Looking for a graphics program to make schedule charts...

…like tv listing style bar charts, like the kind they have in TV Guide, or in your local newspaper. Peferably something simple and dedicated, I prefer not to use feature-rich bloatware. Would just want to save it to a jpeg image. Anyone have any suggestions?

The kind of chart you’re looking for is called a Gantt chart.

In Windows, there’s Microsoft Project. There might even be some freeware plugins for Excel and/or Access. OpenOffice.org Calc can do something similar with their “Stock Chart” function, but you kinda have to monkey with the data.


Here’s a tutorial from MS for doing it in Excel.

On Linux, there’s MrProject.

I wrote one in FileMaker as shareware awhile back. The shareware site I put it up on is pretty much forgotten these days so if you have FileMaker and want to use it I’ll consider it freeware for ayone here who wants it.

I haven’t gotten around to making a FileMaker-7 compatible version (this one is NOT, you could of course upgrade the file format itself but the calcs don’t work under 7 due to a change in how the syntax resolves) but it works under FileMaker 4 through 6 under Mac or Windows.


It handles up to four discrete ranges for a given entry (e.g., it could handle the noncontiguous two term of office of US Prez Cleveland on a single “Grover Cleveland” line, or the 3 Best Supporting Actor Oscars received by Walter Brennan in in 1936,k 1938, and 1940; but it could not handle Gantt-charting the two American parties Democratic and Republican since 1900 – way too many different interrupted sections). Screenshot

Well, if you don’t want “bloatware” then you certainly don’t want MS Project. A true Gantt chart has dependancies between each of the items in the chart and has a much, much steeper learning curve than you need for the kind of chart you want to create.

You can do those kinds of charts in any basic drawing program that lets you draw and resize objects. Powerpoint is a good one, but you may not have Office, and it won’t save jpg. You can probably find a decent shareware program that will save in wmf format, and then use an image converter to change it to jpeg.

First make your base grid, with the times along the top or bottom, and the channels down the side (or vice versa, if you like). If the program has a grid that constrains the sizes of things into increments, turn it on… it can make your job much quicker if you use it and cooperate with it. Make the increment of the grid equal to the minimum program length you plan to represent (probably 15 or 30 minutes).

Then make yourself a library of master program bars. Different colors or patterns or whatever for each kind of program: movie, sitcom, sports, etc. Make them all sized for a half-hour program.

Then, for each broadcast program, copy the appropriate master onto your grid. Size it horizontally so that its size matches the duration of the program, and then edit its text properties, or just insert a text object.

You could even do this very easily in Excel, by making each column equal to a time increment, uniform column widths, then merging cells horizontally, and typing program info in the cells… but again, you wouldn’t get a jpg, except maybe by taking a screenshot and then pasting it into a photo editor, and cropping out all the excel menus and stuff.

Have fun!

If you have Office, you can use Graph to do it rather easily. From Word / XL / PPT, goto Insert | Chart, then goto Chart | Chart Type and choose any Bar chart type.

PowerPoint can save as JPEG. Every version since WinPPT97 and MacPPT98.