Prime Timetable

Getting started

Overview

Prime Timetable is a school scheduling software designed for both manual and automatic timetabling on any device: Mac, PC, tablet, smartphone. Prime Timetable is used for scheduling primary/elementary, junior/middle/high/secondary schools, international schools, universities and other educational organizations (art and language schools), as well as for scheduling various events: school camps and courses.

Watch a quick intro video on how to create master schedule using only a smartphone
(the same applies to any other device: Mac, PC, tablet)

Basic timetabling terms

Interpret timetabling terms as best suits your organization, e.g. use 'university' instead of 'school' or 'pupil' instead of 'student'.

School
Institution designed to allow and encourage student groups to attend school activities under the supervision of teachers.
Teacher / Educator / Professor / Tutor / Instructor
Person who teaches, guides, instructs, trains or helps another in the process of learning knowledge.
Student
Learner, or someone who attends an educational institution.
Room
Place where teaching, learning or any other school activity can occur, e.g. biology room, history room, but also dining room, reception hall...
Class / Grade
Group of students or pupils attending a specific lesson.
Division
Different set of groups forming a class/grade, e.g. 5A class has 2 divisions: one consisting of a group of boys and girls, and the other consisting of a group of English and French students.
Resource
Class, Teacher or Room
Subject / Course / Activity
Activity that includes at least one school resource, e.g. Math, English, Biology, but also school recess, lunch, some non-class activities like teacher meetings, sport events, etc.
Period / Time slot
Block of time used for lessons
Lesson / Section
Structured period of time where a school activity is intended to occur.
Timetable / Schedule
Table which displays lessons.
Card
Visual representation of a lesson.
Unscheduled card
Card waiting to be scheduled and therefore placed outside the timetable.
Pinned card
Card locked on a specific period, meaning it won't be rescheduled during automatic timetable generation.
Timetable view
Master or individual view that displays lessons as cards, e.g. class/teacher/room master view, Grade 8 view, etc.
Timetabler
Person who creates a school timetable.
The basic timetabling rule
One school resource during one school period can be scheduled in only one lesson. Otherwise, there is a conflict!
Conflict
Group of cards on the same position or overlapping each other.
Gap / Pause / Window
Empty period between school activities.
Time request
Specifying whether a particular school resource or activity is forbidden, unwanted or mandatory in a certain period.
Constraint
Requirement which should be satisfied in the generated timetable, e.g. setting that gaps are forbidden for all classes.
Automatic timetable generator
Software which automatically creates a school timetable based on provided input.
Manual timetabling
Creating a timetable manually by dragging cards.
Timetable validation
Process of validating a timetable, e.g. showing notification that there are no conflicts and that all specified constraints are met.
School scheduling/timetabling software
Software designed to simplify and automate scheduling/timetabling process.

System requirements

Web app is designed to work on any device (desktop, tablet, smartphone...) on any OS (Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android...) and in any Html 5 capable browser (Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari, Internet Explorer 11...). The best automatic generator performances can be achieved using Chrome which is several times faster than other browsers.

Optional plugin app uses Microsoft Silverlight which works in older browsers like Internet Explorer 6, 7 and 8, but it's not supported by latest Chrome and Edge browser. In order to install Silverlight click here.

Free sign up

In order to evaluate the software and see if it meets your school needs, you first need to sign up:

  • Click Free sign up on the home page or click here
  • Choose Free plan
  • Type your email address and desired password and optionally provide additional school info
  • Click Start my free month

Prime Timetable will start and a new timetable will be opened for you.

Premium support

By signing up you get a 30-day free trial and premium support included. Support team will contact you shortly after the sign up to provide you with the necessary guidance and answer any question you might have.

Log in

To start Prime Timetable you need to log in first:

  • Click Log in in the header of the home page
  • Enter your email and password
  • Click Log In button

After successful login, the last opened timetable will be displayed.

Check "Keep me logged in" and the app will be automatically opened the next time you visit the home page.

Log out

In order to leave the app:

  • Choose Owl > Log out

Your session will end and home page will show up.

Retrieve password

The password will be emailed to you and you can login again.

Profile

  • Choose Owl > your email address
  • Set your email and password used for login
  • Set your first and last name
  • Click Edit

Create application shortcut

Desktop icon enables fast and easy access to Prime Timetable. In the latest Chrome browser choose Menu > More tools > Create application shortcuts... > Create, and the owl icon will be added to your desktop. By clicking the owl icon, the app will be started in the full window just like a typical desktop application. For all other browsers create a desktop shortcut to a website and on any smartphone or tablet just add to the homescreen.

Update school account

By signing up a new school account is created that can be shared with other colleagues and teachers. In order to update school account:

  • Choose Help > Update Account (if you are evaluating the software choose Help > Purchase)
  • Click Add more info in "Step 2. School account info"
  • Enter your school name, address, contact name, phone and other info
  • Click Continue Evaluation
If there is more than one account for your school, contact us to merge them.

