Gantt charts are among the top five most-used features within project management software. With their ability to streamline visualization and communication, project managers continue to search for the best Gantt chart software, whether free or paid.
This is particularly relevant in the COVID-19 era, where communication has grown more challenging with an increase in telecommuting. Every project manager can confirm—without proper communication, all else fails.
This is especially true when considering deadlines and timetables. All team members must stay on track for meeting critical task deadlines.
But beyond only meeting a deadline, it's imperative that team members truly understand how each task affects the other tasks on the board—as well as the overarching project.
One of the most effective ways to achieve this goal is with Gantt charts.
Gantt charts are excellent for efficiently planning projects and tracking their progress as they move along. On the surface, they serve as project schedules.
But with the right Gantt chart software, your team can take advantage of a wealth of other tools that genuinely set Gantt charts apart in the project management space.
In this article, we'll explain what a Gantt chart is, its benefits, and walk you through the 13 best paid and free Gantt chart software. Below is everything we will cover. Feel free to skip ahead.
- What is a Gantt chart?
- What are the benefits of Gantt charts?
- What makes for good Gantt chart software?
- The 13 best, paid and free Gantt chart software in 2021
What is a Gantt chart?
A Gantt chart is a simple yet effective way to visualize a project's progress.
While Gantt charts were first invented in the early 1900s, they have rapidly transformed. Modern Gantt charts use cloud-based project management tools to allow all team members to stay organized and on-track—regardless of their location.
Project managers input project data and let the Gantt chart software do the heavy lifting.
In previous years, Gantt charts relied on Excel to operate. But this made for a slow, clunky, and tedious process. It was inefficient and slowed vital project management processes down to a crawl.
Luckily, many cutting-edge project management tools are available online—both free and paid. These tools have transformed the Gantt chart as we know it, making it easier than ever to track projects' progress in real-time.
This is a popular method for project management, as users can track the status of the project as a whole and individual project tasks.
Generally, an online Gantt chart is a bar chart that is horizontally stacked. Each online Gantt chart maker will vary in its exact structure. But overall, they are user-friendly and easy to operate.
Most use color-coded bar charts, equipped with a drop-down menu to select other advanced filters. High-quality software options will allow users to bounce between different project views.
With this, project managers can see projects in the Gantt view, or by timeline, list, or Kanban board. This protects the flow of information, ensuring project managers do not have to shuffle between apps to stay on top of projects.
What are the benefits of Gantt charts?
Gantt chars are proven useful for a variety of users. This includes anyone who is looking for a better way to visualize project timelines and ensure efficient project management tools, including:
- Program managers
- Project managers
- Project coordinators
- Product managers
- General managers
Gantt charts best benefits teams with a fixed-duration project. They are most useful when created during the project planning and execution phases.
With an excellent online project management software for Gantt chart users, visualizing progress is easy.
These charts allow project managers to visualize easily:
- Project timeline
- Project tasks
- Who's working on which tasks
- Duration of each task
- Event planning
- Order in which you should complete tasks
- How tasks overlap and connect
- Client onboarding
Furthermore, Gantt charts help to identify critical issues before they develop. This includes:
- Potential roadblocks
- Tasks and project areas at risk of falling behind
- Issues requiring attention
- Identifying critical path
- Monitoring alternatives
- Locating workarounds
Users can also visualize a project's dependencies. This makes it simple to fully understand how each part of the project is connected and how issues with one area may translate over the project's life.
What makes for good Gantt chart software?
First and foremost, you must identify which areas you prioritize most.
Rule out any unnecessary features that would not be useful to your team, highlighting the most critical needs that you can serve with the right Gantt chart tool. This way, you do not waste time or money on software that may not be the best fit for your team.
When creating Gantt charts, you may input various types of data.
For example, a phase is a group of tasks that make up a chunk of the project. A milestone would be a deliverable or a tangible end to a work period.
Each task is considered an activity or individual body of work that makes up the overall project. Each task is a subtask, which is where the activity is broken down into smaller chunks of work.
In terms of timing, the start date is where the activity will begin, while the due date is where it will end. The duration refers to how many days (or hours, in some cases) the activity will require completion.
When tracking progress, you may look at the percent complete. This defines how much of the activity has already been completed, in the form of a percentage.
Finally, dependencies (also known as task links) link two related tasks.
When looking for the best Gantt chart software, it's essential to consider how much of the above information you want to track. From there, you can determine which tool best meets your needs at the right price.
Overall, a useful Gantt chart can revolutionize a team's project management processes and practices. Keep reading to learn about 13 options for the best Gantt chart software.
The 13 best, paid and free Gantt chart software in 2021
While Gantt chart software benefits are undeniable, not Gantt chart design, online systems are equal. As the online project management software market continues to explode with growth, it's essential to weigh your options for each potential choice carefully.
