A Gantt chart is a vital tool for any project manager. It helps you create a schedule for your project and track the status of each task. There are hundreds of tools for creating gantt charts, some far more complex than others. If you have Excel, you can create a project schedule with almost no learning curve by downloading Vertex42's free Gantt Chart Template.

Gantt Chart Template

Free version 1.7.3
Excel Gantt Chart Template
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For: Excel 2003 or later
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For: OpenOffice Calc
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For: Google Sheets (via the new Template Gallery add-on)

Template Details

License: Private Use
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(not for distribution or resale)

"No installation, no macros - just a simple spreadsheet" - by

Description

Easily create and print a project schedule using Excel. Each row of the worksheet represents a separate task. All you need to do is define the start date and duration of each task.

  • To add more tasks, you just copy and paste rows.
  • To change the range of dates displayed in the chart area, just slide the scroll bar.
  • To track the status of a task, edit the % Complete column.

While planning a project, you may also want to use a yearly calendar or project budget worksheet.

For complicated project management activities, you may need a tool such as Microsoft Project. But, if you want to create a project schedule quickly and easily, you only need basic Excel skills to use this template (such as knowing how to copy and insert rows).

Watch the Video Overview

The video demo of Gantt Chart Template Pro shows how simple it can be:

Video added 3/11/2014

Gantt Chart Template Pro

Professional Version 2.3
Only a fraction of the cost of Microsoft Project®, and easier to learn and use!
$39.95
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Bonus Content Included (see below)
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File: gantt-chart.XLS (Excel 2003+)
Template Details
60-DAY MONEY-BACK GUARANTEE

Requirements
Microsoft Excel® 2002(XP), 2003, 2004(Mac), 2007, 2008(Mac), 2010, 2011(Mac), 2013

License
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(not for resale or distribution)

Questions?
FAQ - Purchase Process >

Video #1: Basic Tutorial
Video #2: Task Dependencies

Support
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Unlocked - The pro version does not use password protected sheets, so you have access to all Excel features. Customize, adapt, or integrate other tools.

NEW: Daily/Weekly/Monthly View - You can now switch between a daily, weekly, or monthly view by simply selecting the option from a drop-down list. You can also choose whether or not to show weekends. For details on this new feature, see the blog article Creating a Gantt Chart with Excel is Getting Even Easier. Note: With this new feature, a few parts of the video tutorials will be obsolete.

Other Features of the Pro Version

  • Enter the number of Work Days for defining the duration of a task
  • Exclude holidays and vacations from work days (see below for details)
  • Easily create task dependencies using the new Predecessor columns (see below for details)
  • Includes a much-improved Help worksheet

Affordable for the Entire Team! When you buy this template, you are buying it for your entire team, not just a single computer or user. Even at a discount price of $450+ for Microsoft Project, you don't need to be a math wiz to see the value in that.


New Update: Wednesday, 29 Jan 2014:
Showing Actual vs. Planned Dates in the Gantt Chart - Read this article if you are interested in comparing your current project schedule to your original plan, within the same gantt chart.
BONUS CONTENT (included with professional version)

The following bonus files are included with the purchase of the pro version. Each is a separate file, and there is no automated means of transferring information from one file to the other.

Bonus #1 Excel 2007+ (XLSX) Version with Color-Coding

Filename: gantt-chart.xlsx

Choose different colors for the bars in the chart area by entering a pre-defined color codes (default=blue, r=red, k=black, o=orange, p=purple, g=green, 1-6 = theme-based accent colors). Or, use a formula to color-code your project's tasks based on the task owner or the urgency.[Not compatible with Excel 2008 for the Mac]

 

Bonus #2: Event Schedule

Filename: gantt-chart_events.xls

This Event Schedule is great for scheduling classes or presentations for workshops, conferences, and seminars. It was created as a variant of the gantt chart template, but is based on the use of Times rather than Dates.

- Choose the time interval for the chart (10, 15, 20, 30 or 60 minutes)
- Enter the start time and end time for each event

 

Bonus #3: Time-Based Gantt Chart

Filename: gantt-chart_time.xls

Use this template to define a process that spans only a few hours. Durations are entered as times instead of days.

