How to Create a Project Schedule in Excel (with Easy Steps)

This article illustrates how to create a project schedule in Excel. A project schedule or timeline usually contains the tasks associated with the project along with their start and end dates, duration, status, etc. It helps you to track the progress of your project easily. Using a Gantt Chart is very useful in project management to keep track of your projects. Fortunately, you can easily create your own project timeline or use free templates in Excel. Follow the article to learn how to do that.

Watch Video – Create a Project Schedule in Excel

What Is a Project Schedule/ Project Timeline/ Project Plan?

A project schedule timeline or plan is an overview of a project from which you can get a quick idea about the project’s progress at a glance. It usually contains the tasks associated with the project along with their start and end dates, duration, status, assigned members, etc. in chronological order. The visual representation included in a project schedule makes it possible to get a quick review of the project at a glance.

Usability of a Project Schedule:

Having a project schedule for each of your projects is very important for efficient project management as it lets you:

  • To clearly see the path forward.
  • To visualize everything in a single frame.
  • To easily add or remove a task if needed.
  • To compare the efficacy of assigned members.
  • To enable everyone to keep track of the project.

Follow the steps below to create a simple project schedule in Excel 2010, 2013, 2016, and more updated versions.

Step 1: Recording Project Schedule Details to Create a Project Schedule

  • First, you need to record the project details i.e. tasks, start date, duration, end date, status, etc. as shown in the picture below.

record project details

Step 2: Creating Scheduled Dates

  • Then, enter the dates starting from the start date of the first task to the end date of the last task. Then change the text orientation to vertical and adjust the column widths.

enter dates from start to end of the project

Step 3: Entering Formula to Create a Project Schedule

  • Next, enter the following formula in cell G5 and copy it up to cell AF14.

enter formula for project schedule

Step 4: Applying Conditional Formatting

  • After that, you must apply conditional formatting to get the desired result. So, select the range G5:AF14 and go to Home >> Conditional Formatting >> New Rule.

Excel Conditional Formatting to Create Project Schedule

  • Next, select Format only cells that contain >> Cell Value >> equal to and then type Complete in the text box. Then click on Format, pick a Fill color, and click OK.

conditional formatting rule

  • Similarly, apply another conditional formatting rule in the same range for the In Progress status. After that, you will see the following result.

creating a Gantt Chart

  • If you change any status from ‘In Progress’ to ‘Complete’, the schedule chart will change accordingly.

Step 5: Finalizing Project Schedule

  • Now select the range G5:AF14, press CTRL + 1, go to the Custom category, type 3 semicolons (;;;) in the Type field, and click OK.

use 3 semicolons for custom cell formatting

  • Finally, you will get your project schedule as follows.

Finalized Project Schedule

Read More: How to Make a Work Schedule in Excel

Simple Project Schedule/ Gantt Chart Templates in Excel 2021

You can also create your project schedule or Gantt Chart from free templates in Excel 2021 or other versions. Follow the steps below to do that.

📌 Steps:

  • First, search for online templates before creating a new workbook using the keyword “Gantt Chart”. Choose the suitable one and click on it.

choose from Excel templates for project schedule

  • Then, Create a new workbook from this template.

create new project timeline from excel templates

  • Now you can modify the template as needed.

use or modify the project planner template

Read More: How to Create a Workback Schedule in Excel

Things to Remember

  • Apply the mixed cell references in the formulas carefully. Otherwise, copying them using the Fill Handle will give you erroneous results.
  • Don’t forget to select the range before applying conditional formatting.

Download Free Project Schedule Template in Excel

You can download the project schedule template for free from the download button below.


Now you know how to create a project schedule in Excel. Do you have any further queries or suggestions? Please let us know in the comment section below. Stay with us and keep learning.

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Md. Shamim Reza
Md. Shamim Reza

Md. Shamim Reza, a marine engineer with expertise in Excel and a fervent interest in VBA programming, sees programming as a time-saving tool for data manipulation, file handling, and internet interaction. His diverse skill set encompasses Rhino3D, Maxsurf C++, AutoCAD, Deep Neural Networks, and Machine Learning. He holds a B.Sc in Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering from BUET and has transitioned into a content developer role, generating technical content focused on Excel and VBA. Beyond his professional pursuits,... Read Full Bio

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