want to use a locale code like [$-409] in your date format string, you can look for your locale code in the LCIDHex column of this official list. For example, the LCIDHex code is "0c0c" for French_Canadian, so you can use a custom date format code of "[$-0c0c]dddd, mmmm d, yyyy" to show day and month names in your language.
Can I Import into Microsoft Project®?
To import tasks from Excel into Project is pretty simple if the data is formatted correctly. You could create a new worksheet and copy your data so that it appears with the headings Name (for the task names), Start (for the Start Date), Finish (for the End Date), and Duration. Then use the Import Wizard in MS Project. I don't provide support for MS Project (in fact, I don't even own it).
Link: Importing data from Excel to MS Project - A walkthrough on TechRebulic.com for importing a vendor's Excel schedule into Microsoft Project.
Is there a way to transfer my info from a free Gantt chart to the Pro version?
No automated way, no. The Pro version does not contain any special import feature (because it does not contain any VBA macros). If you prepare the Pro version with enough new rows, you could probably copy the task descriptions and use Paste Special > Values Only, so that you don't overwrite any formulas or formatting. But ultimately, you'll need to create your schedule again in the Pro version if you want to use the Pro spreadsheet instead of a spreadsheet that you have already been using.
The red line marking Today's Date disappeared.
- If you are using the worksheet that displays only Monday-Friday, check to make sure that Today's Date is not a Saturday or Sunday.
- If you are using a formula for Today's Date, use =TODAY() instead of =NOW() because NOW() returns both the date and the time.
- Make sure that Today's Date is within the range being displayed by the chart.
Increasing the number of columns in the Gantt Chart in Excel 2007+.
Video: Adding Columns to the Gantt Chart to Increase the Print Range
Watch via YouTube >
Here are the basic instructions without watching the video: Select the last 7 columns of the Gantt chart, then use the selection's drag handle to copy that group of columns to the right.
Important: When using copy/paste to append columns to the Gantt chart, make sure to copy and paste columns in groups of 7. Select the last 7 columns in the gantt chart and press Ctrl+c to copy them. Then, select the next blank column and press Ctrl+v to paste.
Selecting columns in the versions of the Gantt chart that have very narrow columns: If you are currently displaying the weekly view in the files that use 7 columns per week, you can select a group of 7 rows by first selecting the last date in the chart (which spans 7 columns) and then pressing Ctrl+Space to select the associated columns.
After adding columns to the Gantt chart, you will need to update the print area (via Page Layout > Print Area).