Top 5 Gantt chart templates that you can download for free

Whether you’re planning a campaign or a new business strategy, every project has a due date. Here’s our list of the top free Gantt charts to keep you running to schedule.

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Productive time management is critical to the success of a project. Delays mean more resources, more money and an increased risk of failure – which is why a Gantt chart is critical for streamlining delivery.

Gantt charts provide a visualisation of the entire project timeline using a bar horizontal chart-cum-calendar. They highlight exactly when a job is due and how it might overlap with other duties – enabling you to allocate resources more effectively.

Following twelve months of researching the project management market, our experts have picked out the five best free Gantt chart templates to keep on top of deadlines and switched-on to important milestones.

Below, we’ll explain their specific strengths, user requirements, and potential limitations to help you chart a path to success.

Best Gantt chart templates

The majority of project management providers, including monday.com and ClickUp, have Gantt chart templates due to their growing popularity with entrepreneurs in the past decade.

Users can download them in just a few clicks, and start populating each sheet with a timeline almost instantly.

However, every PM platform boasts its own unique spin on the Gantt chart concept. That means it may or may not be suitable depending on your business’s unique objectives.

That’s why all of our choices are based on important factors identified by our users such as ease of use, data visualisation, and collaboration.

Most importantly, all of our chosen templates are available with either a free trial or a free plan. You won’t need to spend a penny to test them out.

monday.com Gantt Chart template

Best for keeping multi-phase projects, such as manufacturers launching a new product, organised

Available with: Free trial

At first glance, the monday.com Gantt chart template has all the trimmings you’d expect from a Gantt view. All tasks are given due dates and organised into colour-coded horizontal bars.

One thing that really sets this app apart is that, as you can see in the above screenshot, its template comes pre-organised into stages. This makes it unrivalled for multi-phase projects that require the skill sets of numerous departments, such as a product launch.

You’ll be able to get a full visualisation of every task involved in a project, without responsibilities becoming confused. We’d especially recommend it for heavily-regulated industries where you need to tick all the boxes, such as if you’re launching a healthcare product.

Luckily, monday’s clean layout ensures things don’t get complicated when teams are collaborating on the same work plan for several months. In fact, data visualisation is the app’s strong suit.

We gave monday.com 5 out of 5 for presentation during our latest research round, as opposed to Smartsheet which scores just 3.5 due to its clunkier, spreadsheet display format.

monday.com pros and cons

Pros
  • Set up an automated notification to tell you when a particular milestone or phase is completed
  • Our results found monday.com gets the highest customer rating with 4.5 out of 5
  • Custom widgets are available via the dashboard. You can use these to track things like budget or project progress
Cons
  • No time tracking tools available so you’ll have to do your own timesheet reporting
  • Gantt view is only available with the monday.com Standard plan (£10 per month)

ClickUp Gantt Chart template

Best for resource-stretched teams with fewer than 3 members 

Available with: Free trial

ClickUp gantt

We recommend the ClickUp Gantt template (click to try) for small teams prioritising resource management to meet a deadline. For example, an accounting department in a startup planning your annual payroll.

This is because of our favourite ClickUp trait; its specialist workflow tool called ‘Workload’. It enables you to view the level of free time each team member has. So, if you notice that your team doesn’t have capacity to complete a task, you can simply adapt and plan accordingly.

Unlike with Smartsheet, which requires some menu diving to set up, this is available in just a few clicks and can even be automatically calculated to take some of the load off your admin time.

If your priority is effective resource allocation, check out our guide to the top free RACI templates. The RACI method is a great way to organise team members by their relationship to a task (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, or Informed).

Another thing we like about ClickUp is its real-time editing. Shift tasks around using the drag-and-drop action and changes are instantly shared with the team so you don’t have to waste even more time in daily stand ups. Monday.com and Wrike also offer this feature, but it’s not available with Asana or Smartsheet.

ClickUp pros and cons

Pros
  • No hidden fees and a ‘free forever’ promise means multiple users can use ClickUp for zero charge
  • Clickup’s instant-messenger style chat with means you can update the rest of your team immediately if a task needs shelving
  • Asana, monday.com, Wrike, and Smartsheet do not offer live chat, whereas ClickUp does, so you can get instant help if you run into difficulties
Cons
  • Free plan allows just ‘100’ uses of the handy Workload feature per team - unsuitable for bigger teams
  • Your team can only view your Gantt chart 100 times per month on the free plan

Smartsheet Gantt Chart template

Best for organising projects with multiple sub-contractors

Available with: Free trial

Smartsheet gantt

Smartsheet is the best PM system for CPM, otherwise known as the Critical Path Method. Critical paths in Gantt chart project management are the longest sequence of activities that must be finished on time in order for the entire project to be complete.

Let’s say you are a construction manager building a new housing development. You know that certain subcontractors need to be brought in to build the walls before a plumber comes to fit faucets.

Calculate this task sequence using the Smartsheet Gantt template as a way to see where each supplier needs to be plotted within the overall project timeframe. You can do this effortlessly thanks to a unique Smartsheet feature; the ‘display hierarchy’ tool. 

In the sheet's primary column, indent rows to visually organise tasks by their importance. So, if you’re working with lots of different suppliers, you’ll be able to keep a strict watch to ensure that all tasks are allocated with enough time to avoid overlaps and delays.

We highlighted another good template to use for this purpose in our guide to the top action plan templates for SMEs. Action plans break down project goals into practical, easy-to-follow steps similarly to Gantt charts.

