How to Create a Roadmap in Excel
To ensure that your business is a success, you need to have a plan of action. You can have overarching goals that you want to achieve, as well as goals for each day, a quarter or even a year. Truth be told, there are endless possibilities when it comes to creating and implementing plans for your business.
Putting your plan into practice means you need to create a roadmap. This will help you determine the steps you need to take and know when you’ve reached milestones along the way. Creating something visual is beneficial, as it can help you envision your plan. That might have you wondering how to create a roadmap in Excel.
Thankfully, when it comes to creating a roadmap in Excel, the process is relatively simple and easy. We’ll walk you through the steps to help you complete this task.
How to Create a Roadmap in Excel Manually
Once you’ve completed creating a roadmap in Excel, you’ll have a professional-looking document that will help you reach business success. The nice thing about using Excel for this job is that if anything changes, you can update your roadmap. When wondering how to create a roadmap in Excel manually, here’s what you need to do:
Step 1: Open Excel
The first thing you need to do when asking how to create a roadmap in Excel is to open a blank Excel document.
Depending on how your computer is set up, you may have Excel pinned to your taskbar on your home screen, or it may be in your Start menu.
In either case, look for the green square and an X on the side and click on it.
Step 2: Insert the Illustrations
Once you have a new Excel spreadsheet open, the next step is to add the illustrations that will serve as the outline of your roadmap.
To find these, you’ll need to go to the Insert tab at the top of the page and click on it.
Once the Insert menu is open, look for “Illustrations” and click on the down arrow. This option should be toward the left-hand side of the screen, and you will see a white box that contains a blue square and white circle.
Step 3: Add “SmartArt”
When learning how to create a roadmap in Excel, clicking on the down arrow under “Illustrations” will bring up a new menu. Look for “SmartArt” and click on it.
This option has a green arrow slightly behind a white box with black markings in it.
Step 4: Choose “Process”
A new window with various options will open after you click on “SmartArt.”
On the left-hand side, look for “Process.” It’s the third one on the list. Once you’ve found it, click on it.
Step 5: Pick Your Roadmap Symbols
When learning how to create a roadmap in Excel, after clicking on “Process,” you will see the symbols in the middlebox of the window change. From here, you can choose the roadmap symbols that you want to use to visually display your plan.
On the right-hand side of the window, when you click on a symbol option, you will be given an explanation about what type of process option you are choosing.
No matter what type of plan you have, and no matter how simple or involved it is, you’ll be able to find roadmap symbols that work for you.
Step 6: Click OK
Once you have found the perfect symbols for your roadmap, you’ll then need to click OK at the bottom of the screen.
Step 7: Enter Your Text
When wondering how to create a roadmap in Excel, clicking OK will bring you back to your Excel spreadsheet, and your symbols should be hovering over the cells.
There will be brackets with the word “Text” in them. This is where your words will appear as you finalize your roadmap.
To insert your text, you need to make sure the symbol is selected. To do this, click on the [Text] option. A dialogue box will appear in the spreadsheet. Type your terms into the appropriate areas. They will then be displayed on the roadmap image.
Step 8: Edit Your Roadmap
After you have entered all of the necessary information into your roadmap, you have the option of making edits.
Some of the things you might consider changing are the colors or the SmartArt styles. Depending on the type of symbols you have, you could have the option of making them 3D. This will add some dimension to your roadmap.
To make these changes, you need to make sure your roadmap is highlighted. Click anywhere in the text or on a symbol. You should then see an outline with points placed at intervals around the border.
At the top of the page, your toolbar options should change, and you should find yourself in the SmartArt Design tab. The options you have here include changing the layout, the style, and the color.
When asking how to create a roadmap in Excel, you can also make changes to the text by clicking on the “Text Pane” option that can be found on the far left of the screen. Some of the edits you can make here include adding bullets, which can then be promoted or demoted, as well as moving the shapes from one side of the roadmap to the other.
In addition to using the toolbar, you can also manually manipulate the symbols and text boxes within your roadmap.
To do this, you’ll need to make sure you have selected the image, then click on the specific item you want to move. Again, you’ll know when it can be moved because it will be outlined.
Using your mouse or the arrows on the keyboard, you can then move the selected item to a new location.
If you find that you don’t like these edits and want to move the boxes back to their original position, click the “Reset Graphic” option at the top of the screen on the right-hand side.
Product Roadmap Template for Excel
When asking how to create a roadmap in Excel, in addition to manually creating your visual document, you also have the option of using a product roadmap template for Excel. This can be an ideal choice if you don’t have a lot of time on your hands.