Extend subscription

If subscription is about to expire or free evaluation period is over:

  • Go to home page and log in
  • Choose Help > Update Account (if you are evaluating the software choose Help > Purchase)
  • Select Basic or Premium plan based on the number of teachers. Basic is up to 40 teachers and Premium is up to 100 teachers
  • If you want to take advantage of special discounts, choose billing term by dragging year slider
  • Click Buy from 2Checkout

You will be redirected to 2Checkout form where you can purchase the software online. 2Checkout supports Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, Diners, JCB, PIN debit cards with the Visa or MasterCard logo, Debit cards with the Visa or MasterCard logo and PayPal. Contact us for alternative payment methods.

Import

Import data from Excel/Sheets

Subjects, rooms, teachers, classes/groups, students and lessons can be imported from other software using copy/paste:

  • Open Microsoft Excel/Word or Google Sheets/Docs document and make a selection
  • Use right mouse click and choose Copy
  • Choose Import > Import Subjects/Rooms/Teachers/Classes/Lessons
  • Right mouse click on the text field and choose Paste
  • Click Import

In import Sheets document each sheet shows an example of importing subjects, rooms, teachers, classes/groups, students and lessons. Imported items should be in a separate lines/rows.

Name Short Groups
Grade 11 11 Math,Eng|Art,Mus
Grade 12 12 Math,Eng|Art,Mus

Columns when importing class and its groups

Import lessons

The whole timetable can be imported in a single copy/paste operation by following the example in the "Lessons" sheet. If entered subject, teacher, room or class doesn't exist in the current timetable it will be automatically added while importing. When adding a new item, the short name will be autogenerated by default. It can be overridden by using the following format the first time that item appears, e.g. "English {Eng}" will add a new subject called "English" and a short name will be set to "Eng". Comma can be used as a delimiter when there are more teachers, classes/groups or rooms.

Subject Teacher(s) Class(es) Group(s) Count Length Desired room(s) Alternative room(s)
Math Roberta 7A 3 1 Room 1 Room 2, Room 3
English {Eng} Maya,Dan 8A G1 1 2 Room 4 Room 1, Room 2

Columns when importing lessons

Import from Xml

  • Choose Import > Import from Xml in the plugin app
  • Click Choose File to locate the Xml file on your disc
  • Click Open

Timetable

Create new timetable

  • Choose Open > New Timetable
  • Enter the name of the timetable document and description (optional)
  • Click Ok

Open timetable

  • Click Open timetable or choose Open > Open Timetable
  • Select a timetable from the list
  • Click Open

Open from file

In order to open timetable from previously saved file on the disc:

  • Choose Open > Open from File
  • Click Choose File to locate the file on your disc
  • Click Open

Open example

  • Choose Open > Open Examples
  • Select example from the list
  • Click Open

Save changes

  • Click Save timetable changes to save changes

All changes will be synchronized and merged across any device you or your colleagues might be using.

Create a copy of timetable

  • Choose Save as > Copy of Timetable
  • Enter the name of the timetable document and description (optional)
  • Click Ok

Delete timetable

  • Click Open timetable
  • Select a timetable from the list
  • Click Delete

Restore timetable

If you delete timetable by accident, it is possible to restore it. Please contact us if you need to restore a deleted timetable.

Merge timetables

In order to merge two timetables:

  • Open base timetable
  • Choose Import > Merge timetables
  • Select the other timetable and click Merge

If there is already a teacher, room, class or subject with the same name in the base timetable, it will be used as it is; otherwise, it will be added. Periods and days are also going to be merged based on the same name. If a period doesn't have a specified name, it will be merged based on what's displayed on the screen; e.g. period interval or period number. Furthermore, all lessons from the second timetable will be added to the base timetable.

Data

School name and year

Choose Manage > Days and Periods to set:

  • School name
  • School year - usually academic year, e.g. 2015/2016
  • Number of days - for one-week timetable choose 5 and for the two-week choose 10
  • Periods per day - number of maximum lessons per day
  • Use pre-lesson? - Whether the day starts with pre-lesson

Days

  • Choose Manage > Days and Periods > Manage days

To add a new day enter a name and short name.

Periods

  • Choose Manage > Days and Periods > Manage periods

For each period you can set an interval (start and end time) and optionally label.

A shortcut for editing a specific day or period is to click the adequate label in the master timetable view.

Custom periods

In order to enter custom period interval(s) for specific day(s)/class(es)/subject(s)/room(s)/teacher(s):

  • Click on a default period you wish to modify and then click Add
  • Change period interval: start and end time
  • Choose class, subject, room, or teacher custom period
  • Choose day(s)/class(es)/subject(s)/room(s)/teacher(s) where the new interval applies
  • Click Ok

If a timetable has custom periods, the filters will appear above the periods grid where you can choose whether to show custom periods or not. If "Show custom periods" is checked, all custom periods will show up in the grid. Choose specific day and/or class/subject/room/teacher to filter custom periods.

