I'm trying to improve the breaking down of larger projects into smaller, actionable tasks. But the vertical way To-Do lists are laid out doesn't really help me see what needs to be done first at a glance.

I'm looking to find a program that lets me quickly make a horizontal tree diagram. I know that there are a lot of draw-in programs but I was hoping to find one that lets you insert child tasks and automatically presents it in a hierarchical manner without fiddling around with the shapes on something like Lucidchart. It doesn't have to be free.

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What you describe appears to be a class of software known as project management or Gantt chart programs. MS Project is the more commonly known program on the market, but there are free versions that are often as capable, especially if some of the MS features are not required.

From teamgantt.com comes an image of a project involving creating a specific document:

gantt chart example

The task is listed in the left column and the expected duration to completion is shown on the timeline. Overlaps indicate that another task can be started before the previous task is full completed, while semi-contiguous timelines (one ends, the other starts) indicate that the preceding task must be completed first.

One can find a number of free versions of stand-alone programs, while the link is to a site which presents spreadsheet templates. I've had a bit of experience with the stand-alone software and it's easy to become proficient at a basic level, especially if your tasks are well defined.

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