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Comparison of the different visuals to create a Gantt chart in Power BI

Updated: Oct 10

A Gantt chart is a project management tool widely used in planning and scheduling projects of all sizes, and there are several ways to create it in Power BI. This article shows you the pros and cons of the Microsoft-certified custom visuals for the Gantt chart.


What is the Gantt Chart:

A Gantt chart is a type of bar chart that illustrates a project schedule by listing tasks on the vertical axis and time intervals on the horizontal axis. In the graph, the horizontal bars indicate the duration of each activity. A Gantt chart shows the start and finish dates of each element of the work breakdown structure of a project. Modern Gantt charts also show the dependency (i.e., precedence network) relationships between activities, current schedule status using percent complete shadings and a vertical "TODAY" line (Data Date Line).


The following items are important in a professional Gantt chart, and in this article, I have examined them for each visual:

  1. Start and Finish Date

  2. Progress line (Status)

  3. Critical Path indicator

  4. Data Date Line

  5. Relationship between items (activities)

  6. Milestone (Display them with different icons)

  7. Baseline bar (to indicate baseline bars with baseline start and finish dates)

Power BI visuals for creating a Gantt chart:

There are 8 Power BI custom visuals for Gantt Chart, and I reviewed those that are Microsoft-certified:


Gantt by Microsoft Corporation

With this custom visual, you can specify the Tasks, Start Date, Duration and %Completion for rendering them as Gantt Chart. Please note that the %Completion expects a decimal value (0.85 means 85%) and Start Date, a date field and not a date hierarchy. You can also control the colour of the bar with a Legend. To do this, you can use any relevant field from your project as a Legend, for example, task type


. You can also specify the resource field, which would be listed next to the bar in the Gantt. This is an open-source visual, and you can get the code from GitHub: https://github.com/Microsoft/powerbi-visuals-gantt

This visual has 10 fields as below:

Legend: This field allows you to group your activities (Items) by colour. It is helpful to show Critical Path activities with different colours; for example, you can separate Critical Path activities from others with a field or measure that has a Yes or No, same as my sample file.

Task: Add your activity name column to this field

Parent: You can use this field to group your activities; you will be able to close or open the group by clicking the +/- icon next to the parent item. For instance, you can group your activities by WBS or project.

Start Date: Add your Start Date column or measure to this field (add a date field and not a date hierarchy)

End Date: Add your Finish Date column or measure to this field.

Duration: You can use this field or the End Date field to set the width of the activity bar.

% Completion: Add your progress column or measure to this field. This field expects a decimal value (0.85 means 85%), and depending on the progress, the activities bar is coloured differently.

Resource: Use this field to add a label to your activities, like activity name, resource name, Progress, ...

Milestone: You can split tasks and milestones, and the good thing about this visual is that milestones have different icons.

The Format pane in this visual allows you to show the weekend or day off, change the height of the tasks and labels, and change the date type, which is an excellent way to customize your Gantt chart.



Output:

Pros:

  • It shows the data date line (vertical line)

  • Shows progress very well with a progress field

  • You can use any field in the legend, and it's useful to show critical path activities

  • Easy to use

  • Date types include second, minute, and hour

  • It's all free

Cons:

  • Relationship lines between activities cannot be shown

  • The baseline bars cannot be displayed

  • There is a limitation to grouping tasks by one item (Like WBS)

  • It is not possible to display Activities and Milestones simultaneously

Gantt Chart by MAQ Software

Gantt Chart by MAQ Software includes a grid where users can include additional task information such as budget, project status, and location. You can also group tasks by category or sort for specific data points. This visual has 2 versions, a basic or free and the Premium version. The Premium version gives you more functions like Progress Bar, Task Status, Milestones, Category limit increased to 10 (In Basic version, max 4 categories can be used), and Configurable Bar Height, but you need to pay $14.76 user/month.


Since I don't have the premium license, and to compare all visuals in the same condition, I reviewed the free or basic version of this visual that has the following fields:

Category: You can use this field to group your tasks, and in the free version, it's limited to 4 categories. To show the groups and +/- icons, you need to turn the hierarchy layout on in the formatting pane.

Legend: This field can be used to group tasks with different colours, but you have to use data that has been used in the Category field.

Start and End: Add your Start or Finish Dates to this field

Data Lable: Use this field to add labels to your activities

KPI: You can use this field to add more columns to your Gantt Chart


Output:


Premium Version (Image from Appsource):

Pros:

  • It shows the data date line (vertical line)

  • Columns other than activity names can be added

  • Add more than one category to group tasks

Cons:

  • Relationship lines between activities cannot be shown

  • The baseline bars cannot be displayed

  • You cannot group and show the critical activities

  • All functions are not available in the free or basic version

Gantt Chart - xViz


The Gantt Chart by xViz is a professional visual, and it gives you a lot of options. With this visual, you can add Conditional Formatting or Status Flags to your Gantt chart, Display Additional Columns, set Zoom Range, Customize Milestones, and change the data format easily; however, you will need to buy a Pro License to use most of these options.

