Modern Gantt chart software can help you quickly plan projects and track progress.
Gantt charts give you a visual of all your upcoming tasks over time. They’re basically there to
help you stick to your project schedule so that you don’t end up missing deadlines and going over the budget.
After all, time is money!
In this article, we’ll explain what a Gantt chart is, the benefits of using Gantt charts, and show you some of the best free Gantt chart software, as well as a few premium options.
Let’s get started!
What Is A Gantt Chart?
Gantt charts are an essential part of project management because they also allow you to track the status updates of your project tasks.
A Gantt chart diagram usually looks like a horizontally stacked bar chart:
Check out more Gantt chart examples in this post.
Project Gantt charts help project managers visualize:
- Your project timeline
- What a project’s tasks are
- Who’s working on these tasks
- The duration of the task
- The order in which the tasks should be completed
- How these project tasks overlap and link together
Here are a few important Gantt chart terms you should know:
A milestone indicates an important date or key event in a project. For example, a milestone could be the date when the first phase of the project is completed.
B. Work breakdown structure (WBS)
Ever tried to eat an entire pizza without splitting it into slices?
Yeah, it’s pretty tricky.
But, if you eat the pizza in slices, it’s a lot more manageable (and enjoyable 🍕).
The same goes for project management!
A WBS breaks down project tasks into smaller chunks based on the type of work they involve.
Determining this is a crucial component of a project, as the breakdown structure makes the project work more manageable.
The critical path method involves a sequence of activities in a project plan which must be completed for the project to finish by its due date.
If one critical task is missed, it could delay the entire project, leaving your team to hold on to the project schedule by the skin of their teeth.
Critical path analysis can help you determine which tasks to prioritize to deliver a project on time.
Want more info on Gantt charts? Check out this post on the differences between a Gantt chart and timeline.
The 13 Best Gantt Chart Software In 2021
Here’s a complete list of the top 13 Gantt chart software you can use to manage multiple projects:
From helping you plan and schedule tasks with time estimates to giving you a high-level overview of everything that’s going on in your Workspace with project Dashboards, ClickUp is the ultimate project management tool.
An online Gantt chart has been one of the top requested features from our users since ClickUp has begun…but we wanted to make sure we did it right.
To that end, ClickUp gives you several ways to view different tasks, projects, and Spaces on the Gantt view.
And you can go about managing projects the way you want to with Custom Statuses for your tasks.
Whatever you choose, ClickUp has endless features to help you end your projects successfully.
Here are a few reasons why ClickUp is the best free Gantt chart software out there:
A. Assign tasks to multiple assignees and Teams
ClickUp lets you assign tasks to multiple assignees and specific groups of people (teams).
This means that you can instantly use your Gantt chart timeline for task assignment. Just look at your schedule, determine the number of people needed and assign them to the task.
It’s that easy!
The ClickUp Gantt chart maker will show you who is assigned to what to help you track team progress.
This way, your team knows what’s expected of them:
B. Advanced sorting
You can even organize your tasks in your timeline.
This is very valuable for working with clients.
For instance, if you tag all of your tasks with a client, like ACME BOX COMPANY, you can see how their tasks link up in the Timeline view.
That way, you don’t necessarily have to create a to-do list for your related tasks!
That’s the flexibility of creating Gantt charts in ClickUp.
C. Powerful scheduling
Start dates and due dates make sure you are working on the right tasks at the right time.
And if you combine this with the Calendar view, you’ll also be able to see when specific tasks need to be worked on.
However, that isn’t all.
ClickUp’s online Gantt chart maker also has tons of automations to make scheduling and rescheduling a breeze.
Want to add a new task to the existing timeline?
Whenever you make a change, the chart automatically adjusts the task start date, end date, and dependencies.
This saves tons of time since you don’t have to adjust each value manually.
But wait…what are Dependencies?
A task dependency structure makes sure teams know that a specific successor task can only be performed once the predecessor task has been partially or completely performed.
For example, if you’re part of a software development team working on product backlogs, you’ve got to set task dependencies so that your team focuses on bug tracking after adding new features to the app.
Fortunately, setting up task dependencies is super easy in ClickUp. Just select two tasks on your online Gantt chart and draw a line between them.
