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Updated by Tina Sieber on 28 September 2017.

Project management is the discipline of planning, organizing, and managing resources to bring about the successful completion of specific project goals and objectives. Without setting measurable goals and keeping track of various efforts and resources, projects don’t stand a chance of seeing a successful completion.

There are many useful tools out there for project management. One such program you can utilize to keep track of your projects is Microsoft Excel. With Excel’s free templates An Excel Template for Every Occasion An Excel Template for Every Occasion Skip the steep learning curve and sort your life with the power of Excel templates. We have compiled a selection of auto-updating templates to track budgets, manage projects, and more. Read More , you can turn your simple spreadsheets into project management charts and forms.

In this article, I will cover a few of the most useful Excel project management tracking templates as well as how to find and install them.

In this article:  Navigating Microsoft Templates | Pre-installed Excel Templates | Online Templates

Microsoft Templates

First, let’s see what templates you already have installed in Excel. For the purpose of this demonstration, we’ve used Excel 2016, but the procedure is similar in Office 2013.

Defaults

When you start up Excel, the first window you see will contain a search field for online templates. When you’re starting from an existing workbook, go to File > New to arrive at the same view.

excel-template-selection

Excel comes with a selection of pre-installed templates. They are listed underneath the search field. You can pin favorite ones by clicking the respective symbol in the bottom right of the listing.

excel-pin-template

Search Online Templates

The fastest way to finding the kind of template you need is searching for it. Once you start a search, for example for the term project, you will also see template categories listed next to the templates that match your search.

excel-template-search

Narrow Down Your Search

A neat feature is that you can narrow down your search by selecting multiple categories. This helps you exclude templates that may match your keyword, but not your desired category. On the downside, you may find that the perfect template is not available in Excel.

excel-template-search-trick

Preview & Create Your Template

When you click a template, you’ll see a preview with a brief description of what the template provides. You can also pin the template from its preview; the symbol sits in the top right.

excel-template-preview

To download and use a template, click the Create button, which will open a new Excel workbook with the template pre-filled.

Project Management Templates

Now let’s have a look at a few Excel project management templates.

Business Plans

Excel has its own category for business plans How to Write a Business Plan How to Write a Business Plan Are you about to start your own business? Start with a plan! Follow our business plan outline or use one of the templates we have compiled. Read More .

Start by using the default business search, then select the Business Plans category.

excel-business-plan-template

In addition to a couple of marketing plans, you’ll find the following Excel templates:

  • Startup expenses
  • Business plan checklist
  • Business plan checklist with SWOT analysis

For more business plan templates The Best Business Plan Templates The Best Business Plan Templates Every business needs a plan. These templates will make writing your business plan easy. A clever structure, guiding questions, and a smart design will give you a head-start into your new career. Read More , have a look at Microsoft Word templates How to Manage Your Project with Word Templates How to Manage Your Project with Word Templates In project management, preparation is half the battle. To organize and document your project, you may need many different reports, forms or plans. We have compiled a selection of Word templates to get you started. Read More .

Planners

A search for planners will bring up a wild mix of personal and business-related templates, including 113 planners and trackers.

Narrow down your search by selecting the categories that relate to the project management task you’re dealing with. By combining the search for planners with the Projects category, you’ll find 16 candidates across the Office suite. Six of these are Excel templates.

excel-gantt-template

Have a look at the following three:

  • Weekly time planner
  • Gantt project planner
  • Project cost tracker

You can continue this search strategy, i.e. combine search terms and categories, until you find the perfect template. Keywords you might want to try are project, gantt, time, and schedule.

Search for Online Templates

Couldn’t find the template you need in Excel? You can also turn to a third-party online resource to find the perfect Excel template.

Vertex42

This website has a few great project management templates for Office 2003 and up. The site notes that its templates are mostly related to project scheduling and anything more complicated might require Microsoft Project or other project management software.

vertex42-project-management-templates

On the page dedicated to project management, you’ll find a list of useful material, including, but not limited to, the following:

Each page contains a quick rundown of what the template does, one or more templates, and further tips and tricks for the respective project management tool. It’s a great resource for budding project managers.

TidyForm

TidyForm has a respectable selection of Excel project management templates. The most popular categories are listed on the homepage. If you can’t immediately spot what you need, switch to the Business section or try the search feature.

10+ Useful Excel Templates for Project Management & Tracking TidyForm Templates 670x360

When you scroll to the bottom of a section, you’ll see a list of popular categories and related categories. This can be helpful when trying to find just the right template.

We recommend the following pages:

Still looking for the perfect template? You might have to create a custom Excel template How to Quickly Create a Custom Excel Template to Save Time How to Quickly Create a Custom Excel Template to Save Time Excel templates are universally useful — they can help you keep your finances in order, manage a project, and organize your life. We show you how to create your own custom template. Read More .

Template Ready, Set, Go

While you’re at it, review our list of useful office templates 10 Templates to Save Time at the Office 10 Templates to Save Time at the Office Are there documents that you write over and over again? Whether it's meeting agendas, invoices, or status reports, templates could make your work easier. We have compiled 10 template ideas to save you time. Read More and stock up on business letter templates 15 Business Letter Templates for Microsoft Word to Save You Time 15 Business Letter Templates for Microsoft Word to Save You Time Templates are time savers. Here we compiled 15 business letter templates, from letters of intent, via Thank You notes, to references. These templates will hep you communicate with confidence. Read More .

