Product Updates - June 3, 2021 - Gantt Views and Project Management

What’s new?

Gantt Views and Project Management

Now you can quickly create interactive Gantt charts side-by-side with your spreadsheet data to visualize work schedules and relationships between tasks.

Video: Introduction to Gantt Views and Project Management (5 mins):

Gantt views add an interactive timeline to the right of your worksheet showing task bars corresponding to each row in the table region. For example, in a worksheet of Tasks you can use a Gantt view to visually manage a project’s schedule and create task dependencies.

Gantt views can be created in any worksheet by clicking “+ New view” in the view selector dialog, and choosing Gantt:


When the first Gantt view is created in a worksheet, will guide you through enabling Project Management on that worksheet. Here you can configure which columns are used for task management, settings for working days and hours, and whether or not to enable task dependencies:

Once Project Management is enabled, the assigned columns inherit special behavior. For example, Start Date, End Date, and Duration values automatically recompute when adjusted in the worksheet or Gantt chart, and data in these columns automatically rolls up from child rows to parent rows in hierarchies.

Task bars can be moved and resized using the mouse, and dependencies can be established between tasks by dragging connections between task bar antennae, as shown here:


A Gantt toolbar above the chart provides quick ways to zoom in and out of the chart, along with additional features such as highlighting the critical path:


We’re looking forward to your feedback on this new set of features.

Gantt beta limitations and future work

  • Tasks with sub-day durations (e.g… 4hr, 6hr, etc.) and fractional day durations (1.5d) do not render precisely in the chart yet. Right now they appear as having full day lengths.
  • Dependencies are not yet enforced for parent-level tasks in hierarchies.
  • Project Management settings do not yet support holidays.
  • Working day start time and Length of day settings are not yet customizable.

We’ll be addressing each of these limitations in future updates.


This is really amazing! A lot of great features packed into the very first beta launch. The ability to interact with the Gantt view makes this much more than just the display of a chart.

The seamless way that the summary rows work with indenting to calculate the start and end dates and overall % Complete takes a lot of the complexity out of a spreadsheet that does this with formulas … and of course the dependency arrows are another feature you can’t get without programming or add-ins in Excel or Sheets.

My first observation when testing was some difficulty in getting the Gantt View to use existing columns, but Murali has addressed this in the following post:

Currently, the color of the bars is controlled via the “Status column” assignment, but it looks like the only thing this does is change the color. So, I’d recommend changing the label to “Color column” because color might be used for things other than “Status” such as different phases of a project, different types such as summary vs. milestone vs. other, or to color code based on the person assigned (these are all common uses for colors, in addition to status). This isn’t a critical change - just something that makes the project management feature a bit more generalized.

Does the critical path option use an algorithm that also calculates float time? If so, it would be useful to see the float time represented when turning on the critical path.

Some things when working with predecessors:

  • When you add a new task and the first thing you do is define the predecessor, it would be great if it automatically filled in the start date (as the next work day), end date, and 1d duration.
  • I couldn’t figure out a way to delete a dependency within the Gantt View. It would be nice to be able to select the dependency line and press Delete.
  • When you shorten the duration of a predecessor, the successor keeps the original start date. I’ve always linked successors so that when a predecessor end date changes, the successor’s start date moves with that end date (similar to what happens when you increase the duration of a predecessor). In other words, unless using a formula to define it differently, the successor always starts immediately after the predecessor (i.e. next work day).
  • There is actually a lot of possible logic associated with defining dependencies (having the successor start the next work day after the predecessor being the most common). In a spreadsheet, more advanced dependencies could be defined using formulas for the dates and durations, but the current Gantt View does not allow the linked columns to use formulas. I can understand why - primarily because of the interaction within the Gantt View itself. One idea for allowing more complex dependencies would be to have a Gantt View option that turns off the interaction feature so that the Gantt View is display-only, allowing the linked columns to contain formulas.

With the various view options (Days, Months, Years, etc.) I’d prefer that the prior years, prior months, prior weeks, etc. not be shown in the Gantt View, because it’s a bit frustrating finding the start of the project sometimes when changing the scale and scrolling. It would be great if you could scroll all the way to the left and always trust that you’ll see the earliest event in the Gantt chart.

One of the things that people are going to request is the ability to show Planned vs. Actual schedules, so that might be another thing to add to the future gantt view road map (two additional columns for Planned Start Date and Planned End Date so you can see when a schedule is behind or ahead of schedule).

June 3 is a huge milestone achievement for SSDC !! Congratulations. The Gantt View is awesome.

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Thanks for this detailed feedback and glad to hear you are enjoying the Gantt view. We’ll be investing more to improve Gantt creation flows with existing and imported workbooks to make the process as smooth and intuitive as possible.

Good point re: “Status column”. There are some future capabilities we have planned that will benefit from knowing which column represents project status, which is one of the reasons we named it this, but you are right, as of today it is only used as the default source for task bar colors.

The critical path algorithm highlights the longest path from start to finish. My (limited) understanding of the “float” time of a task is that this is the distance (in time units) between a task and its successor. E.g. If the successor starts 10 days from the end of a task, then that task has a 10 day float, meaning it can move up to 10 days without impacting the project. Let me know if I am misunderstanding what you mean by this.

Regarding the bulleted list:

  • Autofill of start date when a predecessor is added makes sense, noted

  • We plan to allow selection of dependency lines in a future release, stay tuned for this

  • Changing successors when a predecessor is shortened is something we are exploring as an enhancement, and possible configurable setting.

  • Interesting idea for display only. Right now we only support Finish-to-start (FS) dependencies. We do have longer term plans to support Start-to-start (SS), Finish-finish (FF), and Start-to-finish (SF) dependencies, which other project management systems allow.

Re prior years, months, weeks, etc, not showing, the range of the Gantt chart view is also something we will be evaluating more closely as the feature evolves. It should always be easy to find the start and end of a project, and to zoom into a particular section.

Planned vs Actual is also a medium to long term roadmap item, no specific ETA yet but we’ll keep you posted and update this thread.

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Thanks, Matt, for the reply and responses to the suggestions.

Regarding the “float” time, you are correct. You can see an example of how I have implemented the PERT algorithm and display the float time on my Critical Path Method page.

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