Expert tips

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Expert tips

We have added a lot of features to PerfectTablePlan, with the aim of making your life easier. However, quite a few of them are hidden away to prevent the user interface from becoming too overwhelming for novice users. Below is a list of useful things you might not know about PerfectTablePlan. Taking 10 minutes to read through them could save you a lot of time, especially if you are a frequent user.

All editions

Drag a group

If you hold down the shift_key key while dragging a guest, it will drag all members of that group.

HTML tags

You can use HTML tags to control the use of bold, italic, line breaks etc in Display name field.

seat name

Textures and gradients

You can use textures and gradients for tables and shapes to liven up your floor plan. We ship a number of textures with PerfectTablePlan, including grass, tiles, marble and wood.

floor plan free textures

Resize the room by dragging

Change the size of the room in the floor_plan_16Floor plan pane by dragging the bottom-right corner.

resize floor plan

Multiple meal courses

PerfectTablePlan can handle multiple meal courses. Just separate them by commas in the Meal field. They will be totalled separately in the Summary report in the stats_16Report pane.

choose meals

Resize text to fit

If you choose too large a font for guests in the floor_plan_16Floor plan or table_circular_16Table plan panes, the font will be scaled smaller to fit. This will result in different font sizes. You can avoid this by auto sizing the font.

Keyboard accelerators

You will be much faster at using PerfectTablePlan if you memorize some of the keyboard accelerators.




Select all non-hidden items


Insert single guest


Lock selected guests


Unlock selected guests


Open a plan


Save the plan


Unassign the selected guest(s)




Zoom in/zoom out

option_keyLeft / option_keyRight

Select previous/next table

option_keyUp / option_keyDown

Select previous/next guest

There is a full list of accelerators here.

Edit multiple guests

To change a property for multiple guests, select the guests, select Edit>Guest Property from the main menu and then select the appropriate sub-menu.

video_16Edit multiple guest properties video

Edit multiple tables

To change a property for multiple tables, select the tables (e.g. by dragging a box around them in the floor plan), select Edit>Table Property from the main menu and then select the appropriate sub-menu.

Auto seat assignment

You can select File>Auto Assign Seats as often as you like. Each time it will start with the current seat assignments and try to improve them. The more you run it, the better the result is likely to be. Change the settings in the Auto assign tab of the prefs_16Preferences window if you want it to run for more or less time.

Check guest happiness

You can colour code guests in the floor_plan_16Floor plan and table_circular_16Table plan panes by how happy they are with where they are seated, based on their proximity settings. Green=happy, Red=unhappy. This is a quick way to spot any potential issue you need to address.

automatic seat assignment

Dragging in the Floor Plan pane

If you left-click and drag you will drag out a selection rectangle. Everything inside or touching the rectangle will be selected when you release.

If you right-click and drag on the background of the floor plan, you can scroll the floor plan horizontally and vertically.

If you are zoomed in and drag a guest near to the edge of the floor plan, the pane will scroll automatically.

You can add an image by dragging it straight onto the floor plan.

Use 'Near not next to' proximity for couples

Sometimes you want couples to sit on the same table, but not next to each other. You can use yinyang_16Near not next to proximity for this. You can set this as the default proximity for couples in the prefs_16Preferences window.

Align tables

Aligning tables and other items in the floor plan is much easier if you turn on grid snap.

You can also select items and move them using the arrow keys. If grid snap is on it will move them one grid spacing. If grid snap is not on, the item will be moved 5 cm/2 inches (1 cm/0.4 inch if the shift_key key is held down).

Remove/Hide empty seats

You can remove all the empty seats in a single operating using Edit>Remove Empty Seats. Alternatively you can hide empty seats.

Sweetheart/cabaret tables

You can arrange seats around a circular table in a sweetheart/cabaret style arrangement.

Sweetheart/cabaret tables

Round ended tables

You can have tables that are round at one or both ends.