When you add new custom period(s), related cards will be resized and repositioned based on specified custom interval. Choose Help > Options > Time format > 12-hour or 24-hour clock to display custom interval inside these cards.

When you drag a card, the card's shadow changes its size and position according to default or custom periods below. Thus, you will know the size and the position of the dragged card before it is dropped.

Custom period example

Individual view with custom periods: note how Spanish, Handwriting Without Tears, Choir, Art and Interdisciplinary Studies have different intervals.

For more information about custom periods please refer to these blog posts or take a look at K-5 example with lots of custom periods for specific grades on different days, e.g. for the same subjects, Kindergarten has different intervals compared to lower grades.

Subjects

  • Choose Manage > Subjects

Click Add to add a new subject, or select the existing subject to edit, delete or copy using the buttons on the right. Each subject has the following properties:

  • Name, e.g. Math
  • Short name
  • Color
  • Difficulty: Low, Medium or High
  • Allow subject to be taught more than once per day
  • Insert day off if subject is taught 2 times per week
  • Insert day off if subject is taught 3 times per week

The generator will try to optimize each day so that students don't get too many difficult or too many easy subjects per day. Otherwise, notifications will show adequate warnings.

If Allow subject to be taught more than once per day is checked, placing that subject more than once in a day will not be reported as an error.

If Insert day off if subjects is taught 2 times per week is checked, that subject will not be scheduled on subsequent days, e.g. having that subject on Monday and Tuesday will show an error notification.

In case that Insert day off if subjects is taught 3 times per week is checked, having subject on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday will cause error notification for a specific class, whereas Monday, Tuesday, Thursday will be valid.

Rooms

  • Choose Manage > Rooms

Click Add to add a new room, or select the existing room to edit, delete or copy using the buttons on the right. Each room has the following properties:

  • Name, e.g. "Computer lab", "Physics lab", "Bio lab", "Conference room", "Playground", "Meeting room", etc.
  • Short name
  • Color
  • Tags, e.g. "1st floor, lab"
  • Capacity
  • Building name

In order to group rooms, specify their room tag, e.g. "1st floor". That way, it will be easier to select them when adding or editing lessons. Multiple tags should be separated with comma.

Room capacity represents maximum student seat number and can be used for optimizing room usage for students.

Building name can be used to optimize daily moves between buildings.

Teachers

  • Choose Manage > Teachers

Click Add to add a new teacher, or select the existing teacher to edit, delete or copy using the buttons on the right. Each teacher has the following properties:

  • Name, e.g. John Smith
  • Short name
  • Color
  • Maximum number of lessons in a row
  • Maximum gaps per week
  • Maximum gaps per day
  • Minimum lessons to allow gaps
  • Allowed lesson number deviation
  • Minimum lessons per day
  • Maximum lessons per day
  • Allowed daily number of moves between buildings

Maximum number of lessons in a row assures that teacher doesn't have more than specified number of lessons in a row.

Maximum gaps per week/day can minimize teacher gaps per week/day.

Minimum lessons to allow gaps assures the teacher has a specified number of lessons in a row before gaps are allowed.

Allowed daily lesson number deviation is useful to minimize the difference between the numbers of lessons per day for a specific teacher. For instance, if allowed lesson number deviation is set to 1 and if a teacher has 4 lessons on Monday and Tuesday and 6 lessons on Wednesday, the notification will show a warning for Wednesday.

Minimum and maximum lessons per day will make sure the teacher doesn't have too few or too many lessons per day.

Allowed daily number of moves between buildings reduces unnecessary teacher moves. If required, teacher moves after the window can be ignored.

Classes

  • Choose Manage > Classes

Click Add to add a new class, or select the existing class to edit, delete or copy using the buttons on the right. Each class has the following properties:

  • Name, e.g. 7A, Grade 8, Year 9, 5/1, V3
  • Short name
  • Color
  • Lessons start on first period
  • Whether gaps are forbidden
  • Whether groups have to finish lessons at the same time
  • Allowed difference between maximum and minimum daily lesson number

When forbid gaps option is checked, the class will have no gaps. Otherwise, error notification will be shown.

Allowed difference between maximum and minimum daily lesson number assures that class has nearly the same or equal number of lessons per day. For instance, if the value is set to 1 and class has 4 lessons on Monday and 6 lessons on Tuesday, error notification will be shown.

When adding a new class, the following divisions and groups will be created: one division consisting of Boys and Girls, and one consisting of Group 1 and Group 2.

Divisions and groups

Each class consists of a number of divisions, and each division consists of a number of groups. In some scenarios students can be managed as groups. In order to manage class divisions and groups:

  • Choose Manage > Classes
  • Select a class on the list
  • Click Divisions

A list of divisions for the selected class will be displayed. The first listed division represents the entire class.

To add a new division, click Add and a new division with its two groups will be created. To delete a division, select a division from the list and click Delete.

