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The Gantt chart is a project management tool that displays a graphical representation of the stages or activities in a project work plan over time. Each task displays as either timeline (a horizontal bar whose length is proportional to its time for completion) or as a milestone (a single event marking an event's completion).

A Gantt chart is logically broken down into three areas.  At the top of the gantt chart is the header. The Gantt header provides the scale upon which the chart is created.  On the left side of the chart is a column where the timeline and milestone text descriptions (tasks) are written.  On the right side of the chart is the graphical task display corresponding to each timeline element and/or milestone.  A fourth, optional component may be displayed between the task description and the graphical display which corresponds to the resource column(s) in the spreadsheet.

Gantt charts display a project's task and timeline information using calendar dates. The software then calculates the task duration based on the calendar difference between the two dates and the length of the work week.  Gantt charts use a calendar and the duration of activities is represented by bars or processes, arrows, and brackets. Singular events are represented by milestones.