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Scheduling is one of the most important tasks project managers undertake at the beginning of any project. A well-built visual schedule helps set realistic timeframes, assign resources properly, manage quality, and track progress, which ultimately results in greater customer satisfaction and reduced overall costs.
As a project manager or team leader, you’re probably looking at your schedule chart daily, not to mention reviewing it with colleagues, clients and executives. This makes building it on a strong foundation all the more important.
Here you can find a free visual schedule template for PowerPoint to help you define and communicate your project’s timeline more easily. For those of you who are new to scheduling, we’ve also included a few basics and best practices to get you started.
In Project Management, a visual schedule is a document that indicates what work needs to be done and the timeframe in which it needs to be performed so as to complete the project on time. Usually, the schedule chart also tracks progress, so it needs to be updated regularly to help stakeholders understand the project’s current status.
A project schedule chart template typically includes the project’s kick-off and estimated completion date, the start and end date of each task, as well as important milestones. The chart’s data and level of detail can be adapted depending on the audience it’s intended for. For instance:
While schedule graph examples can vary greatly, there are a number of specific attributes that characterize most good schedules. Here are the top 5:
There is no standard way to design a visual schedule. It can be tabular, it can look like a Kanban board, or it can be set up as a diagram or a Gantt chart, like the schedule chart template on this page. Out of all styles, Gantt chart templates seem to be the most popular, as they’re easy to follow and can apply to a variety of project management methods.
Whatever format you choose, there are a few best practices worth considering when you make a visual schedule:
Even if you use Gantt chart scheduling software to manage your projects, when it’s time to communicate your schedule, it’s best to use a visual schedule template to help you present your data in a simple, convincing manner. A template will not only save you time and effort designing an impressive schedule, but also provide consistency across project visuals.
Our free, downloadable schedule chart template was made in PowerPoint using the Office Timeline Add-in, an intuitive Gantt chart and roadmap maker that makes visual scheduling simple. Created as a native PowerPoint slide, the template can be easily edited with new data, presented in meetings, and shared with stakeholders.
Use the free visual schedule template to easily make high-level schedules for client meetings or to communicate your project’s calendar within the team. When plans change, you can easily update the slide using PowerPoint’s controls, or you can try the Office Timeline add-in to automate the process and save even more time.
Office Timeline Pro Edition can even import data from popular scheduling software, like Project or Excel, and bring it straight into this PowerPoint template to generate a professional-looking visual schedule in seconds.
Use the Office Timeline PowerPoint add-in to quickly customize any of the Gantt chart templates above or create your own. Easily change the texts, colors and shapes of your Gantt chart and update dates instantly by drag & drop, all within PowerPoint.