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Gantt charts are great for project managers.
They are like an architect’s compass or a doctor’s scope. The Gantt chart, in other words, is a simple and humble tool that project managers use every single day to do their jobs well.
Gantt charts can be seamlessly integrated into most project management software. However, it is sometimes useful to fly the plane yourself, to borrow an analogy from aviation.
For those who prefer this approach, Gantt chart software is available.
This article will explain the basics of the Gantt chart. Let’s start with a blank Gantt charts template. Next, we’ll fill out some, and then I’ll leave with a few Gantt charts templates that you can use in programs like Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel.
What are Gantt charts and how do they work?
Gantt charts are well-known. Just in case you don’t know what Gantt charts are, here’s a quick reminder: A Gantt chart is a grid that displays tasks that must be completed against the progression of the time.
Gantt charts are so useful because progress bars can quickly and easily show everyone key dates and deadlines, codependent tasks, as well as how important tasks relate to one another.

A Gantt chart template
Let’s take the NES classic The Legend of Zelda to illustrate what a Gantt diagram looks like when it is filled in.

It is dangerous to manage projects with out a Gantt chart.

A simple but iconic example of a Gantt Chart
This chart will show you that the Magical Boomerang and the ladder are not possible until you have the sword and bombs. While you can collect the Triforce pieces as early as the game begins, you won’t be able to complete the task until you have completed all of the tasks before you do. The ultimate goal of the game is to rescue Princess Zelda and slay Ganon. To do this, you will need a simple wooden blade.
There are many examples that can be applied to real life. Let’s use a Gantt chart for planning how to cook a Thanksgiving turkey.

Turkey time!

A Thanksgiving Gantt chart
This chart clearly and quickly shows that ordering a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner is the first thing you should do. It tells you to heat the oven before you go to the store to pick up the turkey and to have beverages while you wait (once you return from the store). You can see which progress bars overlap to determine which tasks can be done simultaneously. You can heat the oven, prepare the turkey and then enjoy your beverages.
Gantt charts available for free
Although filling out Gantt charts by hand, or using a rudimentary diagram, is fun. However, you will need to use project management software or a spreadsheet to create your Gantt chart.
Here are some links to free Gantt charts templates you can use.
These templates may not be enough for you. There are many other free Gantt charts available online. These templates can be customized to your specifications.
Gantt, go forth
Now that you have mastered Gantt charts it is time to put them to work at work or in your personal projects.
Rachel Burger, our resident project management expert, is a Gantt charts pro and has published a lot of great material about how to make the most out of this project management tool.
Here’s a sample:
Gantt Charts: A Guide for Project Managers
6 of the Best Gantt chart Software
Video: What are Gantt Charts and How Do They Work?
Are you looking for Project Management software? Capterra’s top-rated Project Management software solutions are listed.

By Delilah