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Gantt Chart Wizard: A Blast Out of the Past

Background

I was recently reading the latest posts in the Project Standard and Professional user forum, when I found a recent reply to a question that was originally posted in March 2011. I was greatly amused that anyone would reply to a post that was so old and that was marked as answered so long ago. Out of curiosity, I read this most recent reply, and was hit by a “blast out of the past” as I read it.

The original question was how to hide the resource names that are displayed at the right end of the Gantt bars shown in the default Gantt Chart view. This question and several follow up questions were all answered successfully back in 2011. The user who posted the most recently reply, however, offered another way to hide those resource names: use the Gantt Chart Wizard.

Truth be known, I have not thought about the Gantt Chart Wizard for at least a decade, if not longer than that. In fact, as an aside, the Gantt Chart Wizard was documented in the first book in which I was a co-author (technically a contributing author), which was the Special Edition: Using Microsoft Project 2002 book, published by Que Publishing.

The user’s recent reply made me wonder whether the Gantt Chart Wizard is still available in Microsoft Project 2019. Sure enough, I looked for myself, and this tool is still available.

By the way, the Gantt Chart Wizard is a useful little tool for formatting the Gantt Chart pane in any Gantt-based view. For example, did you know the Tracking Gantt view is simply a specially formatted version of the default Gantt Chart view? Using the Gantt Chart Wizard can be a time saver if you want to create your own custom Gantt-based view with a customized Gantt Chart pane.

 

Accessing the Gantt Chart Wizard

To access the Gantt Chart Wizard, you will need to add this command to your Quick Access Toolbar by completing the following steps in Microsoft Project:

  1. Click the File tab and then click the Options tab in the Backstage.
  2. In the Project Options dialog, click the Quick Access Toolbar Microsoft Project displays the Customize the Quick Access Toolbar page of the dialog, such as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Customize the Quick Access Toolbar page of the Project Options dialog

 

3. On the Customize the Quick Access Toolbar page, do the following, as indicated in Figure 1 shown previously:

    1. In the upper-left corner of the dialog, click the Choose commands from pick list and select the All Commands
    2. In the list of available commands on the left side of the dialog, select the Gantt Chart Wizard
    3. In the list of commands on the right side of the dialog, select the command after which you want the new command to be added to your Quick Access Toolbar. Notice in Figure 1 that I want to add the command at the bottom of all commands on my Quick Access Toolbar, after the <Separator>
    4. Click the Add >> button in the middle of the dialog.

4. Click the OK button to close the Project Options dialog.

 

Using the Gantt Chart Wizard

To use the Gantt Chart Wizard tool, open a project in which you want to customize the Gantt Chart pane, preferably of a custom view you are creating, and then click the Gantt Chart Wizard button on your Quick Access Toolbar. Microsoft Project displays the Welcome page of the Gantt Chart Wizard dialog shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Welcome page of the Gantt Chart Wizard dialog

 

In the Gantt Chart Wizard dialog, click the Next > button. The Gantt Chart Wizard dialog displays a page that allows you to customize the information you want to display in the Gantt Chart view, such as shown in Figure 3. Select the Standard option to display the default formatting of the Gantt Chart. Select the Critical Path option to display Critical tasks using red Gantt bars and non-Critical tasks using blue Gantt bars. Select the Baseline option to format the Gantt Chart using the formatting in default Tracking Gantt view. Select the Other option and then you can choose one of 13 sets of standard formatting options for the Gantt Chart. You can also select the Custom Gantt Chart option and the wizard will walk you through a series of dialogs in which you select the exact set details you want to display in the Gantt Chart.

Figure 3: Gantt Chart Wizard dialog – Information to display page

 

Select your option on the page and then click the Next > button. If you selected any option other than the Custom Gantt Chart option, the Gantt Chart Wizard displays a page which allows you to select the information that appears with each Gantt bar, such as shown in Figure 4. Select the Resources and dates option to display resource names to the right of the Gantt bars for detailed tasks, and Finish dates to the right of milestones. Select the Resources option to display resource names only for detailed tasks and no information for milestones. Select the Dates option to display Finish dates for both detailed tasks and milestones. Select the None option to omit resource names from detailed tasks and Finish dates from milestones. If you select the Custom task information option, the Gantt Chart Wizard will display a page that allows you to select which fields you want to display to the left, to the right, and inside of every Gantt bar for both detailed tasks and milestones.

