Free Gantt Chart

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  • February 13, 2012 Updated
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In the planning stages of any project, one important tool is the roadmap. And the more complicated the project, and the more people the project includes, the more important the roadmap becomes. A Gantt chart is an excellent visual roadmap, and can play a large part not only in the planning stages, but throughout the duration of any project. This flexible tool can help you plan, clarify, estimate, track, visualize, and - ultimately - deliver your project.

The planning phase of a project is as much about your preparation as it is about the preparation of the actual project - you need your tools ready before you can even begin to begin. This is why preparing to build a Gantt chart is crucial. In ye olden days, Gantt charts were often made with Lego blocks laid out on a grid, and preparing meant getting enough blocks of the right colors, laid out in the right way on a large enough grid. Today, the first step in preparing a Gantt chart can be as easy as downloading our free Gantt chart template.

In just a few seconds, our Gantt chart tool will help get your personal and team projects off on the right foot. With areas for simple settings, non-working days, and a spacious chart workspace, our template has everything you need to start your project right and to keep it running smoothly.

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The functions behind the scenes allow much of your data to populate automatically, for an easy-to-use project planning tool. For simple projects as well as intensive ones, this free Gantt chart template is the ideal assistant.

Template Contents

Below is a list of files included in this Gantt chart template. You’ll find personal and team project templates, for both Windows and Mac, in lite and premium versions, with day and week views. Here are brief descriptions of each so that you can choose the perfect one for your project.

Personal Project Templates

These templates are just what you need to manage projects without an Assignment field in the chart for team members. (Templates optimized for Mac OS users have the word “Mac” in the file name.)

Day View

Use one of the Day View templates when you want to be able to view dates within weeks for your project timeline.

  • Gantt Chart Lite Personal Project Dayview: Basic Setting area and fields needed for a simple Gantt chart. The non-working day section includes standard holidays.
  • Gantt Chart Premium Personal Project Dayview: Contains everything in Lite, plus Maximum Parallel Tasks in the Setting area, as well as Finish Realization with Ahead/Behind fields in the chart. The non-working day section includes national, company, and personal leave dates.
  • Gantt Chart Premium With Sample Personal Project Dayview: Contains everything in Premium, and displays a completed Gantt chart as an example.

Week View

Use one of these Week View templates for viewing your project timeline by week without a breakdown of specific dates.

  • Gantt Chart Lite Personal Project Weekview: Basic Setting area and fields needed for a simple Gantt chart. The non-working day section includes standard holidays.
  • Gantt Chart Premium Personal Project Weekview: Contains everything in Lite, plus Maximum Parallel Tasks in the Setting area, as well as Finish Realization with Ahead/Behind fields in the chart. The non-working day section includes national, company, and personal leave dates.
  • Gantt Chart Premium With Sample Personal Project Weekview: Contains everything in Premium, and displays a completed Gantt chart as an example.

Team Project Templates

These templates are ideal for managing projects where you will be assigning tasks to members of a team and need an Assignment field in the Gantt chart. (Templates optimized for Mac OS users have the word “Mac” in the file name.)

Day View

Use one of the Day View templates when you want to be able to view dates within weeks for your project timeline.

  • Gantt Chart Lite Team Project Dayview: Basic Setting area and fields needed for a team project Gantt chart. The non-working day section includes standard holidays.
  • Gantt Chart Premium Team Project Dayview: Contains everything in Lite, plus Maximum Parallel Tasks in the Setting area, as well as Finish Realization with Ahead/Behind fields in the chart. The template includes tabs for employees, availability, leave dates, and holiday dates.
  • Gantt Chart Premium With Sample Team Project Dayview: Contains everything in Premium, and displays a completed Gantt chart as an example.

Week View

Use one of these Week View templates for viewing your project timeline by week without a breakdown of specific dates.

  • Gantt Chart Lite Team Project Weekview: Basic Setting area and fields needed for a team project Gantt chart. The non-working day section includes standard holidays.
  • Gantt Chart Premium Team Project Weekview: Contains everything in Lite, plus Maximum Parallel Tasks in the Setting area, as well as Finish Realization with Ahead/Behind fields in the chart. The template includes tabs for employees, availability, leave dates, and holiday dates.
  • Gantt Chart Premium With Sample Team Project Weekview: Contains everything in Premium, and displays a completed Gantt as an example.

Why Use This Template to Create Your Gantt Chart?

It’s possible for a poorly planned project to still be finished. In fact, it happens all the time. But working with a plan - such as a Gantt chart - helps ensure that you and your team determine your project’s critical path, and hit that path’s milestones, without wasting resources. With just a few, basic data points - such as dates, timelines, tasks, dependencies, and durations - the entire team can see what needs done, when it needs done, the resources it will take, as well as anything that might be behind schedule.

That’s where this particular free Gantt chart saves the day. You’ll see, as you move through the easy steps of this tutorial, how simple it is to add all the necessary project data points. Our Gantt chart templates include functions and formulae that simplify the entire process for you, making it unnecessary to run calculations yourself, such as are you ahead of or behind schedule and if so, by how many days.

Another terrific feature of this Gantt Chart maker are the Alerts. You’ll appreciate being able to see at a quick glance the remaining days for a task or task dependency, letting you know if the project is in danger.

You’ll also be able to view parallel tasks for team project members in a bold red color based on the number of tasks you set. These types of alerts can help keep your project on schedule.

Alternative Gantt Chart Tools

We are not going to pretend that there aren’t other tools available for creating Gantt charts. Gantt chart software and online Gantt chart creators are two popular choices.

