Manual room selection

The Select rooms manually option in the Tools menu allows you to associate different rooms with each of the scheduled periods of an event. Note that the simplest approach to room allocation is to attach the room to the event either manually (using the Resource editor or Event editor) or automatically (using room optimisation) so the same room is used for all scheduled periods. You only need to select rooms manually if you do not want to, or cannot, for example, due to limited room capacity, use the same room for all periods of an event. In fact, you can only assign rooms to scheduled periods of events if those events do not have any rooms in their resource lists. The category used to identify rooms can be set in the box Category for rooms in Options|Timetables. By default, the resource category number is set to 3 but, if you have changed the resource categories, you should ensure it is set to the category number you use for rooms.

As an alternative to manually assigning rooms it is also possible to create a new event each time the room needs to be changed. The other resources remain the same in both the old and new events. This can be done easily using the Edit|Split (event) menu option in the Events view after you have scheduled, or tried to schedule, the event with a fixed room and found you needed to assign a different room for one or more periods for some reason.

The preconditions for an event for manually assigning rooms are the following:

  1. The event's resource list does not contain any rooms.
  2. The periods where manual rooms are to be assigned must already be scheduled.
  3. No other rooms have already been manually assigned to the selected periods.

You can assign rooms manually instantly also in Timetables view - the slots where this is enabled have the overstriked letter "m" in the bottom left of the slot. This is displayed when the event does not contain any rooms in its resource list and that you have selected to Show manual rooms in View|Cell display options in Timetables view. If a manual room is assigned to the event, the letter "m" is displayed instead (without overstike).

In this cell you have set the room manually:

In this cell you have not set the room manually:

Note that is very common that the list of resources of some events does not remain the same in each slot. For instance, in schools teachers have to be replaced or groups added in the course of an event. If also other resources need to be changed, or an event has more than one room, you can use the more general Edit|Split event selection in Events view, where all event resource variations can be easily managed without the need of rescheduling.

If the schedules of the events in timetables are changed after rooms have been assigned to events manually, manual room selections are not kept intact; therefore this tools should preferably be used after the schedules have been fixed.

The rooms that are manually associated with slots and events are active or visible only when printing the timetables, and this selection does not prevent changing any of the timetables, which are related to them. When this window is invoked, it always first checks the current manual assignments and clears those, which are not current anymore. Therefore, it is a good hint to check all the assignments in this window just before starting to print timetables (and after making the final changes to them).

Click the last column of the grid on the right to view the available rooms for the current slot-event combination and then click the List of available rooms on the bottom left to select the room with this particular event and slot combination. The timetable above this selection refers to the active event and week. Use the View resource timetables to inspect the timetables of associated resources.

Using manual rooms excessively may slow down the processing of the data and it is recommended to use this option moderately and as a workaround in situations where creating of event variations with different rooms is too cumbersome. You can also limit the use of manual rooms to selected weeks and selected event categories only. If you can use the same room in all slots of the event, it is always advisable to assign this room permanently to this event. If the event has many periods and almost all of them use the same room, it is meaningful to create one event with a fixed room for those periods and another event for the rest periods without a fixed room to be assigned manually.

Manual room selection is initially planned as a workaround and the total capacity of manual room selections is 10190 slots. When it is used as intended (to handle exceptions), it adds flexibility to room assignment, but when used for the most of the events, it may cause more problems than it solves. In an ideal case, as many periods as possible should have fixed rooms (rooms attached as resources).

You can use some or all of the tools below to gain more capacity for manual rooms. The number of all and used slots used can be seen on the caption line of the window.

    1. Click the Capacity button. This will be check if you can replace the manual rooms by fixed rooms (provided you have used the same room in all slots of each event). This functionality is explained in more detail below.

    2. Shrink the time range specified in First included week: and Last included week: to clear the slots that are not currently active. For instance, you can increase the First included week to the week number that precedes the current week, since the past room assignments are in most cases not relevant today.

    3. Click the Include event categories button. This enables to exclude events on category level which are not going to be assigned to any room. For instance, you may have scheduled "Field work" events and attached teacher(s) and student(s) to them, but you are not going to attach any room for those special events. Since Mimosa does not know that, these events would be otherwise listed here as well. Uncheck those event categories you do not want to include, since they are otherwise automatically listed in this view. You may need to change the categories of some events afterwards, if you have not planned to use this tool beforehand.

Right-click to show the menu which enables you to perform various operations with the active event and room selection. They allow to let Mimosa try to copy current room assignments to other slots and save time from manual assignments.

  • Clear current room clears the current room selection from the selected slot ([Del]).
  • Copy this room to ...

  • All slots of this event in the same time on other weeks copies the current room selection to all slots of this event to other weeks, but in the same time where the current room was assigned.
  • Free slots of this event copies the current room selection to all free slots of this event.
  • All slots of this event copies the current room selection to all slots of this event. This selection does not require that the slots are initially free.
  • Free slots of all events copies the current room selection to all free slots of all events.