ClickUp does the rest!
You can now view how these individual tasks are linked with just a single click.
E. Progress percentage
Sure, simple Gantt chart task bars let you visualize your task progress, but have you ever wanted an actual figure instead?
The Gantt chart view gives you that!
Hover the mouse over your task, and ClickUp gives you a project progress percentage!
It does this by dividing the completed tasks by the total number of tasks in your Gantt chart. This gives you a better idea of where you’re placed.
F. Automatic critical path calculations
A critical path determines which chain of tasks is essential to your project’s completion.
It gives you an idea of which individual task can be rescheduled without impacting your project’s overall progress.
Fortunately, ClickUp’s Gantt chart maker can easily calculate your project’s critical path.
Just select the group of tasks you’d like to calculate the critical path for, and ClickUp will do the rest.
It gives you an idea of what tasks need to be prioritized to meet your deadline.
You can even create Milestones in ClickUp.
And the Gantt view is where milestones really shine! 💎
Milestones are used in project management to signify the end of a big group of tasks, such as getting approvals from your clients and stakeholders.
A Milestone is represented as a diamond shape.
They help you see all the big items that need to be completed in your project timeline.
Need more info on Milestones? Check out our ultimate guide to project milestones.
H. Time Tracking
You get tons of time tracking options with ClickUp.
You can also use the time tracker to keep track of billable hours.
In addition to the Gantt chart maker, ClickUp has received rave reviews for its easy, user-friendly interface and its cool feature releases.
With many free features that other companies charge for, ClickUp has skyrocketed to the top of the list for the best project management software.🚀
And if you’re not ready to say goodbye to your current tool, it’s also easy to import and start today! On top of that, you can also integrate ClickUp with any Google App of your choice, including Google Drive, Google Calendar, Google Hangouts Chat, and more.
Still not convinced? Take a look at the other additional features ClickUp can offer you.
Redbooth isn’t only a Gantt chart app; it’s full-scale project management software that offers Gantt charts and timeline views for project planning.
This planning tool orders tasks by the earliest start date, and they’re color-coded for easy recognition with tasks divided by section.
However, this Gantt chart software doesn’t have task dependencies in the free version and only gives you an overview of the due dates and priorities for your ongoing tasks.
On top of that, you don’t get time tracking, a workload view, or advanced reporting in the free plan.
So if you’re a free plan user, this is how you’ll feel:
- Task management: you can create task lists, edit the start and due dates, and add multiple assignees to work on a task
- Project templates: if your team reuses the same task list for every complex project, you can store them as a template for easier access
- Chrome extension: manage your project tasks from your browser in real-time
This free Gantt chart software is hosted locally (compared to cloud-based project management) and has a few simple tools for sketching out dependencies and timelines.
This isn’t a full-fledged project management tool but could be an add-on to your current project management solution.
If you’re unfamiliar with charts and just want to see a few Gantt chart examples, then this open source Gantt chart software may be a good solution.
Use this tool to view your project’s Gantt chart for free with no hidden costs. Other than that, GanttProject won’t have much utility beyond just a few uses for easy projects.
- Manage dependencies: show dependencies between tasks by drawing a line between tasks
- Import/export files: export and import your Gantt Charts to/from CSV files. This allows you to analyze data in Microsoft Project or Excel. You can also export files to PDF or PNG to create printable charts and reports
- Open source: you can modify the source code to create a management app that suits your needs
4. Toggl Plan
A web-based project app, Toggl Plan has some stunning visual project planning tools with a great brand persona to match.
Their beautiful visual Gantt chart and elegant project timeline features are like project planners, showing you where daily tasks occur on the timeline and how they overlap.
A nice benefit is that there is a public link for their online Gantt charts, so you can share it with others even if they don’t have a Toggl account.
However, Toggl Plan doesn’t offer task dependencies, which is an essential Gantt chart feature.
In addition, important project management features like recurring tasks, multiple assignees, and in-app notifications are only found in the paid plans.
Imagine trying to execute a project without task dependencies or in-app notifications!
- Interactive Gantt chart design: the drag and drop interface is intuitive and fun to use
- Timeline view: team members have a bird’s eye view of tasks and deadlines
- Collaboration tools: plan projects and work with your team members in real-time
This one is a little tricky, so let’s see if we can explain it.
