Best Microsoft Project Alternatives of 2022 for Project Managers

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As projects grow in complexity and workforces expand globally, the need for online project management tools is no luxury. There is no lack of products to choose from, with varying degrees of usefulness. Microsoft has thrown its considerable weight into the ring with Microsoft Project. While MS Project has become an industry-standard in project management, it comes with problems, leaving people to search for the best Microsoft Project alternative.

Why People Seek a Microsoft Project Alternative

Microsoft Project can do much of what you need when managing a project, but it’s not a perfect tool. There are many reasons why people who use it are searching for an MS Project alternative. Thankfully, there are many other software solutions on the market that offer users a great alternative to Microsoft Project. We’ll get to those in a moment, but first, let’s outline the reasons people are dissatisfied with MS Project.

  • Steep Learning Curve: Microsoft Project is not for beginners. The software is very technical and not user-friendly. That might be fine if you have an advanced degree in project management, but for the rest of us it’s going to require a lot of work, time and training to get a handle on how to use the tool. If you struggle with project management software, your project struggles too.
  • Poor Team Communication: Microsoft Project falls short in this category. You can’t easily message your team in the app, which means you’re going to have to jump onto one of the messaging tools that Microsoft offers, such as Teams, Outlook or Skype. Why do you want an add-on when it’s so much more efficient to have your communication tool embedded in the software?
  • Lack of Integration: While MS Project works okay with other Microsoft products, that’s not the case if you want to use a tool outside of the Microsoft family of apps. So, if you’re looking to integrate with Salesforce, Slack or other tools, you’re probably going to find yourself frustrated and looking for an MS Project alternative.
  • High Price: If money is your bottom line, then Microsoft Project’s price tag will be a tough pill to swallow. What makes matters worse is that you have to pay for each license. You may have to selectively license MS Project to your team. Some will get to use it, others won’t, which is going to block collaboration and slow down progress on your project.
  • Hard to Share Data: It’s almost as if Microsoft Project doesn’t want your team to work together. If anyone on your team works on an Apple product, they’re out of luck. It’s such a problem that a cottage industry of online tools has emerged that offer ways to take MPP files, convert them into friendlier formats to edit and share, then convert them back to MS Project files. That’s not very efficient!

2022 Best Microsoft Project Alternative Software Rankings

There are many Microsoft project alternatives in the market, and each of them has key features and characteristics that make them unique. To simplify things, we’ve grouped them under these categories.

  • Free Microsoft Project Alternatives
  • Freemium Microsoft Project Alternatives
  • Cloud-based Microsoft Project Alternatives
  • Microsoft Project Alternatives for Mac
  • Open Source Microsoft Project Alternatives

We’ll use these categories as tags to help you identify which of them are free, freemium, cloud-based or open source Microsoft project alternatives.

projectmanager logo, a Microsoft Project Alternative1. ProjectManager: Best Microsoft Project Alternative

Key Features

  • Great MS project alternative for Mac
  • Cloud-based Microsoft project alternative
  • Great for agile, waterfall and hybrid teams
  • Great across industries such as IT development, construction and marketing

ProjectManager is a cloud-based project and work management software that provides real-time data for more insightful decision-making. It organizes tasks, teams and projects (including portfolios) with ease and effectiveness.

This is likely the best Microsoft Project alternative for your team, as it matches Microsoft Project in terms of having extensive features and beats it as a team collaboration platform. It also can import and export MS Project files, so making the switch is easy! Best of all, you get access to five different project views including Gantt, kanban, task list, spreadsheet and calendar. There isn’t a more powerful, yet easy to use Microsoft project alternative on this list. Get your free 30-day trial today!