 

Bonus #4-#6: Sample Project Schedules

Files: sample_construction-schedule.xls | sample_software-project-schedule.xls | sample_website-project-schedule.xls

Download a pre-populated project schedule for 3 different sample projects: (1) Home Construction Project Schedule, (2) Custom Software Project Schedule, (3) Website Development Project Schedule. These templates use the new Predecessors feature for defining task dependencies. Note: The outlines are generic and the durations are fictitious. These files are based on the .XLS version of the template (not the new .XLSX version).

 

Bonus #7: Google Sheets Version

We have created a Google Docs version to share privately with people who purchase Gantt Chart Template Pro. It is limited to a daily view (not weekly/monthly) for now, but otherwise it does almost everything that the new XLSX version does, including color coding.


 
Excel Tips Workbook

NEW Bonus #8: Spreadsheet Tips Workbook (Single-User License)

Master Excel one tip at a time with our new Excel tips workbook. It contains over 100 useful tutorials and is currently priced at $19.95 when purchased separately. You'll get one license free along with your purchase of Gantt Chart Pro.


Excel Timeline Template

NEW Bonus #9: Excel Timeline Template

Create timeline charts quickly and easily using our new Timeline Template ($14.95 when purchased separately).


CPM Spreadsheet

Bonus #10: Critical Path Method Spreadsheet

Analyze your project schedule using the critical path method (CPM) with our CPM spreadsheet ($14.95 when purchased separately).


Using the Gantt Chart Template (Pro Version)

I placed answers to most of the questions that I get asked in a Help section within the GanttChart worksheet. You are welcome to if you have other questions, but please take a look through the Help first.

Automatic WBS Numbering


WBS numbering for sub-tasks

You use Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) numbering to organize your tasks in an outline form, as shown in the image to the right. You could enter your own WBS numbers manually, but we have included formulas so you do not need to update the WBS numbers every time you insert a new row.

Video: Updating WBS Numbers

Watch the Video >

To indent the text in the Task column, you can modify the cell formatting to include an indent (shortcut: Ctrl+Alt+Tab), or add spaces before the text.

Enter Working Days, Duration, or End Date

In the professional version, you can choose what set of inputs you want to use for defining each task by copying and pasting from a set of sample rows at the bottom of the worksheet. You can even use different methods within the same worksheet as shown in the image below (the inputs have green backgrounds).

Enter Working Days, Duration, or End Date
Various ways to enter task dates and durations.

  • Working Days (default): The new version of the spreadsheet lets you choose the duration of a task by entering the start date and the number of work days (excluding weekends and holidays). This is a critical feature for creating a project plan when you are creating dependent tasks.
  • Duration: Enter the number of calendar days for a task. Some projects use 7-day work weeks, or require Saturdays or Sundays to be work days, so this option allows you to handle these cases.
  • End Date: Choosing the end date can be useful when you have a deadline that forces you to complete a task by that date.

Also notice that in the professional version, the Start and End dates are formatted to show the week day. This helps you avoid starting or ending on a weekend, without having to consult a calendar.

Create a Project Spanning Many Months and Years

Even though the time-span displayed in the chart area is limited by the number of columns, the slider bar lets you scroll through a project that spans many months and years. The scroll bar simply changes the first date shown in the chart.

In Excel 2007, you can add columns to increase the displayed time-span.

Change the Range of Dates Using the Scroll Bar
Scroll bar for changing the range of dates displayed.

A New Way to Define Predecessor Tasks

Version 2.2 introduced a brand new option for creating task dependencies. Normally, if you want to make a task start after the completion of another task, you would enter a formula for the Start date like =enddate+1 or =WORKDAY(enddate,1,holidays), where enddate references the End date of the Predecessor task. That isn't too hard, but you can't tell by just looking at the chart that there is a dependency defined.

So, we've added a new feature where you create dependencies by referencing the WBS number of up to 3 Predecessor task(s). If you reference the WBS using a formula as shown below, the reference will remain correct even after you insert new tasks. You can also enter the WBS number manually if you want to, as long as you enter the number as text. To enter a number as text, add an apostrophe before the number like '1.2 instead of just 1.2.

