Getting Started

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Contents

Common Misconceptions

If you are eager to get started with the program without fully reading the user's guide, that is alright. After all, the program is quite intuitive, easy to use and user friendly. However, there are still a few key points that you need to pay attention to in order to not get confused. Here are the common misconceptions of a new user:

Scheduling Activities, Not Resources

You do not schedule resources - you schedule activities. You can only drag and drop an activity into a schedule's cell, not a discrete resource. Although you can create an activity from a single resource, usually an activity unites multiple resources which are to be scheduled together, at the same time, on several occasions during the week, semester or year.

Resources and activities have a dedicated pane at the right side of the workspace. The resources pane only allows entering and listing resources. The activities pane, on the other hand, also allows dragging and dropping activities into the main schedule. Drag and drop is the common way of scheduling activities. Whenever an activity is scheduled, all the resources which take part in it are also considered as scheduled, and the activity will appear in all their schedules. Note that if you delete the activity from either one of these resources' schedules, the activity will be deleted from all the participating resources' schedules.

First Select, Then Drag and Drop

In order to start dragging an activity from the activities list into the schedule, it has to be selected first. To select an activity – simply click on it and release the mouse button. Only when the activity is selected (and a thick frame appears around it), you can begin dragging it. To drag, place the mouse cursor at the top left corner of the activity (on the tab), press the left mouse button, hold it pressed and move the mouse to the target cell. Then release the mouse button, thus completing the drag and drop.

Note that it is a little different than drag and drop in Windows for example, because in Windows you do not have to select a file before dragging it. That extra click on an activity to select it is required mainly because sometimes you need to select several activities or an entire set, and the selection click (which comes first) must not be confused with the drag and drop click (which comes second).

Dragging and dropping cells in the schedule also requires selecting the cell first and only then starting to drag it. After selecting a cell, it will have a similar tab at the top left corner. This tab is where you need to click to start dragging the cell.

Generic Days vs. Calendar Dates

Some institutions construct a weekly or bi-weekly schedule which repeats itself for several months or an entire year. Other institutions have a daily schedule in which activities are scheduled on specific calendar dates. The program supports both of these modes. There are two types of days/weeks on which activities can be scheduled:

  1. Generic days and weeks – these have to be entered in advance in the Resources entry phase. Each day and week can be assigned a name. If there is a single week and up to 7 days, it makes sense to just use the weekday names, but in general any name can be used. Examples: "Week 1", "Day 1", "Day 2", "Monday", "Tuesday".
  2. Calendar dates and weeks – there is no need to enter this kind of dates at all because the main schedule view allows you to pick a date or a range of dates directly from a calendar.

The navigation bar at the top of the main schedule has a popup list at its top left corner in which days are selected. This list has two tabs at the bottom of it: "Days" and "Dates". That is how you switch between the two modes above. If you select "Days", you will see a list of the days that you have entered in the Resources entry and be able to select them. If you select "Dates" you will see a regular calendar and be able to select dates in it.

Hours and Minutes vs. Periods and Shifts

When a schedule grid is presented on the screen, it has two axes. One axis contains days and the other contains times. Well, by default, the times are regular hours and minutes, e.g.: "8:00", "8:30", "9:20", etc. It is however equally possible to present period (or shift) names instead of the actual times by entering these periods in the Resources entry pane. In such case the time axis will contain "slots" of periods or shifts. The layout of the time axis of the grid is called a "Time Scale" in the program.

The program allows different time scales for different resources, and even different time scales for different days of the same resource. For example, a group can have one set of periods on Monday and another set of periods on Friday. In such case, if you display a schedule of that group which contains both Monday and Friday, the program will know how to lay out the grid with absolute times in the time axis, while inserting the period names into the contents of the schedule on the appropriate days.

All activities have a "Length" field which controls the default duration of an activity. This length field can subsequently be defined in two manners: either in exact hours and minutes, e.g. "1:30", or by setting a quantity of periods, e.g. "2". When the length field contains an integer number (without a colon) the program understands that this marks a quantity of periods, and will schedule the activity on that number of consecutive periods when you drag and drop it. Just like time scales, there is no problem in mixing both types of activity lengths in the same database.

First Launch Tips

If it's the first time you are launching the program, the process in general is this: the program is started, you either open an existing file or create a new one, the scheduling workspace is opened and you start entering resources or you start scheduling.

When the program is launched, it allows you to select the language of the user's interface. The language can be selected in one of two places: at the bottom right corner of the splash screen or in the settings menu at the top right corner of the main window.

File:settings_menu.png

If you change it in the splash screen (which appears for about 3 seconds so you've got to be quick), it will be applied immediately when the program is started. If you change it from the settings menu, you will need to close the program and re-launch it.