Below are 13 of the best options for upping your team's project management workflows.
TrueNxus tops our list for the best Gantt chart software online. It's not free, but it offers much more than the below vendors. It's the most pragmatic project management software. It allows users to view projects and tasks within the timeline.
Moving through the project timeline, this Gantt chart software ensures you are working on the right tasks at the right time.
This is a breeze, as TrueNxus makes it easy to connect tasks. Users simply draw a line connecting two items, and TrueNxus does the rest. This tool also makes it intuitive to assign tasks to multiple employees.
From there, you can visually check which tasks need to be worked on. Each task is interconnected—meaning any changes made to the chart automatically notify the owner of dependent tasks that the start date, due date, or owner has changed.
Furthermore, creating tasks and sub-tasks within TrueNxus makes tracking progress more comfortable to understand.
This tool is popular for its user-friendly interface and feature releases. To test the waters, users can sign up for a free trial with unlimited storage.
- Changes made in the Gantt chart are automatically synced with project status reports
- Tasks can easily be assigned to multiple people, in addition to in-app scheduling capabilities
- Those assigned tasks that have a dependency are automatically notified when something changes
2. Microsoft Project
Microsoft Project is our second best Gantt chart software online. While it's not free, it's one of the best Gantt chart makers. If all you are looking for in your project management software is a Gantt chart, you can't go wrong with MS Project.
It is one of the original project management software solutions for Gantt charts. It's been around for a long time, and thousands of organizations have used it. As a result, it will not let you down if you decide to use MS Project for your Gantt chart.
- It's like a spreadsheet
- You can coordinate your projects in one online location
- You can manage percent complete
Redbooth is one of our best free Gantt chart software solutions. It is a full-scale project management tool. It goes beyond Gantt charts for managing tasks and projects in the full scope.
Redbooth continues to make a name for itself in the project management space. It serves as a good stepping stone between some of the more fundamental task management tools that do not include Gantt charts and other, more powerful options on this list.
Its suite of tools boasts an interactive yet clean interface. With Redbooth, tasks are ordered beginning with the earliest start date.
Each task is color-coded, making it easy to identify tasks within each section. You can also add multiple assignees to visualize the completion of an item.
Redbooth does offer a Gantt chart online free version, as well as a paid version. The free system does not show task dependencies. Instead, it provides a view of due dates and priorities for your project tasks.
Plus, Redbooth has a Chrome extension as well. You can manage project tasks right from your browser in real-time.
One detraction some users report is the tool being too free-wheeling for more formal processes. This might make governance and security more difficult, as it's not easy to control individual team members' access.
- Productivity reports provide insights on key performance indicators within the project
- Task management capabilities to easily create tasks lists and create or edit the start and due dates
- Project templates help streamline processes for teams that reuse task lists for multiple projects
GanttProject is one of our best free Gantt chart software systems. It is a bit different from others on this list. It is a locally-hosted software compared to the other cloud-based project management tools on this list. This option is excellent for managers looking for robust export options.
GanttProject is a simple system with easy-to-use tools designed to map out dependencies and timelines. It is one of the more basic options, with a wireframe-type design.
This system features a no-clutter and no-frills approach to building Gantt charts. Plus, GanttProject currently serves over 25 languages.
It's important to note that GanttProject is not a complete project management tool like other options. It is notable for being a free, open-source tool to track your team's project progress in Gantt chart format.
Project managers will not struggle to create timelines, designate resources, determine project costs and export results. Export file options include PDF, CSV, and PNG files.
One drawback to this system is that you can only view projects one at a time. It can also get jumpy when trying to scroll across larger projects.
It's important to note that GanttProject is not a complete project management tool like some other options. It is notable for being a free, open-source tool to track your team's project progress in Gantt chart format.
With that said, it does not have as much utility as some of its paid counterparts. But, it could provide an excellent supplement to your existing software.
- Users can easily manage dependencies by merely drawing a line between tasks
- Imported and exported data can fit seamlessly into and out of Microsoft Project and Excel
- GanttProject is an open-source platform, meaning you can modify the source code best to fit the needs and existing workflows of your team
5. Toggl Plan
Toggl Plan is another one of our best free Gantt chart software solutions. It is a web-based project application. Additionally, it boasts stunning visual planning tools centered around its brand persona.
This app has a notable chart and timeline features. One example of this is the project planner, which displays where each task fits the timeline and how they overlap.
Toggl Plan is a more popular option for those who truly value project visualization. It is trusted by over 4,000 countries globally, including Airbnb, Netflix, Amazon, and Spotify.
Toggl Plan also carries a free Gantt chart feature for teams with up to five users. Plus, their online charts take a public link. This means your Gantt charts can be shared with others, even if they do not have a Toggl account.
