Best 5 Free Gantt Chart Templates for PowerPoint

The fastest way to create a Gantt chart and visualize project plans and progress is to use a pre-designed Gantt chart template. Period.

Whenever I have to quickly generate a Gantt chart in PowerPoint for a project review or another upcoming executive meeting, I feel more relaxed knowing that I can count on a ready-made template with editable graphics to help me deliver powerful presentations every time.

And the best news is that since these templates are designed directly in PowerPoint, which most professionals already use, it’s super easy to get my team members to collaborate on my project visuals.


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Top 5 free Gantt chart templates for your next presentation

Here are 5 free Gantt chart templates you can effortlessly customize for your projects:

  1. PowerPoint Gantt chart template
  2. Basic Gantt chart template
  3. Project outline template
  4. Project status report template
  5. Project management plan template

1. PowerPoint Gantt Chart Template

A simple yet powerful template every project manager should have in their management tool kit. This PowerPoint Gantt chart template offers you full customization of colors, fonts, shapes, and designs so that you can make it the perfect match for your projects.


PowerPoint Gantt chart template

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2. Basic Gantt Chart Template

Get a Gantt chart template that includes all the essential elements you need when planning and communicating a project at a high level so that non-project people can quickly check if things are on the right track.


Basic Gantt chart template

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3. Project Outline Template

This template breaks your project down into main stages, steps, and milestones, providing you with a detailed visual sketch to serve as the basis of your strategy. In just a few clicks, you get an easy-to-follow overview of your project that ensures all stakeholders are on the same page.


Project outline template

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4. Project Status Report Template

Summarize the project progress at a glance with this project status report template that lets you keep team members, executives, and clients updated on critical tasks and project milestones.


Project status report template

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5. Project Management Plan Template

Optimize your stakeholder communication strategy with project management plan visuals that help you make things clear for everyone involved. This Gantt chart template enables you to lay out your project plan and monitor progress while presenting only the information that’s relevant for clients and executives.


Project management plan template

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Stunning PowerPoint presentations with little effort

One thing I’ve learned over the years while preparing hundreds of presentations for executives and clients is that Gantt chart templates are a project manager’s best friend.

Using ready-made templates lets you cut your learning curve while enabling you to create eye-catching project visuals in just a couple of minutes. Plus, you get no more death stares from your audience when getting to that Gantt chart slide.

Office Timeline was designed to help professionals like you and me effortlessly create roadmaps, timelines, and Gantt charts in PowerPoint and communicate complex project information in the best way possible. To edit the PowerPoint templates presented above, simply go and install the Office Timeline Pro+ 14-day trial version.

Check out Office Timeline’s entire collection of free Gantt chart templates and pick your favorite.


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Guest post: Why stakeholders regularly ignore your project reports – and how to fix that

by Peter Taylor

The #1 way to improve the success probability of your project is to nail stakeholder buy-in - but how do you do that? The #1 way to nail stakeholder buy-in is to give them uncomplicated visual project updates so they actually understand your project – but how do you do that?

Project Gantt chart

To effectively communicate something requires all four of the following to be correct, providing the right information, providing it to the right person, delivering it in the right way, and delivering it at the right time.

Get any of these wrong, and you will fail to effectively communicate. For example, deliver the right information to the right person, in the right way but at the wrong time, then you have failed to effectively communicate. Or deliver the right information in the right way, and at the right time but to the wrong person, then once again you will have failed to effectively communicate.

I was taught a truth in my early project management days – reporting is not communicating! The fact that the critical facts and important truths are buried somewhere in a report that the right people may be in possession of does not, in any way, mean that they have received the message.

This is a harsh reality all of your busy, busy project managers out there. The fact you can produce the most wonderful 16-page report with graphs and diagrams and every single data point included, designed with beautiful font layouts, a rainbow of colours, and high-definition images, and you email it every single stakeholder (and their best friend) actually means you have probably effectively communicated to absolutely nobody!

Why? Because you have failed to deliver the right information, to the right person, in the right way, and at the right time.

The Project Reporting Challenge

When I was leading some very substantial PMOs, global in nature, hundreds of project managers around the world, leading thousands of projects on an annual basis, we had this fundamental issue of effectively communicating to a whole range of stakeholders but particularly to the executives inside the organisation. All of my project managers were incredibly busy and yet they all had the challenge of how to represent the key aspects of their projects to the business executives, who in turn were busy people who did not have a lot of time and who were overseeing many, many projects at any given time.

Every project manager was being asked to share information with people internally, people externally, clients, sponsors, internal executives, and, of course, the PMO on a regular basis. The risk was that the project managers could so easily have been consumed by regular and disparate reporting demands and had no time to actually manage their projects.

