How to Draw CPM Network Diagram in Excel (with Easy Steps)

CPM stands for Critical Path Method. While making a formal project report in Microsoft Excel, you might need to draw a CPM network diagram that visualizes a project’s overall look. Today in this article I am going to share with you how to draw CPM network diagram in Excel.

Introduction to CPM Network Diagram

A CPM diagram can be named a project diagram which is quite similar to a flow chart. While a flow chart represents only the process, on the other hand, the critical path method diagram visualizes the whole scenario of a project. It also demonstrates the project stages, starting period, finishing date, etc. It is very helpful to get a summarized view of a project.

How to Draw CPM Network Diagram in Excel: 3 Simple Steps

In the following, I have explained 3 easy and simple steps to draw a CPM network in Excel.

Suppose we have a dataset of a project’s Activity, Daywise Time, and Predecessors. Now we will draw our CPM network diagram with the help of the dataset.

Draw CPM Network Diagram in Excel

Step 1: Create Primary Diagram with Boxes and Lines

  • To begin with, let’s create a cell with some borders just like the following screenshot.

  • Then, we will draw some more boxes for project activities A and B.

Draw CPM Network Diagram in Excel

  • Similarly, draw boxes according to the arrangement for all the project activities just like the screenshot below.

  • In order to connect them, we need to insert lines between the boxes.
  • Hence, choose Line Arrow from the Shapes option.

Draw CPM Network Diagram in Excel

  • After that, draw a line between “Start” and “Project Activity-A” to connect them.

  • Similarly, draw lines to connect all the boxes to complete the network diagram.

Draw CPM Network Diagram in Excel

Read More: How to Create a Network Diagram in Excel

Step 2: Put Values into Diagram from Dataset

  • In this step, we will count the total days required to complete the project. To do so-
  • First, put the values inside the drawn boxes from the list.

Draw CPM Network Diagram in Excel

  • Second, to connect the starting of the project and “Activity A” we will put “0” as the starting days are still “Nil”.

  • As Project Activity-A needs 3 days to complete, the total stands to 0+3=3 days.

Draw CPM Network Diagram in Excel

  • In the same fashion, for project activity B the total stands to 0+2=2.

Draw CPM Network Diagram in Excel

  • Similarly, we will calculate the total days needed for project activities C, D, E, and F.

Draw CPM Network Diagram in Excel

Step 3: Complete CPM Network Diagram

  • Now if we come to Project Activity G you will see we have put 7 instead of 6.
  • The reason is as the activities D and E both are connected with Project Activity-G we have to take the highest number of days which also represents an idle day for Activity-D.

  • This way, we will calculate all the values until the end of the project.

Draw CPM Network Diagram in Excel

  • Finally, we have successfully drawn our CPM network diagram indicating the total 12 days needed to complete the project.

Draw CPM Network Diagram in Excel

Things to Remember

  • You can also insert Text Box from the Insert option to draw boxes. But you won’t be able to draw borders inside the Text Box.

Download Practice Workbook

Download this practice workbook to exercise while you are reading this article.


In this article, I have tried to cover all the steps to draw a CPM network diagram in Excel. Take a tour of the practice workbook and download the file to practice by yourself. I hope you find it helpful. Please inform us in the comment section about your experience. We are always responsive to your queries. Stay tuned and keep learning.

Related Articles

<< Go Back to Network Diagram in Excel | Learn Excel

Get FREE Advanced Excel Exercises with Solutions!
Wasim Akram
Wasim Akram

Wasim Akram holds a BSc degree in Industrial and Production Engineering from Ahsanullah University of Science and Technology. Over the past 2 years, he has been actively contributing to the ExcelDemy project, where he has authored more than 150 articles. Now, he is working as an Excel VBA and Content Developer. He likes learning new things about Microsoft Office, especially Excel VBA, Power Query, Data Analysis, and Excel Statistics. He is also very interested in machine learning and... Read Full Bio

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Advanced Excel Exercises with Solutions PDF