How to create a Gantt chart when your project data is in Microsoft Planner

When your tasks are in Microsoft Planner and you need Gantt charts, take a look at this third-party app.

Microsoft Planner logo shown by apple pencil on the iPad Pro tablet screen. Man using application on the tablet. December 2020, San Francisco, USA.
Image: vladim_ka/Adobe Stock

Gantt charts are a vital part of task management when a project has to meet deadlines. These charts track tasks belonging to a larger project to help everyone meet their deadlines. Microsoft Planner is task-management software, but it doesn’t offer a Gantt charting feature. If you have Project, you can connect the two, but if you have Project, you’re probably not using Planner. Don’t despair, because you’re not between a rock and a hard place, as long as you can use Edge or Chrome.

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In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to use a Chrome extension to generate a Gantt chart based on Microsoft Planner project tasks. I’m using Planner on a Windows 10 64-bit system and Microsoft Edge with the Chrome extension Apps4.Pro PlannerGantt that you can download for a free 14-day trial. The instructions should work similarly with Chrome. Planner comes with Microsoft 365.

How to install the Chrome extension

Planner doesn’t offer a Gantt charting feature, which is a bit odd given its purpose. Fortunately, you can use a Chrome extension that’s available from the Chrome Web Store with Chrome or Edge.

If you’re using Edge, the store will prompt you to allow extensions from a store other than Microsoft Store. Once you do, click Add to Chrome, shown in Figure A, and confirm the download to continue.

Figure A

Use this extension with Edge or Chrome.

How to access Apps4.Pro PlannerGantt in Edge

You’ll access the extension as you would any other. First, sign into your Microsoft account so you have access to Planner. In Edge, click the Extensions icon and choose Apps4.Pro PlannerGantt from the dropdown list, as shown in Figure B. The first time the extension launches, it will display a list of new features. When you’re done reading the list, close the window to continue.

Figure B

Choose the extension from the Extension icon dropdown list.

Figure C

PlannerGantt imports your Planner projects.

As you can see in Figure C, PlannerGantt automatically imports the first Planner project, which has three tasks. To the right, the simple Gantt chart displays the start date and the assigned personnel. To change the project, click the Planner Hub menu in the top-left corner (circled in Figure C) to access other projects in Planner, as shown in Figure D.

Figure D

You have access to all of your Planner projects.

How to enhance Planner tasks in GanttPlanner

Using the Planner Hub, you can quickly switch to another project for updating. With the new project in GanttPlanner, you can add settings to make the chart more effective. To do so, select a task and click Edit Task to the right. GanttPlanner will open a pane of settings.

As you can see in Figure E, some settings are already set, based on Planner settings. Figure F shows the result of adding the number of hours, 3, Susan plans to devote to the project every day, for an estimated total of 87 hours. At any time, you can update that number.

GanttPlanner uses the start and end days to determine the number of project days, 29. Click View (the eye icon) and check settings that are meaningful to you, as shown in Figure G.

Figure E

GanttPlanner uses Planner settings as defaults.

Figure F

Denote the number of hours per day.

Figure G

Display settings that are important to you.

Using GanttPlanner, you can add a child task to an existing task. Click the parent task and then click More (the three dots) to see more actions. Figure H shows a child added to the first task. Perhaps the volume of documents is too large for one person to peruse and still meet the deadline.

Figure H

Use the More options to add a child.

You can’t print directly from GanttPlanner, but you can export the chart. To do so, click Basic Export (the printer icon) and preview or export the current chart to .pdf, as shown in Figure I.

Figure I

Export the chart so you can print it.

GanttPlanner is the quickest and easiest way that I know of to build a Gantt chart on project data in Planner. It’s a robust set of offerings and they’re easy to implement. There’s much more to offer. GanttPlanner is available for purchase through a suite of products, and it’s much easier to use than Microsoft Project.

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