When it comes to a product roadmap template for Excel, there are many options to choose from. You can buy products directly from Microsoft to add to your software, or you can do a search online for some free templates you can use.
Some of the different types of roadmap templates that you might consider downloading include the following:
If you really enjoy making schedules visible, then you’ll want to check out what Gantt chart templates have to offer. These charts are a series of horizontal lines that show how much work needs to be done before a project is completed.
Gantt charts are ideal for complicated processes to ensure that all members of the team are on schedule to reach whatever goal you are trying to attain.
It’s possible to create one of these by hand in Excel, but since they have a lot of components, using a template might be in your best interest. Microsoft offers a Simple Gantt Chart download on their site.
You also have the option of doing a Google search to find other Gantt chart template options, but if you already pay for Microsoft Office, you might as well use the products they’ve created. That way, you’ll know they are compatible with the software you already own.
If you work for or run a business that has a lot of products or projects in the works, then using a portfolio roadmap template might be in your best interest. What makes these so appealing is the fact that you can display multiple items in a single view.
You can also break your business year down into quarters and set up initiatives when it comes to your product or project release. By keeping track of important dates and tasks, you’ll be able to track your success and ensure that you are reaching your goals.
Timeline with Milestones
Every business has an overarching goal they are trying to reach to be successful. To get there, certain milestones have to be met along the way. This could apply to the creation and launch of a particular product or service or anything else you’re trying to achieve with your business.
Having a plan in place is essential when it comes to ensuring you meet your deadlines. To stay on track and up to date, using an Excel timeline with milestones template is in your best interest.
Not only will you be able to see your progress on a timeline, but you can also assign tasks to specific employees. This ensures that everyone is doing their part and getting their work done in a timely fashion.
Simple but Agile Roadmap
Creating an incredibly detailed plan for your business can be beneficial. It ensures you know exactly what needs to be done to reach your goals. With the right templates, you can also assign specific tasks to your employees and follow up with them to make sure they’re doing their job.
However, there may be certain times when you don’t need a super detailed roadmap to get things done. Perhaps you have some daily or weekly tasks that you want to keep track of, but putting them into a Gantt chart or a portfolio roadmap would be overkill.
If that’s the case, then using an Agile roadmap template might be in your best interest.
This simple layout makes it easy to see exactly what needs to be done now, in the next few days or weeks, and farther in the future. You can also create a column that displays what has already been completed.
With one glance, you’ll know exactly how much you’ve accomplished and what still needs to be done.
How to Download Templates for Use
If you’re wondering how to create a roadmap in Excel using templates, the first thing you’ll need to do is download them. These are the steps you’ll need to follow:
Step 1: Open Your Computer Browser
It doesn’t really matter which browser you use, but since you’ll be going to the Microsoft site, you might consider using Microsoft Edge.
Step 2: Go to the Right Site
Once you have gained access to your browser, you’ll then want to navigate to microsoft.com.
Step 3: Do a Search
At the top of the screen, on the right-hand side, you’ll see the “Search” option. It has a magnifying glass icon right next to it.
Click on that.
When the text box opens, type in “roadmap templates.” Then, hit Enter or click the magnifying glass icon at the end of the bar.
Step 4: Choose Your Template
From the list of options that appear, you’ll need to choose which type of template you want to use. After making your decision, click on the link.
Step 5: Download the Template
After clicking on the link, you will be taken to a new window that gives you more information about the roadmap you picked, as well as a visual idea of what it will look like.
When wondering how to create a roadmap in Excel, if that is the roadmap template you want to use, click on the blue Download button located on the left-hand side of the screen.
Step 6: Get to Work on Your Roadmap
Once you’ve downloaded the roadmap template, you are ready to get to work turning your plan from an idea in your head into a visual representation of tasks that need to be completed.
Roadmaps that Visually Display Your Company’s Goals
The only way to measure the success of your business is to develop goals and then find ways to achieve them. Using a roadmap is one of the best ways to do this because you’ll have a visual representation of what needs to be done.
If you’re wondering how to create a roadmap in Excel, here are the steps you’ll need to follow:
To create a roadmap manually:
- Step 1: Open Excel
- Step 2: Insert the Illustrations
- Step 3: Add “SmartArt”
- Step 4: Choose “Process”
- Step 5: Pick Your Roadmap Symbols
- Step 6: Click OK
- Step 7: Enter Your Text
- Step 8: Edit Your Roadmap
To create a roadmap using templates:
- Step 1: Open Your Computer Browser
- Step 2: Go to the Right Site
- Step 3: Do a Search
- Step 4: Choose Your Template
- Step 5: Download the Template
- Step 6: Get to Work on Your Roadmap
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