Schedule: Adding Sessions to Your Event Agenda (Manual and Import)

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Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Manually Adding Sessions
  3. Adding Sessions Using Template Import
  4. Pro Tips
  5. FAQ

Introduction

This is a lengthy article! Feel free to use the links in the Table of Contents to hop around. 

The best guides have well-constructed, robust schedules. Guidebook provides two ways to add schedule data in Builder: 

  1. Manually add sessions to your schedule one by one
  2. Import a template spreadsheet containing multiple sessions' data

Manually adding/editing sessions works well if you just have a few sessions to add or a few quick changes to make. Using the template spreadsheets will save you a lot of time if you have more extensive schedules or many updates to make at once.

You can find the template spreadsheet in XLS or CSV formats at the bottom of this article. Please make sure you do NOT change the column names in Row 1 of the template. Any changes to the column headers will result in errors as Builder will not know how to read and allocate the data appropriately.

  


Manually Adding Sessions

To add individual sessions: 

  1. Log into Guidebook Builder, and click on the guide you would like to work on.
  2. Click on “Build Guide”, and find your main schedule from the navigation drawer menu on the left. You may need to scroll up/down to find it or look inside a folder, if you have created one. If you don't have a  schedule module yet, you can add one. To do so, click "Add Features" at the very top of the Drawer Menu. From the resulting features menu, find the Schedule feature and click on "Add".

 

  1. Click on the Schedule module, and then click on "New Session" to open the session details screen. 



  2. There is quite a bit of information you can add here! The session name and duration are required, but everything else is optional. You can always come back and edit these details later. Add your session information and then click save!

Session Details

  • Session Name (REQUIRED): This field is used for the title of your session.

  • Duration (REQUIRED): The date/time when the session takes place. 

    • If your session has a clear beginning and end (e.g., seminar, museum hours, Q&A Session, etc.), choose the option: "This session has a start and end time".  In the new boxes that appear, choose a date and time value for the beginning and end of the session.  Note: While the default time options quantize to half-hour segments, you may click and enter manually your own times. 

    • If your session runs all day (e.g. Move In Begins, First Day of School, etc.), choose the "This session runs all day" option.

  • Location(s): If your session takes place in a specific place, you may add in the new or existing location(s) here.  For new locations, you'll need to select a location type. Click here to learn all about adding and editing locations!

  • Tracks: Schedule Tracks are a fantastic way to break down your sessions into manageable portions.  You can use schedule tracks to segment your large schedule by audience, by discipline - you name it.  Schedule Tracks are a Premium or Branded Plan feature, but you can click here to learn all about Schedule Tracks.

  • Description:  Use the description field to list any and all information about the session.  The description is a great catch-all for data that doesn't fit any of the other fields above; you can use the HTML editor (click the <> icon under the description box) and/or you can use our built-in formatting to make your description look extra pretty.

  • Image:  Upload a 640 pixel width x 240 pixel length JPG or PNG header image to spruce up your session.  If you have an image that doesn't fit those requirements, don't worry! You can use our built-in image resizer to crop and scale your image when you upload it. 

Manually Editing a Session 

  1. Inside your guide in Builder, click on the Schedule module. 
  2. Then click on the Session you would like to edit. Don't forgot you can use the filter / search tools to quickly find the session(s) you need! 
  3. In the session editor screen, you can add/edit details about the session.

In addition to editing the session Details, you will see tabs for Links, Feedback, Attendance, and Collaborate.

  • Links: Use this tab to link to other sessions, list items, URLs, or PDFs. For more information on linking, please click here. Live Polls linked to a session will also appear in this tab. 

  • Feedback: You can link to Surveys via the Feedback tab. 

  • Attendance: Here you can determine whether attendees can add the session to their "My Schedule" and you can set a limited number of available seats. For more details on managing session attendance, please click here.

  • Collaborate: Use this tab to invite people to edit the content of this particular item. Anyone you invite to edit a session via the Collaborate tab does not need a Builder account and will not have access to any other content in your guide! Details on the Collaborate Portal are available here

Don't forget to click Save!   


Adding Sessions Using Template Import

The template import tool is a quick and easy way to add multiple sessions to your guide at once.

Downloading the Schedule Template

You can find the schedule session import spreadsheet in Builder inside the Schedule module of your guide. First click on the Schedule module, and then click the "Data Import/Sync" button. 

Towards the top-right area of this page, look for the "Templates" heading. Then click on either "Schedule (XLS)" or "Schedule (CSV)" to download a template. These templates are also linked at the bottom of this Support article. 

You can use  Apache OpenOffice and LibreOffice to open the template files. This software is free to download! You can also use Microsoft Excel, but Excel does not offer any special advantages over OpenOffice and LibreOffice where Guidebook is concerned. In fact, in terms of encoding, Excel may actually have disadvantages, as it cannot encode in UTF-8 (the preferred text format Guidebook uses). For best results, we therefore recommend using OpenOffice or LibreOffice to open and edit our spreadsheet templates.

 

Adding Session Data to the Template Spreadsheet

Once you have downloaded a schedule template and you have gathered your session data, it's time to input your data into the spreadsheet. 

Please make sure you do NOT change the column names in Row 1 of the template. Any changes to the column headers will result in errors as Builder will not know how to read and allocate the data appropriately.

Add your session data to the spreadsheet, and be sure to save your work! 