To add a group to a division:

  • Click desired division
  • Click Add group
  • Enter group's name and short name
  • Click Add

In Example 3 5-A class is divided into French and German groups, and related cards are clipped so they will always be scheduled on the same position. In Egypt example 11A class is divided into Art, Cooking and Music groups.

Students

Students can be managed in two ways:

  • As classes
  • As groups

In English College Example students are managed as classes. The other option is to manage students as groups, e.g. here is direct link to demo student called Clark of published schedule for 7th grade. Click the class icon in the top left corner to filter lessons by other groups/students.

Lessons

Choose Manage > Lessons to manage and filter lessons. When adding or editing lessons the following information can be specified:

  • Teacher(s)
  • Subject
  • Class(es) and/or group(s)
  • Lessons per cycle count
  • Lesson length: single, double, triple, etc.
  • Desired room(s)
  • Alternative room(s)

If there is more than one teacher holding the lesson click More... to add more teachers, e.g. two teachers might be needed for Physical education. Subject or course is an activity including at least one school resource, e.g. Math, English, Biology, etc.

One lesson can have any number of classes/grades and/or groups. Choose Manage > Classes > Divisions to manage class divisions and groups. In Example 3, French and German groups are clipped so that they will always be scheduled on the same position, and 2 classes have Physical education (PE) at the same time. Right mouse click these cards and choose Edit lesson to better understand the example.

Lessons per cycle represents the total number of recurring lessons in one cycle (5 days for 1-week, 10 days for 2-week schedule, etc.). E.g. a class can have 5 English lessons in a cycle.

Lesson length can be single, double, triple and so on depending on default period interval. E.g. if default period interval is 30 minutes and lesson lasts 1 hour, lesson length should be set to double.

The majority of lessons require only one desired room. If more than one room is required click More... to add more rooms, e.g. Physical education might require Sports Hall and Gym. If desired room is unavailable, the generator will try to allocate the lesson in alternative rooms.

Lesson statistics

  • Choose Manage > Lessons
  • Total lesson and total class count is displayed above the lesson grid
  • Open class combo to filter lessons by specific class

Teacher statistics

  • Choose Manage > Lessons
  • Click the class icon in the top left corner to switch to filtering lessons by teacher
  • Select a teacher from the combo to filter his/her lessons and see the total lesson count and total hours

You can filter teacher's lessons by specific subject in case he/she teaches two or more subjects. If the teacher is not already scheduled his/her total hours will be approximated based on average period length.

Sort

Sort days, periods, subjects, rooms, teachers, classes, lessons and other items by clicking desired column name. For instance, in order to sort teachers by their names:

  • Choose Manage > Teachers
  • Click Name column
  • Click it once again to sort in the reverse order

Use lock sort icon in the grid's bottom right corner to make current order permanent, which will also change the order in the master timetable view.

Use cancel sort icon to cancel and revert to previous order.

Reorder

  • Select item(s) in the grid
  • Use up and down arrows in the bottom right corner

Undo and redo

Click Undo to undo the latest change or click Redo to redo the latest undo.

Timetabling history

Click History to see the list of previous changes, e.g. 1 card dragged, 2 marks erased, 240 cards changed by generator, 1 card cleared, 2 positions marked as mandatory. Click item on the list to undo more actions at once.

Timetabling history

Undo 6 actions at once using timetabling history

Views

Master view

In order to change the view click the view indicator (icon below the owl) and:

  • Click Switch to class view to switch to the class master view
  • Click Switch to teacher view to switch to the teacher master view
  • Click Switch to room view to switch to the room master view
  • Click Switch to subject view to switch to the subject master view
Switching master view

Switching master view

The width of master, individual and extra views can be adjusted by dragging the vertical splitter which divides scheduled from unscheduled cards.

Individual view

In order to switch to the individual class, teacher, room or subject view, click the first column in the master view. To revert to the master view, click the first column again or press Esc key or select the desired view by clicking the view indicator icon.

Individual class view can be filtered by group(s)/student(s). Click the view indicator icon to see the list of groups/students from the current individual view. Click any student/group to filter lessons. Click again to remove the filter.

Switching master view

Filtering individual view by specific group (7X) and student (Mark)

Extra views

Extra views can help avoid conflicts, as they provide additional master and individual views all in one screen. Moreover, there is no need to constantly switch between the views, as you get a clear overall picture of the whole timetable. The shadow of the dragged card appears in all opened views, so you can see whether the desired position hasn't already been scheduled in another view.

To show or hide extra class, teacher, room or subject view:

  • Click any card to display active card properties in the bottom left corner
  • Click the class, teacher, room or subject icon in the bottom left corner

Views are fully interactive, meaning that change in one view will be synced in all other views. The height of the main and extra views can be adjusted by dragging the horizontal splitters up and down.

Main class view with teacher and room extra views added

Master class view with teacher and room extra views added

In the screenshot above, the shadow of the card being dragged in the class view (last period on Monday) is displayed both in the teacher and room views, which helps finding a free time slot more easily.