Microsoft project alternative with Gantt chart

Pros

  • Easy-to-use project planning, project scheduling and task management features
  • Team collaboration facilitated by real-time data, notifications and file sharing
  • Interactive Gantt chart and roadmap for portfolio management
  • Live dashboard, project reports and timesheets help with time tracking, resource management and work management
  • Multiple project view lets hybrid teams work how they want, on Gantt charts, kanban boards, project calendars and task lists

Pricing

  • Starter plan: $0 user/month
  • Team plan: $11.50 user/month
  • Business plan: $20.50 user/month

Q&A

  • Does it offer a free trial? Yes, ProjectManager has a 30-day free trial
  • Does it offer a free version? Yes, ProjectManager offers a free plan

Smartsheet logo, a Microsoft Project alternative2. Smartsheet: Microsoft Project Alternative for Project Management Spreadsheets

Key Features

  • Cloud-based Microsoft project alternative
  • Mac friendly
  • User-friendly project management spreadsheet software
  • Robust reporting

Smartsheet is online project management software that functions like a spreadsheet but adds collaborative features that connect teams. Its focus on collaboration means that the scheduling and task management features are lighter than some might want, but they’re not absent from the tool. It’s powerful like MS Project but more customizable, supporting automation.

However, because of its limited reach in terms of managing projects, users will have to spend extra to get such tools as time tracking, budgeting and resource management. There’s no real-time updates, and autosave can be a little slow, which is frustrating if you lose data before it has been saved. If your needs are strictly connecting teams, though, this is a good MS Project alternative.

Pros

  • Customizable project management spreadsheets helps with team collaboration
  • Spreadsheet functionality
  • Project calendars

Cons

  • Needs third-party apps for resource management, budgets and time tracking
  • Doesn’t update in real time
  • No autosave
  • Doesn’t have baseline functionality
  • Steep learning curve

Pricing

  • Pro plan: $7 user/month
  • Business plan: $25 user/month

Q&A

  • Does it offer a free trial? Yes, Smartsheet has a 30-day free trial
  • Does it offer a free version? No, Smartsheet doesn’t offer a free plan

Proofhub logo, a Microsoft Project Alternative3. ProofHub: Microsoft Project Alternative for Work Management

Key features

  • Cloud-based Microsoft project alternative
  • Mac friendly
  • Good for team collaboration

ProofHub is another Microsoft Project alternative that also pushes the collaborative nature of its tool as it’s selling point. It has kanban boards to visualize workflows and help teams work on their tasks as they work together. The tool is easy to use, which gives it an advantage over the difficult MS Project, and it has a less expensive point of entry for users.

However, like many MS Project alternatives, it does one thing very well and then relies on third-party integrations to fill in the gaps. That solution is a frustrating one. Ideally, users want one tool to carry the load of their project management needs. Here you have to integrate, and the tool doesn’t even have very many integrations available.

Pros

  • Easy onboarding
  • Reasonable pricing
  • Visual tools, such as kanban boards and Gantt charts

Cons

  • No budgeting features
  • Doesn’t have an option for repeating tasks
  • Can load slow

Pricing

  • Proofhub has a flat pricing fee of $89 per month or $45 with limited features

Q&A

  • Does it offer a free trial? Yes, Proofhub has a 14-day free trial
  • Does it offer a free version? No, Proofhub doesn’t have a free version

Gantt Project logo, a Microsoft Project Alternative4. GanttProject: Free Microsoft Project Alternative for Gantt Charts

Key features

  • Free Microsoft Project Alternative
  • Open Source Microsoft Project Alternative

GanttProject has one giant advantage over MS Project and even most of the Microsoft Project alternatives—it’s free. Gantt charts are the heavy lifters in project management and a free one is sure to be attractive. Especially one that’s easy to use and that can export documents to MS Project. That means this could prove a major asset to MS Project users.

That is also its deterrent. You’re still wedded to MS Project. Though, perhaps you’d use GanttProject all by itself to manage your project. After all, Gantt charts are great tools. The problem is that this Gantt is limited in what it can do. You’re going to have to use a suite of other apps to get the coverage that MS Project offers.

Pros

  • Gantt charts best for small, uncomplex projects
  • Easy setup
  • Has exporting options

Cons

  • Only useful with lightweight project scheduling and project planning
  • Can’t save files in Microsoft Project format
  • Limited feature set

Pricing

  • GanttProject is a free Microsoft project alternative

Trello logo, a Microsoft Project Alternative5. Trello: Microsoft Project Alternative for Kanban Boards

Key features

  • Good for kanban project management
  • Mac friendly
  • Easy to use task management interface

Trello is a tool that manages projects and helps teams collaborate. This software uses a kanban board interface that allows users to visualize their workflow. It provides transparency and fosters collaboration. It has real-time updates, which is definitely a plus and has easy onboarding for teams. It’s a fun and easy-to-use project management solution, which is why it made it at number five on our list.

