Quick start guide

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Quick start guide

This page provides instructions to get you started using PerfectTablePlan quickly. If you want step-by-step instructions please go to the Tutorial.

There are 5 simple steps to creating a table plan:

1.Add guests.

2.Decide who to sit together.

3.Add tables.

4.Assign guests to seats.

5.Output results.

These 5 steps correspond to the 5 Task tool bar buttons.

flowarrow1_32

flowarrow2_32

flowarrow3_32

flowarrow4_32

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When one of these buttons is pressed you will only be able to see the panes and tool bar buttons appropriate to that task.

flowarrow1_32 1. Add guests

Start PerfectTablePlan, if you haven't already done so.

Click on the flowarrow1_16 button in the Task tool bar, if it isn't already selected.

Guests can be added as individuals, couples, families or groups using Insert>unknown_adult_16Single Guest, Insert>couple_16Guest Couple, Insert>family_16Guest Family, Insert>group_16Guest Group or the equivalent Insert tool bar buttons. You can add everyone as individuals, but it saves time to add them as couples, families and groups, where appropriate.

Each guest has the following properties:

Property

Meaning

Anon

Check this if you don't know the guest's name yet.

Title

The guest's title.

First name(s)

The guest's first (given) name(s).  You can also record middle names or initials, if you wish.

Last name(s)

The guest's last (family) name(s).

Suffix

Any title or role that comes after the name.

Display name

The name you wish to display for the guest (which may include qualifications, job title and other information).

Gender

Whether the guest is male or female.

Age

Whether the guest is an adult or a child.

Meal

The guest's choice of meal (separated by commas if there are choices in multiple courses).

Special req

Any special requirements the guest has, e.g. diabetic or in a wheelchair (separated by commas if there is more than one special requirement).

Notes

Used to record useful information not recorded elsewhere.

VIP

Used to mark a Very Important Person. For a wedding this may be a member of the wedding party, for a conference it may be a keynote speaker and for a business lunch it may be a table sponsor.

RSVP

Whether the guest has been sent an invitation, accepted, declined, cancelled or arrived.

Most of this information is optional, but a guest must have at least a first name or a last name. Guests are shown in bold in theunknown_adult_16 Guests and couple_16Groups pane if they have not been assigned a seat. You can also add custom properties in the Advanced and Professional editions of PerfectTablePlan.

Every guest is a member of a group (single guests belong to their own group). Each group has optional contact details and notes. Each group only has one set of contact details, so generally you should assign people to a group if they all have the same contact address (e.g. a couple or family). You can easily drag guests from one group to another in the couple_16Groups pane.

If you already have guest data (for example in a spreadsheet, text file, contacts or address book) you can import it using File>import_16 Import.... See Importing data for more information.

You can also quickly create a guest list using Insert>scratchpad_16Quick Add Guests or the equivalent Insert tool bar button. This allows you to enter one guest/couple/family/group per line in free text format.

Once you have entered a guest's details you can change their properties later by selecting them and then choosing Edit>props_16Properties or the equivalent Main tool bar button.

Click on the appropriate column headers in the unknown_adult_16Guests pane to sort the guests by first name, last name etc. You can also see how guests are grouped in the couple_16Groups pane.

You can enter general information about your event using File>info_16Event Information... and check the number of attendees and cost using File>calc_16Numbers and Budget....

You should now make sure you save your plan using File>save_16Save. You will be asked to provide a name for the new plan file.

flowarrow2_32 2. Decide who to sit together

Click on the flowarrow2_16 button in the Task tool bar.

You may want to have some guests sitting close to each other (for example: couples, friends and people who you think might be compatible) and some sitting far apart (for example: divorced couples!). The automatic assignment function will take this into account when it decides where to place guests.

Proximity

Icon

Meaning

Next to

heart_32

Should be placed next to each other.

Near to

smile_32

Should be placed next to or on the same table.

Neutral

 

No preference.

Not Next to

sad_32

Should not be placed next to and preferably not on same table.

Not Near to

skull_32

Should not be placed on the same table.

If you add guests using Insert>couple_16Guest Couple, Insert>family_16Guest Family or Insert>group_16Guest Group, a sensible default value will be set for their proximity. However you can change the proximity so that members of a group are not sat together.

