Critical Path in an Excel Gantt Chart

If you are building a Gantt chart in Excel, OnePager can help you show the critical path of your project plan as a part of that Gantt chart.

If you use Excel to manage your projects, and would like to visualize the critical path, you can do it in OnePager Express:

Excel Gantt chart showing critical path.
  1. First, let’s assume that you’ve created a new column in Excel that has a head of Critical. In our example, we’ll also label our header “Critical,” and put a value of Yes or No in this column. A value of “Yes” means it’s on the critical path. Mark the critical tasks in your Excel spreadsheet.
  2. Next, we’ll need to map the new Critical column into our OnePager Template, which will enable us to eventually create a conditional formatting rule make our Critical tasks appear a certain way in our OnePager Gantt chart.

    To modify your Template, open Excel, click on your Add-ins tab and then click Templates… Once the Template Properties dialog box opens, go to the Other Columns tab, and modify the mapping of one of the Rule Columns to use the "Critical" column you just created. Tell OnePager to import the critical path field.

  3. Click Save and Use in the Template Properties, then click the OnePager Express button to create a New Project View as a starting point.

    Once the new OnePager chart is up, open Home > Project View Properties > Task Bars > Manage Rules. Launch the conditional formatting engine.

  4. Once the Conditional Formatting Rules dialog box is open, add a conditional formatting rule that tells OnePager to make your shapes appear differently, in some way (color, shape, border formatting, or font), based on the Yes values in your Critical column. This rule will turn all critical tasks red, and give them a chevron shape.
  5. After you click OK twice, you should see the changes take place. With a little legend tinkering, you will be able to clearly see which tasks and milestones are on the critical path. In our example, we’ve used red chevrons to show the critical path in the Gantt chart.

Try OnePager Express Gantt chart software today by downloading a free trial or attending one of our demonstration webinars.

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