To open extra view in the new window click Opens extra view in the new window in the top right corner. Extra view in the new window can be freely dragged and resized.

Just like in the main view, clicking the first column will open an individual extra view.

Vertical zoom

  • Click Zoom in or Zoom out to vertically zoom in or out the main and extra views

Master and individual views each have their own zoom values.

Horizontal zoom

  • Hold Ctrl or Cmd and click Zoom in or Zoom out to horizontally zoom in or out the main and extra views

Horizontal zoom is useful when there are lots of days and periods.

Browser zoom

Zooming in and out can also be done using the browser's zoom:

  • Hold Ctrl or Cmd key and press + to zoom in
  • Hold Ctrl or Cmd key and press - to zoom out
  • Hold Ctrl or Cmd key and press 0 to reset zoom to default value

Cards

Drag and drop

  • Select card by clicking it with the left mouse button
  • While keeping the left mouse button pressed, drag card to a new position
  • Drop card by releasing the left mouse button

On touch devices use finger to drag cards.

If there is already a card on the drop position, those conflicted cards will be slightly rotated. Clicking the bottom card in conflicted group will bring it to the front.

Select multiple cards

Select multiple cards in order to perform bulk actions on more than one card, like multiple drag and drop, or clip, copy, pin/unpin, merge/split etc. using context menu. There are many ways to select multiple cards:

  • Click and drag the cursor across timetable. A rectangular marquee will appear, with one corner where you started dragging and the opposite corner where you stopped and all cards inside the marquee will be selected.
  • Hold Ctrl or Cmd key while clicking cards to add or remove cards from the selection
  • Hold Ctrl or Cmd key while clicking day, period or resource name to (de)select the whole day, period or resource cards
  • Hold Shift while you click the last card that you want to include in the new selection. The rectangular range between the active card and the card that you click becomes the new selection.
  • On touch device, hold card with one finger while tapping other cards, day, period or resource name with other fingers
Selecting multiple cards by surrounding desired cards with the mouse

Selecting multiple cards using rectangular marquee

Click empty cell to reset selection or click any non-selected card without Ctrl, Cmd or Shift key pressed to start a new selection.

Copy/paste cards

  • Select multiple cards
  • Right mouse click any of selected cards
  • Choose Copy
  • Right mouse click desired day or period in the timetable
  • Choose Paste

Copied cards will be paste into desired day or period.

Remove cards

Click the Sponge tool and then click card(s)/day(s)/period(s)/resource(s) you want to remove from the timetable, or use right mouse click on any card/day/period/resource to choose Remove from the context menu. Removed card(s) will be placed outside the timetable, along with other unscheduled cards. Click the top right corner with sponge selected to remove all cards from the timetable.

Delete cards

  • Right mouse click unscheduled card(s)
  • Choose Delete from the context menu

Another way to delete cards/lessons is via Manage > Lessons > Delete.

Merge cards

Merge allows combining two or more cards into the one card. In order to merge two or more cards:

  • Select a card to merge with below cards or select multiple cards to create vertical selection of similar cards that needs merging
  • Use right mouse click on any of selected card(s) to open context menu
  • Choose Merge

Two or more cards can be merged into one card if they are on the same position, have equal subject, length and other lesson properties, but have different teacher(s) and/or class(es)/group(s). Merged card will have merged teacher(s) and class(es)/group(s) while other properties will stay the same.

Merge two conflicted cards into one

Resolve conflict by merging two conflicted cards into the one

Split cards

Split is the opposite of merge as it creates more cards out of the one when there is more than one group or teacher. For instance, if card has 2 teachers and 3 groups, 6 new cards will be created after split all with only one teacher and one group. In order to split card:

  • Select card(s) which have more than one teacher or group
  • Use right mouse click on selected card(s) to open context menu
  • Choose Split

Customize card appearance

Right mouse click the card and choose Customize from the context menu or choose Print > Customize Card Appearance to change background color, text and border for any master or individual timetable view.

Background card color can be from the current class, teacher, room or subject or no background color at all.

The text inside the cards can be any combination of class, teacher, room or subject names or their related short names. Selecting the card text from the list will add text to the card, while clicking the text in the enlarged card removes it.

Card border can be set to: round, square, round (no border) and square (no border). All style changes are preserved and saved into the current timetable document as a timetable template.

Card designer for individual class view

Choosing text, background color and border for cards in the individual class view

When you create a new timetable document all style settings will be copied from previously opened so you don't have to tweak styles again.

Constraints

Specify time request using markers

Marker draws or erases forbidden, unwanted or mandatory card positions for classes, teachers, rooms and subjects. When a marker is selected, all cards fade away and all already drawn marks are filled with color making them prominent. To draw or erase marks click on any position in the timetable view or any day/period/resource with a selected marker. To drop the marker press Esc key or click outside of the timetable. Markers can be used in any master, individual or extra view and notifications will be updated upon any change.

