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PerfectTablePlan will do an automatic seat assignment if you select File>Auto Assign Seats or the equivalent Main tool bar button.
It does this by assigning a score to each plan and using a genetic algorithm to try to find the highest scoring plan. The higher the score, the better the seating fulfils the proximities you have defined.
You can run File>Auto Assign Seats as often as you like. Each new run will attempt to improve on the previous one. Click on the Stop button at any time during calculation to keep the best (highest scoring) plan so far. Select Edit>Undo to go back to the previous plan.
Note Guests who have been locked by you will not be (re)assigned by the automatic assignment.
Note The automatic assignment may try to put 2 'near to' proximity guests next to each other if no 'next to' proximity guests are available.
A plan is scored as follows:
* 2 seats are considered adjacent if they next to (left/right) of each other or if they are directly opposite each other and less than 2 metres (approx 6 feet) apart.
** May be only 75% of this on narrow tables depending on the setting of On narrow tables prefer near to/next to guests seated in the Preferences window.
*** 2 tables are considered adjacent if their centres are within 5m/15ft of each other.
**** 0 if you have unchecked alternate males and females in the Preferences window.
In addition VIP guests have their scores multiplied by 3.
Once all the scores have been totalled a 'smoothing' function is applied to moderate the more extreme guest scores. The smoothing function spreads the happiness around - avoiding the situation where the best score is one with a few deliriously happy guests and lots of slightly miserable ones!
The scoring only takes account of whether guests are seated next to each other, on the same table (or the same section of an E-shaped table) or on adjacent tables. It doesn't allow for whether the guests might be able to see each other or are within talking distance. This simplification allows the genetic algorithm to search the vast space of possible solutions reasonably quickly. You may have to tweak the automatic assignment a little 'by hand' to get the best possible result. For example you might have to move/rotate tables so that people who don't like each other aren't sat back to back. However you should find that the automatic assignment will be quite close to ideal, and this will save you a great deal of time.
You can set the stopping criteria for the automatic assignment in the Preferences window. The automatic assignment time goes up rapidly with the number of guests. This is in the nature of combinatorial problems.
The longer the automatic assignment is run, generally the better it will be. Select Edit>Preferences and on the Auto assignment tab click on seconds and set an appropriate number of seconds (1 hour = 3600 seconds). Then select File>Auto Assign Seats.
Note If you have a single core/processor PC you won't be able to do much else on your computer while the automatic assignment is running, as it will try to use all the power of the processor.