We have covered a lot of project management tips and tricks the past. Once you’re good with templates, you might want to consider additional tools and solutions. For example, did you know that Outlook is great for project management How to Use Outlook for Simple Task and Project Management How to Use Outlook for Simple Task and Project Management Outlook can work as a simple tool for managing projects and tasks. We show you how to set up Outlook Tasks to set reminders and due dates, assign to-dos, and track tie. Read More ? Likewise, you could use OneNote for project management How You Can Use Microsoft OneNote for Project Management How You Can Use Microsoft OneNote for Project Management OneNote is the ideal collaboration tool for managing simple projects in small teams. And it's completely free. See how OneNote can help your projects take off! Read More . And you could integrate OneNote with Outlook for project management Turn Outlook into a Project Management Tool with OneNote Integration Turn Outlook into a Project Management Tool with OneNote Integration OneNote can do more than you think. We'll show you how to turn your Outlook to do list into a powerful project management tool using the OneNote plugin for Outlook. Read More ? The possibilities are endless.

Whatever you do, before you start a project, prepare a Work Breakdown Structure How to Organize Any Project with a Work Breakdown Structure How to Organize Any Project with a Work Breakdown Structure A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Every complex project consists of multiple components. The Work Breakdown Structure can help you identify all the steps and put them into sequence. Read More .

Have our resources helped you find a template you can use for your project management needs? What other apps besides Excel do you like to use for managing your projects?

Please leave your thoughts, ideas, and comments below.

Originally written by Steve Campbell on 12 July 2010.

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  1. Abdul Hafeez Anjum
    August 17, 2017 at 11:21 am

    Very useful article.

  2. Caitlin
    February 11, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    Had so much trouble with the last SEO company, I been doing a bit of research on it at home and next time I
    will hire a junior to do it
    Added a link on Facebook, hope thats okay!

  3. Quan Nguyen
    December 20, 2016 at 5:37 am

    Great

  4. BannaCBA
    December 16, 2016 at 6:36 am

    its effective but need a video tutorial then all the message will be very effective .

    • Tina Sieber
      December 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

      What do you mean?

  5. Paul Smith
    September 26, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    I have been searching (unsuccessfully) for an iphone app development template. I am trying to get a handle on the tasks involved.

  6. jill mills
    September 23, 2016 at 1:46 pm

    Creative blog post ! I was fascinated by the points . Does someone know if I would be able to find a sample TX VTR-264 form to fill out ?

  7. Puja
    May 3, 2016 at 1:21 pm

    I am unable to search for a project scorecard for Quality Monitoring. Please help...

  8. Anonymous
    November 5, 2015 at 4:55 am

    Excellent list Steve. You should also check out this gantt chart template at ganttexcel.com
    I personally use this and I like that they have automated a lot of the usual functions.

  9. uthay
    May 11, 2015 at 3:33 am

    Very useful blog

  10. Michael
    February 8, 2015 at 8:39 pm

    Here's a free, and easy to use project planning template I created... http://www.mlynn.org/2014/10/excel-project-management-template-weekly/

    I hope someone finds it useful!

    • sania
      April 30, 2016 at 11:16 am

      hey Michael!
      i m a beginner in the field of Project management.I don't know how to make a activity monitoring chart for my organization.Could you please help me

    • ceci
      June 20, 2016 at 10:21 pm

      Do you have an updated link?

  11. John Mark
    December 30, 2014 at 6:13 am

    Thanks Steve Great info = ), As you asked well I use http://www.timelyprojects.com .

  12. zlatan24
    September 15, 2010 at 5:26 am

    I had some like situations couple weeks ago and once I determined like situation with the help of one tool, which relieved me within short time and probably it can help in this condition as well - recover Excel.

  13. Anonymous
    September 15, 2010 at 3:26 am

    I had some like situations couple weeks ago and once I determined like situation with the help of one tool, which relieved me within short time and probably it can help in this condition as well - recover Excel.

  14. Birhat
    September 5, 2010 at 12:53 am

    as

  15. Alex Krenvalk
    August 17, 2010 at 12:40 am

    Your situation isn't critical, but very unpleasant. To your fortune I quite often was in similar conditions. I found decisions quite often. Moreover my last solution was - Excel repair. Perhaps it can help you better than my speech.

  16. SE
    July 20, 2010 at 7:09 pm

    this is great, thanks. excellent job.

    • Steve Campbell
      July 20, 2010 at 7:20 pm

      Thank you. Glad you liked it.

  17. Chandoo
    July 17, 2010 at 2:40 am

    Hi Steve... thanks for the beautiful links. Dont want to self promote, but I write a great deal about project management and excel and couldnt resist pointing to http://chandoo.org/wp/project-...

  18. Helnes
    July 13, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    This is great! Thanks, and keep up the good job you're doing

    • Steve Campbell
      July 13, 2010 at 11:13 pm

      Why thank you :)

  19. Vertex42
    July 13, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    Thank you for the mention!
    - Jon

  20. Vertex42
    July 13, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    Thank you for the mention!
    - Jon

    • Steve Campbell
      July 13, 2010 at 3:14 pm

      Very welcome. Keep up the good work!

  21. JustinMc
    July 13, 2010 at 10:26 am

    thanks, very useful!

    • Steve Campbell
      July 13, 2010 at 3:14 pm

      You're welcome!