Lesson 6: Bar


Gantt bars look simple enough, but they can get confusing as projects get complex. Customizing the bars on a Gantt Chart view is often the first thing a project manager does to create clarity in a project and to help spot problem areas quickly. Formatting the look and feel of the Gantt bar area is very useful. You can choose to format one bar at a time or make view-wide changes to your Gantt bars. Sometimes you may want to focus on one task or one milestone and change its look and feel either by changing the color or by adding text around it.

To better highlight certain tasks or phases during the execution of your project, Project Plan 365 gives you the possibility to change the default bar format of your tasks in the Gantt Chart. The Bar option allows you to customize the appearance of an individual bar from Gantt Chart view. In this way, you can format the Gantt Chart view to quickly identify specific tasks.

By using the Bar option, you can modify the look & feel of the selected taskbar. Not only you can change the appearance of the bar, but you can also add text around the bar. Any of the fields available to be added to a table is also available to be added on top of, below, to the right of, to the left of, or inside a bar, such as to better fit your visualizing needs. This allows for richer communication of schedules.

To highlight a single Gantt bar by changing its formatting, double-click on the bar in the right side chart portion of a Gantt view, or you can select the task in the left side grid and click on Bar bar icon.pngoption from the Format menu, to display the Format Bar dialog. By using the Bar option, you can change the color, shape, or pattern of an individual Gantt bar, rather than a type of bar, if you want to highlight a specific task in your plan. Therefore, the Bar Styles option allows you to make view-wide changes to all the bars in the Gantt Chart view, whilst by using the Bar option you can apply changes to only a specific bar that you've selected.

To make changes to one bar, first apply a Gantt Chart view, then in Gantt Chart view in the Task Name field, select the task whose Gantt bar you want to change and in the Format menu, click Bar. You can also double-click the other bars to format them, being careful to point to the bars and not to the space surrounding them. When double-clicking on a taskbar in the right side panel of Gantt Chart, a Format Bar dialog will be shown just as in the case you would selected the Bar option from the Format menu.



From the Format Bar dialog, you can customize the appearance of a specific taskbar and choose the appropriate settings and style for that specific item.


Use the Bar Shape tab to indicate the appearance of the taskbar. Under Start, Middle, and End, click the shapes, types or patterns, and colors for the bar. Besides the Bar Shape tab, in the Format Bar dialog, there is another tab called Bar Text from where you can specify how certain text should be displayed along a taskbar. By using the Bar Text tab, you can add specific project information, such as task names, resource names, completion percentages, and start dates, to a bar on a Gantt view. In the Left, Right, Top, Bottom, and Inside boxes, type or select the field that contains the data you want to display on the Gantt bar.

Individual bar formatting overrides the Gantt bar formatting for a particular category of tasks. For example, if you open the Bar Styles dialog and format Gantt bars for noncritical tasks as black,
you can still open the Format Bar dialog and format a selected noncritical taskbar as red. The Bar command only affects the bar you select.


image003.gif  Practice

         1. In the commercial construction project, let's customize the display of some taskbars from the right panel of Gantt Chart. Let's suppose that we want to format the bar for the Receive notice to proceed and sign contract task. Select this task and press on Bar option from Format menu. Once you’ve done this, you will get the Format Bar dialog. Under the Bar Shape tab, for the start and end section of the bar choose the up arrow sign and orange as color, whilst for the middle pattern select green as color. In the sample section you may see this depicted.



         2. Now move to the Bar Text tab. We will choose to display in addition the numbers of hours for this task to the left of the bar. So choose Work in the drop-down list for left. Look in the sample area to get a sense of how this taskbar will look like.


         3. As you may notice the appearance of the taskbar in the right panel matches the one showed in Sample.


         4. Now let’s focus on the task called Pour column piers and foundations, which has a deadline, and change its look and feel. You can also format the bar of a specific task by double-clicking on its corresponding bar within the right side of a Gantt view, but not in the space between the bars. This will bring up the Format Bar dialog. For the middle part of the bar change the pattern and choose another one and for the color choose pink:


          5. Regarding the text to be displayed around this taskbar, we will choose to display the Deadline in the left and leave Resource Names to be shown to the right.


          6. Notice how the taskbar will look now, making more easy to spot the bar of this task which has a deadline:


         7. Also we want to emphasize the task called Paint walls and woodwork, which has a duration of 1 month. Double click on its bar to open the Format Bar dialog, from where we will indicate specific formatting to it. For the shape of the middle bar we will choose a thin one, for the pattern choose another one and as color select orange:


          8. Now as information to be displayed next to this taskbar, we will indicate to be shown in the left the start date of the task in addition to resource names.



          9. Once you press the OK button, the taskbar will look now like this in the right Gantt Chart:


         10. All of the formatting that is applied to the left table and to the right panel of Gantt Chart will be reflected in the printout when printing this view. So for instance, if you want to print this view, head to the File backstage menu and here press on Print. Then select Print Preview. Select landscape as orientation. You will notice that in the generated preview, you can see all the customization that we’ve specified.





image003.gif  Video

       If you prefer to see things in action, rather than reading text, watch out this video, which covers some of the topics from this section.