For instance, project management desktop software helps you with tools like diagrams and Gantt charts. Often, software in this category is more complex than is needed, and investing the time to learn how to use it doesn’t pay off. And, it isn’t usually cheap, much less free. Depending on your budget, you may not find it affordable to either invest in the software, or in the time it might take you and your team to learn to use it.

Another option for creating Gantt charts is online software. Many tools give you a free trial, but you still end up paying after the trial ends. And even if you find a good free tool without a price tag, the drawback of online Gantt chart software is that you can’t work offline.

Our free Gantt chart template is easy to use, provides the tools you’ll need, is accessible offline, and is the least expensive you’ll find - because it’s free.

How to Use Free Gantt Chart Template

Enter Your Project Basics

Just like laying the foundation for your project, you’ll want to do the same when you create a Gantt chart. The best place to start with this template is with the basics - the Project Name, Description, and Leader. These reside in the main Gantt chart section.

Simply click each line and enter those three pieces of information.

Free Gantt Chart Project Basics

Add Your Project Settings

The Setting area on the left keeps your project settings in one spot for easy access.

Free Gantt Chart Project Settings

This is the next section you should complete. It includes the following settings:

Date Information

Grab all of the dates relating to your project for this first area of the settings. These will apply to your summary project timeline in the Gantt chart area.

  • Start Date: Enter the start date of the project.
  • End Date: Enter an End Date and mark the box if your project has a fixed end date. Or, enter the Week Period and mark the box if your project has a fixed week period.
  • Working Days: Mark the boxes for the correct workdays for your project.
  • Today’s Date: Mark Actual and the current date will automatically display. Or, mark User Defined and enter your own date.
  • Level Type: Enter the level type for your project, whether WBS (Work Breakdown Structure) level, up to three levels, or a custom style. For example, you can use a WBS style: A; A.1; A.1.1.. or a non-WBS style: 1; 1.1; 1.1.1..

Days Marker

Each setting in the Days Marker section is a Yes or No entry. Select the answer box and either type Yes or No, or use the arrows that display. These entries will populate your Gantt chart to help you determine and monitor your overall project timeline.

  • Today: Display the current date on the Gantt chart. This will have a blue border.
  • Holiday: Display non-working and country holidays on the chart. Non-working days will be red and country/national holidays will be orange. (See Enter Holiday and Leave Dates below for more details.)
  • Leave: Display a project team member’s leave dates. These will be dark violet.
  • Start/End: Display the start and end of a task period. These will be black.
  • Passing Days: Display the number of days from the start of the task until the current date. These will be gray.

Free Gantt Chart Days Marker

Display

The Display setting lets you view your Gantt chart within a custom timeframe.

  • Window: Choose from eight, 15, 32, or 52 for your week period.
  • Slider: Choose from Weekly or Same as Display Setting. This allows you to scroll per your preference.

Free Gantt Chart Display

Alert

The handy Alert settings help you stay on top of tasks with reminders. For each setting, type in the box or use the arrow for your choice.

  • Remaining Days: Choose No for no reminder or select the number of days, from one to seven. This will display the remaining days in red.
  • Maximum Parallel Tasks: Choose No for no reminder or select the number of tasks from one to four, for tasks per team member. This will display the remaining tasks in red.

Free Gantt Chart Alert

Enter Holiday Lists and Leave Dates

Before you jump into the Gantt chart area, it’s a good idea to enter any holiday or leave dates you have upfront. This allows you to only need to update the tab as new non-working dates arise.

Just select the tab for these dates and enter national, company, and/or personal holiday dates into the appropriate sections. These will then display as described above if you set the Holiday marker to Yes in the Setting area.

Free Gantt Chart Holidays Leave

Create Your Gantt Chart

Now that you have entered the basics, adjusted the settings, and popped in the non-working days, it’s time to create your all-important Gantt chart.

Below the basic information that you set up at the start of this tutorial, you’ll see the summary timeframe information that you entered into the Setting area. Following that, you’ll see your Gantt chart.

The first four to five columns of the chart are ready for you to enter your data. These may differ depending on whether you’re using a personal or team template and can include:

  • Level: Enter the levels as you set them under Level Type in the Setting area.
  • Task: Enter a short name or description for the tasks and subtasks.
  • Assignment: Enter the team member’s name assigned to the task.
  • Start Date: Enter the task start date.
  • Finish Date: Enter the task finish date.

Free Gantt Chart Data Columns

After entering the information in these columns, you will see the taskbar on your chart. Next, move onto the remaining sections to complete the chart.

  • Working Days: Displays the number of working days within the task based on your Working Days selections in Setting along with any non-working days entered for holiday and leave dates.
  • Finish Date Realization: Enter the actual finish date for the task and you can then see the task completion performance in the following column, Ahead of/Behind schedule.
  • Remaining WD (Workdays): Displays the remaining days to complete the task.

More to Keep in Mind

While this Gantt chart template is simple and intuitive, here are a few notes to keep in mind when using it:

  • The start day for each week is Monday.
  • The date below the week number (W1, W2, W3, etc.) is the first date of the week.
  • The maximum number of tasks allowed in the template is 100.
  • A new row will automatically be added as you enter the Level. Do not insert a row manually.
  • The date format includes the day of the week as a convenient reminder of which day your date falls on.
  • Some parts of the template are password protected, but this will not affect its use.

Free Gantt Chart Taskbar

Are You Ready to Start Your Chart?

Now that you have all the information you need to use this flexible and detailed free template, it’s your turn. Are you ready to create your Gantt chart?

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