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How to: Gantt Charts in FileMaker

Update: For more information about gantt charts in Filemaker including sample files, please take a look at this blog post: Update: Gantt Charts In Filemaker

Gantt charts are (in my opinion) the best tool to help keep track of project activities and hours. Even with all the tools and built-in charts that FileMaker has for us, there will still be times where you’ll need to think outside the box to accomplish what you want to do. A Gantt chart is just one of those things. There are some really neat plug-ins you can use to produce Gantt charts, but we opt for a simpler, all FileMaker solution that doesn’t rely on any third party software.

Gantt Chart Example 1

The image above shows the planned time for the activities of a particular project. This is a simple list layout using custom formatting to display the bars. The yellow column highlighting is the current day and the gray column highlighting is for weekends. When an activity is done, it’s indicated by being highlighted in gray. If the activity end date passes the last day of the month, an arrow appears at the end of the bar to indicate that it does continue over to the next month. The same is true with activities having a start date previous to the first day of the month.

Now, something else you need to account for is the number of days in a month. You will need to hide the last number(s) of the month for shorter months. This also means that your trailing arrows need to account for this.

Looking into layout mode, this is when it gets a little scary. The appearance of the chart is entirely driven by conditional formatting on various types of objects.

Gantt Chart Example 2

Below is a list of some conditional formatting calculations that were used.

Weekend columns

Code for Auto-Enter Calculation

DayName(Date(Month(Activity_::zc__selectedStartDateForGanttChart__gd); Day(X); Year(Activity_::zc__selectedStartDateForGanttChart__gd))) = “Sunday”
or
DayName(Date(Month(Activity_::zc__selectedStartDateForGanttChart__gd); Day(X); Year(Activity_::zc__selectedStartDateForGanttChart__gd))) = “Saturday”

Current date column

Code for Auto-Enter Calculation

Get(CurrentDate) = Date(Month(Activity_::zc__selectedStartDateForGanttChart__gd); Day(X); Year(Activity_::zc__selectedStartDateForGanttChart__gd))

Activity not done

Code for Auto-Enter Calculation

Activity_::plannedStartDate ≤ Date(Month(Activity_::zc__selectedStartDateForGanttChart__gd); Day(X); Year(Activity_::zc__selectedStartDateForGanttChart__gd))

and

Activity_::endDate _Planned ≥ Date(Month(Activity_::zc__selectedEndDateForGanttChart__gd); Day(X); Year(Activity_::zc__selectedEndDateForGanttChart__gd))

Activity Done

Code for Auto-Enter Calculation

Activity_::plannedStartDate ≤ Date(Month(Activity_::zc__selectedStartDateForGanttChart__gd); Day(X); Year(Activity_::zc__selectedStartDateForGanttChart__gd))

and

Activity_::endDate _Planned ≥ Date(Month(Activity_::zc__selectedEndDateForGanttChart__gd); Day(X); Year(Activity_::zc__selectedEndDateForGanttChart__gd))

and

Activity_::Activity Status = “Done”

In this solution, rounded buttons were used for the bars so that they would have a softer look. An alternate way of accomplishing a Gantt chart would be to substitute the buttons with conditional formatting, with calculated container fields showing a graphic when the condition is true. This way you could have a repeating image that could be used for the bar, such as a gradient graphic or many colours, all of which would increase the complexity of doing it with conditional formatting.

Update 1: For more information about gantt charts in FileMaker, including sample files, please take a look at this blog post: Update: Gantt Charts In Filemaker

Leave a comment

8 comments

  • Vaughn
    Vaughn 09 December 2015 Report

    Have you considered updating the sample for FMP 14. 14 uses a new script engine so this sample will not work.

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  • Tank Man
    Tank Man 06 February 2013 Report

    I would like to do a simple gantt chart like this myself in FileMaker pro 12. Any example files someone could refer me to in order to get started? I'd rather start with something like that I can reverse-engineer and figure out how it works than a big fancy package - I don't need anything fancy, just display a roadmap-style gantt.

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  • FedNer
    FedNer 07 December 2012 Report

    Hi. I'm very interested because I already tried to realize Gantt charts with FileMaker but it's quite difficult to get a performing solution with tens of activities. Especially with multiple fields it takes very long time to update, so it's annoying to browse.
    My question then is: what kind of object are the conditionally formatted squares i can see in the layout screenshot?

    Comment Link

  • Matthew Leering
    Matthew Leering 09 June 2011 Report

    Hi Paul,
    thanks for your interest.
    Unfortunately the solution that Kevin implemented this GANTT chart into is a system that we have sold as a product, and so, because of that, I will not be able to provide you with a copy of it. I'm more than happy to address any questions you might have regarding how it's set up though.

    Regards
    Matt

    Comment Link

  • Paul
    Paul 01 June 2011 Report

    Hi Kevin,
    This looks great (i realise the post is a little old now!).
    I too prefer to do as much as possible using native filemaker objects. It makes updating systems in a network environment much easier!
    Just wondering if it would be possible at all to get a sample of that file to use?
    Many thanks,
    Paul.

    Comment Link

  • Kevin McGee
    Kevin McGee 29 November 2010 Report

    You are entirely right. There are some much more powerful and fancy ways of producing a Gantt chart. Although I have not seen your product in action, it does seems pretty nice. For our purpose, however, we already had an easy to use system that took care of all the scheduling, security, and much more, but we simply wanted to add a Gantt chart to have a visual representation of the data. This example was also to prove that you can make a perfectly fine and functional Gantt chart in FileMaker with native objects and no plug-ins.

    Comment Link

  • Indrek
    Indrek 25 November 2010 Report

    So it is possible with FileMaker. You can also do it using MS Excel, but those two are definitely not best tools for the job. Read the comparison http://ganttic.com/excel-vs-ganttic

    Comment Link

  • Tweets that mention How to: Gantt Charts in FileMaker | CoreSolutions Software Inc. -- Topsy.com
    Tweets that mention How to: Gantt Charts in FileMaker | CoreSolutions Software Inc. -- Topsy.com 23 November 2010 Report

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by Hal Gumbert and Paul Spafford, CoreSolutions. CoreSolutions said: #FileMaker users - this one's for you! Want to learn how to make Gantt charts in FM? Learn how: http://bit.ly/hEqw9R

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