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Project Schedule Template

A project schedule template provides that well-needed element of cohesion for project managers to effectively coordinate their teams’ planned efforts. When properly designed, a project schedule template draws a clear, high-level picture of the work, time and resources that should go into successfully completing any project. It organizes a project into smaller, more manageable components displayed on a timeline that signals the direct path to achieving the desired results.

Find out more about what effective project scheduling entails within the Q&A section below and start creating crisp high-level timelines that accurately illustrate the planned development of your projects with our free downloadable project schedule template.

How do you write a project schedule?

Here is the list of steps you can take to plan and build a good project schedule:

  1. Define your project goals – what are the key milestones and deliverables that will make your project successful?
  2. Identify all stakeholders – who needs to be involved in the implementation of your project?
  3. Set a final deadline – when do you need to complete your project?
  4. List every underlying step or action of your project – take all the items defined at Step 1 and break them down into smaller tasks or sub-tasks.
  5. Assign a team member for each of the identified tasks – decide who will be responsible with carrying out specific tasks and transparently communicate deadlines.
  6. Estimate and establish due dates for each task – work backwards to figure out how long each action will take (start and end dates) and consider the logical sequencing and potential dependencies of your outlined tasks.
  7. Create a schedule timeline to clearly present the planned course of action to the entire team by using a timeline template like the one we provided on this page.
    You can also learn how to make a timeline using various office tools with the help of our comprehensive tutorials.

How do I create a project schedule in Excel?

To create an Excel project schedule, follow the steps below:

  1. List out the key events (also called milestones) of your project in an Excel table with the following structure:
    • Column 1 – Due date;
    • Column 2 – Milestone description;
    • Column 3 – plotting numbers (in this column, enter a repetitive sequence of numbers such as 1,2, 3, 4 or 5, 10, 15, 20 next to each milestone); these will determine the height of your milestones on the Excel project schedule template.
  2. Set up your table as a Scatter chart using the Scatter option from the Charts section under the Insert tab.
  3. Add your milestones to the newly added blank chart.
  4. Format your chart to look like a timeline by adding connectors.

For more details on how to make a timeline or a project schedule using Excel, please see our step-by-step tutorial.

Using and updating the Project Schedule Template

This free project schedule template was designed to help you present critical project schedules to clients, executives, and other stakeholders in a fresh and impressive way. Typical project schedules can be complicated visuals that are overwhelming, uninspiring, and too complex to explain. Using a traditional format to communicate a high-level project timeline would probably run the risk of quickly losing the audience’s interest. With our free schedule template, planners and managers won’t need to worry about this because its layout is simple to understand and easy to follow, keeping the public engaged.

In most industries, managing a project requires the development of a project schedule based on a breakdown of the work involved, or a work breakdown structure. The work breakdown structure will estimate the effort, time and resources needed to achieve the project’s objectives. This is turned into the project schedule. Typical project schedules are made up of a long list of tasks, each accompanied with a start date and finish date. The more tasks to be completed, the more likely for project schedules to turn into a complicated output that is difficult to read.

The project schedule template was created to convey essential project data through a simple slide that engages audiences. This free schedule timeline can be edited directly in PowerPoint, or you can use Office Timeline’s schedule maker tool for PowerPoint to automatically customize the template.

Office Timeline is a free timeline maker add-in that will create your project schedule in a few clicks right inside PowerPoint. Since project schedules need to be updated constantly, the project scheduler also makes it really easy to add or remove items from your schedule or change dates on the fly. The Office Timeline Pro+ Edition also integrates with other project scheduling tools like Microsoft Excel, so importing your existing project data and transforming it into a PowerPoint project schedule happens in seconds.

Edit this timeline schedule template manually in PowerPoint or use the free Office Timeline schedule maker tool to create your project schedule. It will produce a simple, fresh-looking project timeline that will stand out in important meetings and executive presentations.

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Updating your template is simple and fast.

Use the Office Timeline PowerPoint add-in to quickly update any of these timeline templates or create your own project visuals. Easily change the texts, dates, colors, shapes and styles of your timeline, right from inside PowerPoint.

Free PowerPoint Timeline and Swimlane Maker