Tableau Gantt Chart: A How-to Guide With Pros, Cons & Alternatives


Tableau is an analytics platform that allows organizations to visualize their data on powerful yet user-friendly data analysis charts and diagrams powered by machine learning, natural language processing and predictive analytics.

While Tableau doesn’t have project management features, you can still use it to make a Gantt chart. In this blog, we’ll learn how to make a Gantt chart in Tableau and explore its key features and limitations.

Does Tableau Have a Gantt Chart?

Tableau doesn’t have a built-in Gantt chart feature, so you’ll need to manually set up its stacked bar charts to make one. The result will be a Gantt chart diagram that shows your project schedule and basic details such as project task names, duration and due dates.

Unfortunately, if you make a Gantt chart in Tableau, you won’t be able to use any of the project management features you’d find in more powerful Gantt chart software. For example, you won’t be able to assign tasks to your team members, link task dependencies, track costs, allocate resources or monitor project progress.

If you need a Gantt chart that allows you to do that and much more, you should try ProjectManager. ProjectManager’s Gantt chart allows you to plan, schedule and track your projects from start to end and sync with a variety of project management tools such as kanban boards, project dashboards, timesheets, workload charts and much more.

ProjectManager’s Gantt chart is a robust project planning, scheduling and tracking tool. Learn more

What Can You Use a Tableau Gantt Chart For?

Gantt charts in Tableau are basic at best. They outline the duration of events or activities in any given project, helping project managers see the project schedule and stay on track throughout various phases. However, the lack of true project management features is a significant hole in its usability, and there’s no time tracking, critical path or resource allocation, to name a few.

For example, if someone besides the project manager prefers to look at the data from a different view, it will be difficult to do so. All formulas have to be set up by hand which leaves room for human error. This isn’t ideal when the success of the project is on the line. Plus, sharing files with stakeholders is tricky and time consuming.

Tableau Gantt Chart Key Features

Knowing how to make a Gantt chart in Tableau can help you turn data sets, spreadsheets and task lists into data-driven project schedules for your organization. It could be a good alternative for project managers who just need to visualize the duration and due dates of project tasks on a timeline but don’t need a Gantt chart to manage the project’s day-to-day execution. Here are some benefits of using a Tableau Gantt chart.

  • Map data from large data set into a project timeline using stacked bar charts
  • Create accurate and realistic Gantt charts and avoid human error
  • Import data from a variety of file formats such as CSV, JSON, XML, Excel files, among many others

Tableau Gantt Chart Example

If you’re still set on using Tableau, we’ve outlined what a Tableau Gantt chart looks like. As you can see, it’s a typical Gantt chart that lists project tasks on the left side and uses a stacked bar chart on the right to represent project tasks on a timeline. Upon closer inspection of each task, this Gantt chart also shows the due dates and total duration of these tasks.

Tableau Gantt Chart Example

Disadvantages of Making a Gantt Chart In Tableau

Tableau simply doesn’t have the features you need from Gantt chart software. All you can do is use its stacked bar chart to mimic a Gantt chart, but it’s clear that this is just a mere data visualization chart and not the project planning, scheduling or tracking tool that a Gantt chart should be. Having said this, here are some of the key disadvantages of making a Gantt chart in Tableau.

  • Can’t be used for cost tracking, resource allocation or critical path analysis
  • Making a Gantt chart in Tableau is time-consuming and requires you to manually set up lots of things such as formulas
  • While Tableau claims to be a user-friendly analytics platform, its user interface is still hard to use and navigate for most people, especially those new to this type of software
  • Due to its total lack of project management features, Tableau can’t be considered Gantt chart software
  • Files can only be saved as a Tableau Workbook file format (.twb), which makes it hard to export data into other software and share files with team members

The Best Tableau Gantt Chart Alternative

In some cases, creating a Gantt chart in Tableau can be helpful, but it pales in comparison to Gantt chart software. With ProjectManager, you get online project and portfolio software that offers a suite of tools to plan and manage every stage of your project. With best-in-class Gantt charts that track all four types of dependencies, built-in resource management, real-time collaboration and so much more, you’ll quickly see why this is preferred over Tableau’s weak features. If needed, you can always import your Tableau data into ProjectManager for a closer look at key metrics.

