Gantt charts are the glue that holds projects together. They’re probably the most referred to document when managing a project. Project managers use them, teams are directed by them and stakeholders stay updated when they’re shared.
Since it’s such a staple of project management, there is no shortage of options out there to help you build a Gantt chart, such as an Excel Gantt chart template or a project management software tool.
ProjectManager, for instance, lets you build a dynamic Gantt chart in a matter of seconds. Plus, our software offers advanced features like task dependencies, milestones, baselines and critical path calculations. Try It for free today!
Another option is using Google Sheets to create a Gantt chart, seeing as Google’s free office software has become so ubiquitous in our workflows. But is making a Google Sheet Gantt Chart the right move, and are the features worth it to make up for the difficulty? Let’s find out!
Gantt Chart in Google Sheets
A Gantt chart is a visual tool that helps plan and schedule projects. It’s basically a stacked bar chart that breaks down the project’s tasks and places them on a timeline in chronological order. Gantt charts are used by project managers to see the entire project schedule in one place.
The advantage of a Gantt chart is that every task is identified and shown at the point it will start and then its due date. This creates a step-by-step view of how the project plan will proceed. It’s the tool that builds the plan, and then schedules the activities needed to successfully complete the project.
Google Sheets is Google’s version of a spreadsheet; its direct competitor is Microsoft Excel. The major difference between the two is that Google’s software is a cloud-based free tool. Another difference is that Google Sheets is built for collaboration.
Why Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets?
Unlike a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet that is stored locally on your computer, a Google Sheet is instead stored in the cloud. Therefore, you can easily share it with anyone by sending them a link, without having to download files. You can then decide if the document is view-only or if the person has editing privileges.
If you’re working on a project and require that team members have access to the Gantt chart to update it in real time as their task statuses change, then Google Sheets is a better option for making a Gantt chart than an Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. The last thing you want is to have many versions of your Gantt chart floating around. The potential confusion that can arise from this can cost you time and money when managing a project.
The fact that Google spreadsheets seamlessly integrate with all the other Google products, such as Docs, Gmail and more, makes it a popular choice for people who are already using Google’s suite of tools and want to collaborate in real-time.
A Google Sheet is just another spreadsheet, and a Gantt chart is made up of a task list spreadsheet on its left side with the stacked bar chart timeline occupying the right side. Most Gantt chart makers are going to cost you money to use, but a Google Gantt chart is free, which is in and of itself an advantage to using it. That doesn’t mean a Google Sheet Gantt chart is perfect, though.
Google Sheet Gantt Chart: Pros & Cons
Making a Gantt chart in Google Sheets is a great free alternative to Excel or more robust project management software. There are some downsides however, which can possibly make Google Sheets a less than ideal solution for your needs.
Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages to creating a Gantt chart in Google sheets:
Reasons to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets
- It’s a free offering.
- The software is easy to use and can learn quickly.
- Your work is easily shareable through links. There’s no need to download files.
- A Google Sheet Gantt chart is fully integrated with other Google products.
- Your team members can collaborate in real time, which isn’t possible with an Excel Gantt chart.
Reasons Not to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets
- Google Sheets is not a Gantt chart maker or a project management tool.
- It’s not great with complex projects.
- You can’t set milestones on a Gantt chart in Google sheets.
- You’re not able to link dependent tasks on your Gantt chart.
- A Google sheet won’t let you manage resources and costs.
- You won’t be able to assign tasks in a central platform.
- You have to manually update your sheet to show progress.
Making a Gantt chart on Google Sheets is fine if you’re managing a simple project and already using other Google tools. However, if you’re managing a more complicated project or just want to have integrated features to track, monitor and report on your progress and performance, you’ll have to use a real Gantt chart tool.
Making a Gantt Chart with ProjectManager.com
Google spreadsheets were not designed for making Gantt charts. If you’re looking for a Gantt chart that’s easy to make, update and works with all the features you need to manage your project, you need project management software. ProjectManager.com is an award-winning project management software that has interactive Gantt charts to help you plan and schedule your project.