With this Gantt chart visual, you can show the BL tasks with different bars and relationships between activities (you need to use the predecessor task name column with the main task name in the connection fields to show the relationships).


Same as the other visuals, I reviewed the free or basic version of this visual that has the following fields:

Task name: You can assign single or multiple categories in this field. You can create a hierarchy structure by assigning multiple categories as task name

Start and End Dates: To Display the current dates for the task Duration: The duration of the task (Use either End date or Duration [whichever you prefer]).

Actual Start and End Dates: To Display the actual dates for the task

Planned Start and End Dates(optional): To display planned dates for the task (Baseline bars)

Progress: Value to indicate the percentage completion for the task

Display Category and Value: To display additional category or value columns to the data grid

Primary Connect to: It specifies the task to which this task is linked (Predecessor Column)

Primary connector type: It specifies the relationship between the two tasks (Task Name/ID Column)

Data Label: By default, the visual displays the progress value as a data label in the case of a simple Gantt and task name in the case of the Gantt resource chart. However, this can be overridden with a different value or category field by assigning the desired value in the data label field in the fields pane tab.

Milestone: The Gantt Chart sets milestones automatically based on the data provided with different formatting options like colour and shape. Instead of the chart displaying the Milestone automatically, you may also assign a separate field to do so.

  • At the top right of this visual, there is a button named Summary Table that shows all data in a table format, and you can export it to Excel with one click.

In this visual, there is an advanced editor section that offers more options, as follows (Images from the xViz website):

  • Conditional formatting

  • Conditional formatting for Timeline (Progress Bar)

  • Conditional formatting for Data Grid

  • Status flag

  • Reference (You can use it as a Data Date line)

  • Milestone

  • Web URLs

  • DaysOff (a great option in which you can select which weekday you want to be the weekend and specify a custom holiday date)

  • Zoom Level


Output:


Premium Version (Image from xViz):



Pros:

  • Baseline and current bars can be displayed for each activity based on its start and finish dates

  • Relationships between activities can be shown

  • Status Flag

  • Conditional formatting

  • Set a Zoom Levels

  • Add Web URLs

  • Columns other than activity names can be added

  • Adding Milestones and Activities at the same time

  • select which weekday you want to be the weekend and specify a custom holiday date

  • Add more than one category to group tasks

  • Create a summary table from all Gantt Chart data

  • There are many videos and blog posts on the xViz website that indicate good support from the xViz team

Cons:

  • All functions are not available in the free or basic version

  • There are some icons on the free version that you can't hide/remove

  • There are many icons and fields on this visual, and it requires time and practice to learn

PowerGantt Chart

The PowerGantt Chart for Power BI allows you to review both tasks/activities and milestones right in your Power BI reports. The PowerGantt Chart supports an unlimited number of tasks/activities, hierarchy levels and milestones.

This visual has some key features like Progress bars, Formatting options, tooltip support, icons for milestones, and a Zoom slider.

In Power BI Desktop, you can try out all the PowerGantt Chart features for free, but to share the report with others and publish it to the Power BI service, you need to buy a license (Power BI Premium users must purchase a different license [premium license] to use this visual).

Same as the other visuals, I reviewed the free version of this visual that has the following fields:

Item: In this field, you can add your Activity ID column (or any other Activity columns)

Parent: Use this field to group your tasks - you can add your WBS or any other columns to group your activities based on that (It was hard for me to play with this field 🤔)

Item Name: Add a column with your task names here - If you used your Activity ID in the Item field, then use the Activity name column in this field

Start and End Date: To Display the current dates for the task

Progress: Use this field to indicate the percentage completion for the task in the middle of the activity bars as a thinner red line

Additional Columns: Use this field to add columns to your Gantt chart

Legend: This field allows you to group your activities (Items) by colour

Label: Use this field to add labels to your activities

Milestone Fields: Use these fields to add your milestones to the Gantt Chart

(For additional information, check the video on this page: https://visuals.novasilva.com/exploring-the-powergantt-chart-for-power-bi/)


Output:

Output (Image from Appsource):


Pros:

  • You cannot group and show the critical activities

  • Columns other than activity names can be added

  • Easily change the period of time with the zoom slider

  • Progress bars


Cons:

  • You need to but a license to publish and share the report

  • It does not show the data date line (vertical line)

  • Relationship lines between activities cannot be displayed

  • You can't add more than one category to group tasks

  • It is not possible to display the baseline bars

  • All functions are not available in the free or basic version.


Download the Sample File:

Gantt Chart - Sample file
.zip
Download ZIP • 4.38MB










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