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Free seating chart software

For people like me who are too stingy to buy software (and particularly suspicious of sites which require a monthly fee for eternity), we're always on the lookout for freebies. One of the needs of choral directors is to make seating charts, and periodically there's a request on the forums for computer-based solutions to address this.
 
I use a Word clone to make charts, but a UK-based group, the Monday Mondays, decided to make their own, JavaScript-based one. It's free for anybody to use.
It's a little clunky, but hey, it's free.
 
Pros:
  • Reasonably intuitive to use: click on a name, then click where you want it to go (can't drag). Entering the names in the first place is kind of a pain, but that's true for any system. Fast.
  • Flexible section names (in case you have baritenors or other "transsectionals")
  • Switch two singers' seats easily (something hard to do in Word)
  • Move groups of singers at once (for example to add a singer in the middle)
  • Browser-based; print directly from browser (a mixed blessing)
  • Did I mention it's free?
 
Cons:
  • Can't save to file; you have to do a complicated workaround to save charts from one session to the next
  • Row width is limited to 15 seats (really?)
  • Name length limited to 10 characters
  • Fixed cell width (although you can change it manually)
  • Can't edit singer or section names within cell; have to create a new cell and discard the old one if you change somebody's section designation
Overall: might be helpful for some users, has a lot of potential for improvement. I'll stick with my Word clone (Apple's Pages) for now. I'll write to suggest to them that they might save the user's work in a cookie rather than the multi-step process they're using.
on February 4, 2012 6:34am
I've used MS Excel to do this for years. Cells in a spreadsheet are infinitly easier to work with than a word processer, and drag-n-drop capability is a must. Color coding is easy, rearranging is easy, printing, etc. Haven't found a simpler solution.
on February 4, 2012 9:07am
I also use Excel for this. In order to create "windows," I use two cells per singer and put a box around each singer's "chair." Then I stagger the "chairs" for each additional row, by starting with one blank cell on the left for the second row of seats.
on February 5, 2012 3:17am
Allen -
Sounds like it's pretty clunky.  This one's not perfect either, but I've been using it for the past 6 months - and it saves me a lot of time!
 
Ensemble Manager software has partnered with ACDA to offer every ACDA member access to the seating chart portion of its software package (which handles repertoire, personnel, and much more).  Just by being an ACDA member you get the seating chart portion of Ensemble Manager.  (ensemblemanager.com).  Any ACDA member can go to ACDA.org and find the deal - sign up for it there.
 
How do I know?  I facillitated the deal between ACDA and the company. 
 
It's what I see as a win-win-win situation. What's in it for you - a free seating chart module for you as an ACDA member.  What's in it for ACDA - a perk for members.  What's in it for the company?  A potential client base of around 20,000 new users (ACDA membership who try the Seating chart, like it, and subscribe to the full product.)
 
I am not affiliated with the company in any way - I'm the Pres.-elect of the NW division. . .
Gary
 
on February 5, 2012 1:09pm
I couldn't find this on the acda website — perhaps you could give a more specific URL?
on September 16, 2013 5:58pm
I couldn't find the link to the ensemblemanager seating chart on the ACDA website either.  Please advise!!!