 

Uploading a Schedule Template into Builder

  1. Log into Guidebook Builder, and click on the guide you want to work on.
  2. Click on “Build Guide”, and find your main schedule from the navigation drawer menu on the left. You may need to scroll up/down to find it or look inside a folder, if you have created one. If you don't have a  schedule module yet, you can add one. To do so, click "Add Features" at the very top of the Drawer Menu. From the resulting features menu, find the Schedule feature and click on "Add".
  3. Click on your Schedule module.
  4. Click on the "Data Import/Sync" button and then click on the "Select file" button underneath "Import Schedule" Find your saved XLS or CSV spreadsheet.
  5. Important: Replace Duplicate Entries:  If you leave this option disabled, all of the information in your template will be added as new data to the guide. If you choose to enable this option, Builder will look for any existing sessions with the same name and overwrite them with the information in your template. 
  6. After uploading your template, you will receive an email that says "Success" or "Whoops!" (Make sure to check your Spam folder if you don't receive this email!) If you see a "Whoops!" message, please make note of the error message details provided and check out our handy troubleshooting article here

Note: In general, we recommend using a fresh schedule template the very first time you add sessions to your schedule. Then, when you're updating sessions, we recommend Exporting Data to make updates.  By including Session IDs in your upload, our import system will always intelligently update your data without the fear of unnecessary duplication or any potential loss of data by overwriting existing sessions.

 


PRO TIPS

  • Combine your data to fit our fields (and use HTML tags):  Since you must preserve Guidebook's default headers in the template, it may seem that our templates are limited in the kind of data we accept. This is not the case -- use the Description field as a 'catch-all' for any extraneous information! 

    If you have a lot of data you want to put in a template, you may want to use concatenation to help. Concatenation is a function that combines cells together in order to make one complete cell, without having to manually type it all in. Find a helpful, Guidebook written and tailored, walkthrough of concatenation and HTML tags here. This is useful for when you have to combine a speaker's name, email, company, mailing address, etc. in the "Description" field of a template.  The article linked above also details how you can use HTML tags in your spreadsheet to liven up your description fields.

  • Avoid including sessions with the same name, date, and start-time: When a spreadsheet enters the system to be uploaded, Guidebook Builder runs a check to make sure no duplicate entries pass through that could muddle your guide.  If two sessions contain the exact same title, the Builder flags one of the sessions as a duplicate and merges the two sessions, if Replace Duplicates is enabled. For this reason, we recommend using the Session Title to highlight the difference between the sessions.

    Example:  You have two sessions titled "Breakout Sessions". Both sessions occur at the same time on the same date, but they take place in separate locations.  Solution:  Title the first session "Breakout Session (Location A)", and the second "Breakout Session (Location B)".  This will avoid the merge issue and reduce confusion for event atendees For more information on Replace Duplicate Entries, see the section above.

  • Use MM/DD/YYYY format for dates, and use capital AM and PM for times (9:00 AM, 3:45 PM).

  • Include multiple schedule tracks or locations in a single cell by separating your tracks/locations with a semicolon. For example, "Track 1; Track 2" in the schedule tracks field or "Location 1; Location 2; Location 3" in the location field.

  • Import sessions that run All Day by typing "all day" into the Time Start field. You can leave the Time End field blank only when Time Start is "all day". 

  • Add a column called "Rank" to your spreadsheet for concurrent session. For sessions that start at the same time on the same date, you may add a number to the Rank column. Lower numbers will appear first in the app, although you might not see this rank reflected in Builder. 

 


FAQ

Can I change the schedule so it shows a calendar, instead of showing a date picker for a week at a time? 

Yes!  Click on your schedule in Guidebook Builder, click on the settings tab, and then toggle the "Display as" slider from "WEEK" to "MONTH".

When I try to open my CSV file, a window pops up asking me to select punctuation such as "tab," "semicolon," or "comma." What should I click?

Deselect all options except for "comma," and press OK.

When I convert my Excel file into a CSV file and open it again, there are strange marks in the text (i.e. white question marks on black diamonds). What do I do?

This is probably a side effect of using non-standard characters in your text fields. Many characters that appear when typing in Microsoft Word/Excel, such as the n-dash or curly quotation marks, are proprietary and non-standard.  When transported into a CSV file or a UTF-8 encoded file, they fail to render properly. We recommend uploading this file in .xls format to avoid this encoding issue or by editing using either of these free spreadsheet editors: Libre Office or Apache Open Office.

When I import my XLS file, all of the dates appear to be 4 years old...

This is a well-documented Excel issue that traces back to the way Excel calculates dates (there are two methods: the 1900 method, and the 1904 method).  While you can use CSV imports to skirt around the issue, this support article outlines how to adjust your Excel settings to solve the problem: http://www.accountingweb.com/technology/excel/when-excel-dates-mysteriously-shift-by-4-years

Are there different ways to structure a schedule? Where can I learn more about event and year round schedules from real clients?

There are many ways to structure your schedule depending on your guide’s purpose and audience. Our users have used the platform to create everything from an app for their Church’s congregation to guides covering an entire Municipality.

Want to make an app that lasts 365 days? Our EDU clients are pros creating year-round schedules.

To learn more about real clients that have chosen to go mobile and mobile event technology best practices, check out our blog.

 


 

If you have any questions about adding/editing sessions in your schedule, please feel free to reach out to Support at support@guidebook.com

 

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