Round ended tables

Freeze the floor plan

If you want to avoid accidentally moving tables after you have set-up your floor plan, you can freeze the floor plan.

freeze floor plan

Quick add guests

If you have a list of guest names, you can select Insert>Quick Add Guests... and paste the names straight in.

add guests

Change columns during import

If you click the More button in the import_16Import Data window you can add, delete, split and join columns in the imported data.


The Troubleshooting report in the stats_16Report pane gives you a quick overview of any potential issues in a textual form, e.g.:

'Next to' guest pairs not seated near to each other

Guests without titles

RSVP accepted guests not assigned to seats

Guests with no meal assigned

Tables with empty seats

video_16Troubleshooting report video

Export to web

Using File>Export... you can export a web version of your plan that can be accessed by anyone with a web enabled device (e.g. a tablet). This can be very useful for sharing a plan with a client or to allow staff to show guests to seats at the event.

iPad table plan

video_16Export to web or tablet video

Show unassigned seats

You can highlight unassigned seats using the Tables drop-down list in the floor_plan_16Floor plan pane.

show unassigned seats in floor plan

Toggle fullstops in titles

If you press Cmd+. PerfectTablePlan will toggle a fullstop on the titles of all guests. E.g. it will convert "Mr" to "Mr." and "Mr." to "Mr".

Change headings in charts and reports

You can change words in printouts (e.g. to a different language) using the Terms button.

seating chart

video_16Terms video

Use an electronic seating chart

Guests have a bad habit of changing their minds as soon as you have printed your guest chart. You can avoid this by displaying your plan on a large VDU or Plasma screen. You can even update it in real time.

video_16VDU chart video

Run PerfectTablePlan from a USB drive

You can run PerfectTablePlan from a portable USB drive (memory stick).

Gesture support

If your device supports gestures, you can 'pinch' to zoom in the floor_plan_16Floor Plan and table_circular_16Table Plan panes.

Backup files

PerfectTablePlan automatically creates backup files for you. You can control how often and where these files are created in the Backups tab of the prefs_16Preferences window. You can list backup files by selecting File>Backups....

Note that this won't save you from a harddisk crash. So always backup your plans to another device. You can even email them to yourself or a colleague.

How do I? help

At the end of the main menu there is a How do I? button. Click on this to get context sensitive help.


Edit mode

You can easily edit individual guests in the unknown_adult_16Guests or group_16Groups pane using Edit mode. Remember to switch back to Drag and drop mode to drag and drop guests to seats.


Drag and drop files

You can drag a plan file onto the unknown_adult_16Guests, group_16Groups or floor_plan_16Floor plan pane to open it. Similarly you can drag an Excel or CSV file on to PerfectTablePlan to import it.

Colour tables

You can colour tables individually in the floor_plan_16Floor plan and table_circular_16Table plan panes via the Table Properties window.

colour floor plan tables

Coloured dots on stationery

PerfectTablePlan can add coloured dots to your place cards or other stationery based on guest properties such as: gender, meal choice or custom field value. This can be useful for conveying information to serving staff.

design a place card

video_16Colour coded dots video

Importing a group column

You can control how PerfectTablePlan imports guests into groups by importing a Group column.

import group

video_16Import your guest list video

Capitalise new guest names

You can automatically capitalise new  guest names by checking the automatically capitalise new guest names check box in the Names tab of the prefs_16Preferences window. This can save time if you are typing lots of names.

Custom titles and suffixes

PerfectTablePlan is configured to recognise standard titles such as "Mr" and "Mrs". You can customize the standard titles in the Titles tab of the prefs_16Preferences window. These titles will then be available in the Titles drop-down list in every plan. You can also associate a gender, age and VIP status with a title to make importing more intelligent.

Similarly you can customize the list of suffixes in the Suffixes tab of the prefs_16Preferences window.

Sort guests by rank

You can sort guests by the rank of their title or suffix (rather than in alphabetical order).

Export to PDF

Names can be hard to read from A4 or letter sized printouts. However you can export to PDF and send the PDF to someone with a larger format printer. We list a few companies that will print PDFs for you here.

