Using Excel for Project Management

Delivering a project requires detailed planning. If you are using Excel or earlier, instead right-click the selected cells.

Using Excel for Project Management

I will give you step-by-step instructions for making a timeline in Excel by formatting a Scatter chart. I will also show you how to instantly create an executive timeline in PowerPoint by pasting from Excel. Download PowerPoint Timeline template. Creating PowerPoint timeline from Excel takes: Download Excel Timeline template. Creating Excel timeline chart takes more than: List out the key events, important decision points or critical deliverables of your project.

These will be called Milestones and they will be used to create a timeline. In Excel , , and create a table out of these Milestones and next to each milestone add the due date of that particular milestone.

To create a timeline in Excel, you will also need to add another column to your table that includes some plotting numbers. Add the new column next to your milestone description column and list out a repetitive sequence of numbers such as 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5, 10, 15, 20 ect.

See my example below. Excel will use these plotting points to vary the height of each milestone when plotting them on your timeline template. For this demonstration I will format the table in the image below into a Scatter chart and then into an Excel timeline. Then I will use it again to make a timeline in PowerPoint.

From the timeline worksheet in Excel, click in any blank cell. Then from the Excel ribbon, select the Insert tab and navigate to the Charts section of the ribbon. In the Charts section of the ribbon drop down the Scatter or Bubble Chart menu. Select Scatter which will insert a blank white chart space onto your Excel worksheet. Click on the Add button to bring up the Edit Series window. Here you add the dates that will make your timeline. We will enter the dates into the field named Series X values.

Click in the Series X values window on the tiny spreadsheet. Staying in the Edit Series window move down to Series Y value. This is where you will enter the plotting numbers you added to your table. Click in the Series Y value window and remove the value that Excel places in the field by default.

Then select your range by clicking on the first plotting number of your timeline mine is 1 and then dragging down to the last plotting number of your timeline mine is 4. Now, both Series X and Series Y values should be populated as in the image below.

Click OK and then click OK again to create a scatter chart. Click on your chart to bring up a set of controls which will be presented to the upper right of your timeline's chart. Staying in the Charts Elements control box, hover your mouse over the word Axes but don't uncheck it to get an expansion arrow just to the right.

Click on the expansion arrow to get additional axis options for your chart. Here you should uncheck Primary Vertical but leave Primary Horizontal checked. To make a timeline in Excel, we will need to format the Scatter chart by adding connectors from your milestone points. Type the dates of your timeline in one row, spacing them out with blank cells roughly in proportion to the time between them.

Write your timeline entries. In the cell directly above or below each date, write a description of the event that happened on that date. Don't worry if it looks sloppy. Alternating descriptions above and below the date tend to make the most readable timelines.

Select the row containing your descriptions. Click the Home tab in the ribbon menu, then look for the Orientation button under the Alignment group. In some versions, the Orientation button looks like the letters abc. Click this button and select one of the angled text options. The rotated text should make your descriptions fit the timeline. If you are using Excel or earlier, instead right-click the selected cells. Select Format Cells , then the Alignment tab.

Type in the number of degrees you'd like the text to rotate, then click OK. Just select the cell where you want the photo to appear and select Insert from the menu bar.

Click on the Picture option and follow the prompts. Not Helpful 0 Helpful 1. Not Helpful 2 Helpful 1. How do you select the date range for the project timeline chart? Answer this question Flag as Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered.

Already answered Not a question Bad question Other. Tips If you're not satisfied with these options, try PowerPoint, which has more graphics options. Article Info Featured Article Categories: Featured Articles Microsoft Excel In other languages: Is this article up to date? The Office Timeline add-in for PowerPoint integrates with Excel to import existing milestone data and convert it into PowerPoint slides.

Delivering a project requires detailed planning. Project Managers can use Excel to plan each task in their project. Project planning spreadsheets should include columns that list the task and its owner, as well as the start and finish dates of each task. To easily track how the project is progressing, planners can also include a comparison between the estimated task dates and the actual ones.

Use a graphical project planning tool rather than a list based tool if you prefer to manage your project visually or need to communicate plans and status with others. Project Managers can use the free PowerPoint Office Timeline add-in to visually plan, track or present their work. Project Managers can use Excel dashboards like the example below, to monitor projects, to give status reports or to provide data for stakeholder or executive reviews. Office Timeline is an award winning project management tool for PowerPoint.

Please check your inbox for download link and tips to get started. Using Excel for Project Management Project Managers working on small to midsize projects can use Microsoft Excel to visualize, plan and track their projects. Download Free Milestone Tracker.