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A Gantt chart is a fairly straightforward project management tool that makes it easy to schedule tasks and set realistic delivery dates. The visual format makes it easy to plan projects within a reasonable time frame. Large teams often manage projects in Gantt chart software, which usually comes with a subscription cost. If you’re working on a simple project and want to save money and time, grab one of our spreadsheet-based Gantt chart templates below.
How to use a Gantt chart
A Gantt chart is a project management tool that shows you the timeline of a project at a glance. It includes a list of tasks, along with a start and end date for each, and it plots the duration of each task in a bar chart, so you can see the timeline and workload of the projects.
The styling of a Gantt chart helps project managers define delivery dates and distribute work. This makes it easy to see where you’re trying to handle too many tasks at once or how the tasks that depend on each other fit together on the timeline.
Simple Gantt chart template
The basic layout of a Gantt chart is similar to that of a spreadsheet, making it an easy fit for a tool like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets.
We have guides on how to create a Gantt chart in Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets. If you prefer not to start from scratch, grab our templates for each:
Gantt chart template with dependencies
A task with a dependency means that it depends on the completion of other tasks or milestones reached before work on the task can begin. Adding a dependency to your Gantt chart ensures that task start and finish dates are automatically adjusted if you adjust the details of the connected items.
You can define four types of dependencies:
- End to start: Task 1 must be completed before task 2 can begin. This is the most common type of task dependency.
- Start to start: Task 2 can only start after task 1 has started. Task 2 can start at any time after task 1 has started.
- Finish to finish: Task 2 cannot complete until task 1 is completed. Task 2 can be completed at any time after task 1 is completed.
- Compensation: Task 2 cannot complete until task 1 has started. This is a rare type of addiction.
For a more complex project management, get these models:
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a Gantt chart template in Microsoft Excel?
Excel does not come with a Gantt chart template, but you can download a template to use in the program. Microsoft recommends a simple Gantt chart from Vertex42.com, or you can download our Gantt chart Excel template above.
Does Microsoft Word have a Gantt chart template?
Microsoft Word does not have a native Gantt chart template.
Is there a Gantt chart template in Google Sheets?
The Google Developers Google Charts tool allows you to create a more sophisticated or complex Gantt chart than with Sheets. However, there is no native Gantt chart template in Google Sheets. Instead, you can grab our model above.
How to create a Gantt project in Microsoft Excel?
To create a Gantt chart in Excel, you need to enter project data into an Excel table and create a stacked bar chart. To get the look of a Gantt chart, you need to make a few changes to the way the data is presented. Read our full guide on how to create a Gantt chart in Excel for a step-by-step overview.
What is the Gantt chart format?
A Gantt chart is a project management tool that helps you visualize your project timelines at a glance. It lists the project tasks that need to be completed in the left column and the dates in the top row. A bar represents the duration of each task, so you can see both when each task will start and end.
How to create a Gantt chart?
To create a Gantt chart, you need three basic pieces of information about your project: the tasks, the duration of each task, and the start or finish dates for each task. You can create a Gantt chart by entering this information into a spreadsheet such as Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets; or a Gantt chart project management tool, like Smartsheet, monday.com, or Wrike.
How to create a Gantt chart for free?
If you already have access to Microsoft Excel, you can use the process described above to create a Gantt chart for free in the software. If you don’t have access to Microsoft tools, you can create a free Google Workspace account and create a Gantt chart in Google Sheets. Many project management tools offer free versions or free trials, so you can get access to a more user-friendly and robust Gantt chart tool for free.