Schematic pane

The schematic_16Schematic pane can be a useful alternative to the floor_plan_16Floor Plan pane when you are dragging and dropping guests. You can also drag and drop tables into a different order (e.g. to change the order they appear in the tablechart_16Table chart pane).

Show proximity by group

The heart_16Proximity pane can be a bit unwieldy if you have large numbers of guests. However you can view proximity one group at a time by setting the For drop-down list to By group (to show a group at a time) or By group+ (to show a group at a time, plus all the guests that members in that group have non-neutral proximity to).

show proximity by group

Editing the plan file directly

PerfectTablePlan plan files are stored in text files in XML format. If you are feeling brave you can edit the file using a text editor. We recommend you make a copy first though, as PerfectTablePlan won't be able to read it back in if it is not a valid XML file.

Finding plan files

If you aren't sure where a plan file is saved, you can quickly search your harddisk for it using File>Find... in PerfectTablePlan.

Table naming

PerfectTablePlan defaults to naming tables "Table 1", "Table 2" etc. But you can change this in the New table name format field in the Naming tab of the prefs_16Preferences window. Use {next_table_letter} to default to letters and {next_table_num} to default to numbers.

Visualization colours

You can change the colours used to visualise meal choice, group etc.

video_16Changing visualization colours video

Colour keys

You can display a colour key for visualisation colours.

show guest meals on the table plan

Use transparency as a colour

It can sometimes be useful to set transparent as a colour.

Estimate numbers

You can make a simple estimate of event numbers and costs in PerfectTablePlan. Just select File>Numbers and Budget....

Apple Contacts

You can drag guests straight from Apple Contacts into the PerfectTablePlan unknown_adult_16Guests or group_16Groups panes.

Advanced and Professional editions

Use a drawing of the venue

If you have a scale drawing of the venue, you can use it in your floor plan.

floor plan image
use an image in the floor plan

scaled floor plan image

image used as floor plan background with tables added

video_16Scaled venue images video

Use your own custom naming

In the floor_plan_16Floor Plan and table_circular_16Table Plan panes you can set the Display drop-down list to Custom name... to set your own custom name format, including HTML tags and custom fields.

Add a new custom field during import

If you want to import a custom field, you don't need to add the field first. Just select <custom field> from the drop-down list in the import_16Import data window.


Create a template file

If you are going to use the same floor plan and/or guest list for multiple events, you can create a template file.

Personalised seating plans

You can easily print out or export to PDF table plans that are personalised to show each guest their seat.

video_16You are here maps video

Custom seat numbers

You can set custom seat numbers.

video_16Flexible seat numbering video

Professional edition only

Auto assign multiple seatings

If you have an event with multiple seatings (e.g. consecutive nights at a business event) you can assign all the seatings in a single operation using File>Auto Assign Multiple....

video_16Networking event seating video

Fast table renumbering/renaming

If you have a lot of tables to rename/renumber, you can do it quickly using the renumber_tables_16Renumber/Rename tables window.

video_16Fast table renumber video

Bulk edit proximity

You can change lots of proximities in one operation using the Bulk Edit Proximity window.

video_16Bulk edit proximity video

Set proximity by category

If you have categories of users you want to sit together or apart you can use custom proximity.

seat guests by type

video_16Custom proximity video

Fast table layout

If you have lots of tables to position in a grid, you can do it quickly using the layout_grid_16Table Layout window.

table layout

Create detailed reports

If you want to create detailed reports, e.g.: meals selected by table or the special requirements by group, you can do this using the Detailed (summary) and Detailed (guests) reports.

detailed report

video_16Detailed reports video

Print barcodes

You can print barcodes on stationery and use a barcode scanner to check-in guests. Select File>Check-In Guests... to activate check-in.

Import seating and proximity

You can import seating and proximity data.

video_16Import seating data video

Merge import

It is possible to merge changes in a guest list into your plan.

Merging guests during import