How to Create a Project Network Diagram in Excel

In project planning, a Project Network Diagram is essential to ensure the smoothness and float time management of a project. As a result, users need to create a Project Network Diagram in Excel.

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Project Network Diagram-How to Create a Project Network Diagram in Excel

In this article, we discuss diagram segments and step-by-step procedures to create a Project Network Diagram in Excel.

How to Create a Project Network Diagram in Excel: Step-by-Step Procedures

A project network diagram contains segments referring to each activity. And each segment has multiple time periods indicating Starting, Finishing and Float time. Follow the below steps to create a Project Network Diagram in Excel.

Step 1: Entering Activities and Schedule Time

🔼 Divide the entire project into multiple activities such as A, B, C, etc. Afterward, determine the activities that need precursor activities. Finally, enter all the activities and schedule time, maintaining the activity flow.

Activities and Schedule time

Step 2: Maintaining a Fixed Cell Measurements for Segments

As we use box segments to display project network diagrams, strict cell measurements need to be followed. Users can maintain any column width and row height for the cells. Otherwise, users can change the cell size using the Home > Format.

🔼 Highlight the entire worksheet, then right-click on any column. The Context Menu appears.

Choose Column Width from the Context Menu options.

Enter any number as the Column Width (i.e., 3).

Column Width-How to Create a Project Network Diagram in Excel

🔼 Execute the previous step for Row Height. Enter any desired value (i.e., 19) to custom shape the cells.

Row Height

Step 3: Ensuring Diagram Segments with Custom Borders and Labels

After custom shaping all the cells within worksheets, users need to constitute Box Segments with Labels. As we have 6 different activities to complete the project, each box segment needs to be the same size and format. The segment labels are

  • Early Starting (ES)
  • Duration (D)
  • Early Finishing (EF)
  • Late Starting (LS)
  • Float Time (F)
  • Late Finishing (LF)

Segment Labels

🔼 Maintain an exact format for each box segment as depicted in the below image.

Segment Border and Labels

🔺 Users can have a custom border using Home > All Borders (in the Font section).

Applying Border

Step 4: Project Network Diagram Layout in Excel

As soon as users finalize their segment design and label assignment, they can select any of the diagram layouts depending on their demand. The diagram layout symbolizes the essence of the entire project. Also, the network diagram layout must have the capability to visualize the consecutive activities to finish the project successfully.

Project Diagram Layout-How to Create a Project Network Diagram in Excel

Step 5: Creating the Project Network Diagram Maintaining Its Layout

Since the project’s network diagram layout has 2 distinctive parts; Project Activities and Network Diagram, users must replicate them using box segments.

🔼 Compile all the box segments indicating each assigned activity. Also, all the box segments must have the segment labels as discussed earlier.

Entering Labels

🔼 Copy each box segment using CTRL+C or Right Click > Copy. Then right-click outside the Project Activities section > Choose Paste Special (from the Context Menu) > Select Paste as Image (under Other Paste Options).

Paste as Image

🔺 Repeat the previous step to replicate all the box segments as shown in the picture below.

All Activities

🔼 Insert suitable Shapes to indicate the network flow among activities. To choose the desired shapes, go to Insert > Illustrations > Shapes.

Inserting shapes

🔼 After inserting the desired shapes, select any of the shapes. Afterwards, Excel displays a Shape Format tab to modify the inserted shapes according to users’ demand.

Shape Format-How to Create a Project Network Diagram in Excel

🔺 Furnish the Project Network Diagram. At the end, the diagram may look like the below image.

Project Network Diagram-How to Create a Project Network Diagram in Excel

⧭ Notes: For simpler representation, we don’t include any time frame or actual days in the box segment labels. Users can enter time periods mentioned in the project schedule or contract to further modify the diagram.

Read More: How to Create a Network Diagram in Excel

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Use the Excel file as Template or practice with it.


This article discusses various aspects of a project network diagram and its creation in Excel. Download the attached dataset to use as a template or practice, Comment if further complications arise or you have something to add.

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Maruf Islam
Maruf Islam

MARUF ISLAM is an excellent marine engineer who loves working with Excel and diving into VBA programming. For him, programming is like a superhero tool that saves time when dealing with data, files, and the internet. His skills go beyond the basics, including ABACUS, AutoCAD, Rhinoceros, Maxsurf, and Hydromax. He got his B.Sc in Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering from BUET, and now he's switched gears, working as a content developer. In this role, he creates techy content... Read Full Bio

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