The Gantt block is part of Airtable Blocks, a Pro plan feature. Blocks let you extend the functionality of your bases: you can use blocks to bring new information into Airtable, visualize and summarize your records in colorful ways, and even directly integrate your Airtable bases with your favorite apps.
With the Gantt block, you can visualize a schedule of related activities over time—like tasks, projects, or events—on a Gantt chart. You can use it for project management, production timelines, or resource management.
A Gantt chart is a type of horizontal bar chart that uses bars to visualize a schedule of certain activities (tasks, projects, events, resource expenditures, etc.) over time. The length and position of each bar shows the start date, end date, and duration of each activity, and the bars are stacked into rows in such a way that you can easily see at a glance which activities overlap and for how long.
In many cases, a project plan or schedule will require that activities be performed in a certain order (for example, a particular contract needs to be signed before construction can begin). A Gantt chart will let you visualize how different activities depend on each other with arrows (called dependencies) connecting the different bars.
You can use a Gantt chart to:
- manage tasks within a single project
- manage many projects over a long period of time
- visualize how people or other resources can be deployed on a schedule
Before adding a Gantt block to your base, make sure that you have a table containing the tasks, projects, or other time-bounded activities that you want to plot on the Gantt chart. This table must have:
- A view containing the subset of records that you want to display on the Gantt chart
- A field containing the records' start dates (likely a date field)
- A field containing the records' end dates
You can optionally use the following to further customize your Gantt chart:
- For dependencies: a self-linking linked record field to indicate dependencies between activities
- To group records: a field you can use to group your records by shared values
- To color the bars: a view using record coloring OR a single select field using colored options
When you first add a Gantt block to one of your blocks dashboards, it'll automatically open up the new block's Gantt settings dialog. Additionally, it'll look at a couple of features in your table to try and quickly set up a Gantt chart:
- Which records appear on the chart is determined by the table and view you were looking at when you added the block to your base
- The block automatically detects date fields in your table to set the Start date field and End date field
- If you have a self-linking linked record field, the Gantt block will automatically set that as the dependency field for your chart
You can adjust any of these settings from the Gantt settings panel.
The Start date field and End date field are used to define the duration for each record. When you first add a Gantt block to one of your blocks dashboards, the Gantt block will automatically detect any date fields that you have, and set those as the Start and End date fields. You can choose different date fields from the Start date field and End date field dropdowns in the Gantt block settings panel.
A couple of notes about the Start and End date fields:
- The Gantt block does not account for any timestamps associated with the date fields.
- If the date fields you're using both have timestamps, the start and end date fields must be set to the same timezone. For example, if you have the Use the same time zone (GMT) for all collaborators option toggled on in the start date field, you must also have it toggled on in the end date field.
- If only one of the date fields has an associated time, that date field will need to have the Use the same time zone (GMT) for all collaborators option toggled on.
- Instead of using date fields, you can also use computed fields that output date values. However, if you use computed fields, you will not be able to manually adjust the start or end dates for your records by dragging the records on the Gantt chart.
- You can use the same field for both the start date and the end date if you'd like. Doing this will cause every record on the Gantt chart to appear as a bar with a duration of one day.
- In the Gantt block, end dates are considered to be inclusive. For example, if your start date for a record is January 1 and your end date is January 3, the record will appear as three days long (spanning from the beginning of January 1 to the end of January 3).
In some cases, a project plan or schedule will require that activities be performed in a certain order (for example, you need to finish making a presentation deck before you give a presentation). You can visualize these dependent relationships between different tasks with arrows (called dependencies) connecting the different bars.
The arrow reflects the direction of the dependency. The base of the arrow comes out of the record that needs to be completed first (the predecessor) and points toward the record that can only be started after the predecessor is completed (the successor).
To show dependencies on your Gantt chart, you need a linked record field that links to its own table rather than to another table (a "self-linking" record field). This linked record field will contain either:
- links to activities that can start only after the activity in the primary field is completed (successors) OR
- links to activities that must be completed before work can start on the activity in the primary field (predecessors)
If you already have a single line text field or other field containing successors or predecessors, you can convert this existing field into a self-linking linked record field. Otherwise, you can create a new self-linking linked record field.
When you first add a Gantt block to one of your blocks dashboards, the Gantt block will automatically detect any self-linking linked record fields that you have, and set one of them as the dependency field. You can also choose a different self-linking linked record field to be the dependency field from the Dependency field dropdown in the Gantt block settings panel.
If you have a dependency field, you'll also need to select one of two options—Successors or Predecessors—depending on whether your self-linking record field contains successor or predecessor activities.
If your self-linking record field already has record links in it, then your Gantt chart will automatically populate with dependency arrows.
If your self-linking record field doesn't already have record links in it, you won't see any dependency arrows yet, even after selecting a dependency field. However, as long as you have a dependency field set, you can create your own dependency arrows in the block.
If a dependency appears with a red line, that means the dependency is invalid: either a dependent record is scheduled to start prior to one of its precedent tasks, or the records are in a dependency loop.
When tasks are dependent on each other, delays of individual tasks can end up directly affecting the completion date of an entire project. A chain of dependent tasks that can influence the finish date of the overall project is called the critical path.
If you have a dependency field selected in your Gantt block settings, you can highlight the records and dependency arrows on the critical path by toggling the Highlight critical path button.
Much like grouping in grid views, you can customize a Gantt block so that records sharing the same value in a specified field are grouped together. For example, if different collaborators are responsible for different tasks, you could group by a collaborator field to more easily see all of the tasks assigned to specific individuals.