Timetable marks

Forbidden (red minus), unwanted (yellow exclamation mark) and mandatory (blue plus) marks in the master teacher view

Draw forbidden positions

  • Pick the red marker Forbidden position marker to draw/erase forbidden marks (displayed as red minus signs)

Draw unwanted positions

  • Pick the yellow marker Unwanted position marker to draw/erase unwanted marks (displayed as yellow exclamation marks)
  • Mouse over the first column (resource name) to open unwanted settings
  • Set allowed number of unwanted lessons per week and per day

Draw mandatory positions

  • Pick the blue marker Mandatory position marker to draw/erase mandatory marks (displayed as blue plus signs)
  • Mouse over the first column (resource name) to open mandatory settings
  • Set allowed number of missed mandatory lessons per week and per day
If allowed number of unwanted or allowed number of missed mandatory lessons are set to Arbitrary which is a default value, unwanted and mandatory marks will be completely ignored by the timetable generator.
Mandatory settings

Marker settings when mandatory marker is selected

Copy marks and settings to other resources

  • Mouse over the first column while using the red, blue or yellow marker
  • Click Copy to
  • Select resources and click Ok

Erase marks

  • Pick the white marker (eraser) Eraser marker to erase already drawn marks

Pin cards

The pin Pin/unpin timetable tool is useful when you are satisfied with the position of card(s) and want to make sure that those cards won't be moved while improving the timetable. Click the pin and then click card(s)/day(s)/period(s)/resource(s) you want to pin/unpin, or use right mouse click on any card/day/period/resource to choose pin/unpin from the context menu. To drop the pin press Esc key or click an empty cell.

Additionally, by pinning cards some notifications can be ignored.

Pinned cards

Pinned cards have pin in the top right corner

Clip cards

Clipped cards have a little clip icon in the top left corner and will be scheduled/selected/dragged/removed all together. Only the cards that are not conflicted can be clipped. Otherwise, conflicted cards should be merged first and then clipped. Clipping can be useful in block scheduling and, e.g. when one class group has French and the other German language (see Example 3).

In order to clip two or more cards:

  • Select multiple cards
  • Right mouse click any of the selected cards
  • Choose Clip

In order to unclip cards:

  • Right mouse click any of already clipped cards
  • Choose Unclip
Unclipping cards

Unclipping already clipped French and German groups

In order to add cards to existing clip relation:

  • Click any of already clipped cards which will select all other clipped cards
  • Hold Ctrl or Cmd key to add additional cards to selection
  • Right mouse click any of selected cards
  • Choose Clip

In order to remove cards from existing clip relation unclip and then clip again or:

  • Click any of already clipped cards which will select all other clipped cards
  • Hold Ctrl or Cmd key to remove card from existing clip relation

Generate

Improve timetable

Click Generate timetable to start improving the current timetable. Automatic generator will find the best solution by rearranging cards in order to solve all constraints and avoid any conflicts. During the generation process, pinned cards won't be moved and if needed some cards can be ignored. Total generation progress is displayed in the window title as well as progress for specific categories: card conflicts, forbidden periods, class gaps, same day subjects, unwanted or mandatory periods, class and teacher warnings.

Automatic timetable generator in action

Automatic timetable generation

Generator tips & tricks

  • The recommended approach is first to generate a timetable without any constraints and then gradually add them.
  • The generator will always try to find a better solution no matter how hard the constraints are. If there is no progress for a 30 seconds or so, stop the generator and revise constraints or data.
  • Always follow basic timetabling rule: One school resource during one period can be scheduled in only one lesson, otherwise, there is a conflict. In some cases you need to add more than one group/class/teacher/room in the lesson, in order to resolve this. More in the blog post
  • Generator can ignore specific cards, e.g. lunch or teacher meetings. More about ignoring cards in the blog post
  • The pin Pin/unpin card can also help you ignore some errors and warnings. Just pin the problematic cards and notifications will disappear
  • Open notifications first, using notifier and keep it open while improving timetable. Read more about notifications and how to ignore some of them
  • All changes can be reverted by using Undo Undo tool and Redo Redo tool and there is also a history icon History which lets you see all previous changes and undo one or more actions.

Generator priority levels

Automatic generator is supposed to solve about thirty highly complex requirements. Since these are commonly conflicted and it is usually impossible to solve them all, priority levels have been introduced, which the generator manages in the following way: lower priority requirements will not be solved as long as there are unsolved higher priority requirements.

The problem is that the generator is not always capable of detecting that some requirements cannot be satisfied and will keep trying to solve them at all costs, perpetually working without progress, leaving the rest of the timetable in poor state. That's why it is necessary to prepare quality data in order to help the generator do its best. Notifications are an irreplaceable tool for this task. However, some of the oversights made while entering data cannot be seen even in the notifications. The problem can be solved only if you abide by the following rules:

  • Do not expect an instantly perfect timetable, because it is impossible to know beforehand whether such timetable is even possible
  • At first, set moderate requirements and let the generator automatically create the timetable
  • Only when you manage to get a valid timetable should you gradually increase the requirements and start the automatic improvement again.