Smartsheet pros and cons

Pros
  • Spreadsheet format means Smartsheet is easy to master - especially with Microsoft Excel experience
  • With Smartsheet’s customisable approach you can implement workarounds for features not provided, like budget tracking
Cons
  • There are some third-party solutions, but Smartsheet does not offer any form of time tracking
  • We scored Smartsheet much lower than monday.com for collaboration (3/5 vs. 3.8/5)

Wrike Gantt Chart template

Best for developer teams who are working remotely and need to prioritise communication

Available with: Free plan

Wrike gantt template

As the above Gantt template indicates, Wrike is a fuss-free project management tool that we think is best-suited to remote working teams due to its project message board function. 

Project Message Boards within PM platforms generally work in the same way that platforms such as Slack do, where users can start threads and other users can contribute through comments. They are well-suited for Gantt charts, which tend to lack the space for detailed notes or information.

By simply posting a message about a project query you might have, you can eliminate time wasted in lengthy meetings by getting a quick answer from colleagues. Used alongside other collaboration tools from Wrike, like task comments, communication will be a lot smoother.

It’s a great, time-saving solution that’s particularly beneficial if you’re a remote team, as software engineers and developers often are. Neither ClickUp, Asana, monday.com or Smartsheet provides this feature.

Wrike pros and cons

Pros
  • We scored Wrike 5 out of 5 for data visualisation, putting it ahead of Smartsheet in terms of presentation
  • Wrike has seven pricing plans to choose from (Smartsheet has just three) making it perfect for long-term use and scaling
  • Wrike’s ‘rollup’ feature condenses longer timelines into more digestible datasheets
Cons
  • Wrike is one of our lowest-scoring platforms for customer support with a result of just 1.8 out of 5
  • While it’s great for collaboration during the project, Wrike has no channels for post-project feedback, unlike monday.com

Asana Gantt Chart template

Best for teams with a consistent output without deadlines, such as content production 

Available with: Free trial

Asana gantt

Asana does not actually offer a Gantt chart maker. Instead, its template is called a timeline. All of the core features remain such as task dependencies, guest access, and task reminders. However, Asana does also come with some noticeable distinguishers.

Chiefly, the timeline view is not designed to handle large stacks of data. Instead, the sheet resembles something more like a calendar. As the above example shows, its format is bright and big, with eye-catching colours and team member headshots awarded to each task.

Because of this, we think it works better for scheduling small tasks within a wider plan. For example, if you are a digital agency that needs to keep track of your content production and output over an entire fiscal year.

Also worth mentioning is Asana has a resource-management tool – unlike monday.com or Wrike – called ‘Upcoming Tasks'. This provides a view of each team member's jobs for the week and makes it easier for managers to keep tabs on day-to-day duties.

Asana pros and cons

Pros
  • Asana’s modern template massively outperforms Smartsheet for data visualisation - despite costing considerably less post-trial
  • Asana’s timeline view is drag-and-drop. Users can effortlessly change things like the due date of a task
Cons
  • Asana’s timeline view is not available on the free plan. You’ll need to pay £10 per month for Asana Premium
  • Subtasks don’t automatically inherit their parent’s timeframe. You’ll need to manually add this in
  • We analysed tens of popular software review sites, including TrustPilot, and found Asana scores lowest for customer satisfaction

What is a Gantt chart?

If we are to define Gantt charts in project management, it is more easily done once you’ve seen what they look like.

As the above Gantt examples show, this PM strategy is basically a colour-coded graph that illustrates when a task needs to be completed within the overall project timeline.

There are multiple ways you can organise a Gantt chart, such as into phases or by department.

Because Gantt charts let you see a timeline of your project, they’re also helpful for discerning the order that tasks need to be completed.

That’s why you might also have heard a Gantt chart being described as the Critical Path Method (CPM). The critical path is the leanest route towards project completion and focuses on the jobs that absolutely must be completed on time for success to be achieved.

How do you make a Gantt chart?

Setting up a Gantt chart can be done in just eight simple steps:

  1. Choose a project management tool from our five recommended options.
  2. Set up an account by clicking on any of the links above.
  3. Download a Gantt chart template to save time designing a fiddly custom chart.
  4. Share your Gantt chart with fellow project members.
  5. Add your tasks and subtasks into a list.
  6. Estimate how long each task should take.
  7. Assign the tasks to the team member responsible for its completion.
  8. Add relevant information using the notes feature such as budget or resource.

Verdict

  • We recommend monday.com to product-based businesses. The app strips back the Gantt format for a lean, phased timeline that’s ideal for new launches or updates.
  • For small departments with fewer than 3 members, ClickUp’s free plan is a smart solution for managing resources to meet deadlines.
  • For those managing multiple sub-contractors, we recommend Smartsheet. You’ll be able to design a task sequence easily using its unrivalled hierarchy display tools.
  • We recommend Wrike to remote teams. The project message board improves communication for greater resource management – the ultimate goal of Gantt charts.
  • For small business providers, such as marketing teams, we recommend Asana. Its user-friendly timeline view is suitable for day-to-day planning over large datasheets.
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Download our top-rated Gantt chart template for zero charge

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Helena Young
Helena Young Senior Writer

Helena "Len" Young is from Yorkshire and joined Startups in 2021 from a background in B2B communications. She has also previously written for a popular fintech startup.

Included in her topics of interest and expertise are tax legislation, the levelling up agenda, and organisational software including CRM and project management systems. As well as this, she is a big fan of the films of Peter Jackson.

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