To be able to accomplish a project successfully on a schedule, you need to control a huge number of different tasks and track their progress over time.
If you miss a deadline, there will be serious consequences on the rest of the whole project. You need to be able to see all of the activities that need to be done at a glance and their deadlines. Gantt charts cover this need as show the information visually.
The purpose of this article is to provide information for the best free Gantt chart software around – for those that lack the budget. The main topics in the article are:
- What is Gantt chart?
- Gantt chart software requirements
- A list of the best free Gantt chart software
What is a Gantt Chart?
First things first. Gantt chart is a timeline view – typically a bar chart used for scheduling tasks and related mostly to the project management.
The main goal of the Gantt chart is to display where are we and what are tasks till the end of the project.
If we simplified its element, Gantt chart should have a starting point in time, ending point, tasks (or steps) between them and dependencies between tasks.
The most important elements are:
- Tasks – a step which should be executed so that we reach the goal. Tasks have a start date, end date, duration, assigned person, and dependencies with the other tasks.
- Milestone – a task without duration which marks an important event. For example end of an important set of tasks.
- Summary tasks – this task is a set of task. Summarized tasks do not have own duration and resources but depend on the summarized tasks. This is something like “virtual global” task.
- Task status – Done, In Progress, some percentages.
- Critical Path – If a task on the critical path is delayed, the project is delayed. So those are the most important tasks.
- Dependancies – Linkage between tasks. Can be different types, with leads, lags, etc.
- Assigned Resources – different people who should execute the tasks.
Gantt Chart Software Requirements
Obviously, if the purpose of this article is Best free Gantt chart Software we should accept that we are not going to get all the fancy features.
But there is a certain list of requirements which covers the minimum for one Gantt chart Software.
- Minimum elements available – All the above Gantt chart elements should be available in the software. If we can not have a start, end, steps and dependencies it will be impossible to work.
- Task Management – Add, edit, remove, hide or other task-related actions.
- Save in PDF or another common format – you need to be able to save your work and to share it around.
- No installation – free software to create Gantt charts does not require installation in most of the cases, so this feature will save you installation issues.
- Critical path calculation – Very important feature.
- AS-IS situation or today status.
- Baseline – Comparison between the project planned state and current state.
7 Best Free Gantt Chart Software Solutions
OK, so let’s see if we have free Gantt chart software which can cover the above requirements.
Gantt Project 2.5
GanttProject is free for any purposes, including commercial use. No license fees.
The application GanttProject is written in Java. It runs on any platform where Java Runtime is available.
GanttProject is a desktop application and it allows you to:
- Create tasks and milestones and to manage their elements – the start date, duration, priority, notes, colors, etc.
- Work Breakdown Structure – hierarchical tree where progress, dates or costs of lower level tasks are summarized on the higher levels.
- Draw dependency – like dependencies between tasks, lags, leads, etc.
- Create Baselines – in order to compare current status with previous plans.
- PERT chart generation
- Human resources – Create resources with the basic contact information, payment rate, role.
- Assign and monitor the resources.
- Generate PDF / JPEG / PNG files.
- Export to CSV
- Import – Export to Microsoft Project
- Different options for collaboration with your colleagues.
In short, GantProject is a light but very useful software. It can be extremely useful if you are a start-up, small company or beginner in project management.
Gantt Project existing for a long time and it is actually the first Gantt chart software I used. Definitely, have sympathy for it.
Web Site – http://www.ganttproject.biz/
Bitrix24 is one of the best free Gantt chart software you can have.
The application is available online, on premise with open source access, on your mobile app, on your Mac, on your PC.
Bitrix24 is very intuitive and user-friendly. It is so easy to move tasks while keeping their connections and to compare current state vs baseline.
The most important features of this software are:
- Free unlimited projects
- Free unlimited subtasks
- Free – 12 users
- Free – 5 GB online storage
- Task dependencies
- Multiple Gantt charts
- Cloud & On Premise
- Free mobile PM (iOS and Android)
- Open source code and API
As you can see you have unlimited projects and unlimited tasks. Something which turns a free version into a fully professional software to create Gantt charts.