Asana doesn’t have Gantt chart functionality, and so Instagantt decided to build an integration.
But it’s only free if you have an Asana account (which has a free tier). 🤔
But the other confusing part is that Asana has a timeline view, which is similar but different from the one that Instagantt offers.
The selling point for why you would add Instagantt to your Asana account is because of dependencies, but Asana’s timeline also offers dependencies…so we’re not sure?
Other great Instagantt features include workload management, milestones, and different colors to show progress on your Gantt chart.
If you want another add-on for your Asana projects, then Instagantt may be your answer for an online, free Gantt chart software.
- Workload management: detect when your team members are overloaded with tasks so that you can distribute them equally
- Progress tracking: track project progress for every daily task and subtask on your project
- Change tracking: track Gantt chart schedule changes and project delays in real-time
Bitrix24 is a management tool and team communication platform that wants to put all of your business needs into one solution.
That’s a tall order, but it has a Gantt chart, so let’s take a look?
This chart tool looks pretty promising, with dependencies set with:
- “Start to Start” meaning two tasks start at the same time
- “Start to Finish” meaning when one task finishes, another begins
- “Finish to Finish” meaning that one task can’t be completed until the previous one is also completed
The Bitrix24 interface is designed with the free Gantt chart front and center, where your tasks on the left and your other team members on the right side.
Unfortunately, Bitrix24’s on-premise plans start at $1,490/12 users, and there’s no free plan available here.
Cue your wallet looking like this:
On the bright side, their cloud solution does offer a free plan for unlimited users.
- Free unlimited projects: Create as many charts as you want
- Online storage: You can store free Gantt charts and other project reports up to 5GB on the BitrixCloud
- Project management app: Manage your tasks and projects from anywhere with an iOS and Android app
Not sure about this tool? Check out the top Bitrix24 alternatives.
Agantty is truly a free project management software that is based around simple Gantt charts.
You can create unlimited projects and tasks and chart them on your Gantt chart.
The Agantty mission is to make creating Gantt charts a piece of cake.
They give the professional chart software guys, like TeamGantt, a run for their money. Once you create tasks, they’re automatically added to your Gantt chart.
Good value for those looking for a free Gantt chart solution, right?.
One of the major drawbacks of this tool is that there are no mobile apps available yet, so you can’t schedule projects on the go.
Guess you’ll just have to carry your laptop or desktop with you everywhere you go! 😰
- Export as PDF: export tasks in your project timeframe as PDFs for easier reference
- Rights management: you can decide which team members can view or edit specific tasks
- Reminders: send task reminders to team members via email
For those that are super enthusiastic about Gantt charts, take a look at TeamGantt.
It’s a cloud-based software whose super-sharp design is complemented by a robust commenting system that lets you add attachments to the Gantt chart.
And it is simple to move and assign tasks within this Gantt chart generator because of its drag and drop functionality.
TeamGantt offers to-do lists, calendars, and weekly views, but Gantt charts are the name of the game here.
Their resource management and capacity planning view are also helpful.
You’ll see how many tasks your team members have before assigning a new task or project.
TeamGantt does have a free plan for up to three users; however, this plan has limited functionality. For example, the free plan doesn’t offer workload management, project baselines, time tracking, and more.
Basically, you’ll have to upgrade to a paid plan if you want to manage your projects properly.
- Customizable views: view your tasks as a simple list, calendar, or Gantt chart
- Team availability: manage resources and identify which team members are available to work on more tasks
- Planned vs. actual timeline: compare the original timeline projection with the actual timeline to see if your entire team is on track
We’re not sure who Tom is, but he (or she or they) has created a simple Gantt chart that you can use.
The benefits of Tom’s Planner are much like the others; a drag and drop functionality with task dependencies.
What makes their Gantt chart tool a little different is easy filtering and custom color coding, so your timelines appear the way you want them to.
This planning software does have a free plan, but it’s mainly for personal use.
You can’t invite others to collaborate, and you only get one project on the free plan.
Also, the interface seems a little outdated with the grid and blocky interface.
