In project management a task is an activity that needs to be accomplished within a defined period of time. Gantto’s Gantt Chart view allows you to visualize all the tasks in your project over a desired time window. In this document we will describe how you can create and modify such tasks. To learn more on how to format your project for optimal viewing see the Formatting and Visualizing your Project documentation.
Supported task types
taskTypes Task Management

Gantto supports three types of tasks: standard tasks (which are sometimes referred to simply as tasks), milestones, and groups. All of these tasks describe an activity in your project. All of these tasks share a set of attributes that fully define them:

  • name – should clearly identify the activity represented by this task.
  • duration – how long is the activity represented by this task estimated to take
  • start date – when is the activity represented by this task currently scheduled to start
  • end date – when is this activity represented by this task currently scheduled to end
  • color – will be used to draw the task. This can help you make a task stand out or create a relationship with another group of tasks.
  • assigned resources – the group of resources (team members, machinery, etc) that are needed for the completion of the task.
  • comments – a list of comments that you can add to a task to better remember details about its current state.


However each type of task has some peculiarities that distinguish it from the other and makes them more suitable for a specific use. More specifically:

  • Standard tasks are the basic building block of any project and as such generally make up for the large majority of it. Standard tasks have an additional parameter called percentage completion which allows you to track their progress. For instance in the example below you can see how task A is complete, task B is 50% done, and task C has not started.
  • percentageCompleteExample Task Management
  • Milestones are typically used in project management to mark an event that requires special attention such as the end of a phase of a project, the completion of a key deliverable, or a major decision point. In Gantto, milestones have duration = 0, and are visually distinct from standard tasks.
  • Groups are tasks that contain other tasks, and as such add hierarchy to your project. Generally groups represent major activities which can be divided into smaller sub-activities, the tasks contained inside such group task. In the picture below, for instance, we can see how making a cake requires several activities and thus can be represented as a group of tasks. Note that any of such sub-activities can itself be a group of smaller sub activities yet – in the example below you can see how “prepare cake” is a group that can be expanded to show its sub-activities. Group tasks’ duration, start date, end date, and percentage completion are all dependent on the tasks that they contain. More specifically
    • a group’s start date is the start date of the earliest task it contains.
    • A group’s end date is the end date of the task contained in the group that ends the latest.
    • A group’s duration is the time between such start and end dates.
    • A group’s percentage completion is the weighted average of the percentage completion of the tasks included in such group.
    groupExample Task Management

Working with Tasks: supported UIs

There are two main types of operations you may want to perform on tasks:

  • editing their attributes
  • positioning them somewhere in the project hierarchy
Gantto allows you to accomplish both types of operations through a variety of different UI options which we will describe in what follows:

Direct mouse manipulation

In Gantto you can perform almost any task operation using your mouse in the Gantt chart view. Virtually every part of a task can be clicked to accomplish some operation. Gantto’s task UI appears when you hover over or select a task (see picture below). taskMouseUI Task Management For a standard tasks, you can:

  • Modify start and end dates by clicking on the task’s main body (see element 1 in the picture above) and dragging the task horizontally.
  • Modify duration and end date by clicking on the task’s right handle (see element 2 in the picture above) and dragging the task horizontally.
  • Modify duration and start date by clicking on the task’s left handle (see element 3 in the picture above) and dragging the task horizontally.
  • Edit the task’s name by clicking on the name label to the left of the task (see element 4 in the picture above) and editing its name in the left text box (see picture below) nameResourceEditUI Task Management
  • Edit the task’s assigned resources list by clicking on the name label to the left of the task (see element 4 in the picture above) and editing its assigned resources list in the right text box (see our documentation on resource management for more on the subject).
  • Change the task’s percentage completion by clicking on the task’s % button (see element 5 in the picture above) and dragging horizontally to the desired percentage.
  • Delete the task by clicking on the X button to the right of a task (see element 6 in the picture above)
  • Create a constraint between this task and another task by clicking on one of the constraint anchors on the side of a task (see elements 7 and 8 in the picture above) and dragging the constraint to another task (for more on this see our constraints and dependencies documentation).
  • Create a new constrained task that precedes or follows this task by clicking on one of the constraint anchors on the side of a task (see elements 7 and 8 in the picture above) (for more on this see our constraints and dependencies documentation).
  • move a task to some other location in the tasks list by clicking on the task’s main body (see element 1 in the picture above) and dragging the task vertically to its new desired location.
Milestones are largely the same, although their duration is set to 0 and cannot be changed and they do not support percentage completion. milestoneUI1 Task Management Groups are similar to standard tasks and milestones. However: groupUI1 Task Management
  • Duration cannot be directly modified (it depends on the tasks contained inside the group task). Because of this, group tasks don’t have draggable handles like the ones on standard tasks.
  • Percentage completion cannot be directly modified (it depends on the percentage completion of the tasks contained inside the group task). Because of this, groups don’t have a draggable percentage completion handle like the one on standard tasks.
  • Groups can be expanded (to display the tasks contained inside of them) and collapsed (for a better high level view of the project) by clicking on the triangle button (see element 1 in the picture above).

