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

In project planning, an Activity on Arrow (AOA) network diagram is essential to ensure the smoothness and Float Time management of a project. As a result, users need to draw aoa network diagram in Excel.

Drawing AOA Network Diagram in Excel

In this article, we discuss segment labels and step-by-step procedures to draw an aoa network diagram in Excel.

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Step-by-Step Procedures to Draw AOA Network Diagram in Excel

A 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 draw an AOA network diagram in Excel.

Step 1: Entering Activities, Predecessors and Schedule Times of Project

  • Divide the entire project into multiple activities such as A, B, C,
  • Determine the activities that need precursor activities.
  • Enter all the activities and schedule times, maintaining the activity flow.

Activities and Schedule Times

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

Read More: How to Create a Project Network Diagram in Excel

Step 2: Maintaining a Fixed Segment to Depict Activities and Schedule Times

As we use segments to display individual activities and schedule components, a preferable shape for segments is required.

  • Go to Insert.
  • Choose single or multiple Shapes (i.e., Dodecagon and Line) types.

  • Modify the shapes to a desired design to form a segment like in the picture below.

Step 3: Inserting Segment Labels

After forming the inserted shapes into segments, users need to insert schedule timelines within them. As we have 6 different activities to complete the project, each 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)

Segments for AOA Network Diagram in Excel

Step 4: Drawing AOA Network Diagram Layout in Excel

As soon as users finalize their segment form 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.

AOA Network Diagram Layout

Step 5: Creating an AOA Network Diagram Maintaining Its Layout

The aoa network diagram layout or a project network diagram has 2 distinctive parts, Project Activities, and the Network Diagram.

  • Insert suitable Shapes to indicate the network flow among activities. To choose the desired shapes, go to Insert > Shapes (Illustrations) > Line Arrow.

  • Modify the shapes using the Shape Format tab to look like the below image.

  • Furnish the AOA Network Diagram. In the end, the diagram may look like the below image.

Drawing AOA Network Diagram in Excel

Activity on Arrow (AOA) vs. Activity on Node (AON)

Activity on Arrow (AOA) Network Diagram

In aoa network diagrams, displaying start-to-finish relationships is not that important. It means arrows represent the period of a project from start to end events. Activities on arrows display complicated relations and dependencies.

Drawing AOA Network Diagram in Excel

Activity on Node (AON) Network Diagram

In AON network diagrams, the activities are depicted on nodes. The interlink arrows illustrate activity flow and dependencies among activities. The nodes can be anything in shape or form. An aon diagram depicts the predecessor relationships.

AON Network Diagram

Read More: How to Create a Network Diagram in Excel (With Easy Steps)


This article discusses various aspects of an AOA diagram and its creation in Excel. Download the attached Dataset to use it as a Template or to practice, Comment if further complications arise or if you have something to add.

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Maruf Islam

Maruf Islam

My self, Maruf Islam, an engineer and Excel & VBA Content developer on Exceldemy. I enjoy solving problems, finding workable solutions, and most of the part I really like to take on challenges. On Exceldemy I write articles discussing various way outs of Microsoft Excel's stuck ons.

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