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How To Create a Milestone Chart in Excel

Tracking all the steps of a project is an important task.

It’s as important as the execution of the each step. In fact, tracking makes execution easy.

And, a milestone chart is a perfect way to track a project in a simple way.

how to create a milestone chart in excel

The basic idea in milestone chart is to track each step of your project on a timeline and present it in a simple way. It will help you to track completion date of each stage of your project.

Milestones are tools used in project management to mark specific points along a project timeline. These points may signal anchors such as a project start and end date, a need for external review or input and budget checks, among others.Wikipedia

But in excel, we don’t have a milestone chart by default, but you can create it by using some simple steps.

So today, I will show you how to create a milestone chart in excel to track your projects. In this post, I have mentioned each and every step in detail for you.

But before we get into it, let me tell you some core benefits of using a milestone chart.

Benefits

  1. It’s easy to check the progress of the project with a milestone chart.
  2. Easy for the user to understand the project scheduling.
  3. You have all the important information in a single chart.

Steps To Create a Milestone Chart in Excel

I have split the entire process into three parts to make it easy for you to understand.

  1. Set Up Data
  2. Insert a Chart
  3. Final Formatting
Instant Access: Download this PDF guide to learn this step by step process.

1. Set Up Data

You can easily set up your data for this chart.

Make sure to arrange your data like below data table. To follow along you can download this data table from here.

data to create a milestone chart in excel

In this data table, we have three columns.

  • The first column is for completion dates of the project stages. And, make sure the format of this column should be text format.
  • The second column is for activity name.
  • The third column is just for placement of the activities into the timeline (up and down).

2. Insert a Chart

Now, the next step is to insert a line chart with markers.

Creating a milestone chart is a bit lengthy process but it’s worth for this amazing chart.

So, here are the steps.

  • Select any of the cells from your data.
  • Go to Insert Tab -> Charts -> Line With Markers.

insert a line chart with markers to create a milestone chart in excel

  • You’ll get a chart like this. But, this is not what you want, you have to re-create it.

raw chart to create a milestone chart in excel

  • So now, right click on your chart and then go to “Select Data”.

select data to create a milestone chart in excel

  • In select data window, just remove series from legend entries.

remove series to create a milestone chart in excel

  • Now, your chart is totally blank. So, you have to re-assign series and axis labels.
  • Click on “Add” from legend entries.

click add to create a milestone chart in excel

  • In edit series window, enter “Date” in the series name and select activity column for the series values.

select series to create a milestone chart in excel

  • After that, click on edit in “Horizontal Axis Labels” and refer to the date column and click OK.

edit axis label to create a milestone chart in excel steps

  • Next, you have to insert an another series. Click on “Add” in legend entries and name it “Placement” and refer series values to placement column.

add new series to create a milestone chart in excel

  • Now, just click OK.

At this point, you have a chart which looks like a timeline. But you need a small touch of formatting to make it a perfect milestone chart.

final chart to create a milestone chart in excel steps

Download this file to get the chart up to this step.

3. Final formatting

A small touch of formatting.

Just follow these simple steps.

  • Click on the line chart and open formatting option.
  • For line, use “No Color”.

no line to create a milestone chart in excel

  • With the same selection, go to Design Tab -> Add Chart Element -> Error Bars -> More Error Bars Options.

add error bars to create a milestone chart in excel

  • Now, from the formatting options, select direction “Minus” and error value “Percentage: 100%” for error bars.

format error bars to create a milestone chart in excel

Now, the last and important thing you have to do, add the activity name for each step.

  • First of all, add data labels.
  • Now, from data label formatting options, select “Category Name”.

add data labels to create a milestone chart in excel

  • After that, select your chart and click on “Select Data”.
  • Click on “Placement” series.

edit series to add data labels to create a milestone chart in excel

  • From axis label, click on edit and refer to activity column.

select data label range to create a milestone chart in excel

  • Click OK.

final chart with formatting to create a milestone chart in excel steps

Perfect, you made it. Your milestone chart is ready to rock.

Sample File

Conclusion

As I said, milestone chart is simple, effective, and easy to create. And, if you are an emerging project manager then it’s must for you to give it a try.

You can track your project scheduling in a simple way. The best thing which I like about milestone chart, it’s to understand by others.

I hope you found it useful.

And, if you like it, tell me what’s the best part about it that you like. Share your views with me in the comment box.

What’s Next?

Try this Gantt Chart Template.


  • Lisa Gordon Delgado

    This is awesome! There are so many applications for this tip. I can see making a marketing timeline for a product launch!

    • Puneet Gogia

      Yup, you are right Lisa.