Edit menus

You can edit a task’s attributes through its edit menu. To do so click on the pencil button to the right of any task (see picture below) and its edit menu will appear. editMenuUI Task Management The edit menu gives you access to all of a task’s attributes, including color and comments, both of which cannot be accessed with direct mouse manipulation and are thus missing from the list above. The edit menu can be advantageous for fine tuning of some attributes, such as start and end dates, duration, and percentage completion.

Right clicking on tasks

Similarly to most desktop apps you may be used to using, you can Right-click an item in Gantto to display a list of things you can do with such item (see picture below for a standard task). Right click operates on single tasks as well as group of tasks and on empty rows.

Spreadsheet operations

Many of you may have used Microsoft Project in the past and may be used to a more textual approach to editing Gantt Charts. Gantto supports the same approach through its spreadsheet view. To access the spreadsheet view press the Top Ribbon View -> Spread Spread Task Management button. Each row contains the attributes associated with the one and only task that can be contained in such row. Thus, you can edit a task’s name, duration, start and end date, percentage completion, assigned resources, and dependencies list. resourceColumn Task Management Hierarchy is visually represented by indentation, and thus to add a task B to a task A right above it you can select task B and press the Top Ribbon Tasks->Indent indent Task Management button. indentationForHierarchy1 Task Management

Top ribbon (positioning)

The top ribbon menu allows you to perform a variety of operations on tasks, as well as manage your projects and access support pages. In order to manage tasks you can

  • create new tasks using the commands under the New tab newTab Task Management
  • perform basic edit operations (cut, copy, paste, delete) using the commands under the Edit tab editTab Task Management
  • perform various positioning operations using the commands under the Task tab taskTab1 600x63 Task Management
Any of these commands operate on any set of selected tasks / empty rows.

Keyboard shortcuts

Gantto supports a multitude of shortcut keys. A keyboard shortcut cheat sheet can be visualized by pressing CTRL + ALT + spacebar (Windows) or CMD + OPTION + Spacebar (Mac).

Working with Tasks: supported operations in detail

Here’s a list of all the supported operations on tasks. Click on whichever operation you’re looking for or simply read on.

How to create a standard task or a milestone

Here is a list of options:

  • Double click on an empty row: creates a standard task in the empty row starting in the location you clicked. The duration of such task will adapt to the extent of the currently visible time range – the assumption is that you will change such duration right after creating the task. You can create a milestone by double clicking to create a standard task, opening the task’s edit menu, and clicking on the milestone button (see here for more) doubleClickToCreateStandardTask Task Management
  • Start typing on a spreadsheet cell: creates a standard task that appears in the center of the current visible time range – the assumption is that you will edit all of its attributes to make the task fit your needs.
  • Right click on a row: creates a standard task or a milestone in an empty row or inserts above / below a non empty row.
  • Press the Insert key on your keyboard: creates a standard task in a selected empty row.
  • Press the Top Ribbon New -> Task newTask Task Management or New->Milestone newMilestone Task Management buttons: create a standard task or a milestone on selected empty row.

How to create multiple standard tasks or milestones

Here are all the ways you can create multiple tasks in Gantto:

  • Select multiple empty rows and right click on one of them: creates standard tasks or milestones in each selected row.
  • Select multiple empty rows and press the Insert key on your keyboard: creates a standard task in each selected row.
  • Select multiple empty rows, press the Top Ribbon New -> Task newTask Task Management or New->Milestone newMilestone Task Management buttons: creates standard tasks or milestones in each selected row.

How to create a group

  • Select tasks that you’d like to group, press the Top Ribbon Task -> Group group Task Management button: creates a group that contains all the selected tasks.
  • Select an empty line, press the Top Ribbon New -> Group newGroup Task Management button: creates an empty group in the selected row. Note: an empty group is somewhat useless. However, Gantto makes it very easy to drag and drop other tasks inside a group, which is a good way to quickly populate a group. dragAndDropIntoGroup Task Management
  • Indent a task directly below another task: transforms the top task into a group and adds the bottom task to such group. Note: this approach is generally more intuitive when thinking about your tasks in spreadsheet view, where hierarchy is represented through indention (see here for more on this matter).

How to delete one or more tasks

  • Direct mouse manipulation: hover over the task you’d like to delete and click on the X button to its right when it appears.
  • Select tasks to delete, right click on one of them, select remove: removes selected tasks.
  • Select tasks to delete, press the delete key on your keyboard: removes selected tasks.
  • Select tasks to delete, press the Top Ribbon Edit -> Delete delete Task Management button: removes selected tasks.

How to transform a standard task into a milestone (and viceversa)

  • Select standard task / milestone to convert, open its Edit Menu, click on Milestone or Task icon: converts selected standard task to milestone, or selected milestone to standard task. convertToMilestoneOrStandardTask Task Management
  • Select task to convert, set its duration to 0 using Edit menu or Spreadsheet view: converts selected standard task to milestone.
  • Select milestone to convert, set its duration to a value larger than 0 using Edit menu or spreadsheet view: converts selected milestone to a standard task with given duration.
  • Select task / milestone to convert, right click, select convert to milestone / convert to task: converts selected standard task / milestone to a milestone / standard task.

