Project Management is no easy feat!  There are lots of moving parts, long hours, and constant reporting.

It requires you to keep everybody on the same page and focused on the goals and timelines.

One of the key reporting tools needed is the project timeline or milestone chart.  Luckily you can create a project milestone chart in Excel in just a few steps…well, 11 to be exact!

Project Milestone Chart Using Excel | MyExcelOnline

A milestone chart is used to keep track of your project with completion dates for various key checkpoints. It allows you to understand the scheduling of your project and all other information in a single chart!

Now, without any further delay let’s learn how to create a Milestone Chart in Excel!

Below is the data source that we are going to use to create our timeline of milestones in Excel:

Project Milestone Chart Using Excel | MyExcelOnline

We have Dates and Milestones.  The Height specifies how high we want the milestone to show up in the chart, whilst the Helper Column is used to create the timeline.

In this example, I show you how easy it is to insert a Milestone Chart Excel.

NB: This tutorial was made for Excel 2013 and Excel 2016 versions.

Project Milestone Chart Using Excel | MyExcelOnline

Follow the step-by-step tutorial on Milestone Chart in Excel and download this Excel workbook to practice along:

DOWNLOAD EXCEL WORKBOOK

 

STEP 1: Highlight the following columns: Date, Height, and the Helper Column. You can select the 3 of them by holding the Ctrl button while highlighting them:

Project Milestone Chart Using Excel | MyExcelOnline

 

STEP 2: Go to Insert > Line Charts > Line with Markers

Project Milestone Chart Using Excel | MyExcelOnline

 

STEP 3: Right-click on your chart template and choose Select Data.

Project Milestone Chart Using Excel | MyExcelOnline

 

STEP 4: Select the Helper Column and press the Up arrow to move it up in order and press OK.

Project Milestone Chart Using Excel | MyExcelOnline

 

STEP 5: Select the Blue Lines (Height) & Right Click & select Change Series Chart Type.

Project Milestone Chart Using Excel | MyExcelOnline

 

STEP 6: Under the All Charts tab, select the Combo chart.

From the Height drop-down, select the Clustered Column chart type and “check” the Secondary Axis box

From the Helper Column drop-down, select the Line with Markers chart type and “uncheck” the Secondary Axis box

Press OK to confirm.

Project Milestone Chart Using Excel | MyExcelOnline

The reason we are doing this is so that our heights would now show up as columns in our timeline.

The selections should look like this:

Project Milestone Chart Using Excel | MyExcelOnline

 

STEP 7: Select the blue column chart & right click & select Add Data Labels.

The magic is about to happen!

Project Milestone Chart Using Excel | MyExcelOnline

 

STEP 8: The height numbers will show up, however we do not need the height numbers to show up.

Select any one of the height numbers, right click and select Format Data Labels.

Project Milestone Chart Using Excel | MyExcelOnline

 

Under the Label Options (first icon from the right), make sure that only the Value From Cells is selected  and the other boxes are deselected.

The Label Position should be Outside End.

Then highlight the Milestone values from the data source and press OK.

This will ensure that the Data Labels will be the Milestone text instead, which is what we want our timeline to show.

Project Milestone Chart Using Excel | MyExcelOnline

 

STEP 9: Now we will change the columns into thin lines.  For this we will use the Error Bars.

Click anywhere on the chart template.

Go to Design > Add Chart Element > Error Bars > More Error Bar Options

Project Milestone Chart Using Excel | MyExcelOnline

Select Height. Click OK.

Project Milestone Chart Using Excel | MyExcelOnline

From the Format Error Bars pane on the right hand side of your workbook, make sure the Error Bar Options (first icon from the right) is selected and choose the:

Direction = Minus

End Style = Cap

Error Amount = Percentage at 100%.

This will ensure we have thin lines go all the way down the x-axis.

Project Milestone Chart Using Excel | MyExcelOnline

 

STEP 10: Now that we have the thin lines inside the column chart, let us remove the blue columns.

Right click on the blue column chart and select Format Data Series.

Project Milestone Chart Using Excel | MyExcelOnline

 

From the Format Data Series pane, select the Fill bucket (first icon from the left) and make sure that the following are selected:

Fill =  No fill

Border = No line

Project Milestone Chart Using Excel | MyExcelOnline

 

STEP 11: And now for the finishing touches!

Let us delete the unnecessary labels in our chart to make it look nicer.  Just click on each element and press the Delete key from your keyboard.

Project Milestone Chart Using Excel | MyExcelOnline

And there you have it! Your own Timeline of Milestone Chart is ready!

Project Milestone Chart Using Excel | MyExcelOnline

These charts are extremely useful in displaying key milestones or major achievements of a project in a graphical manner. They are easy to understand and self-explanatory!

Feel free to change the data source so you can see how your cool new Timeline chart changes.  Happy project managing using Excel!

 

HELPFUL RESOURCE:

Make sure to download our FREE PDF on the 333 Excel keyboard Shortcuts here:

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You can learn more about how to use Excel by viewing our FREE Excel webinar training on FormulasPivot TablesPower Query, and Macros & VBA!

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