Color-coded Gantt charts

The Easy Way to Color Code Your Gantt Chart: Color Presets & Tips

As a project manager, Gantt charts are part of my day-to-day life.

Color-coded Gantt charts are especially helpful when tracking and visualizing projects; they aid in visualization and help with project organization. Best of all, you don’t even have to be a whiz at Microsoft Excel to make them.

In this post, I will cover:

  • Why color coding your Gantt chart matters
  • Tips and presets for choosing the best colors for your Gantt
  • How to format Gantts in Visor using data from Jira, Google Sheets, or Excel

Why Color Coding Your Gantt Chart Matters

Color psychology can help you send a real message. 🎨

Some color patterns have been proven to resonate with the brain to deliver certain messages.

The field of color psychology unpacks the real-world benefits of understanding color’s impact on the psyche. For example, the human brain associates certain colors with instruction and status.

When it comes to project management, data tells your story. Whether you’re communicating resource allocation or updating stakeholders, color can make this data go even further.

Making your data pop can hold people’s attention. 

Information overload is a real thing. Presenting your data in a way that stands out can be the difference between a riveting presentation and one that puts people to sleep. 

We’re not saying you need to color everything highlighter yellow to make it interesting, but adding some dimension to your presentation using color can be incredibly helpful in holding attention and making key things stay focused.

Color-Coded Gantt Chart Created With Visor:

color coded gantt chart

Conditional Formatting to Color Code Your Gantt

Color coding your Gantt chart makes it easy for you and stakeholders to understand a project’s progress just by glancing at it. But what if you want to make sure the colors of your Gantt chart always remain accurate? That’s where conditional formatting comes in.

Tools like Excel and Visor offer conditional formatting so you can set colors based on certain criteria (e.g., a status marked as “Done” automatically gets a green background).

Conditional formatting can be set up to do things like:

  • Showcase what employee or team is working on a task
  • Visually highlight what tasks are blocked, in motion, or done
  • Demonstrate which initiatives are tied to which OKRs or goals

If you’re not an expert at Excel, don’t worry. We’ll show you an easier way to apply conditional formatting to your Gantt chart (even if your data is in Excel) using Visor. Check out the step-by-step process below.

The Easy Way to Make Color-Coded Gantt Charts

There are many different tools that allow you to color code your Gantt chart and project progress views. One of the most popular is Excel. However, Excel has a bit of a learning curve.

As an alternative, I’ll show you how to make a color-coded Gantt in Visor you’ll be proud to share using data you have in Excel or Google Sheets. Visor’s drag-and-drop interface also connects to your SaaS apps, making it easy to create a Jira Gantt chart.

5 Steps to Make a Color-Coded Gantt in Visor (+ Color Presets) 🎨

1. Copy and paste your data from Excel into Visor. Or import project plans from SaaS apps like Jira.

step 1 of making color-coded gantt in visor: copy and paste data

2. Once your data has been imported, simply click the “Gantt View” tab at the bottom of your workbook to configure your data into a Gantt chart. 

step 1 of making color-coded gantt in visor: select gantt view

3. After configuration, format any dropdown field with Visor’s color presets or by inputting your preferred RGB color code.

visor color formatting screen

4. Make changes to your Gantt with Visor’s drag-and-drop interface as needed.

gantt chart drag and drop

5. Share your Gantt chart with others! Go to the “Share” button in the top right corner of the screen and enter the email addresses of the people you’d like to share with.

share visor collaborations creen

💡 You can find out more about Visor’s Sharing & Permissions in our Knowledge Base.

And just like that, you’ve taken your Excel or Jira data and turned it into a colorful, editable, shareable Gantt chart. If you need extra help getting your data into Visor, these videos will help you.

Bonus Tutorial #1: Copying and Pasting Excel Data to Visor

Whether working with Google Sheets or Excel, here’s how to get your data into Visor. You’ll then be able to turn your data into a colorful Gantt.

Bonus Tutorial #2: Create a Jira Gantt Chart in Visor

Visor is an official Atlassian Marketplace Partner and offers two-way syncing with Jira, making it easy to keep your Gantt chart accurate.

In the video below, you can discover how to make a Jira Gantt chart in 5 easy steps.

Choosing the Best Colors for Your Gantt Chart

Deciding which colors to choose for your Gantt chart can be difficult. Depending on the context, the type of presentation, or your goals, there are a few different ways you can format it. Here are a few: 

Your Brand Colors

Coloring your Gantt with your brand colors is an excellent choice if you are presenting information to customers or a concept project that isn’t running on hard deadlines or statuses. You can highlight information while getting some good brand awareness in the process! 

Color by Project Status

Like a stop light, red usually means stop or danger, green means go, and yellow means caution. Applying this same schema to statuses such as “To Do” and “In Progress” can help send a visual message that viewers can quickly decode at a glance.  

Keep Color Simple

Consider using color presets, which Visor offers, to keep your Gantt charts simple. You want to aim for simplicity so that your audience doesn’t get visual overload when first glancing at your chart. Also, simplicity means you spend less time making your Gantt.

Choose an Attractive Color Scheme

A good rule of thumb when choosing colors that look good together is to go for analogous colors or three colors that sit next to each other on the color wheel. You could also do different shades of the same color, like blue, teal, and cerulean. 

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