Creating Gantt Charts In Power BI

What Is A Gantt Chart?

A Gantt chart is a bar chart commonly used in project management to schedule tasks and manage and report the progress of key tasks.

A Gantt chart displays tasks in horizontal bars along with timelines and resources assigned to each job.

The status of tasks (Eg completed, in progress, not yet started) is often shown by the colour of the chart.

This article shows you how to create Gantt charts in Power BI, Microsoft’s data visualisation and business intelligence tool.

Creating visuals and dashboards is covered in our Power BI courses.

Importing The Gantt Chart Visual

Unlike most basic Power BI visuals, a Gantt chart is not a standard visual in Power BI.

As a custom visual, Gantt charts don’t come preinstalled with the default dashboard. This is strange given how many more advanced visuals (Eg Q&A visual or smart narrative visual) come as standard in Power BI. See this article if you are unclear on the difference between a Power BI dashboard and a Power BI report.

There are two ways to import a Power BI Gantt chart:

  • From the online marketplace
  • From a local visualisation file

Importing A Gantt Chart: Marketplace

To import a Gantt chart to your visualisation pane in reports view, click the three dots (…) at the bottom of your Visualizations pane.

From the dropdown list, click “Get more visuals”.


Clicking 'Get more visuals' in the visualizations pane

In the search bar in the online marketplace, search for the keyword “Gantt”.

Various Gantt chart options will appear.

For this article, you will use the one provided by Microsoft Corporation, which is free to download.

Click the corresponding icon to download the chart.

Selecting the Microsoft Gantt chart in the Power BI marketplace

From the following screen, click the “Get it Now” button to import the Gantt chart.

Importing the Microsoft Gantt chart

Once your Gantt chart is successfully imported, you will see the following dialogue box.

Click the “OK” button.

Dialogue box showing custom visual has imported successfully

You should now see an icon for the Gantt chart in the Visualizations pane, as shown below:

Visualizations pane showing the imported Gantt chart


Importing A Gantt Chart: Local File

If you cannot import the Gantt chart visualisation from the online marketplace, you can import the Gantt chart using a local file.

To download the file for the Gantt chart visualisation to your desktop, go to the following link.

You will need to log in to your Microsoft Account to download files from the above link.

At the AppSource page, search for the Gantt chart. You should see the following web page.

Click on the “Get it now” button to download the file.

Importing the Microsoft Gantt chart

Now click the three dots (…) at the bottom of your Visualizations pane and then click “Import a visual from a file”.

A file dialogue box will open. Navigate to the file that you just downloaded and open it in your Power BI desktop.

If your file is successfully imported, you will see the following message.

Dialogue box showing custom visual has imported successfully

Click the “OK” button.

As above, the Gantt chart icon will now show in your Visualizations pane.

We have chosen this Gantt chart as it is straightforward to use. It will appear limited to advanced users of other project management software.

For example, this visual makes it tricky to show each project milestone with a vertical line, something many project managers like to use.

To find more advanced Gantt charts, I recommend you to try some other Gantt charts available in the Power BI marketplace.

Importing Data From Excel To Power BI

In this section, you will see how you can import an Excel file in Power BI.

We will then use this Excel file to create a simple Gantt chart in the next section.

Click the “Get data” button from the top menu. From the dropdown list, select the “Excel workbook” option.

Navigate to the Excel file that you want to import.

For this article, we will be using the following Excel file, called “thesis-tasks.xlsx”.

This file contains a worksheet called “Tasks-sheet”, which holds the table below.

Once the file is uploaded, you will see the following option.

The column names from the Excel sheet will now show in your Fields pane.

For details of how to import from a database see our article – Importing data from SQL Server into Power BI

To learn more about manipulating date data in Power BI see – Working With Date Formats in Power BI

Creating A Simple Gantt Chart

Let’s now create a simple Gantt chart.

In the Visualizations pane, click the Gantt chart icon.

You will see different fields you can use for your Gantt chart.

Drag the “Task” column from your Excel file into the “Task” field.

Similarly, drag the “StartDate” and “Duration” columns from your Excel file and drop them respectively to the “Start Date” and “Duration” fields in your Gantt chart.

Selecting data for the data fields in our Gantt chart

Note: The names of the fields in the Gantt chart and your Excel file do not need to be the same.

In the Reports view, you will now see the following timeline in your Gantt chart.

If you know the end date for your tasks, you can add it to your Gantt chart’s “End Date” field. Power BI will then calculate the duration automatically.

Adding To Your Gantt Chart

You can further customise your Gantt chart by adding different elements to it.

Adding a completion bar

You can highlight the completion percentage for a task using a completion bar.

To do so, add a column containing each task’s completion percentage to the “% Completion field” in your Gantt chart.

Adding % Completion To Tasks In Gantt Chart

Your Gantt chart will now display the completion percentage of each task (highlighted in darker green colour).

Improved Gantt chart showing % completion of each task

Annotating your chart

Managers often want to show the resources that are assigned to each task in projects.

You can annotate the taskbars in your chart with information such as resources.

Simply add a column that contains the names of the resources to your data table and then, in turn to the “Resource” field in the Gantt chart.

Your taskbars are annotated with resource names, making it very easy to see how complete each part of this project is and who is running it.

You could equally use numerical values where appropriate.

Final Thoughts

Microsoft Power BI doesn’t come with a Gantt chart visualisation pre-installed.

However, as you have seen, you can easily import a Gantt chart visual from the Power BI marketplace.

For anyone managing a project, creating a Gantt chart in Power BI is a simple way to show project progress and completion as part of a more extensive Power BI dashboard.

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About Ben Richardson

Ben is a director of Acuity Training which he has been running for over 10 years.

He is a Natural Sciences graduate from the University of Cambridge and a qualified accountant with the ICAEW.

He previously worked as a venture capitalist and banker and so had extensive experience with Excel from building financial models before moving to learn SQL, Microsoft Power BI and other technologies more recently.