Project Management Template

At last, a project management template which is really easy to use and looks pretty.

Project Management GANTT chart in Excel

What it is, and who it is for

Most project management software packages are too complex for the average person managing a medium complexity project. As a result, project managers tend to create their own plans in Excel to allow them to achieve what they want. This is fine, but these plans often look unprofessional, or take a long time to create.

Therefore we created a ‘best practice’ project management template which automatically creates a pretty GANTT chart for you. It is totally free to download and you can customise it to your needs.

We hope you enjoy using it. Please remember to comment in the box below if you like it, or can think of ways to make it better.

Here’s how to use it:

  1. Download it using the button at the top of the page, then save it locally on your computer.
  2. Edit your project name in cell B1
  3. Add the date on which this plan is valid into cell B3. It’s always useful to date a project plan so people know whether any recent events have been accounted for in the plan yet or not. Ideally  project plans should be updated daily even if it is to confirm everything is still valid. In this case you should still update the date to show that the plan was valid on this date. 
  4. Add your tasks and sub tasks in column B. You should format the tasks by making them bold and the sub tasks by indenting them. 
  5. Now you need some baseline dates into columns C and D. These are the dates that your initial plan stated you would complete each task. If you are creating your plan for the first time then you can put the same dates into columns E and F respectively. As you review and revise the plan on a daily basis the dates in columns E and F may change, but the baseline dates should remain static unless you have agreed to re-baseline the plan with project sponsors. Whenever you baseline the dates of your plan, make sure you reference this date for clarity in cell C3.
  6. In column G add who is responsible for each task. You should put just one name in each row. If there are multiple people responsible for this task then create individual line items for each responsible person.
  7. Add any comments in column H. You may not have comments on day 1, but as you progress the project this will be useful to add additional information for each task or subtask.
  8. Finally set the status of each task or subtask. There are 5 types of status to use
    • Not started – for any tasks which you have not yet started work on
    • On track – for tasks that you have started and are still on track to complete by the baseline end date  
    • On hold – for tasks which you have decided to postpone until a later time  
    • Delayed – for tasks which are not on track to complete on the baseline end date or before  
    • Complete – for completed tasks
  9. For tasks with subtasks you may prefer to create formulas to calculate the correct dates based on the subtasks. In the screenshot below I have used the =MIN( ) formula to find the minimum date between cells C26 and C33. This is therefore the start date of the task, likewise I used the =MAX( ) formula to find the maximum date between cells D26 and D33 for the task end date. You can add these dates manually if you prefer, or even leave out dates for tasks with subtasks.
  10. The final step is to admire the beautiful GANTT chart which is created for you.
    • Today is coloured yellow to remind you where we are currently on the plan  
    • The GANTT is coloured blue to show where we are on track according to the baseline plan  
    • Any tasks or subtasks which are planned to start or finish early will be coloured green  
    • Any tasks or subtasks which are now planned to start or finish late will be coloured red
Conditional formatting for Project Management GANTT chart

If you haven’t already, please go and download it using the button below:

We hope you enjoy this free template. If you have any questions or requests for enhancements then please leave them in the comments box below so we can answer them for everyone to see.

Enjoy 🙂

If you’re still not clear on how to use the template, here is a video which steps through how to use it to create a project plan:

Not what you wanted? Try out this GANTT chart template from Vertex42