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Visual project management templates

Use these free PowerPoint and Excel templates to create unique, professional project visuals for your next stakeholder meeting.

Visual project management templates with Office Timeline

What is a project management template?

Effective project management is not solely about completing tasks as soon as the initiative kicks off, but also about carefully mapping out your strategy to save time and resources. Given that your project will be constantly shifting, a project management template will help you keep up with the changes that occur and increase the chances of successful project delivery.

A project management template is a reusable and pre-built project outline with placeholders that helps project managers document and set up various project activities without having to start from scratch every time, thus reducing rework. It provides a project pre-formatted structure by auto-populating details such as:

  • Tasks;

  • Timelines;

  • Dependencies;

  • Assignees;

  • Workflows.

Why use a project management template?

Managing projects that come in all shapes and sizes is no easy task. In fact, it’s so difficult that almost two thirds of projects result in failure, mostly due to ineffective communication, poor project planning, and the lack of clear goals. Furthermore, starting work on a project from scratch can be very challenging so relying on project management templates is evidently beneficial for any project manager.

Using a project management template will help professionals:

  • Save time kicking off new projects and work;

  • Cover all important project steps;

  • Manage tasks smoothly from start to finish;

  • Align goals and priorities across teams;

  • Automate repetitive processes;

  • Achieve and maintain consistent quality;

  • Optimize processes and productivity over time;

  • Track progress and status of the project;

  • Accurately scope initiatives and allocate resources.

To sum things up, using project management templates will set you and your team up for repeatable success, while also making processes more efficient. Taking into account the many benefits that these visual tools bring to the table, we have put together a collection of free, customizable PowerPoint and Excel templates that you can use to create professional project plans and reviews that are also visually striking.

Project reviews made easy

Office Timeline helps you quickly turn complex project data into clear PowerPoint graphics that are easy-to-follow, but hard to forget.

Make swimlane diagrams in PowerPoint

Free PowerPoint and Excel templates for project planning

The right template is a mix of various ingredients and there are many aspects to take into consideration: your industry, company size, or project complexity. To help you get started quickly, we’ve put together a list of the best PowerPoint templates for project management – from straightforward project plans to complex Gantt charts and strategic product roadmaps.

You can access these templates as Excel and PowerPoint files and customize them to fit the specific needs of your project. They’re free and you can download them directly, without the obligation to fill in any contact details.

For the PowerPoint templates, you can edit them manually by moving the shapes or use the Office Timeline add-in to edit and update automatically. It plugs natively into PowerPoint so you can make your project visuals with just a few clicks and save them as your own personalized templates to use time and time again.

Timeline trackers and reports

Milestone tracker template

Projects need to be managed on a timeline. Milestones are significant events or accomplishments that mark specific points or the completion of major phases or deliverables in a project. Project managers can use a milestone tracker to list their critical milestones and to monitor the performance of the project team against that timeline.

Tracking progress toward important events or specific points on a timescale is a good technique for monitoring the progress of a project and enables project managers to see if the project team is on track to deliver the final product or service on time and determine if any adjustments are necessary to stay on schedule.

Milestone tracker template for Excel
Milestone tracker template for Excel Download Excel Template
Milestone tracker templates for PowerPoint
Milestone tracker templates for PowerPoint Download PowerPoint Template

Project status report template

Project managers who want to inform team members, executives, and clients of where a project stands can illustrate and track the progression of all critical activities involved with the help of a project status report.

Project status reports list the key deliverables, developments and risks associated with a project and help measure the progress toward the completion of each objective.

Project status report template for Excel
Project status report template for Excel Download Excel Template
Project status report for PowerPoint
Project status report for PowerPoint Download PowerPoint Template

Project review template

Project reviews are usually conducted at the end of a project or a project phase to evaluate the current status, identify any lessons learned, and make recommendations for future projects. To help document and share the results of their reviews, Project managers can use review reports.

These project templates show a clear overview of completed, outstanding, and planned deliverables, while also including risk management details and financial information. This will make it easier for them to measure progress and clearly communicate key data that clients and executives want to know. Project review reports typically include project overview, performance analysis, recommendations, and conclusions.

Project review template for Excel
Project review template for Excel Download Excel Template
Project review template for PowerPoint
Project review template for PowerPoint Download PowerPoint Template

Gantt charts, roadmaps, swimlane charts

Project plan template

Delivering a project requires detailed planning. Project plans should outline the scope, schedule, and resources needed to complete the project. They should also help monitor progress and identify problems so that project managers can adjust plans in time to ensure that the project stays on track.

To easily track how the project is progressing, project plans can also include a comparison between the estimated task dates and the actual ones.

Project plan template for Excel
Project plan template for Excel Download Excel Template
Project plan template for PowerPoint
Project plan template for PowerPoint Download PowerPoint Template

Project schedule template

Effective project management requires a clear view of all the work associated with delivering a project on time. A project schedule enables professionals to efficiently manage their project by the hour and see exactly how much time is left to complete a task or if there is any work overdue.

