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How to Create a Project Budget Chart

written by: Misty Faucheux • edited by: Jean Scheid • updated: 7/14/2013

Want to easily keep track of your budget? Here are some easy tips on how to create a project budget chart including step-by-step directions and links to other articles here on Bright Hub PM. You'll learn more about working with charts and graphs in Microsoft Excel.

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    Create a Chart That You Can Share

    Project management teams need to create project budgets in order to ensure they are staying within the total budget throughout the project. One way to keep track of a costs is to create a project budget chart.

    Project budget charts can be bar graphs, pie charts or some type of similar chart. To easily convert your data into these charts, you may want to consider using Microsoft Excel. With Excel, you can quickly update your spreadsheet with new information, allowing you to get real-time updates on what’s going on with project costs.

    You can then share this with your team via email or another sharing method. Or, you can upload your spreadsheet to Google Docs for teams spread out across the country or the world. You will just need to download the file to convert it to a physical graph.

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    Step By Step

    Here are the steps on how to create a project budget chart in Excel:Source: 

    1. Open up Excel.
    2. Open up a blank worksheet. Depending on your version, you may get a pop-up menu, asking what type of worksheet that you would like to create. If not, go to File -> New.
    3. Create your columns. You should label each column by starting with Column B, Row 2 and going across. For example, for your first value, type it into B2. These should be the phase, year or task of each project.
    4. Column A is where the names of your values with go. For example, if you are keeping track of your budget based on monetary amounts, you might enter $10,000 in A1.
    5. Input all of the figures from your budget into the rows and columns. Always double-check your work. If it’s incorrect, simply delete the numbers and re-input.
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    Creating Your Chart

    Once all your data are entered, it’s time to create your graphs or charts. Excel makes this extremely easy since it basically does the work for you. To create a chart in Excel, follow the below procedures:

    1. In Excel 2007, open up your spreadsheet with the information that you just entered.
    2. Select (highlight) the data that you will be using, including row and column names.
    3. Go to Insert -> Chart Category, and select the chart that you would like to use from the chart drop-down menus. The wizard will automatically create a chart for you.

    In older versions of Excel, follow the below procedures:

    1. Open up your file, and select the Chart Wizard button.
    2. Select the type of chart that you would like to use, and hit Next.
    3. Choose from where your data is coming, and hit Next.
    4. Give your chart or graph a name, and hit Next.
    5. Insert the chart into your current spreadsheet, or choose the save it as an object to open as a separate entity.
    6. Select Finish.

    You can keep a running spreadsheet for all the phases of your project by adding sheets at the bottom. In the latest versions of Excel, you just need to click the tab for a sheet with the star at the top. If you have an older version, go to Insert -> Worksheet. You can rename a worksheet by right-clicking on the tab and selecting the Rename option from the pop-up menu.

    To increase your skill level with Excel, read Tips and Tricks for Creating Charts and Graphs in Microsoft Excel.