In addition to selecting a language, the settings menu also allows you to select a style. The style determines the color tone of the user's interface and of all the visual elements of the program. There are a few styles to choose from. The default is blue. If you select a different style, you still need to close the program and re-launch it for this change to take effect.

In order to help you get acquainted with the program more quickly, we have prepared several sample files for different types of institutions. You will find these samples files at the bottom left corner of the main window. To open one of these samples files – just click on it. A sample file contains an already entered database and schedule. You can use the sample files to try out different features of the program, experiment with it and generally get an impression of how our software feels like.

Opening or Creating a File

Once the program is started, you need to open a file. You can create a new file, open an existing file that you have worked with before or open a sample file that is part of the installation and allows you to get quickly acquainted with the program. The extension of all files used by the program is ".schedx7".

Opening a Sample File

At the left side of the main screen of the program are the links to the sample files.

File:sample_files_studio.png

There are several sample files which come with the program, each corresponding to a different type of institution. The program is very generic and as such supports many scheduling scenarios. We have tried to include the major scheduling scenarios in the sample files, but it is still possible that your type of institution is not a part of the samples files or that even though it is, your institution's schedule has a different look compared to the sample's one. These cases are not a reason for disappointment because you should know that the program is very customizable and we still advise you to use one of the sample files as a starting point. To open a sample file, just click on it with the mouse.

Creating a New File

To create a new file, select "File", "New" from the top main menu.

File:file_new_studio.png

A window will open up in which you can type the new file's name. You can also select a folder in which the file should be stored. By default, the folder in which the program was installed is selected. Once you have typed the new file's name, click on Save. The file will be created and the program will open the scheduling workspace for you to begin working with the new file.

Opening an Existing File

To open an existing file, select "File", "Open" from the main menu at the top.

File:file_open_studio.png

Find the folder in which the file resides, click on the file to select it and then press "Open". The file will be opened and you will see the scheduling workspace.

There is actually a quicker way to open an existing file because the program remembers the files that you had recently worked with, and lists them at the left-hand side of the main program's window. If you see your file there, you can just click on it to open it.

An alternative way of opening an existing file is simply by double clicking on it in any Windows folder window. You can even save it on your desktop and double click on it from there. You see, when the program is installed, it registers the extension ".schedx7" to be automatically opened by Lantiv when a file of that extension is double clicked anywhere in Windows.

Connecting to a Server

A server is a computer on the Internet which hosts the files you work with. The server also coordinates between multiple concurrent users working with the same file, and makes sure their operations are taken care of one by one. When some user makes a change, all the other users who are connected to the same server, see that change in real time. These other users do not have to do anything special to see the change (there is no need to "refresh" anything).

A server's address is composed of an IP address (aka Host address) and a Port number. The IP address consists of 4 numbers in the range of 0-255 separated by dots. The Port number is a single 4-5 digit number. You will receive these two addresses from Lantiv.

To connect to a server, select "File", "Connect to…" from the main menu at the top. A window will show up which contains 4 fields: "Host", "Port", "Username" and "Password".

File:connect_to.png

Type the IP address of the server in the "Host" field and type the Port number in the "Port" field. When you first receive the address of the new server from Lantiv, you will also receive initial administrative username and password. These can be used to connect to the server and then edit the full list of users who are allowed to connect to that server.

Opening a File on the Server

Once you are connected to a server, a list of the files that the server hosts will be displayed at the left side of the main window. You can open a file just by clicking on it in the list.

Managing the Files

An administrative user can create a new file or upload an existing file by clicking on "New" or "Upload" below the list of files. An administrator can also rename or remove an existing file by right-clicking on it and selecting "Rename" or "Remove" in the popup menu.

File:administrate_server.png

Managing the Users

The administrator of the server has the possibility to edit the list of users who can have access to the server. If you are the administrator user and have connected to the server, you will see a "Settings…" link at the left side of the main window. If you click on that link, the Server Settings window will open up. In that window you can add new users, edit the usernames, passwords, and define the privileges of each user.

File:server_settings.png

When a user connects to a server, he/she can change their password by clicking on the plus button near the "Password" field, then clicking on "Change Password…" and then typing the new password. So if you are the administrator and you are setting up the usernames, you can set an initial password for each user, and ask them to change it to whatever they prefer when they connect for the first time.

Auto-Save and Save-As

There are two small differences with regard to the Save functionality between working locally in a standalone mode compared to working online on a server. First, the server has an Auto-Save feature, which means that you do not need to press the "Save" button in order to save your changes. They are automatically frequently saved. You can logout and login to the server and you will see all your changes intact. In addition, when working online, the "Save As" option in the main menu allows you to make a local backup of the file you are working with. When you select "File", "Save As" and choose a folder and a file name on your computer, the server's file will be backed up entirely to your computer.