The project schedule typically includes a list of all the tasks that need to be completed, their dependencies, the resources required to complete them, and the deadlines for completion.

Project schedule template for Excel
Project schedule template for Excel Download Excel Template
Project schedule template for PowerPoint
Project schedule template for PowerPoint Download PowerPoint Template

Project tracker template

Project management requires that all scheduled work or tasks are tracked. A project tracker is a visual tool that can be used to track and compare the planned status versus the actual status of various key project parameters, for example each task’s progress against the original plan.

The tracker should include all tasks, milestones, deadlines, tasks’ status, the owner of the task, the percent complete and the planned duration versus actual duration.

Project tracker template for Excel
Project tracker template for Excel Download Excel Template
Project tracker template for PowerPoint
Project tracker template for PowerPoint Download PowerPoint Template

Critical path tracker template

The critical path of a project is the longest sequence of tasks that must be completed from the Start to the Finish of a project. The tasks on the critical path are called critical activities because if they’re delayed, they will have a cascading effect on the project completion - the project completion will be delayed.

Project managers need to identify which tasks are dependent on preceding tasks. To do this they can use a critical path tracker which lists all the tasks in a project, the planned duration for each task and whether the task is dependent on another. It also helps identifying the most critical tasks and dependencies and understand how changes to one task might impact the overall project schedule. This way, project managers can plan the quickest path for completing their project and take corrective action to keep the project on track.

Critical path tracker template for Excel
Critical path tracker template for Excel Download Excel Template
Critical path tracker template for PowerPoint
Critical path tracker template for PowerPoint Download PowerPoint Template

Sprint project tracker template

Agile projects require thorough sprint planning and management. A sprint is a short, time-boxed period, usually two to four weeks, during which a team works to complete a set of tasks or deliverables. A sprint project tracker is needed to track the progress of tasks during a sprint, to monitor and manage the sprint backlog, to assign tasks to team members, to identify potential issues or blockers and to communicate the progress of the sprint to stakeholders.

Sprint project trackers should clearly show what tasks are planned during each sprint, and should include the start date, finish date and duration of every task, and the percentage of completeness. Color codes can instantly show the tasks’ status.

Sprint project tracker template for Excel
Sprint project tracker template for Excel Download Excel Template
Sprint project tracker template for PowerPoint
Sprint project tracker template for PowerPoint Download PowerPoint Template

Project budget template

A project budget planner-tracker is a tool used in project management to plan and manage the budget for a project and to track the expenses and financial performance of the project. This can include tracking actual expenses, comparing them to the budgeted amount, and adjusting the budget as needed. It can also include forecasting future expenses and revenues and identifying potential budget issues or opportunities.

Project managers and stakeholders can use a project budget tracker to gain a clear view of the financial status of the project and to make informed decisions about budget allocation and management.

Project budget template for Excel
Project budget template for Excel Download Excel Template
Project budget template for PowerPoint
Project budget template for PowerPoint Download PowerPoint Template

Frequently asked questions about visual project management templates

Find out below the answers to the most common questions on project management templates.

Does Excel have a project plan template?

As a staple program in many project managers’ toolkit, Microsoft Excel does offer a series of templates that you can use to outline your project plans. To get access to these pre-built samples, simply open the spreadsheet platform, go to New and browse through the gallery of available models.

If none of the preview examples suits your particular needs, try to refine your search by typing “project plan” or “project chart” in the search bar at the top of the New section and then pressing Enter. This will further filter Excel’s collection of pre-designed layouts from which you can choose a preferred one for your project plan. Double-click to select the project plan template you want to use and start customizing it with your own data.

Search for project plan templates in Excel

Although providing a pre-made structure to start from, Excel’s native project plan templates are quite basic and mainly suited for the illustration of a rather simple input. In addition to their limited scope of use, these also require a significant amount of manual formatting to reach fairly reasonable project management visuals that can be included in business presentations.

To spare you from these time-consuming inconveniences, we’ve put together a varied range of free, ready-to-use Excel project management templates that you can easily customize to effectively visualize even complex project plans in an appealing and professional way.

Does Google have a project management template?

The short answer to this question is yes – yes, it does. However, the most accurate one is that Google actually offers some project management templates via its spreadsheet platform, Google Sheets. Currently, you can find only 4 in-built pre-formatted samples under the Project management category of the latter’s template gallery. To access these, follow the steps below:

  1. Open Google Sheets.

  2. Click the up-down arrow icon next to Template gallery at the top-right of the home screen.

  3. Within the newly expanded gallery, scroll down to the Project management category.

  4. Double-click to open any of the project management templates available under this section.

Search for project management templates in Google Sheets

If you look for “Google project management templates” online, your search will lead you to other custom examples that have nevertheless been created with the same tool, that is Google Sheets. The bottom line is that all of these templates feature a standardized spreadsheet format, which can prove rather limiting and unsuitable when representing rich-data projects as the output can be dull, cluttered, and difficult to follow.