How to cut / copy / paste one (or more) tasks

  • Select tasks to be cut / copied, press the Top Ribbon Edit -> Cut cut Task Management or Copy copy Task Management button, then select destination row, press the Top Ribbon Edit -> Paste paste Task Management button to paste.
  • Select tasks to be cut / copies, press CTRL-X / CTRL-C (Windows) or CMD-X / CMD – C (Mac), then select destination row, press CTRL-V (Windows) or CMD-V to paste.

How to move one or more tasks vertically

  • Direct mouse manipulation: select the tasks that you would like to move, click on one of them, and drag and drop them in the new desired position. An horizontal line will help you visualize the new target position for such tasks.
  • Select the tasks that you would like to move, click on the Top Ribbon Task->Move Up moveUp Task Management or Move Down moveDown Task Management buttons.

How to edit a task’s name

  • Direct task manipulation, click on name label to the left of a task, edit name in text box once it opens. nameResourceEditUI1 Task Management
  • Edit “Name” cell in Spreadsheet view
  • Edit name field in task Edit Menu

How to edit a standard task’s percentage completion

  • Direct task manipulation, click on the task’s % button and drag horizontally to the desired percentage.
  • Edit “%” cell in Spreadsheet view
  • Edit “% Complete” field in task’s Edit Menu

A brief note on duration, start dates and end dates

Traditionally project managers are trained to estimate the duration of the tasks they are creating and then, in a second phase, set their start date directly or automatically (when using dependencies). Some of our users, however, prefer setting a task’s start and end date directly and let Gantto figure out what the task’s duration is. In order to support both workflows, Gantto lets you decide between two options through its preference menu, which you can access by clicking on the gear Task Management icon next to your name in the Top Ribbon datePreferences Task Management The two options are:

    Duration and start date determine end date (default option): this option supports the first workflow described above. Practically, this means that setting start date changes the task’s end date, leaves duration unchanged. setting duration changes the task’s end date, leaves start date unchanged setting end date changes the task’s start date, leaves duration unchanged Start date and end date determine duration: this option supports the second workflow described above. Practically, this means that setting start date changes the task’s duration, leaves end date unchanged setting end date changes the task’s duration, leaves start date unchanged setting duration changes the task’s end date, leaves start date unchanged

How to change a task’s duration, start and end date

  • click on a task’s main body and drag task horizontally: changes the task’s start and end date, leaves duration unchanged. This also applies to milestones and groups.
  • click on a standard task’s left handle, drag horizontally: changes the task’s start date and duration, leaving end date unchanged.
  • click on a standard’s task right handle, drag horizontally: changes the task’s end date and duration, leaves start date unchanged.
  • Modify duration / start date / end date in spreadsheet view: modifies variable associated with the cell you edited as well as the dependent variable.

A brief note on effort vs duration

It is important to understand the difference between effort and actual duration for standard tasks. Effort is the amount of time it will take a single resource to complete the activity described by the task. Duration is the amount of time the activity will take considering all the resources assigned to the task. When you first create a standard task in Gantto no resources will be assigned to it. In such case duration is set to be equal to effort and thus modifying the duration of the task modifies its effort by an equal amount. As soon as you assign a resource to the task, however, duration and effort are not necessarily the same, unless you assign 100% of one resource to the task (see our documentation on Resource Management for more on this subject) . In the picture below you can see a new unassigned task with effort = duration = 5 man / days. Adding a 100% of resource fed does not change the duration of the task. However adding another resource to the team (chris, also allocated 100% to the same task) make the duration of the task go down to 2.5 days. Removing chris from the assignments and reducing fed to 50% effort makes the task’s duration jump up to 10 days. effortVsDurationExample Task Management

How to assign a resource or more to a task

See our Resource Management documentation.

How to color a task

You can easily pick a color theme for your Gantto project by clicking on the Top Ribbon View -> Colors colors Task Management button to access the color theme interface. colorThemeInterface1 Task Management There, you can choose from

  • the Gantto color theme, which all projects detault to, which uses blue for standard tasks, dark blue for groups, and orange for milestones, by clicking on the first icon (see element 1 in the picture above)
  • one of the supported colors (see element 2 in the picture above)
  • the resource color (see element 3 in the picture above) which uses the color of the primary (i.e. first in the list) resource for each task.
Moreover, you can choose to
  • set your choice as the new theme, which applies to all tasks that are using the project color theme (see below for more on this)
  • or set your choice to all tasks, i.e. force all tasks to use the color theme
You can overwrite the project color theme for a specific task through the color UI inside a task’s Edit Menu. taskColorInterface Task Management For each task, you can choose from
  • the current color theme (see element 1 in the picture above)
  • one of the supported colors (see element 2 in the picture above)
  • the resource color (see element 3 in the picture above) which uses the color of the primary (i.e. first in the list) resource for each task.

How to add comments to a task

Use the Notes text box inside a task’s Edit Menu. commentInterface Task Management

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