Finishing the Visio Gantt Chart

In the final tutorial of the Timeline series we finish creating the Visio Gantt Chart we made in the previous session.  At the start of this series, I demonstrated how Microsoft Visio could be used to make a diagrammatic view of a project timeline suitable for sharing with non-technical personnel or as a summary for perhaps an executive report. In this form the diagram is an excellent subject for a slide in a PowerPoint presentation; equally, it could be used as a visual progress report diagram that adds understanding to a report created in Microsoft Word.

Sure, you can use Excel to make a Gantt Chart

There are those who would choose entirely different software to make a Gantt chart – Excel is often a popular alternative – but a Gantt Chart created in Excel needs a lot of “fettling” to make it work properly. Why go to all that trouble if you have a copy of Visio in the office? It might not have the features of a proper Project Gantt chart, but it is certainly an easy option to consider.

Gantt Chart in Visio

The Timeline becomes a Gantt Chart

The project had originally been created in Visio as a timeline, then as the tutorials progressed it was exported to Microsoft Project and saved as a Project file. Once the Visio 2007 timeline was saved as a Project file it was imported into Visio again, but this time, instead of formatting it as a timeline we decided to create a Gantt chart from the data instead. This was to demonstrate the integration possible in Visio 2007 and the way different formats can be used to extend the usefulness of a single data file.

TIP: Just as in Project, you make a milestone shape in a Visio Gantt Chart by allocating a duration of 0 days to a task. You can also add a summary task by either out-denting it if you have the room to do so, or by indenting all the tasks beneath it.


Completing the Gantt Chart in Visio

Having constructed the basic Gantt Chart during the last tutorial we set about refining it and adding further elements to it in this one. One of the features of a Gantt Chart created in Microsoft Project is the ability to create summary tasks by outdenting them, much in the same way as the outline view can be used in Word.

gantt chart

[br]In the tutorial I show you how this cannot be done in the same way using a Gantt chart in Visio, but I also show you how you can work around this to create a summary task. We look at adding additional tasks and turning them into milestones and finish the series with a demonstration of how a background and title can add a touch of professionalism to the Gantt Chart diagram.

Finishing the Visio Gantt chart