The key here was to both make sure that the project manager did not waste their time and the executives (and other report consumers) received accurate, up-to-date information that they could act on.

We learned that this could be achieved by visually representing the information in the simplest way possible, and in a consistent format for easy reference and understanding. Most often this format was PowerPoint. Our stakeholders were familiar with PowerPoint, comfortable receiving reports this way and very often they wanted to roll-up our project slides into the information they presented to their executives.

Now, on a day-to-day basis, the project managers were typically working with something like Microsoft Project, so they had a detailed project plan but the executives neither had the time nor the inclination (or often the understanding) to look at such a plan, such detail. The reports were complicated, did not get read, or worse led conversations down a rabbit hole.

What we needed was a more simplified timeline and a much-simplified visualisation of where the project was, what was the progress, what were the challenges, what were the issues, what were the constraints, and therefore, what were the decisions that these executives had to make to support the project managers in being successful. And we needed it in PowerPoint.

Strategic Roadmap

The Picture Superiority Effect

There is a thing called the ‘Picture Superiority Effect’, something that I use regularly in my own lectures and keynotes. Simply put, picture superiority refers to the phenomenon where people remember pictures better than they remember the corresponding words. Put in another way, pictures are superior to words when it comes to recalling and recognising information…they get more attention than text or lists.

Picture superiority effect

Taking this knowledge and acting on the principle in regard to project reporting means that you need to represent your project timeline in a clear, simple, and compelling visual in order to get the attention and understanding of your executives, and other stakeholders.

We learned that it is all about delivering the right information, at the right time, to the right person and in the right way. In this case, the right way is a visual way.

Which brings us back to my opening arguments: It is all about improving the success probability of your project by nailing that stakeholder buy-in, and my advice is to give them uncomplicated visual project updates, so they actually understand your project.

How We Added Picture Superiority to Project Reporting

One solution my team found useful is the Office Timeline add-in for PowerPoint. My project managers found it valuable for quickly creating project slides that our VPs and executives loved. The visuals were uncomplicated and impressive and the automation saved our PM’s lots of time.

In fact, originally it was one of my project managers who started using the tool and shared their positives experiences with the rest of their colleagues, and myself, to the point that we standardised on it for executive reporting.

Try out Office Timeline to improve project planning and communication with clear, convincing timelines, Gantt charts and swimlane diagrams that are easy to follow, but hard to forget.


Peter Taylor
Speaker, Consultant, Trainer and Coach, Peter Taylor is the author of the number 1 bestselling project management book ‘The Lazy Project Manager’. He has built and led some of the largest PMOs in the world with organisations such as Siemens, IBM, and Kronos. In 2020 he was awarded the PMO Global Alliance ‘PMO Influencer of the Year Award’.







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Mandalorian Timelines

Mandalorian Timeline

Mandalorian Timeline

As the final installment in the second season of “The Mandalorian” was released on Disney+ in late 2020, countless fans took to the internet searching for information about the future of the show. We’re not going to spoil the Mandalorian season finale for those who have yet to see it. It suffices to say that a surprise guest’s appearance both resolves and further complicates the main plot. Don’t worry, though, we haven’t seen the last of beskar-clad space cowboy.

Unfortunately, it’s going to be a while before we find out where Din Djarin’s story is headed. Jon Favreau – the creator of the series – announced that production on the Mandalorian season 3 will only commence after the completion of the spin-off titled “Book of Boba Fett”, which is teased in the post credits of the second season’s finale. The series following Boba Fett’s adventures is the third Mandalorian spin-off announced by Disney, in addition to “Ahsoka” and “Rangers of the New Republic”.

The appearance of these already established characters – Anakin’s former padawan and the heroic pilots flying New Republic colors – confer the Mandalorian series consistency in the otherwise complex and twisted chronology of the Star Wars universe. Naturally, the delightfully misbehaved 50 year old baby Grogu – the only other creature from Master Yoda’s species known to exist so far – and the vitriolic, Darth Vader-like Moff Gideon help complete the picture.

The cat and mouse game between Moff Gideon and Din Djarin who ends up looking after “baby Yoda” (we don’t learn Grogu’s real name until Chapter 13) takes place 5 years after the Empire crumbles, when Emperor Palpatine takes a deep dive down an elevator shaft. Palpatine’s demise is not the swansong of Sith, who re-emerge 25 years later in the shape of the First Order.