Use ProjectManager’s Gantt chart to set a baseline, identify the critical path, oversee resources and track costs. In a few clicks, assign tasks to your team members, set priority and recurrence and collaborate with your team. Use unlimited file storage to keep track of all documents and share files from wherever you’re working. Try it free for 30 days.

Tableau Gantt chart import image into ProjectManager
ProjectManager is free to use and has stronger Gantt charts than Tableau. Get started

Let’s explore some other reasons that make ProjectManager a much better Gantt chart tool than Tableau.

Advanced Gantt Chart Features

As we hinted at, ProjectManager has one of the best Gantt chart tools any project management software can offer. Besides creating an interactive, online project schedule that allows you to collaborate with your team online, ProjectManager’s Gantt chart allows you to allocate resources, estimate project costs, link four types of task dependencies, identify the critical path of your projects and much more.

ProjectManager's Gantt chart with task information panel showing

Multiple Project Management Tools

One of the main advantages of ProjectManager’s Gantt chart is that it syncs automatically with other project management tools like kanban boards, project calendars, project dashboards, timesheets and workload management charts, so you can manage all the different areas of your project.

Collaborate With Your Team Online

One of the biggest drawbacks of Tableau’s Gantt chart is that it’s a desktop-based solution that doesn’t work for teams that need to collaborate online. ProjectManager on the other hand, is an online project management solution with unlimited file storage and team collaboration features like messaging and file sharing.

ProjectManager also has email notifications that alert you when someone makes changes to tasks or projects you’re in, or whenever you’re mentioned in a message so you’re always updated on your team’s progress.

If you’re still interested in creating a Gantt chart in Tableau, read on as we outline each step you need to make one from scratch. However, if you’re new to Tableau and you’re having a hard time adapting to this tool, you can also use our Gantt chart template for Excel, which will help you create a similar project schedule.

Gantt Chart Template

This free Gantt chart template for Excel can automatically create a Gantt chart for you based on a list of project tasks and their due dates. Simply enter that data and this free Gantt chart template for Excel will automatically calculate the duration of each task and generate a stacked bar chart to depict the project schedule.

Gantt chart template ProjectManager

How to Make a Gantt Chart in Tableau

To make a Gantt chart in Tableau, you’ll need to have a project or business data set, which can be anything from an Excel spreadsheet with a few project tasks and due dates, to large data sets with hundreds of tasks. If you don’t have a data set, you can download our construction schedule template as a CSV or Excel file. Let’s get started with the process of making a Gantt chart.

1. Import a Data Source File

The first step when making a Gantt chart in Tableau is to upload data into the software. For this example, we’ll use data from our construction schedule template, which we’ve downloaded as an Excel file. To get started, click the option that allows Tableau to import a “Microsoft Excel” file. Then select the file you’d like to import from your computer.


Tableau Gantt chart


2. Select Your Data

Once you import your file into Tableau, you’ll land on the “Data Source” screen. Here you can preview your data set, select the data you’d like to import and remove unnecessary columns if needed.

In this case, we’re exporting a file that contains project scheduling data for a construction project that can be used to make a Gantt chart, such as the list of project tasks that need to be completed, their due dates and duration. It also contains other details you might choose to display in your Gantt chart such as task costs, resource requirements, task dependencies and more. Once you’re happy with your data, you can switch to the Sheet view.


Tableau Gantt chart


3. Add Data to Populate Your Gantt Chart

Now that you’ve imported data into Tableau, you’re ready to make a Gantt chart using the Sheet view. On the left side of your screen, there’s a list of variables from your data set. Now you can simply drag and drop them into the columns and rows fields to automatically generate a Gantt chart in Tableau.