Creating a Gantt chart in our tool is simple and free for 30 days, and far more dynamic than what a Google spreadsheet offers. To follow along, try ProjectManager.com for free by clicking here, and if you like it, there are three tiers to subscribe to after your 30-day trial is over.
Let’s learn how to create a Gantt chart with ProjectManager step by step.
1. Import Your Google Sheet Gantt Chart
Export your Google Sheet Gantt chart as an Excel spreadsheet, and import it into our tool. You can also use one of our industry-specific templates, or just add tasks to the Gantt chart tool manually. These features make it easy to make a Gantt chart in minutes.
2. Add Task Duration to the Gantt Chart
Set the start and end dates for each of the tasks and they’ll populate the Gantt timeline. The start and end dates are connected by a color-coded duration bar, which indicates progress by its shading. The percent complete column allows team members to update their task status and allows project managers to track progress with the bar graph in real time.
3. Link Task Dependencies & Set Milestones on the Timeline
Connect project tasks that are dependent on other tasks to start or end to avoid bottlenecks. Then break the project into more manageable phases, or note important dates by setting milestones.
4. Assign Work and Share With Stakeholders
Start assigning tasks to your team so they know exactly what they need to work on. Plus, as they complete their tasks, progress is updated in real time on the percent complete column so you can track your schedule. Save your Gantt as a PDF and email it to project stakeholders to keep them in the loop or you can print out a copy to use in presentations. You now have a fully functioning Gantt Chart!
How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets
To create your Google Sheets Gantt chart, you’ll need to follow these basic steps:
- Create a task list for your project
- Assign a duration for each task
- Set a start and end date for each task
- Create your bar chart project timeline beside your task list
These steps are just an outline of the process, which requires you to use many different formulas and conditional formatting to create an automated Google Sheets Gantt chart.
For this reason, making a Gantt chart in Google sheets can be overwhelming for most users. Here are some step-by-step tutorials to guide you.
Gantt Chart Google Sheets Tutorials
There are a lot of reasons to create a Google Sheet Gantt Chart, if you’re not ready to make the leap to a project management software. The following are some of the better tutorials online that can walk you through the steps of making a Google Sheet Gantt chart.
- Hello Techno: How To Create a Simple Gantt Chart with Google Sheets
- Sheetgo: How to Create a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets
- EDrawMax: How to Make a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets
Gantt Chart Google Sheets Templates
Maybe you’re still on the fence about project management software and you also don’t have the time to learn the complex steps to building your own Google Sheet Gantt chart. That’s understandable. It makes sense to explore all your options before making a decision. In this case, a free Google sheets template might be just what you need.
While a Google Sheets template will only get you so far, it might be as much as you need. These Gantt chart examples could be a good way to dip your toe into using a Gantt chart. Here are a couple of Gantt chart templates for Google Sheets to download and play with or use for a project. See if they’re right for you:
- Max Makhrov has a blog with a couple of templates to copy.
- At Vertex42, a guide to Excel, there are templates for Gantt charts in Excel and Google Sheets
ProjectManager.com Has the Best Gantt Chart
Google Sheets is not a Gantt chart software and will only get you so far. You can’t link dependencies, set milestones, assign your team from the Gantt, monitor their progress, easily share and collaborate to the extent that you can with ProjectManager.com.
If you find that you’ve run into a wall, it’s time to try ProjectManager and see what a Gantt chart tool can do without giving you a headache. Our award-winning project management software organizes all your tasks, your team and your project for greater efficiencies.
Our project management software offers a powerful Gantt chart maker that was designed for project managers and has features that make it a much superior alternative to Excel and Google Gantt chart templates.
Join the tens of thousands of teams that already succeed with our tool. See why NASA, Bank of America and Ralph Lauren have chosen to use us when managing their projects. Don’t bother with Google or Excel, upload that file and get productive. Take our free 30-day trial today.