You can view and edit the proximity of guests in the heart_16Proximity pane. Just click on the appropriate drop-down menu in the table to change the proximity. Note that the table is symmetric - if you change the proximity for column A and row B the proximity for row A and column B will change to match.

flowarrow3_32 3. Add tables

Click on the flowarrow3_16 button in the Task tool bar.

Tables can be added using the Insert menu, e.g. Insert>table_circular_16Circular Table, or the equivalent Insert tool bar button. The types of table are:

Table

Icon

Meaning

E-shaped

table_sprig_32

A head (top) table + 2 or more sprigs (legs) (Advanced and Professional editions only).

Rectangular

table_square_32

A rectangular or square table with seats on four sides.

Banquet

table_banquet_32

A long table with seats on two sides.

Head

table_head_32

A long table with seats on only one side, for example a head (top) table at a wedding or banquet.

Custom

table_custom_32

A rectangular or square table with potentially different numbers of seats on each of the 4 sides. It can have rounded ends.

Circular

table_circular_32

A circular table with seats all around it.

Semi-circular

table_semicircular_32

A semi-circular table with seats around the straight side and/or curved sides.

Oval

table_oval_32

An elliptical table with seats all around it.

Serpentine

table_serpentine_32

A curved table (Advanced and Professional editions only).

Row of seats

table_seats_32

A row of seats (no table).

Each table has the following properties:

Property

Meaning

Name

The name displayed for the table. The default name is "Table 1" , "Table 2" etc, but you can set any name.

Shape

See above.

Angle

The rotation angle of the table in the floor_plan_16Floor Plan and table_circular_16Table Plan panes.

Colour

The colour of the table in the floor_plan_16Floor Plan and table_circular_16Table Plan panes. This overrides any colour set for the pane.

Seats

The number of seats for the table.

Size

The size of the table. Check the auto check box to size the table automatically (according to the seat size and the number of seats).

VIP

Check the box to designate a VIP table. The automatic seat assignment attempts to assign VIP guests to VIP tables.

Notes

Used to record useful information not recorded elsewhere.

The Create field allows you to add more than one table at a time.

Once you have created a table you can change any of its properties (including the name and shape) by selecting it and then choosing Edit>props_16Properties or the equivalent Main tool bar button.

You should make sure that you have enough seats for all your guests. You can see how many seats and guests you have at any time by looking in the Status bar at the bottom of the Main window.

statusbar_m

New tables will be placed in an empty space near the centre of the floor_plan_16Floor Plan pane. You can move tables in the floor_plan_16Floor Plan by dragging them (left-click on the centre of a table, hold down the left mouse button and drag to the appropriate position). You can zoom in and out of the floor_plan_16Floor Plan using the zoom_in_16 and zoom_out_16 buttons (or a 'pinch' gesture, if your device supports gestures), or zoom so all tables are visible using the zoom_back_16 button. When you are zoomed in you can move around the floor_plan_16Floor Plan by dragging the background (the cursor will change to a hand) or clicking on the scroll bars. You can change the size of the floor plan using the ruler_16 button or dragging the bottom right hand corner of the room.

drag-resize-floor-plan

Use the walls_16Insert Line, add_text_16Insert text , image_16Insert image and shape_16Insert shape buttons to add lines, text, images and shapes to the floor_plan_16Floor Plan pane. Lines can be used to present walls and other linear features. Text can be used for titles, headers and footers. Images can be used for decorations, logos or clipart. Shapes can be used to represent dance floors, stages and other features of your floor plan.

Rotate a table, shape or text 45 degrees clockwise by clicking the rotate_16Rotate button.

Move a table, shape or text behind (under) another by clicking the move_to_back_16Move to Back button.

You can also view one table at a time in the table_circular_16Table Plan pane. Use the nav_first_16 nav_prev_16 nav_next_16 nav_last_16 navigation buttons to view different tables.

Save your plan using File>save_16Save.

flowarrow4_32 4. Assign guests to seats

Click on the flowarrow4_16 button in the Task tool bar.

Once you have entered guest details and added tables, you can assign seats automatically or by using drag and drop. You will often need a combination of both for best results.