In your Gantt block settings, you can choose a field from the dropdown menu that you can use to group your records.
You can customize the color of the records in your Gantt chart in your Gantt block settings. You have three coloration options:
- Specific color will give all your records the same color of your choosing.
- If you have conditional record coloring in the view you're using to define your Gantt chart, selecting By view will apply those record colors to your Gantt chart.
- By select field will apply colors to your records based on the token colors in a single select field of your choosing.
Once you've set up your Gantt block, you can customize how you want to see the information in the block and edit information in your records directly using the Gantt block.
Click the Today button to jump to the current date.
You can change the date range on the horizontal axis by clicking the dropdown menu to the left of the Today button. You can choose from a week, 2 weeks, a month, a quarter, a year, or 5 years. The arrows let you shift your view backward or forward by the currently selected date range.
You can scroll left and right using the scroll bar toward the bottom of the block, and scroll up and down using the scroll bar to the right of the chart.
Calendar dates are indicated by vertical lines on the chart. Today's date is indicated by a thick blue vertical line. Thin gray lines indicate the end of one month and the beginning of another month. Weekends appear as slightly darker gray vertical slices on the chart when the date range is a month, 2 weeks, or a week.
You can add a new record to your Gantt chart using the add record button at the bottom of the block (which resembles a big circle with a + in it). This will automatically add a new record to the chart and expand the new record so you can fill in the details.
To change the duration of a record, you can lengthen or shorten a record by clicking and dragging on its left or right edges. You can adjust the dates that a record begins and ends (without changing its duration) by clicking and dragging the bar earlier or later on the timeline.
You can press the Esc key while dragging to cancel, returning your record to its original date before you started dragging.
If you've selected a self-linking linked record field to serve as a dependency field for your Gantt block, you can make dependencies directly within the Gantt chart interface. When you move your mouse over a record, a white circle will appear. Click and drag this white circle to another record to create a dependency arrow.
As you create dependency arrows, links will be created in whichever field you designated as your dependency field.
Adjusting a record can affect other records that have been linked to it as successors or predecessors. For instance, if you change the end date of a predecessor to end later than the start date of any of its successors, the start dates of those successors will change automatically.
When you drag a record to reschedule it, slack or "lag time" between the records will be consumed before any predecessor or successor record dates get changed. As an example, if there are 5 days between a record's end date and its successor's start date, you can move the first record forward 5 days, and the successor's start date won't change. But if you push it forward by more than 5 days, the successor's start date will get pushed forward so that it starts on the next day following its predecessor's new end date.
If you want to adjust the duration or dates of a record without affecting any dependent records, press and hold the key while making changes.
The record list shows all the records in the view you used to define your Gantt chart.
You can quickly locate a record by typing a search query in the Find a record search bar. If you want more breathing room for your chart, you can collapse the record list by clicking the hide record list button.
The number of records in the view that are unscheduled (lacking a start date, end date, or both) will appear in the record list below the record search bar. If you'd like, you can click X unscheduled records to view those records, expand them, and assign start and end date values so that they appear on the chart.
If you have selected a group by field in your settings, the record list will be grouped as well, according to the group by field you selected. You can expand or collapse individual groups by clicking on the arrow 🔽 in the group heading.
Once collapsed, the previously empty row in Gantt block corresponding to the group name will suddenly feature a white bar that shows the overall duration of all records in the group (from the start date of the earliest record to the end date of the final record).
Clicking on a record in the chart or from the record list will open up a sidebar containing some basic information about the record, including:
- its date range
- its predecessor records
- its successor records
You can add additional dependencies in either direction from this sidebar by clicking + Link to a record under either dependency category.
You can undo any changes made through the block by clicking the undo icon next to the block's settings button or by using the Z keyboard shortcut.
Similarly, you can redo any changes by clicking the redo button, by using the Y keyboard shortcut, or by using the ShiftZ keyboard shortcut.
If you're using the keyboard shortcuts, make sure that the Gantt block is focused (i.e., that it's been clicked into and is selected to receive keyboard inputs)—otherwise, the keyboard shortcuts will apply to the changes last made outside the block, in the currently visible table. You can focus the block by clicking anywhere in its frame.
Some of the types of changes to the block that can be undone with the undo button or shortcut are:
- Rescheduling a record's start/end dates by dragging the record left or right on the chart
- Changing a record's duration by adjusting the length of a record on the chart
- Adding a dependency by drawing an arrow on the chart
- Adding or removing a dependency in the sidebar when a record is selected
- Changing the block's settings, like selecting a different group by field or changing how the records are colored
Additionally, if a change that you make to one record causes cascading changes in other records, and you undo this change, all of the cascading changes will be undone as well.
Changes that are not made through the Gantt block cannot be undone using the undo and redo buttons in the Gantt block. This includes:
- Any changes made in expanded records (e.g. deleting a record from an expanded record) even if you opened the expanded record using the Gantt block.
- Any changes you make directly to a table (e.g. adding a linked record to a dependency field in a grid view) even if those changes affect your Gantt chart
You can, however, use keyboard shortcuts to undo these changes if your focus is on the appropriate table in your base, rather than on the Gantt block.
To download your Gantt chart as a PDF, click the Export PDF button.
Once you've exported the PDF, it'll appear in the default downloads folder designated by your internet browser or in the preferences for the Airtable desktop app. You can then open this PDF (using your preferred PDF reader application) and print it.