The generator recognizes three levels of priority, each consisting of a number of individual requirements:

1 - Fatal error level

This group includes:

  • cards scheduled on forbidden positions
  • card conflicts
  • class gaps

As long as any of these errors exist, the generator will not be working on improving the rest of the timetable. Here are some typical beginner mistakes that should be avoided at all costs:

  • A teacher/class has so many forbidden periods that some cards must be placed on a forbidden position
  • There are more lessons you want to put in a room or assign to a teacher than the total number of periods in the timetable
  • Too many forbidden positions for a specific lesson and related resources

2 - Difficult warning level

Difficult warning level includes only one item: a subject appears in some class timetables more than once a day. You should make sure to enter as many subjects as really taught in the school and choose the right subject for each lesson.

3 - Warning level

There are over twenty different warnings that will often appear in notifications. The generator will solve them only when all other errors and warnings have been solved.

Notifications

Bell icon shows or hides the notification panel which lists all fatal errors and warnings. Notification number (in the bell's corner) shows the total number of errors or warnings and is updated along with all notifications upon any timetable change. For instance, you can drag and drop cards, improve the timetable, draw marks, undo/redo or make any other change and get instantly notified when errors and warnings are fixed or created.

Notification panel shows errors and warnings

Notification panel shows current errors and warnings

The timetable is valid if there are no notifications, which means that all entered requirements and constraints have been resolved. The red notification indicates that the timetable has a fatal error which needs to be fixed, whereas the blue one represents a warning.

When red or blue notifications are clicked, related flashing cells will appear in the master timetable view, making it easy to spot the problem.

Ignoring notifications

Although notification number can be hidden by unchecking Help > Options > Show Notification number, it is recommended to keep it visible and resolve displayed notifications. However, there might be situations when specific card conflicts and other errors and warnings should be ignored. One way to ignore such notifications is to pin related cards with Pin tool. In case of class/teacher window warning, you can mark window position as forbidden using Forbidden position marker. The system is smart enough to understand your intention and notifications will be removed.

The notification "subject appears more than once in a day" can be resolved by checking Manage > Subjects > Select specific subject > Edit > Allow subject to be taught more than once per day.

The notification "missing groups in the class(es)" can be resolved by unchecking Manage > Classes > Select specific class > Edit > Are gaps forbidden for groups.

Ignore resources

There is also an option to ignore specific subject, room, teacher or class, so they are completely excluded from notifications and timetable improvement process:

  • Set "-" (minus without quotes) as a short name for the item you want to ignore, for instance, set short name to "-" for Lunch subject or Gym room
  • Check Help > Options > Ignore items with short name set to "-"

That way, all card conflicts and other errors and warnings related to lunch or Gym room will be completely ignored and won't be automatically improved.

Print

Share

Share with others

Choose Share > Share with others to manage people who have access to school timetables. The following roles are available:

  • Owner
  • Creator
  • Viewer

The owner is a person who created the school account and has the highest privileges. The owner can add or delete other owners, creators or viewers. The creator can create and change timetables but can't manage, add or delete other people who have access. The viewer can only view timetables and is not allowed to move cards or save changes.

Timetable collaboration

Timetablers can collaborate on the same timetable and at the same time. All saved changes will be synchronized and merged across any device you or your colleagues might be using.

In the edge case when merging is not possible, e.g. timetablers have made different changes to the same resource at the same time and saved changes, the software uses "last save wins" concurrency model.

Publish to the Web

A teacher, class/group or student can have direct access to their timetable simply by bookmarking the web page which shows it. The published web page is accessible from any device, including phones and tablets, and is automatically updated when the timetable is saved. Furthermore, the page will automatically refresh within minutes to make sure the latest timetable changes have been delivered to all.

In order to publish a timetable and share it with others:

  • Choose Share > Publish to the Web
  • Click Publish to the Web

To stop publishing:

  • Choose Share > Publish to the Web
  • Click Unpublish

Customize published timetable

Choose Share > Publish to the Web to customize the published timetable:

  • Choose initially displayed master view
  • Choose a desired timetable skin
  • Choose time format: label or period number, 12-hour and 24-hour clock
  • Check whether switching view is allowed

When done, copy and share the provided link or visit the published web page.

The size of cards in the published page can be adjusted based on parameters in the link. For instance, this is the published page for Example 3 where cards are vertically zoomed in by 150% in both master and individual views.

Rotation of conflicts in the published page can be disabled by adding rotate=0 to the url.

Add timetable to the school website

The published timetable can be embedded into your school website using html code. Contact us if you are interested in this option.