The other great thing is the option for 12 users. So any small, or even mid-size company can use Bitrix24 with ease.
This software has usable features for monitor the employees workload and identifies which ones are getting dangerously close to being overdue.
Bitrix24 offers reports, checklists, templates, report builder, and many other fancy features.
This software is might by the best choice for free Gantt chart application.
Web Site – https://www.bitrix24.com/
Gantter is a free web-based project scheduling application, provided by Google.
This software is one good cloud-based project scheduling solution integrated with Google Drive.
Gantter provides most of the features of leading desktop scheduling software products without users having to buy or install anything.
It also allows you to easily import and open your existing Microsoft Project files.
- Microsoft Project alternative (especially for small projects).
- Manage all your files, including Gantter project schedules from one location, anytime, anywhere
- Import and export from/to MS Project.
- Share Gantter project schedules with your Company’s Google Apps Domain Users
- Real-time editing and chat with other Google Users.
My personal opinion is that this is a good software with great collaboration features and a need of UI improvement here and there. Some improvements in stability won’t hurt also.
Nevertheless, if you search for free Gantt chart software for a small team or for remote collaboration Gantter is a good choice.
TeamGantt is one of the best Gantt chart software you can get. It provides project planning, team communication, resource management, and more.
The application is online based which offers great collaboration options. Also, TeamGantt offers beautiful and easy-to-use frontend.
TeamGantt offers 3 different types of subscriptions, and one of them is free.
The free option includes:
- No time limitation for free option. you can use it as long as you want to;
- 3 user accounts included;
- Beautiful Gantt charts;
- Forecasting of Workload;
- Core Planning Features for One Project – tasks, dependencies, filters;
- Export to PDF (Watermarked);
- Team Progress update;
- Daily Mail Reminders;
- Share Projects with Team Members;
- Conversation on tasks;
- File attachments.
The software is good but 3 free user accounts are too less in the long run.
Web Site: https://www.teamgantt.com
One of the best cloud-based Gantt chart software around.
It offers great collaborative options, fancy look, nice UI options, and great support.
The main free features include:
- 1 user
- 1 active project
- All basic Gantt chart features
- Automatic scheduling
- Critical path
- Working days and hours
- Gantt chart templates
As you can see 1 free user means very limited options. If you have very small company or use PM quite rare you can use a free version of the software.
Nevertheless, GanttPro is a good one and not expensive. You may try it free and decide if you want to go further.
Web Site: https://ganttpro.com
RationalPlan offers a wide range of useful project management features. And can be available on-premise and as a cloud-based solution.
It offers portfolio management, time and resource management tools, scheduling, tracking, etc.
And of course, everything needed for great Gantt charts.
When it comes to free versions, RationalPlan offers 2 options:
On Premise – Single Version for Linux – this includes advanced planning functionality provided through dynamic Gantt charts and timesheets.
The Single version will import MS Project files and allows you to share your projects with MS Project users.
The company provides the free Project Viewer as a way to share details about your projects to other people involved.
So you can manage a project and share it with the stakeholders freely.
Cloud base – Free Plan – All basic Gantt chart features but only for 2 users, 2 projects, 100 tasks, 5 MB storage.
Web Site: https://www.rationalplan.com/
Tom’s Planner is an excellent web-based Gantt chart application.
It has drag & drop simplicity, right click menus, task management, no installation requirements, export, and much more.
When it comes to collaboration, Tom’s Planner application really shines and makes difference.
Tom’s Planner offers a Free subscription for most of its basic features, but with 2 limitations.
First, the free subscription is for 200 items in one schedule.
Second, the free subscription is for one year.
Nevertheless, you still can use this software for learning, basic start and gain some knowledge and experience.
Also, the prices for other plans are quite low and cheap – 8,50 $ per month (standard) and 17 $ per month (professional). Those prices are affordable for any company, even start-ups.
So, this is my list with best free Gantt chart software. I hope that it can help you to find a free (or cheap) and useful solution for your business.
Anyhow, I realize that this list is not full. And if you have any suggestions you are more than welcome to write a comment for them.