Referencing Predecessors
Creating task dependencies by referencing Predecessor tasks.

Not everyone wants to use this approach, so the Predecessor columns (D-F) are hidden by default. If you want to experiment with this new method, just unhide all the rows and columns. Check out the bonus gantt charts #4-#6 to see this technique in action.

Exclude Holidays and other Non-Working Days

In the pro version, a worksheet has been added where you can list holidays and other non-working days that you want to exclude. As long as you don't leave any blanks between the dates or delete row 10 (see below) you can copy/paste, insert/delete, sort, or append to the list.

List Holidays and Non-Working Days
Various ways to enter task dates and durations.

Grouping Tasks

You can use Excel's grouping and outlining feature to hide or show groups of tasks. See my article on Grouping and Outlining in Excel for an explanation of how to use Excel's "Group and Outline" feature for expanding or contracting groups of items.

Grouping and Outlining in Excel
Grouping and WBS numbering in the gantt chart.

Recent Questions

How do I easily move data from the free gantt chart to the pro version? There is no automated import/export feature (mainly because of the ability to use custom formulas to define dependencies). But, you can copy and paste the WBS, Task, and Task Lead, and that will give you a good start. First, add rows to the new version to mimic the outline in your old version. After you have copied the WBS/Task/Lead data to the new gantt chart, you will need to step through each task to define the start date, end date, duration and dependencies.

Can I add columns to the Gantt chart? This is one of the most frequently asked questions about the pro version of the gantt chart. The answer is a most definite yes. For example, you could add a column for indicating the number of people associated with each task, the budgeted cost, actual cost, etc.

How do I make a task precede another task by N days? If you want to create a task that will automatically precede (start before) another task by a certain number of work days, you can use a formula for the start date such as =WORKDAY(reference_date, number_of_days, holidays), where "number_of_days" is a negative number of days and "reference_date" is a reference to the start date of the task you want to precede. "holidays" is a named range in Gantt Chart Template Pro. This same technique will work for making a task start N days after another date (using a positive number_of_days).

Other Common Questions:

We've begun using our blog as a place to provide answers to common questions and other technical support for Gantt Chart Template Pro. The following are quick links to areas on our "Technical Support" page.


Other Gantt Chart Spreadsheets

  • Gantt Chart Links - peltiertech.com - A great list of Gantt Chart links, compiled by Jon Peltier's, including links to a lot of other gantt chart spreadsheets.
  • Gantt Charts in Excel - hyperthot.com, by James Chapman. - This page includes a few free gantt chart downloads for Excel that also calculate spend plan. This is done by including labor costs broken down by employee and the number of hours spent on each task.
  • CPM / PERT Spreadsheet - vertex42.com - This template includes a gantt chart for critical path analysis.

Commercial Gantt Chart Software

  • Microsoft Project - Office.Microsoft.com - Although a bit pricey, this really is the ultimate software for creating gantt charts and project timelines, partly because it is widely used and therefore you can probably find someone in your office that knows how to use it if you have questions.

Related News and Resources

  • 4/26/2013: Official Release of Version 2.3 - Thank you to the customers who have provided the suggestions and feedback that help us make Gantt Chart Pro better and better.
  • 4/8/2013: What is the Critical Path method? - The Critical Path method helps you figure out how long your project will take to complete and is useful for project management. The Critical Path Method (CPM) helps you give your client or employer an estimate for how long it will take to complete the tasks. Our Critical Path Method spreadsheet template will help you determine the length of time it will take to complete your project.
  • 6/13/2012: 12 Steps to Planning a Project - Creating a gantt chart is just one of the many steps involved in project planning. This article is a quick read with some great reminders.
  • 4/11/2012: Drawing a Gantt Chart - MindTools.com - If for some reason you wanted to create a gantt chart by hand using graph paper, this article tells you how.
  • 2/20/2002 - 12/10/2011: Project Management Graphics (Gantt Charts) - edwardtufte.com - A ongoing, detailed, academic discussion about the use of gantt charts as project management tools.

References

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