Export

Export data to Excel/Sheets

  • In the plugin app open desired data grid
  • Make a selection
  • Press Ctrl or Cmd+C (copy keyboard shortcut)
  • Click on Microsoft Word/Excel or Google Docs/Sheets document and press Ctrl or Cmd+V (paste keyboard shortcut)

Save as local file

  • Choose Save as > Local File

Timetable will be downloaded to your disc as an JSON file which can be opened later.

Save as Html spreadsheet

In order to export timetable to the spreadsheet app:

  • Choose Save as > Html Spreadsheet
  • Open Html spreadsheet and select the whole timetable with the mouse
  • Right mouse click selection and choose Copy
  • Switch to Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets and right mouse click cell and choose Paste

Save as individual Html spreadsheet

  • Choose Save as > Individual Html Spreadsheet
  • Open Html spreadsheet and select the desired timetable(s) with the mouse
  • Right mouse click selection and choose Copy
  • Switch to Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets and right mouse click cell and choose Paste

Save as CSV file

  • Choose Save as > CSV file
  • Choose folder where you want to save CSV file
  • Click Save

The columns in the exported CSV file are: lesson number, class short name, teacher short name, subject short name, room(s) short name, day of the week and hour of the day. CSV file follows Smartschool specification.

Save as PDF

Any master or individual view can be saved as PDF. Export to PDF is built-in on Mac while printing. On Windows you need to install a PDF printer.

There is also an option to export the published web page to PDF using various free online tools. For instance, if your url to published timetable is this one: http://www.primetimetable.com/publish/?id=69e5bf8d-74a5-4984-b9a0-03d59c806a7d you can copy published url and paste it on this website http://pdfcrowd.com and it will convert the web page to PDF for free.

Save as image

To export current timetable view as an image:

  • In the plugin app choose Save as > Jpeg Document
  • Browse to local folder where image will be saved
  • Enter the name of image file
  • Click Save

Save as Xml

  • In the plugin app choose Save as > Xml Document
  • Browse to your local folder where file will be saved
  • Enter the name of Xml file
  • Click Save

Options

Application options

Choose Help > Options to customize the following application options:

Skin

Choose blue (default), red or green skin.

Save reminder

Set save reminder interval. Default value is 20 minutes.

Default view

Selected master view will be displayed when application starts.

Time format

Choose label or period number, 12-hour and 24-hour clock for displaying period intervals.

Preferred app

Choose between web and plugin app. The web app is recommended choice since it works everywhere and has more features. The plugin app can be used for older browsers and as desktop application on Mac and PC.

Rotate conflicted cards

Set whether or not conflicted cards should be rotated. This option is checked by default.

Show notification number

Set whether notification number in the top right corner should be shown or hidden.

Ignore items with short name set to "-"

Any subject, room, teacher or class with short name set to "-" will be completely excluded from notifications and timetable improvement process if this option is checked. For instance, set short name to "-" (minus without quotes) to Lunch subject or Gym room and all related notifications will be instantly removed.

Install Prime Timetable (plugin app only)

Click install Prime Timetable button to install software on your computer. You will get the newly installed program in Program Files and a new desktop icon. Starting Prime Timetable from your desktop allows you to access your timetables whenever you want with or without Internet connection.

Keyboard shortcuts

Key combination Action Key combination Action
Ctrl+O Open timetable Ctrl+S Save changes
Ctrl+Z Undo Ctrl+Y Redo
Esc Close window, drop marker/pin/sponge, revert from individual/print view F11 Toggle browser between full-screen and regular view
Ctrl+1,2,3,4 Switch to class, teacher, room or subject master view Ctrl+Alt+1,2,3,4 Show/hide class, teacher, room or subject extra view
Ctrl+,,Home,End Navigate through other individual views Ctrl+D Opens data window
Switch to left/right tab Select previous/next item
Home End Go to first/last item Type first letters Find and select item in the grid
+ Add new item Enter Edit selected item
Backspace or Delete Delete selected items Ctrl + click Multi selection of cards/items
Shift + click Range selection of cards/items Ctrl+A Select all items
Ctrl+C Copy selected cards to clipboard Ctrl+V Paste items from clipboard into grid
Ctrl+M Pick/drop marker Ctrl+. Pick/drop pin
Ctrl+Backspace Remove/delete selected cards Ctrl+N Show/hide notifications
Ctrl+Space Improve timetable Ctrl+Shift+Space Generate timetable from scratch
Ctrl+P Print timetable Ctrl+Shift+P Print individual timetables
Ctrl+Alt+P Publish to the Web Ctrl+U User's profile
Ctrl+Alt+O Application options F1 Open user guide

Troubleshooting

Resolve common issues

I am not allowed to save changes

  • Make sure that you are logged in first.
  • Your account might have expired and you need to update it. Check your license by choosing Owl > Help > About.

My account is locked and I am not allowed to log in

  • You have entered a wrong email while signing up. Provide us your valid email so you can continue working.
  • Your account might have been locked due to expiration and you need to update it.
  • You are abusing our terms of service, e.g. creating more than one free account.

I have some other issue