Figure 4: Gantt Chart Wizard dialog – Gantt bar information to display page

 

Select your option on the page and then click the Next > button. If you selected any option other than the Custom task information option, the Gantt Chart Wizard displays a page in which you can choose whether to display link lines between Gantt bars, such as shown in Figure 5. On this page, the default option is Yes, which automatically displays link lines between dependent tasks. You can select the No option, which will not display any link lines between dependent tasks in the project.

Figure 5: Gantt Chart Wizard dialog – Display link lines page

 

Select your option on the page and then click the Next > button. The Gantt Chart Wizard displays the Congratulations page shown in Figure 6.

Figure 6: Gantt Chart Wizard dialog – Congratulations page

 

On the Congratulations page, click the Format It button to format the Gantt Chart according to your specifications. After the Gantt Chart Wizard finishes its formatting operation, it displays the Finished page shown in Figure 7. On the Finished page of the dialog, click the Exit Wizard button to close the dialog.

Figure 7: Gantt Chart Wizard dialog – Finished page

 

Before I wrap up this blog post article, let’s go back for a moment to the page in the Gantt Chart Wizard dialog that allows you to customize the information you want to display in the Gantt Chart view, shown previously in Figure 3. What happens if you select the Custom Gantt Chart option? The Gantt Chart Wizard displays a series of pages that allow you to specify every option for formatting the Gantt Chart pane. Specifically, these pages allow you to specify the following:

  • Do you want to display the Critical Path in the Gantt Chart?
  • If yes, what color and formatting do you want to use for the Gantt bars for Critical tasks?
  • What color and formatting do you want to use for the Gantt bars for non-Critical tasks?
  • What color and formatting do you want to use for the Gantt bars for summary tasks?
  • What color and formatting do you want to use for the Gantt bars for milestone tasks?
  • Do you want to display a second set of Gantt bars, such as to show the Baseline schedule, to show the Total Slack for each task, or to show both the Baseline schedule and the Total Slack?
  • What information to you want to display to the right of each Gantt bar for detailed tasks, summary tasks, and milestones, such as resource names and Finish dates?
  • Do you want to display link lines between dependent tasks?

From the list of pages that the Gantt Chart Wizard displays, you can see that the wizard gives you total control over how you want your Gantt Chart pane to be formatted. When finished with applying these custom settings, the Gantt Chart Wizard displays the Congratulations page shown previously in Figure 6. And when you click the Format It button on the Congratulations page, it displays the Finished page shown previously in Figure 7.

 

Warning: Keep in mind that if you use the Gantt Chart Wizard to format your Gantt Chart, Microsoft Project will format your Gantt bars according to the styles, colors, and symbols used Microsoft Project 2010 and early versions of the software, and not the way the Gantt Chart view appears in current versions of the software. For example, if you select the Standard display of the Gantt Chart, the software will format the Gantt bars with a darker blue color rather than the light blue color used in Microsoft Project 2013, 2016, and 2019. You can see these old darker blue Gantt bar colors in the dialog shown in Figure 3. Because of this, you may not want to use the Gantt Chart Wizard to format your Gantt Charts.

 

If you are a long-time user of Microsoft Project like I am, I hope you have enjoyed this “blast out of the past” blog post article about our old friend, the Gantt Chart Wizard!

 

Dale Howard
Written by Dale Howard

Dale Howard is the Director of Education for PROJILITY. He has used Microsoft Project since version 4.0 for Windows 95 and he has used the Microsoft PPM tool since the first version of released as Project Central in the year 2000. He is the co-author of 21 books on Microsoft Project, Project Server, and Project Online. He is currently one of only 28 Microsoft Project MVPs in the entire world and one of only 6 in the United States.

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