But, as a fully-fledged Microsoft Project alternative, Trello falls short. It has a project bar chart instead of a Gantt. While that feature might try to mimic the usefulness of a Gantt it doesn’t set a baseline to track your actual progress against your planned effort, there are no inter-project dependencies and it can’t filter for the critical path in your schedule. It’s recommended only for the most rudimentary of projects.

Pros

  • Task management tools
  • Work management on kanban boards
  • Simple interface

Cons

  • Missing key project management features
  • Must use third-party apps to create Gantt charts
  • Kanban boards have no swimlanes

Pricing

  • Free plan: $0 user/month
  • Standard plan: $5 user/month
  • Premium plan: $10 user/month
  • Enterprise plan: $17.50 user/month (min 25 users)

Q&A

  • Does it offer a free trial? Yes, Trello has a 14-day free trial
  • Does it offer a free version? Yes, Trello have a free version

Zoho logo, a Microsoft Project Alternative6. Zoho Projects: Microsoft Project Alternative for File Management

Key features

  • Good for file management
  • Mac friendly
  • Visual team collaboration tools

Zoho Projects is a project management software with kanban boards that organizes tasks, a social feed that captures updates on those tasks and forums for lengthier discussions. It definitely connects teams to foster productivity, and even has a timesheet feature for managers to see how much time each team member spends on their tasks. It offers issue tracking and a Gantt project view.

What it lacks as an MS Project alternative is resource management tools and reporting. In a sense, a manager is flying blind if they can’t generate status reports and then reallocate resources to keep their teams working at capacity. There is also no function for managing more than one project at a time, leaving the tool limited in what it can do for users.

Pros

  • Good communication tools
  • Has time tracking
  • Competitive pricing

Cons

  • Doesn’t have templates
  • Poor search
  • Dashboard lacks functionality

Pricing

  • Premium: $5 user/month
  • Enterprise: $10 user/month

Q&A

  • Does it offer a free trial? Yes, Zoho Projects has a 15-day free trial
  • Does it offer a free version? No, Zoho Projects doesn’t have a free version

Teamwork logo, a Microsoft Project Alternative7. Teamwork: Microsoft Project Alternative for Team Collaboration

Key features

  • Good for task management
  • Mac friendly
  • Simple to use

Teamwork is an easy-to-use project management software. It organizes tasks and subtasks, labeling priority and identifying dependencies to avoid bottlenecks. There are messages at the task level to connect teams as they work on their tasks and time tracking for managers to monitor progress. Like many Microsoft Project alternatives, it also features a Gantt chart view.

There’s a free version that has limited features. Reviewing all these apps shows the shortcomings of MS Project when it comes to teamwork, hence the name of this product. But the tool is not great for every type of collaboration. For example, you can’t mark up files, which is a problem if teams are working on visual materials. But it’s still miles ahead of MS Projects.

Pros

  • It offers several project management tools such as Gantt charts, kanban boards and project calendars
  • Includes billing and invoicing
  • Free account available

Cons

  • Difficult to use Gantt chart
  • Lacks resources management tools
  • Difficult to move tasks and can’t move more than one at a time

Pricing

  • Free plan: $0 user/month
  • Deliver plan: $10 user/month
  • Grow plan: $18 user/month

Q&A

  • Does it offer a free trial? Yes, Teamwork has a 15-day free trial
  • Does it offer a free version? Yes, there’s a free version of Teamwork

Which MS Project Alternative Is Right For You?

There are a lot of MS Project alternatives out there, and for good reason. Microsoft has clunky, expensive and hard-to-use project management software. While it might be the default for many organizations, you don’t want to follow the crowd. Get a more nimble tool, one that’s easier to use, less expensive and fosters live collaboration.

ProjectManager is award-winning software that organizes tasks, teams and projects. It’s the best Microsoft alternative, with all the features and none of the frustration. You can use it to import and export MS Project files or better yet, abandon the expensive tool and subscribe to ours with multiple payment tiers. Try it free today.

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