The tool requires a paid account for larger teams and access to more advanced features.
- Toggl is known for its interactive Gantt chart design—users enjoy an intuitive and fun drag-and-drop interface
- The timeline view provides project managers a bird's eye view of upcoming tasks and deadlines
- Collaboration tools make it easy to plan projects and work with other employees in real-time
6. Instagantt for Asana
Asana is one of the most popular projects management tools on the market. But unfortunately, it does not have Gantt charts for projects. While it does feature a timeline view, it does not carry all of the benefits that Gantt chart users look for.
Enter: Instagantt for Asana. This tool fills in the gap, providing integration with your team's existing Asana workflows.
Instagantt's main selling point is its dependencies, making it simple to understand how each task overlaps and integrates with other items. It also includes various other key features, including workload management.
This way, project managers can track the workload of their employees. You can detect which you may overload team members with tasks and distribute them more equally.
This tool alone can serve to be highly useful. As most project managers can attest, avoiding employee burnout is critical in ensuring successful and timely project completion.
Plus, Instagantt puts an emphasis on progress tracking.
Instagantt color-codes its charts to show progress in a variety of categories. Changes and delays are tracks in real-time, using automation to ensure all dependencies are appropriately adjusted.
Technically, this tool is free if you have an existing Asana account. Asana itself does have a free tier as well. But to get the most out of this software, you will likely need the paid version of Asana.
- Workload management allows project managers to track what's on their employee's plates
- Progress tracking makes milestones easy to identify, with progress on every task and subtask displayed for your project
- Change tracking with changing color-coding and adjusting dependencies
7. Britrix24 Gantt Chart
Bitrix24 is another one of our best free Gantt chart software. It is a project management tool and platform for overall communication. It serves to meet all business needs under one umbrella, including Gantt charts.
Bitrix24's Gantt charts are unique, as dependencies are set in various ways.
The first is "start to start." This means that two tasks begin simultaneously.
The second is "start to finish." This refers to situations in which one task finishes and another begins.
Finally, the third is "finish to finish." This means that you cannot complete one task until the previous one is finished.
One of the main benefits of using Bitrix24 is its ability to move tasks around. Even while shifting items, their connections remain intact. With this, Bitrix24's Gantt software is beneficial for handling multiple projects at once.
This tool is designed well, with a host of free features. The Gantt chart sits front and center for the users, with tasks on the screen's left side. Team members are displayed along the right-hand side.
There is a free version of this software for up to 12 users.
To achieve unlimited users and unlimited storage, a paid account is necessary. But overall, this system is seamless for use by even small or average-sized companies.
- Users enjoy free unlimited projects
- 5 GB of online storage is also provided
- Project management app for iOS and Android allows project managers to view timelines from anywhere
Agantty is another one of our best free Gantt chart software systems. This option is best for small to medium-sized teams.
This tool revolves around free and straightforward Gantt charts. The system's goal is to make it easy to create and maintain Gantt charts, helping make project managers' workflows as efficient as possible.
One of the most notable features of this software is creating unlimited projects and tasks, quickly plotting them on the Gantt chart software.
Agantty provides a clean yet comprehensive dashboard to track projects and tasks easily. As tasks are created, they are automatically added to the chart.
Rights management is controlled, preventing unwanted changes that sometimes occur when too many employees have change abilities.
Unlike other "free" tools, there is no limit to the number of teams or tasks within a single account.
There are a few downsides to this option, however. As it currently stands, users cannot export in PDF formats. There is also no autosave in the notes feature of the application.
Generally speaking, this tool is best for long-term goals rather than daily or weekly tasks.
Though this is a genuinely free Gantt chart, it is right up there with many of its paid counterparts. Users do not have to sacrifice quality for cost, as it maintains a variety of reliable features without the upsell.
- Tasks can be exported as a PDF for select timeframes to provide an easier reference
- Project managers also hold rights management, controlling which team members can view or edit particular tasks
- For those that do have access, managers can send task reminders to applicable team members by email
TeamGantt provides one of the most comprehensive options for Gantt chart software. As a result, it makes our list as one of the best free Gantt chart software systems.
This cloud-based software boasts an intelligent design and intelligent commenting system. This way, project managers can add attachments to the chart with ease.
Moving and assigning tasks within a TeamGantt chart are simple. Other critical project views of this system include to-do lists, calendars, and weekly views. There are also resource management and capacity planning views to take note of.
In conjunction with the Gantt chart view, these tools allow project managers to accurately track the status of projects.
TeamGantt does have a free plan that works with up to three users within one project. For more generous use, project managers would need to switch to a paid plan.
