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Project 2007: Using the Gantt Chart

written by: twhatley • edited by: Michele McDonough • updated: 2/24/2009

In Project 2007, there is a Gantt Chart view that is the predefined default view when adding tasks to a project. In this view, you can see the project tasks and graphical bars that go with the tasks. In this article, we will learn how to use this view.

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    The Task List

    Photo credit ZWNJ via FLickr On the left side of the Gantt Chart view, you will see all of the tasks associated with the project listed in a grid. These tasks can be organized by summary tasks- tasks that have subtasks and their summaries. The information from the subtasks is used automatically for the summaries of the summary tasks by Project 2007. Tasks can be linked together to determine dependency of the start and finish dates. The task list portion of the Gantt Chart view shows the dependency of each task.

    There are four different types of dependencies (FS—Finish-to-start, SS—Start-to-start, FF—Finish-to-finish, SF—Start-to-Finish). This is good to know and be able to view them, in order to help with resource management. If you know that you have a project that is about to end while one is starting, you can better decide which resources will be available.

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    Using the Chart

    The actual chart may be of more interest to you. It is a graphical representation of the tasks. Gantt bars (bars that represents a task’s duration) are present and gives a better view of tasks that are overlapping or dependent. The chart part looks like a time line with a Gantt bar for each task. Link lines are used if the tasks are linked together.

    There are certain things you can do to customize the chart area of the Gantt Chart view. Zooming in and out is a way to get a better look at the items on the chart. This comes in handy when you have many tasks that you want to look at all at once; the default view is two timeline units at a time. Zooming out allows you to get an overall view of tasks for a certain time period, no matter if it is months and years on out.

    At the top of the chart, you will see the timeline units. To zoom out, change the time unites to Years and Months to get a broader view. To zoom in, change it to Weeks and Days.

    From the Format menu, many different customizations can be done to the chart and the Gantt bars. You can change the color, shape, pattern or add text to the bar types or individuals bars. New bar types can also be created if you need to. You can also choose to display the names of the tasks on the bars. Follow the steps below to change certain settings of the chart.

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    Learn how to use specific techniques in Project 2007 to create and customize your Gantt Chart view.How to Draw a Gantt Chart Using Microsoft Project
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    To change the color, shape or pattern of a Gantt bar style:

    1. In Gantt view, click on the Format heading of the ribbon.
    2. Click on Bar Styles.
    3. Click the type of Gantt bar you want to change from the Name field.
    4. Click on the Bars tab.
    5. Change the color, type and pattern options under the Start, Middle, and End headings.

    To change the color, shape or patter of individual bars:

    1. Select the task associated with the bar you want to change from the Task Name field in Gantt Chart view.
    2. From the Format menu, click Bar.
    3. Click the Bar Shape tab.
    4. Change the color, type and pattern options under the Start, Middle, and End headings.

    To add text to a group of Gantt bars:

    1. From Gantt view, click Format, and then Bar Styles.
    2. Click the type of Gantt bar that you need to add text to from the table.
    3. Click the Text tab.
    4. Type the desired text in the Left, Right, Top, Bottom, and Inside boxes.

    To add text to an individual Gantt bar:

    1. Select the task you desire to change from the Task Name field in the Gantt view.
    2. Click on Format, Bar, and then Bar Text tab.
    3. Type in the desired text in the Left, Right, Top, Bottom, and Inside boxes.

    To create a new Gantt bar type:

    1. Click on Format, then Bar Styles from inside the Gantt view.
    2. Select the last row in the Gantt bar list.
    3. Click Insert Row.
    4. Type a name for the new bar in the Name column.
    5. Input the task type that the bar will be associated with in the Show For Tasks column.
    6. Input the fields for the start and finish points of the task in the From and To columns.
    7. Click the Bars tab.
    8. Select the shapes, patterns and types in the Start, Middle, and End headings.