PerfectTablePlan newsletter

PerfectTablePlan newsletter 53

33 tips for getting more from PerfectTablePlan

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.

All editions

1. Drag a group

If you hold down the Shift key while dragging a guest it will drag all members of the same group.

2. Toggle fullstops in titles

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

3. 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.

using textures on your floor plan

4. 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 Report pane.

meal selection

5. Keyboard shortcuts

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

Here are some of the more useful ones (not all shortcuts work in all panes):

Windows Mac Result
Ctrl+A Cmd+A Select all non-hidden items
Ctrl+G Cmd+G Insert single guest
Ctrl+K Cmd+K Lock selected guests
Shift+Ctrl+K Shift+Cmd+K Unlock selected guests
Ctrl+O Cmd+O Open a plan
Ctrl+S Cmd+S Save the plan
Ctrl+U Cmd+U Unassign the selected guest(s)
Ctrl+Z Cmd+Z Undo
Ctrl++ / Ctrl+- Cmd++ / Cmd+- Zoom in/zoom out
Alt+Left / Alt+Right Alt+Left / Alt+Right Select previous/next table
Alt+Up / Alt+Down Alt+Up / Alt+Down Select previous/next guest

The documentation contains a full list of all the shortcuts for Windows and Mac.

6. Edit multiple guests

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

watch video

7. Auto assignment

You can run the automatic seat assignment 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 Preferences window if you want it to run for more or less time.

8. Check guest happiness

You can colour code guests in the Floor plan and Table 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.

seating hotspot

9. Drag 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, 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, it will scroll automatically.

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

10. 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 is held down).

11. Sweetheart/cabaret tables

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

cabaret or sweetheart table

12. Rectangular tables with different numbers of seats on each side

If you use a 'custom' table, you can set the number of seats separately on each of the 4 sides.

custom table

13. 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

14. Quick add guests

If you have a list of guest names, you can select Insert>Quick Add Guests... and paste the names straight in. The names can be in various different forms, e.g.:

Mr Paul Jones and Ms Jane Brown

John Smith + 1

15. Change columns during import

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

watch video

16. Export a chart to Excel or Word

On Windows there are buttons that allow you to export the Guest chart, Table Chart or Report panes to Excel or Word (if installed) with one click.

export to Word or Excel

17. Troubleshooting

The Troubleshooting report in the Report 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

trouble shooting report

watch video

18. 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.

watch video

19. Show unassigned seats

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

show unassigned seats

20. Change headings in charts and reports

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

term button

watch video

21. 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.

watch video

22. Gesture support

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

23. Backup files

PerfectTablePlan automatically creates backup files for you. You can control how often these files are created in the Backups tab of the Preferences 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.

24. 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.

How do I? help

Advanced and Professional editions

25. 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

watch video

26. 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 data window.

import custom field

27. 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.

28. Personalised seating plans

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

watch video

Professional edition only

29. 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....

watch video

30. Fast table renumbering/renaming

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

watch video

31. Bulk edit proximity

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

bulk edit proximity

watch video

32. Set proximity by category

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

custom proximity

watch video

33. 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

watch video

You can find out more tips by looking through the list of 'How Do I?' topics in the Windows and Mac OS X help. Note that some of the above are not available on versions of PerfectTablePlan before v5.2.2.

Behind the scenes at the Logies


The Logies is the annual Australian television industry awards. Like the Oscars, but with more alcohol. A source told the Sydney Morning Herald:

''The seating plan is the biggest nightmare for everyone. It's like the worst wedding situation: you've got lots of people who have had falling-outs with other people, and you've got to be careful where all the tables are - [where you are seated] is all about importance."

Apparently it is also not unknown for guests to swap place cards. You can read the full article here. We emailed them to suggest they try PerfectTablePlan, but we haven't heard back (yet!).

Andy Brice
Oryx Digital Ltd