- With its drag-and-drop abilities, the TeamGantt charts allow for total control
- Team availability monitors ensure project managers can track workloads and prevent employee burnout
- Project managers can compare the original timeline vs. the real-time status to gain an understanding of whether or not your team is on track
10. Tom's Planner
Tom's Planner is another example of easy-to-use software for simple Gantt charts.
But, this tool may be better-geared towards individuals or freelancers. It's excellent for those users who do not have a lot of time or resources to dedicate to mapping out projects but still want to remain organized.
Like other options, this tool features drag-and-drop functionality and task dependencies. These are critical capabilities for the modern project manager.
Plus, it is simple to switch from as wide as monthly to as small as hourly Gantt chart online views.
Project managers can find any task by filtering the chart. These filters may narrow down the timeline by resources, activity, team, etc.
This system is a touch outdated with its blocky interface in full transparency. But at the same time, this ensures it will be easy-to-use for even the more novice project managers.
There is a free version, though this is mainly designed for personal use. It only allows for one project, and you will not invite other team members to collaborate.
Paid plans allow for access to the scheduling feature. This shows updates on tasks and which team members are responsible. It also provides the history of the tasks so that managers can monitor any changes along the way.
- To change the look of the chart, there are more than half a million free templates—or you can create your own Gantt chart template
- Tom's Planner includes filtering and sorting tools, allowing you to customize your chart to exactly how you want it
- You can import project schedules and existing Gantt charts from various tools, including MS Project, Excel, Trello, and Basecamp
Another of our top picks for the best online Gantt chart software is StudioBinder. This tool is geared around events and film production, designed for project managers' needs in this field.
The Gantt chart setup with StudioBinder is color-coded, making it easy to visualize projects and their many moving parts. It also displays task names right across the bars themselves for easy identification. If you click on the bar itself, task details and associated files are immediately displayed.
These charts are well-noted for their interactiveness. The drag-and-drop interface makes it intuitive for the user.
Plus, you can place comments on Gantt chart tasks. You can even upload files into these comments, ensuring communication and information remain as readily-available as possible.
Like Tom's Planner and TeamGantt, StudioBinder does have a free version for testing with one project. Beyond this, users would need to upgrade their account.
- Interactive yet straightforward Gantt charts make production workflows a breeze
- Calendar templates help to facilitate more efficient processes, selected from an existing gallery or
- Comments can be placed directly onto charts, with the option to include attachments
12. Office Timeline
Office Timeline is an excellent option for new users unfamiliar with Gantt charts' functionalities. It allows users to create better visual project timelines and other charts within presentation slides. as a result it makes our list as one of the best Gantt chart software solutions.
Office Timeline is an excellent online tool to integrate with Microsoft PowerPoint. It includes a "wizard" that provides step-by-step instructions. This way, even brand-new users can understand the details of a Gantt chart and project timeline.
Office Timeline also comes with multiple project templates to best fit your unique needs. Each option carries a different visual style, color, and other details to choose from. Office Timeline will automatically generate top-notch visualizes for you to style as you see fit.
Plus, you can invite other team members to collaborate on your chart. They can see and edit your work in PowerPoint, as well. If you'd rather, you can use browser integrations as well.
This tool also cuts down on manual information entry. You can import project data from various sources, like Excel, Wrike, or Smartsheet. From there, you can immediately begin creating a Gantt chart template for your PowerPoint.
- The smart layout engine automatically produces visuals customized to your liking
- Real-time collaboration with other team members
- Browser integrations allow for chart creation in Google docs, as well
13. Excel Gantt Chart
The last to make our best online Gantt chart software is Excel Gantt chart. There are many ways to use Microsoft Excel to create free Gantt charts. While this option does present some fundamental limitations, it can serve as the right starting place for beginners.
For those teams that already use Excel continuously, this may be an excellent option to get your feet wet and understand enhanced accountability projects' benefits.
One major issue with this option is the limitations on collaborations. It is generally impossible to fully collaborate with other team members in real-time. Plus, it's challenging to get reminders on key dates under the Excel templates.
While this is not a comprehensive solution for Gantt chart software, using Excel can help your team understand these tools' uses. From there, you can explore external options that may come at a cost.
In the meantime, Excel can help draw in some of the critical benefits while remaining intuitive to a system your team is already comfortable with.
If you want a free Excel Gantt chart template, we've got you covered.
- There are a plethora of free templates available, for everything from an hourly Gantt chart online to views of a broader scope
- Gain a greater understanding of the benefits of Gantt charts for free
After reading this guide on the best Gantt Chart software options (free and paid), it's clear the market is flooded with potential project management software options.
But with so many benefits available, it's essential to carefully select your options to make the best use of these tools without breaking the bank.
This is where TrueNxus comes into play. Making it easy to organize everything with efficient collaboration and planning tools can revolutionize the way your company manages projects.
For an all-in-one cross-functional platform, try TrueNxus for free today!