Gantt charts aren't essential to project planning; it just seems that way. Project Gantt Chart is a free template for Microsoft Excel. It's specifically designed to address some of the shortcomings of other free Excel templates for creating Gantt charts, such as the need to enable Macros. The Lite template is a free version of a premium template, Excelindo Gantt Chart. The premium software adds several features, including custom color options and Flexible Work Days, Custom Holidays and Leave Dates, and Smart Workday Calculations. But the free template offers plenty of features itself. In fact, it's actually available in four versions, each with its own download: Team Projects: Week View; Team Projects: Day View; Personal Projects: Week View; and Personal Projects: Day View. We looked at the Team Projects: Week View template, but we also verified the other downloads. All require Microsoft Excel 2007 or 2010.
We downloaded the template and clicked the file, which opened Excel with the template displayed. The template includes sample data that helps illustrate how it works with the help of fictitious employees bearing names like "John Wayne" and "Bruce Jenner." The sample project is titled New Product Package, and it runs for four weeks, with the option to select Saturday and Sunday hours. Some write-protected cells are grayed out in the template and require a password to enable via the Unprotect Sheet command under Changes on the Review tab. We started by saving a copy of the template under a new name and then filling our new template with our own data by clearing cells of sample data. The template includes a Holiday List worksheet and a sheet describing the premium tool's features. All Excel controls and features worked normally with the template. When we'd entered all our data and cleared everything we didn't want, we simply saved our workbook normally.
Project Gantt Chart certainly simplifies the process of making custom Gantt charts suitable for a wide range of projects. We recommend creating a clean copy and then using the sample template side-by-side as a guide. If you need more, the for-pay version is there.