If you do decide to upgrade to a paid plan, you’ll get to use their simple project scheduling feature, which shows real-time updates, who’s responsible, and the history of the tasks to monitor any changes.
- Free templates: choose from around 500,000+ templates, or create your own Gantt chart template
- Filters: find any tasks by filtering your Gantt chart by resource, activity, team, and more
- Import projects: import your project schedule and Gantt charts from MS Project, Excel, Trello, and Basecamp
Much like Tom’s Planner and TeamGantt, StudioBinder also has a Gantt chart creator that you can use with one project before having to upgrade.
This chart software is specifically set up for events and film production, making this a wise choice if that’s the particular use case that you need. Additionally, if you click on one of the Gantt chart bars, task details and project files are immediately pulled up.
However, if you’re planning on using this tool alone, you won’t get access to the Gantt chart creator in the “indie” paid plan, which already costs $29/month. You’ll have to upgrade to the professional plan ($49/month).
That’s just show biz, baby. 🎬
- Interactive Gantt charts: simplifies managing a production workflow with a drag-and-drop interface
- Calendar templates: speed up your workflow by using an online Gantt chart template or create your own custom templates
- Comments: create Gantt chart comments with ease. You can even upload files as comments
11. Office Timeline
Want to make a Gantt chart in PowerPoint?
This tool is your best bet.
Office Timeline is an online Gantt chart tool that helps create visual project timelines and charts for your presentation slides.
This tool is best suited for new users who have never used a Gantt chart before.
Their ‘Wizard’ gives you step by step instructions to create a Gantt chart and a project timeline.
However, the Powerpoint add-on version doesn’t offer collaboration features, automatic software updates, or assigned tasks, and the online version doesn’t provide task milestones!
- Smart layout engine: automatically generates excellent visuals that can be styled as you like it
- Real-time collaboration: invite your team members to collaborate so that they can see your chart or edit it further in PowerPoint without wasting any precious time
- Browser integrations: being a web-based Gantt chart, you can use Office Timeline to create charts in Google Docs
12. Excel Gantt chart template
Yep, another way to have a free Gantt chart view is by completing a chart in Excel.
This may make (some?) sense if you’re already using Microsoft Excel on a daily basis, but we don’t need to reiterate all of the reasons why an Excel Gantt chart template doesn’t work for project management.
Like in the example above, you can see deadlines and end dates, but it’s impossible to collaborate efficiently with your team or get reminders on these dates with a chart template.
A Gantt chart Excel template will also severely limit your team collaboration.
But if you must…here’s our guide on how to make a Gantt chart in Excel.
- Free Gantt chart templates: there are plenty of free Gantt Excel templates available online
- Break down projects: view your projects by project phase, percentage completed, task, due date, or assignee
- Team collaboration: share your Gantt chart in Excel with your project team to review and edit collaboratively
Microsoft Project is a popular project management platform, but is it an efficient Gantt chart tool?
This project scheduling tool has a ton of powerful features like detailed options and customizable reports. Microsoft Project is also great for project managers who need to monitor their resources, timelines, and budgets consistently.
But, if you’re just looking for a simple Gantt chart tool, then perhaps MS Project isn’t the best solution.
It isn’t an easy project management app to use, and it’s got expensive pricing plans.
On top of that, their Gantt charts have a lot going on.
What do we mean?
They’re slotted in split screens with task lists and due dates so that you have all your timeline info in one view.
To put it simply…
This is a tad overwhelming for product teams or individuals who just want to track their progress or see an upcoming task.
- Tasklist: list each of your project’s tasks in the grid portion on the left side of the Gantt chart view and organize them into a summary task with subtasks
- Zooming in and out: zoom out to get a bigger picture of your project’s tasks by displaying years and months, or you can zoom in to see the exact start and finish dates for your project’s tasks
- Highly customizable: customize your Gantt bars with different colors, shapes, and patterns. You can also add text to your bars, change the height of bars, and change the appearance of link lines between bars
Now that we’ve gone over the best Gantt chart tools, let’s look at how far Gantt charts have come:
How Have Gantt Charts Changed?
Originally, Gantt charts were done by hand, but now you have cloud-based project management software to instantly input your project data into a chart.
Ever since management consultant Henry L Gantt first invented the Gantt bar chart in the 1910s, Gantt charts have transformed rapidly.
