With Spreadsheet.com’s Gantt Views and Project Management features, you can quickly create interactive Gantt charts that live side-by-side with your spreadsheet data.
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Using a traditional spreadsheet as your primary project management tool can be a simple – albeit limiting – way to manage your project. Spreadsheets are perfect for building task lists and budgets, but when it comes to actually managing a project, it’s helpful to have a few more tools in your arsenal.
Spreadsheet.com’s Gantt Views and Project Management features give you more ways to plan, schedule, and visualize projects of any size. With support for task dependencies and constraints, you can build out an end-to-end project timeline with advanced scheduling logic found in most project management software. And by adding a Gantt View to your scheduling worksheet, you can create a fully-featured interactive Gantt chart in just a few clicks.
What is a Gantt Chart?
A Gantt chart is a graphical representation of a timeline. Individual tasks are represented as taskbars laid out on a horizontal axis, with the length of each taskbar proportional to the length of a task. Compared to tasks listed as spreadsheet rows, Gantt charts help project managers better envision a project’s timeline.
By turning a task list into a Gantt chart, a list like this…
…becomes a timeline like this:
Using Dependencies and Constraints to Schedule Tasks
Dependencies and constraints determine how multiple tasks within a project must be sequenced and scheduled, in conjunction with task start and end dates.
Dependencies describe relationships between tasks that must be started or completed in a specific order. When you’re cooking an omelet, for example, you must finish cracking the eggs before you can start cooking them. Or, if you’re building a house, you must complete substantial framing work before you can begin installing windows.
Dependencies consist of a predecessor task and a successor task, where the latter is dependent on the former in some way. Spreadsheet.com lets you establish dependencies between tasks and takes those dependencies into account when scheduling and moving tasks.
Like dependencies, constraints determine how multiple subsequent tasks must be scheduled. Most constraints serve one of two functions: minimize the time between successive tasks, or schedule tasks in such a way that subsequent tasks or the project at large are not delayed overall.
A constraint might state that the manufacturing process for a new product can start no earlier than the end of research and development, or that retail partnerships must be finalized as soon as possible once a launch date is confirmed.
In Spreadsheet.com, constraints are expressed with two specialized data types – Constraint type and Constraint date – and are taken into account when scheduling and moving tasks.
Adding Gantt Views and Enabling Project Management
With Spreadsheet.com’s Project Management features and Gantt Views, you can turn a basic task list into a fully-featured interactive Gantt chart in just a few steps.
How to Add a Gantt View to your Worksheet
- Click on the name of the current view in the toolbar to open the Views sidebar
- Click the + Gantt button at the bottom of the sidebar
- Assign your new View a name and click Save
When you create a new Gantt View, you will automatically be prompted to enable Project Management in your worksheet. Project Management settings let you specify which worksheet columns are mapped to key project management features and fine-tune your Gantt Views by adjusting working days and more.
Managing Project Management Settings
Access Project Management settings at any time by clicking the gear icon in the upper right corner of your worksheet.
This opens the Project Management dialog, in which you can map columns to project management settings, adjust working days, and enable or disable dependencies and constraints.
Learn more about managing Project Management options in our article Project Management Settings. For a deeper dive into constraints and dependencies, see Introduction to Constraints and Introduction to Dependencies.
Reading and Managing Gantt Charts
In Gantt Views, your task list lives side-by-side with a fully-featured interactive Gantt chart. Each task is represented with a taskbar that can be color coded and mapped to a Select column. The Gantt chart can also be configured to show the project’s critical path.
Learn more about managing your Gantt chart’s appearance in our article Gantt View Settings & Appearance.
Click on a taskbar to open the task dialog where you can view details about the selected task and manage its constraints and dependencies.
Dependencies are represented by arrows between tasks on the Gantt chart. Constraints are represented by vertical blue solid or dotted lines, depending on the constraint type.
Want to see Gantt Views and Project Management in action? Take a look at our Guide to Managing Projects with Spreadsheet.com and Guide to Building Gantt Charts for Project Management with Spreadsheet.com.