It’s worth noting here that the Star Wars universe has a Current Era / Before Current Era timekeeping system. Year 0 is marked by the Battle of Yavin, more commonly known as “that time when Luke made an impossible shot through the thermal exhaust port of the Deathstar and the planet-killer ship exploded”. Therefore, Din Djarin and Grogu’s journey are set in year 9 After the Battle of Yavin (ABY).

It is a time when the Rebel Alliance’s New Republic seem to hold all the cards. However, the Empire has not yet been completely defanged. Isolated pockets of Empire loyalists like Moff Gideon continue to probe for chinks in the New Republic’s armor and constantly hatch schemes that would allow tipping the scales of power. And let’s not forget about the various Mandalorian factions that have their own stakes in the conflict.

Unsurprisingly, the show also offers us various glimpses of Mandalore’s history as the main storyline’s events unfold. It is a history marked by war, foreign occupation and suffering that culminates with the eerily named event known as “The Purge”. Not a great deal is known about it, except that we’re talking about a mass extermination at the hands of the Empire that leaves most surviving Mandalorians with exile as their only option.

Some Mandalorians, however, like Bo-Katan Kryze – whom we also see in Star Wars: The Clone Wars – refuse to lay down their weapons until the shackles of the Empire are cast off and their proud warrior civilization is restored to its former glory. It’s likely that the spin-offs will shed more light on their story and personally, we can’t wait to see them!

About the Mandalorian Timelines

To celebrate the end of the second season for the multiple award winning show, we have created two timelines showing both how the story arc fits with the movies and the major events in the history of the Mandalorians using Office Timeline Pro. Office Timeline is a powerful yet easy to use PowerPoint add-in for project management that can create stellar visuals for your data in no time. Try out the free version or explore the Pro Edition, which comes with extra features for those who need more advanced applications.



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Project Management conferences to look out for in 2021


Best Project Management Conferences in 2021

Like pretty much everything else since the Coronavirus pandemic, project management conferences have been surrounded by uncertainty too. Many live events this year were postponed, some were cancelled, while others have moved online. However, we do have exciting PM conferences to look forward to in 2021, and we’ll tell you what we know about them so far.

We’ve compiled a timeline of major 2021 Project Management conferences that have been announced to date, along with a list of details to help you decide which events would suit you best.

Project Management Conferences 2021 – The Timeline

The Project Management Conferences 2021 timeline can help you get a quick overview of the top events of the year, when they’re scheduled, and where they will take place. The visual was created with the Office Timeline Pro add-in for PowerPoint and is free to copy, edit and share. Click the image to expand it or download the timeline as an editable PowerPoint slide and use it to plan ahead.

Top project management conferences 2021

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We will update the timeline periodically as more conferences are announced or if the dates and locations change because of the pandemic.


Project Management Conferences 2021 – The When, Where & Why


Now let’s dive into the details of the PM events you might want to attend in 2021.


ProjectSummit Business Analyst World (PMBA)

Where and when: Orlando, FL, US, Spring (Date TBA) | Washington, DC, US, May 3 – May 5 | Toronto, ON, Canada, Spring (Date TBA) | Boston, MA, US, Fall (Date TBA) | Vancouver, BC, Canada, Fall (Date TBA) | Chicago, IL, US, Fall (Date TBA)
Why: ProjectSummit Business Analyst World is one of largest training conferences for BAs and Project Managers in North America. The conference is accredited by PMI & IIMA and promises to help you acquire new skills, learn from industry experts and innovators, increase productivity, and expand your network.


New Trends in Project Management

Where and when: Gdańsk, Poland, Apr 19 – Apr 21
Why: Held by the PMI Gdańsk Branch, New Trends in Project Management brings presentations and workshops that will discuss the latest innovations and best practices in project management across various industries. Attendees are promised to gain practical and technical knowledge, interesting contacts and a strong network, while also earning PDU points to maintain their certification.


UMD VIRTUAL Project Management Symposium

Where and when: Online, April 22 – April 23
Why: The annual UMD Project Management Symposium is a blend between industry, government and academics, approaching diverse topics such as Stakeholder Management, Data Analytics, Federal Programs, Change management, Risk & Resilience, and Integrated Program Management. The 2021 edition will be held online, so you can join from anywhere for the opportunity to learn from the best and earn up to 44.25 PDUs.


AIPM 2020 National Conference

Where and when: Gold Coast, Australia, April 27 – April 28
Why: The AIPM National Conference may well be Australia’s largest event dedicated to project management professionals. Details about topics and speakers have not been released yet, but the event is certain to help broaden your knowledge whether you’re a beginner or seasoned project manager.