Initially, these charts were done by hand.
Imagine having to sit in an arts and crafts session just to plan your project’s timeline! 🎨
Luckily, cloud-based project management software has simplified that process.
Now, you just input your project data, and the online Gantt tools do the rest!
Here’s a closer look at how they’ve changed:
A. Gantt charts are easier to use than ever before
As with any cloud-based solution, an online Gantt chart is straightforward to operate. And many of them are easy to use as a kanban board!
Modern Gantt charts come with color-coded bar charts, a drop-down menu, advanced filters, and tons of other cool features!
How does this help agile teams?
This ensures that you won’t need to switch between apps to manage your entire project until you get dizzy.
Your Gantt tools are all you need!
B. Gantt charts have evolved
Cloud-driven project management software options have rapidly changed what online Gantt chart software can do.
When there were only a few local desktop application options, Gantt charts would have to be printed out or emailed to the rest of your team members.
We don’t know which one’s worse: physical paper trails or long email threads!
On top of that, the Excel Gantt chart had updates that were slow and clunky. Individual tasks couldn’t be changed directly from the Gantt chart.
Okay, Excel definitely takes the cake.
It was a tedious manual process.
Even so, some ambitious souls made a Gantt chart in Excel using conditional formatting!
However, things have changed.
Many cutting-edge online project management software and task management tools like ClickUp have transformed the typical Gantt chart.
You now have a simple timeline view that lets you drag and drop tasks into certain spots while also giving you way more data than a basic Gantt chart.
C. The best Gantt charts don’t stand alone
If you’re only looking for specialized software for Gantt charts, you’ll be sorely disappointed in the end result.
It’s just not an efficient management solution.
It’s like ordering a pizza without any toppings.
It just doesn’t make sense!
Yeah, you’ve got the base, but what about all the essential flavors you’re missing out on?
Similarly, you need complete management software with essential task management features to help you run tasks, manage project hierarchies, share comments, and more.
That’s why the best management tools now include a Gantt chart view. Your Gantt chart should be part of your project management tool. It shouldn’t be the entire solution.
That sounds great, but why should you use a Gantt chart in the first place?
What Are The Benefits Of Gantt Charts?
Online gantt software helps you visualize linked tasks, check the amount of time to finish specific tasks, and verify who’s assigned to each part of the project.
Using a Gantt chart is one of the best ways to streamline your work processes:
Online Gantt software helps you:
- Visualize linked tasks, due dates, and dependencies
- Check the amount of time it takes to finish specific tasks
- Verify who’s assigned to each part of the project
Gantt software shows you where your individual activities intersect and change. It’s a great addition to your current task management tool.
We’d recommend setting up a Gantt chart online after you already have your project plan and due dates ready.
First, you need to:
Schedule your tasks, fill in the deadlines, locate the task dependency, and assign it to the right team members.
Experienced managers may even use work breakdown structures to split work into smaller sections and assign appropriate project deliverables for each Gantt section.
Then, once you’re done with your project plan, switch to the timeline or Gantt view to see how everything will line up.
With an online Gantt chart, you’ll see:
- Potential roadblocks
- Parts of the project that are at risk and falling behind
- Any issues that need to be addressed
- Identify the critical path for moving forward
- Monitor alternatives and find workarounds
Another benefit of Gantt charts is dependency visualization.
A Gantt chart shows you how each part of the project is related.
This shouldn’t be overstated.
It’s easy to make activities dependent on others, and it’s even easier to work with one dependent task. But if you have several dependent tasks, it could easily get lost during the weeks of a busy project.
Your executive team and clients will also like Gantt charts because of how easy it is to understand in a presentation. It shows the individual tasks without diving into the specifics.
What a power(ful) point!
Drive Your Project Success Off The Charts 📈
Okay, now we know everything there is to know about Gantt charts.
They’re helpful because they give teams a visual representation of where their work may overlap, helping your team plan projects and prioritize work.
Take a look at the Gantt chart software options we listed here to determine which one fits your needs best.
And if you’re looking for a place to start, sign up for ClickUp for free and experience the perfect project management and Gantt chart tool!
Questions? Comments? We're here for you 24/7 at email@example.com!