If you have people that you definitely want to sit in certain seats (for example the wedding party or VIP guests) you should assign their seats manually. Drag these guests or groups from the unknown_adult_16Guests or couple_16Groups pane to the appropriate table or seats in either the floor_plan_16Floor Plan, table_circular_16Table Plan or schematic_16Schematic panes. To drag a guest or group: left-click, hold down the mouse button and drag to the appropriate seat (select more than one guest/group by using shift_key+click or command_key2+click). Drag a whole group by holding down the shift_key key when you start to drag a member of that group. Make sure the unknown_adult_16Guests or couple_16Groups pane is set to drag and drop mode.

drag_and_drop_m

You can 'lock' guests to stop the automatic seat assignment moving them later. Lock them in place by selecting the guests, for example in the unknown_adult_16Guests or floor_plan_16Floor Plan pane, and choosing Edit>Guest Property>Locked>lock_16Yes (you can also select a table and lock all the guests on it).

The rest of the guests can now be assigned to the remaining seats automatically by selecting File>wand_16Auto Assign Seats or the equivalent Main tool bar button. If you have a large table plan (200+ guests) you may need to increase the amount of time allowed for the automatic assignment in the prefs_16Preferences window.

The automatic assignment will try to find the best seating assignment using a scoring approach. The scoring takes account of:

guest proximity

alternating genders (if selected in the prefs_16Preferences window)

seating VIPs on VIP tables

not seating guests on their own

VIPs score higher than guests who aren't VIPs

You can halt the automatic assignment at any time by pressing the Stop button. The best solution so far will be kept. If you don't like the changes you can select Edit>undo_16Undo to undo the change. Multiple levels of undo are supported.

You can reassign guests by dragging and dropping them in the floor_plan_16Floor Plan, table_circular_16Table Plan or schematic_16Schematic panes to fine-tune the seat assignments. You can also change proximities and re-run File>wand_16Auto Assign Seats as often as you like.

You can also select a seat and choose Edit>Guest Suggestions to get a ranked list of guests to place in this seat. The difference that assigning this guest will make to the overall seating score is shown in brackets. Select a guest if you want to place them in the seat (swapping them with any existing guest).

suggest_guest_m

You can see how good your seat assignment is by:

Pressing the heatmap_16 button at the top of the floor_plan_16Floor Plan or table_circular_16Table Plan panes. Guest will be coloured from green (happy) to red (unhappy).

Holding down the proximity buttons at the top of the floor_plan_16Floor Plan or table_circular_16Table Plan panes. For example the thunderbolt_16 button will show you potential seating issues (such as guests with proximity heart_16 who aren't sat next to each other) and the critical_issues_16 button will show you critical seating issues (such as guests not sat next to any of their heart_16 proximity guests).

Looking at the scores in the schematic_16Schematic pane (check show scores, positive scores are good, negative scores are bad).

seating_happiness_m

To see these proximity buttons you will need to click on the more_button_m button in the floor_plan_16Floor Plan or table_circular_16Table Plan pane. Obviously, what makes a good table plan is hard to fully define in mathematical terms, but the score will usually give a fair indication.

Use the tablechart_16Table Chart pane to see your plan ordered by table.

Use the guestchart_16Guest Chart pane to see your plan ordered by guest last name.

Use the stats_16Report pane to see reports about your plan, including a Summary report and a Troubleshooting report.

At any time you can unassign a guest from their seat by choosing Edit>Unassign or dragging them on to the background in the floor_plan_16Floor Plan or table_circular_16Table Plan pane.

flowarrow5_32 5. Output

Click on the flowarrow5_16 button in the Task tool bar.

When you are happy with your table plan you can:

Print off the floor_plan_16Floor Plan , table_circular_16Table Plan, tablechart_16Table Chart, guestchart_16Guest Chart, stationery_16Stationery and/or stats_16Report panes using File>print_16Print or the equivalent Main tool bar button.

Copy the contents of the floor_plan_16Floor Plan , table_circular_16Table Plan, tablechart_16Table Chart, guestchart_16Guest Chart and/or stats_16Report panes into the clipboard using Edit>paste_16Copy.

Export your plan to another application using File>export_16Export.

Order a digital poster print or place cards using File>order_print_16Order Posters and Cards.

Display seating assignments as scrolling text on a VDU or plasma screen at the venue using the monitor_16VDU Chart pane.

The stationery_16Stationery pane allows you to print place cards, badges, escort cards, labels, invitations and other stationery. You can easily merge guest names and addresses and other details into stationery items using substitution text.

Make sure you save your plan using File>save_16Save before exiting.

If you want to get a feel for editing a table plan without creating a whole new plan, try experimenting with the sample plans supplied with PerfectTablePlan.

This completes the quick start guide.

See also:

Frequently Asked Questions

Tutorial

How do I?

Expert tips