Creating a Gantt Chart in Visio

Creating a Gantt chart in VisioHow to make a Gantt chart in Visio

A Gantt chart is more commonly associated with a Project Plan, and is the default view in Microsoft Project.  While the members of a Project team are likely to want to see the details provided in a Project Gantt Chart, others may not understand it or be able to clearly see the relationship between tasks. For this reason, Microsoft make it possible to take our Visio timeline and from it create a Gantt chart in Visio.

Saving our Visio timeline as a Project file

In this tutorial, the next in the Scheduling series, we take the Visio timeline created earlier and export it in another format. Using the “export timeline data” option from the timeline menu, the timeline is saved as a Microsoft Project file in a folder that you specify. With the file saved in this new format we can open it in Microsoft Project. You must close the Visio file after exporting it as a Project file so that we can import it again from Project back to Visio.

TIP: This is one procedure that you can follow in order to create a Gantt chart in Visio, but of course you can create a Gantt chart in Visio 2007 by choosing the option from the “New” command and dragging shapes onto the drawing page.


When you open the file in Microsoft Project it will be displayed by default as a Gantt chart; Project will take the dates from the Visio timeline and create a Gantt chart based on the duration of each task. What it will not do, however, is linked to the tasks with any dependencies, so when we import the Gantt chart in Visio we will have to create these links manually.

Importing the Project file to make a Gantt chart in Visio

When the Project file has been saved it can be closed. Returning to Microsoft Visio, we need to begin creating a Gantt chart in Visio by choosing “Gantt chart” from the “Schedule” group in the “New” category. When the Gantt chart has been created, a new Gantt Chart menu will appear and from there we can select the import data command. This will open the Import Project Data wizard, and from there we can select the appropriate file and import the data to create a new Gantt chart in Visio.

Why bother with a Gantt chart in Visio?

  • Making a Gantt chart in Visio creates a  an simpler, graphical Gantt Chart
  • A Visio Gantt chart is easy for anyone to understand
  • Complex dependencies are not required when you make a Gantt chart in Visio
  • You can use a Visio Gantt chart in a report or a PowerPoint presentation
  • If you already have a Project file it is easy to import

Creating a Visio Gantt chart