    Imitate current room selections is a generalisation of Copy this room to ...|Free slots of this event above for several events. In this case, all available room copy options are automatically searched for and you can select which rooms are copied.

You can also alternatively select rooms manually in Timetables view, using the selection "Edit|Select rooms manually" or the shortcut [Ctrl+R]. In this view, slots enabling to use manually selected rooms are marked with "m".

Selections in this view:

Clear

This button displays a pop-up menu containing four selections to clear the event-slot-room assignments with varying selection criteria:

  • Clear current room clears the current room selection from the selected slot ([Del]).
  • Clear all rooms of this event clears rooms from all slots of the current event.
  • Clear all rooms from this week clears rooms from all slots and events of the current week.
  • Clear all rooms clears rooms from all slots of all weeks and events.

Imitate

You can copy the current room assignments to all empty slots of the same event, "imitating" the previous room selections you have made. This selection is based on the assumption that if a certain room selection is suitable for one slot of the event, it is equally suitable for other slots as well. After one or several rooms has been assigned, you can let Mimosa to automatically assign them also to other available slots of the same event.

For example, you select an event "Transport systems" and assign two slots to rooms "202" and "205". If you accept that these two rooms (if they are available) can be used for all other free slots of this event, you can invoke Imitate and then check how many of the slots you can fill automatically with this tool.

With this tool you can speed up room assignment considerably, since you can assign only some selected periods to their rooms and then let the application make similar kind of assignments to other empty slots, provided you have done a similar assignment before. When you click the Imitate button, the used event and room combinations are shown:

You can next deselect from this list those combinations that you do not allow to use. When you click [OK], Mimosa attempts to assign these previously selected rooms to the free slots of the events which are checked. After this process, the number of the assigned periods are displayed.

You can then select [Yes] to display the list of the slots which have not been assigned to any rooms:

The items on this list are ordered by time or by event code, depending on the sort order you have selected by clicking the first row in the "List of all room slots" grid. You can copy the lists to the Clipboard with the [Copy] button.

Capacity

This button shows the used capacity of room selections in this view. The maximum capacity is 10921 selections. Click this option to view if there are any changes to replace manual rooms by a fixed room in order to simplify your room assignment task. If you have used the same manually assigned room for some event, you are suggested to replace it by a fixed room (if it is possible) and remove the event from this list. If you have used the capacity excessively, you are also prompted to reduce the number of manually selected rooms. In this case the gauge on the bottom of the screen is (which measures the number of manually selected rooms) is coloured red instead of blue.

The application starts to search for events to be eliminated from this list. If an event of this kind is found, you are prompted to accept the room replacement (answer [Yes]), or search for the next one (answer [No]). If you want to stop the process, click [Cancel] and if you accept all replacements found, click [All].

When no replacements have been found or you cancel the process, the number of new and old items plus the number of reduced items is displayed:

Info

Displays the information of the current event in tree form, see Event info.

Copy

Click this button to copy the table of manual rooms to the Clipboard with the following column titles:

  • Week (numeric)
  • Day of the week (three first letters)
  • Time period (numeric)
  • Event code
  • Room code

When you have pasted this table on your spreadsheet application, you can then edit the assignments and add new columns for alternative rooms. Note that numbers are used instead of week names and time period labels, because of the possible automatic formatting of the spreadsheet application.

If you select to also copy all available rooms (expanded list), you will also have the list of all available rooms next to the current room column. When pasting the list of rooms back to the application, you can select from them those rooms that are appropriate.

Paste

Click this button to paste the table you have created above with possible additional columns for room alternatives. All cells are checked for compatibility with the existing data and they are pasted row by row until a feasible room is found, if any. If no room is found, the previous value of the table is kept.

Of event the simplest way is to create the table with this selection, and then modify the room column and possible adding new columns, without changing the first four columns, as in the example below:

On the second row, first the room R237 is attempted to assign, and if it fails, then room R203 is attempted and then finally room R111.

The capacity for manual room assignments is approximately 10,000 slots, which might appear restricted in large institutions. Therefore, manual rooms are recommended to be used only in cases, where assigning of rooms in normal way is difficult.

If more than one week is to be scheduled, it is possible to restrict the selected manual rooms by selecting the first and last week. Changing the week range clears all manual room assignments outside the selected week range and more capacity is freed for the weeks that are in the current scope and it is easier to find the slots that are of interest. For instance, it is not normally necessary to assign rooms manually for slots that are already history.

When you click the List of available rooms, the timetable above is that of the current room and that room is assigned to the active event. When you click the slot-course-room assignment grid on the right, the active timetable is that of the active event (and week selected).

You can sort the list on the right by clicking the topmost (title) row of the appropriate column. The sorting criteria is either time, event or room, and the current sorting order is emphasized.