SPMI Regional Symposium

Where and when: Singapore, May 6 – May 7
Why: The SPMI Regional Symposium is Asia's most sought-after annual project management conference, attended by over 500 Program and Project Managers, executives, scholars and industry experts. The 2021 edition will feature over 20 top-tier speakers sharing their stories, while topics addressed will range from leadership and PM trends to latest technology, tools and techniques.



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HAPPYPROJECTS 21

Where and when: Online, May 27
Why: Usually held in Vienna, Austria, HAPPY PROJECTS has been a platform for national and international PM experts and academics to exchange knowledge on the topics of project, change and process management. The 2021 edition, “It’s Spring Time”, will address topics like: spring cleaning in Project Management, how to deal with increased uncertainty, mindsets in demand in spring, and purpose-driven changes, to name just a few.


Resource Planning Summit

Where and when: St. Luis, MO, US, Jun 7 – Jun 9
Why: The Resource Planning Summit invites you to “learn, network and play” during a 3-day event that promises to make education fun. Join leading experts, practitioners and authors in the world of Resource and Portfolio Management and connect with peers on topics like resource planning optimization, capacity planning, or demand management. “What about the fun part”, you ask? Well, be prepared for special evening events such as scavenger hunts, brewery tours, and other surprises.


CHG MGMT: Global Connect 2021

Where and when: Online, Jun 8 – Jun 11
Why: Organized by the Association of Change Management Professionals, Global Connect is a virtual live event that promises engaging educational content for new and seasoned CM and PM practitioners alike. Attendees can look forward to discovering new tools, learning the latest trends in change management, networking with peers from around the world, while also earning PDU points.


IPMA Research Conference

Where and when: Jinan, China, Jun 12 – Jun 13
Why: The 2021 edition of the IPMA Research Conference focuses on Leadership and Society, studying the interaction between project management and leadership on the one hand, and social, political and economic processes on the other. The event aims to bring together academics and practitioners in Project Management to discuss research ideas and achievements on topics such as projectification, shared leadership, change, resilience, vertical leadership, stakeholder engagement and sustainable development.


PMO Conference London

Where and when: London, UK, Jun 14 – Jun 15
Why: Join 600 like-minded professionals for UK’s largest PMO conference. Focused on project, program and portfolio offices, the 2-day event boasts expert speakers, a large exhibition, and the opportunity to learn about the latest PM trends and tools, while expand your professional network.




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Project Management in Practice (PMiP 2021)

Where and when: Boston/Online (TBA), Jun 25 – Jun 26
Why: Organized by Boston University, the 2021PMiP conference has change management as main theme and will feature three tracks: Agile Project Management, Sustainability, and Project, Program and Portfolio Management. Register to meet star-studded international speakers, up your capabilities as a PM professional, and earn up to 16 PDUs. Note: because of the pandemic, it is not yet certain whether the event will take place in Boston or online.


Agile2021

Where and when: Online, Jul 19 – Jul 22
Why: Reaching its 20th edition, the annual North American conference organized by the Agile Alliance aims to further Agile principles and provide an avenue for people and ideas to flourish. Agile2021 will be held online, bringing together professionals from all around the world to discuss the latest strategies, techniques and practices in Agile software development.


32nd IPMA World Congress

Where and when: St. Petersburg, Russia, Sep 21 – Sep 23
Why: Postponed from 2020 to 2021 because of COVID-19, the 32nd IPMA World Congress expects over 900 participants from all over the world and will feature no less than 140 speakers. The global has as main theme “Project Management in the Digital Transformation Era” and is dedicated to project and program managers in private and public sectors, scientists, and teachers alike. The event program will cover topics such as managing national programs, the evolution of PM tools and approaches, or mathematical methods of project management, to name just a few.


FuturePMO

Where and when: London, UK, Oct 14
Why: The one-day event is one of UK’s most popular project management conferences, featuring inspiring and informative sessions that will push the boundaries of your PMO thinking. Besides top-notch speakers and interactive workshops, FuturePMO promises a day full of fun and surprises.


Digital PM Summit

Where and when: Online, Oct 25 – Oct 27
Why: Renowned for its friendly and welcoming atmosphere, the Digital PM Summit is a good event to attend if you haven’t been to many large project management conferences and are a bit nervous about the networking part. The summit aims to accelerate your professional development as a Project Manager and help you work through challenges, absorb different perspectives, and find lasting connections.


Global Scrum Gathering

Where and when: Lisbon, Portugal, Nov 17 – Nov 19
Why: A project management conference for all levels, the Global Scrum Gathering in Lisbon offers three days of keynotes and workshop-style sessions to help you learn the latest trends, implementation practices and creative applications of the Scrum framework. Join professionals from around the world, expand your network and get inspired to reach a new level in your agile journey.