However, loyal fans of the table-layout that also want to save time and effort when planning a project can find many other ready-made and diversified templates on our dedicated page on project management in Excel. To explore more visual, dynamic, and flexible ways to convey your project data to executive audiences, check out our visual project management charts page.

Does Word have a project template?

Primarily used for word-processing purposes, Microsoft Word does not have any incorporated visual project templates per se. Its only project-related samples come under the form of pre-formatted text and table documents and can be accessed by going to New from the Home screen, typing “project template” in the search box at the top, and hitting the Enter key.

However, those who want to get a more visual result can manually build various types of basic project management charts in Word through its SmartArt and Shapes tools. Depending on the kind of project visual you want to create, you can use Word’s range of graphics from the Shapes and SmartArt sections of the Insert tab.

Graphical tools for creating project visuals in Microsoft Word

To sum up, Microsoft Word does allow you to produce basic visuals for small-scale, personal projects by using its graphic tools and with some tedious manual formatting work. But the truth is that the text-editing platform is not a proper solution for professional visual project management requirements. To discover more suitable, specialized, and effective alternatives to this end, please visit our project management tools page.

What templates do you need for project management?

Successfully delivering a project often relies on performing a balancing act between strategical goal setting, Agile project planning, and effective communication of the steps necessary to achieve your deliverables. This explains the large variety of project management templates out there, with layouts and structures that depend on aspects such as the industry one operates in, company size, and project complexity. To choose the ones that best serve your purpose, you will thus need to look for samples that allow you to clearly and efficiently:

  • Set goals.

  • Create work schedules.

  • Assign tasks.

  • Manage costs.

  • Track project status.

To make it easier for you, we’ve compiled a whole collection of free PowerPoint and Excel project management templates that you can use to create plans, organize tasks, and track overall progress visually.

Templates for Project Management in Office Timeline

How do I write a simple project template?

There are no hard-and-fast rules for a simple project template, however, we recommend that you consider the following aspects when creating one:

  • The project objectives and goals;

  • The final deliverables;

  • Summary of tasks to be undertaken;

  • Critical milestones along the way of your project’s lifecycle;

  • An overview of the project timeline (due dates of your milestones and tasks).

Once these elements have been defined, you can then proceed to choosing the best way to illustrate them. Learn more about the various types of project management charts that can be used to visually represent your data or choose any of our ready-made free project templates to get started faster.

What is a project management template?

A project management template or PM template is a pre-formatted sheet, document or graphic with placeholders that you can replace with your own data in order to document various project activities such as:

  • Setting goals;

  • Structuring the overall work breakdown;

  • Assigning tasks;

  • Managing costs;

  • Allocating resources;

  • Tracking progress and status.

What is the best Excel template for project management?

Despite being frequently used in project data processing and reporting, Microsoft Excel is not the most effective tool a project manager can opt for in today’s increasingly visual project management environment. Not only because it offers a rather inflexible format in which to structure your project information, but also because of its limited project management templates that you could use to save time in organizing and planning your initiatives. To find and access any of these pre-built samples, simply open the spreadsheet platform, click on the New tab and type “project” in the search bar at the top. Here are the few results that will be returned:

  • Tracker template;

  • Gantt chart template;

  • To-do list template;

  • Status report template;

  • Budget template;

  • Project plan template.

As you are likely to find out on your own, these can yield a rather basic output and prove useful only for simple projects plans. However, if you want to learn how to maximize Excel’s productivity in this respect, check out our dedicated page on project management in Excel. Those who want to explore more specialized solutions for project planning can do so on our visual project management tools page.

How do templates help project management?

Templates are one of the best tools to use in project management because they:

  • Enable project managers to set up tasks, reports, and other important details without having to start from scratch every time, thus reducing rework.

  • Allow users to produce individual views and reports that reflect specific information when needed, if the template is customizable.

  • Ensure that every relevant project participant starts with the correct structure and format.

  • Lower the risk of essential information being missed.

  • Help create a standardized process to keep recurring work consistent.

With such positive outcomes to benefit from, what’s not to like about templates? Get inspiration from our collection of free, customizable project management templates and use any of them to successfully kick off a new project.

To explore even more templates that suit a wide range of project management needs, you can try out the lightweight PowerPoint project planner add-in called Office Timeline. Coming with a rich gallery of pre-built project plan examples that you can easily customize as presentation-ready PowerPoint slides, the tool also helps you create and save your very own samples that you can use for future work.

Start using templates now

Office Timeline is an award-winning project management tool for PowerPoint with dozens of templates that can be easily customized into unique, professional project visuals.

Project management template made in PowerPoint