First drag and drop the “Planned Start Date” from the list of data variables to the “Columns” field as shown in the image below.


Tableau Gantt chart


Once you add this variable, click on it and select “Exact date,” which is the correct date format for making a Gantt chart.


Tableau Gantt chart


Next drag and drop the “Task Name” variable into the “Rows” field. Once you do so, Tableau’s stacked bar chart will begin to look like a Gantt chart, but there still are some steps that you’ll need to complete.


Tableau Gantt chart


Now click the drop-down menu under “Marks” and select the Gantt chart.



4. Calculate the Duration of Tasks

Now let’s configure the Gantt chart to show the duration of project tasks with the size of each bar. To do this, follow the steps below.

Open the data visualization drop-down menu and click “Create Calculated Field…”


Tableau Gantt chart


Name the calculated field and add a formula to it. In this case, we’ll use the “DATEDIFF” formula, which will calculate the difference between two dates. Begin by typing “DATEDIFF” and then select it from the formula menu.


Tableau Gantt chart


Now fill in the formula variables by typing “(‘day’, [Planned Start Date], [Planned Finish Date])” as shown in the Tableau Gantt chart example below.


Tableau Gantt chart


Once you add this formula and click “OK,” this custom-calculated field will appear with the rest of the data variables on the left side of your screen. Now drag and drop it into the size icon.


Tableau Gantt chart


This adjusts the size of the Gantt chart task bars to show the duration of each task so that it accurately depicts the construction project schedule.


5. Add Additional Details About Your Tasks to Your Tableau Gantt Chart

For the last step, drag and drop the “Planned Finish Date” and “Planned Duration” variables in the Details box so this information shows as you hover over the Gantt chart bars.



Note: Set the “Planned Finish Date” as an exact date variable by clicking its drop-down menu and selecting “Exact date.”

Congratulations, you’ve created a Gantt chart in Tableau. Now you can add extra details to your project schedule, such as costs, resources and assignees.

Advantages of a Tableau Gantt Chart

Even though it’s not a best-in-class option, there are some advantages to using a Tableau Gantt chart.

  • The process of creating a Gantt chart is easy and only requires you to import a data set and choose what information you’d like to display
  • In addition to the stacked bar charts you can use to make a Gantt chart in Tableau, there are dozens of data visualization diagrams and charts to analyze business or project data
  • Simple alternative for project managers who only need to see timelines and due dates

However, as stated above, this basic Gantt chart lacks resource management, cost tracking, project budgeting, risk planning and other important project management features. On top of that, this is a desktop-based Gantt chart so you won’t be able to collaborate with your team members online.

Therefore, Tableau Gantt charts can only be used for making a project schedule but they shouldn’t be used to manage the execution phase of your project due to their limited functionality. If you need a robust Gantt chart tool you can use to manage all aspects of your project, try ProjectManager. Let’s review what makes ProjectManager a much superior Gantt chart tool than Tableau.

In Summary: ProjectManager Has a Better Gantt Chart Than Tableau

As discussed above, Tableau can only help you visualize data sets into more digestible charts and diagrams, like a Gantt chart. But unfortunately, Tableau isn’t a Gantt chart tool you can use to actively manage your projects because you won’t be able to assign work to your team members, track project costs, or track the completion of tasks in real time like you would with ProjectManager.

Related Gantt Chart Software Content

Choosing the right Gantt chart software for your team can be challenging if you don’t know what to look for when comparing alternatives. That’s why we’ve created dozens of blogs explaining what are the key features of a Gantt chart, different methods you can use to create one, the best software providers and more to help you make an informed decision.

ProjectManager is online project and portfolio management software that connects teams whether they’re in the office, out in the field or anywhere in between. They can share files, comment at the task level and stay updated with email and in-app notifications. Join teams at Avis, Nestle and Siemens who use our software to deliver successful projects. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.