Final Thoughts

Even though there’s still a lot of uncertainty brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 looks promising. With plenty of Project Management conferences that have already been announced – and vaccines finally starting to become available – many PMs have started planning for the events they’d like to attend, either online or offline. What are your plans for 2021?



Quickly turn project data into professional timelines

Build stunning timelines, roadmaps and Gantt charts that are easy to make and simple to communicate. Get the advanced features of Office Timeline Pro free for 14 days.

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How to save time using timeline templates for PowerPoint


Using timeline templates in PowerPoint

Timeline templates for PowerPoint to jump-start your planning process

If you have a project plan and want to see it through, you need to map out the steps required to achieve it, and then convey them on a timeline. An essential component of the planning process, a timeline allows you to visualize critical tasks and dates, creating an easy-to-follow roadmap for your project and helping you stay on track.

Building a timeline involves taking all the information you have about your project and turning it into a clear schedule of when everything is going to be done. But where and how to start?

The easiest way to make simple timelines is to start with a template and one of the handiest tools is Microsoft PowerPoint. As one of the most popular presentation platforms available, it helps you generate presentation-ready plans that you can easily display to your teams, executives or clients.

To guide you through the process of using timeline templates in PowerPoint, we’ve created this easy-to-follow blog post. Read on to find out the basic steps and don’t hesitate to give it a go yourself.

Is there a timeline template in PowerPoint?

With a variety of features to enhance a presentation, PowerPoint does include timeline templates as well. You can create a timeline either using PowerPoint’s native templates or the more advanced ones which come with the free PowerPoint plugin called Office Timeline. Below, we’ll explain how both alternatives work.

I. How to create a timeline using PowerPoint’s native timeline templates

  1. Create a new presentation or open an existing one in PowerPoint.
  2. Click on the File tab on the PowerPoint ribbon and go to New.
  3. Type ”timeline template” in the Search box at the top of the page and press Enter.
  4. Double click to choose your preferred template from the resulted examples.
  5. Start customizing your chosen model.
  6. Searching for timeline templates in PowerPoint

Although PowerPoint provides a pretty varied range of timeline templates you can choose from, you will need to update them manually whenever a change occurs. This can become not only time-consuming, but also frustrating if you want to apply some more custom updates to the visual.

II. How to create a timeline in PowerPoint using Office Timeline templates

Next, you will find out how to quickly build, customize and update your graphic using Office Timeline, an intuitive PowerPoint add-in that automates timeline creation and management. First, you need to install Office Timeline and you can get started with the 14-days trial for free. This will add a new tab to the PowerPoint ribbon.

You can make a timeline using any of Office Timeline’s built-in-app templates or by downloading one from the wide collection of examples in our timeline gallery.

II.1 Using Office Timeline’s built-in-app templates

  1. Inside PowerPoint, go to the Office Timeline tab, and then click on the New icon. From the dropdown menu, choose Templates.
  2. Office Timeline New Templates creation

  3. To select the preferred timeline template from the gallery that appears, double-click and then click on Use Template.
  4. Office Timeline Template Gallery

  5. In the Data wizard that opens next, enter your tasks, milestones and their set dates or copy and paste an existing schedule from Excel.
  6. In the same Data view, make a few styling choices such as changing the shape or color for each item.
  7. Office Timeline Data view

  8. In the Timeline view, use the drag&drop editor to adjust the layout and move elements around.
  9. Office Timeline Drag&Drop editor

  10. Once ready, click the green Create button.

II.2 Using a downloaded Office Timeline template

  1. Go the timeline template gallery and choose your favorite template.
  2. Click on the Download button under the template of your choice.
  3. Once downloaded, double-click to open it in PowerPoint.
  4. Follow the simple 3 steps provided on the first slide of the presentation.
  5. How to update a downloaded Office Timeline template

Once created, the timeline can be quickly styled further or updated automatically with the help of Office Timeline. For example, you can change shapes, colors, timescale and dates on the fly, or reposition items on the timeline using the add-in’s intuitive drag & drop interface. Not only that, but Office Timeline also allows you to create and save your own custom templates that you can use for future work.

If you want to build smart timelines as native PowerPoint slides that are easily shared and on which colleagues can collaborate right from the browser, you can also try out our simple, accessible online timeline maker.

That’s it! These are the basics steps to get started with a timeline template for PowerPoint – all you need to do now is to find the one that best suits your project and customize it to fit your particular data. Good luck!



Quickly turn project data into professional timelines

Build stunning timelines, roadmaps and Gantt charts that are easy to make and simple to communicate. Get the advanced features of Office Timeline Pro free for 14 days.

GET FREE TRIAL