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Creating a Layout Overlay

Billy Fluck
Billy Fluck
  • Updated

This article is an extension of the Introduction to Seating Plan Overlays.

Layout Overlays for reserved seating plans are a combination of masked seats and a background image, making a unique rendering of your original seating plan.

Masked seats will be removed from the plan, making them invisible both online and in the Sales Interface, and will not be available for sale. The background image usually contains t he stage, row letters, and area borders. This may therefore need to change whenever you mask seats.

For unreserved seating plans, you can use a Layout Overlay to mask seats to take them off sale.

In this article, we'll cover:

Creating a new Layout Overlay

In Admin > Seating > Seating Plans, select the seating plan you wish to create a new Layout Overlay for:

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From here, a new screen will open with the following options listed across the top: Details, Seat Attributes, View From Seat, Layouts, Price Bands, Locks, Info, and Best Available. Select Layouts, then click New to create a new Layout Overlay:

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You'll first name your new Layout Overlay; bear in mind that this name is only visible in the Admin Interface, so feel free to be as descriptive as needed.

Click OK and your new Layout Overlay's name will now be listed in the left-hand pane and selected in dark green. Click the Edit button to make changes:

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Masking seats

You can mask seats on both reserved and unreserved seating plans.

Reserved seating plans

To mask seats on a reserved seating plan, you can either cli ck them individually or, if you want to select blocks of seats at once, do the following:

  • Hold the Shift key on your keyboard, and click two seats on the same row; any seats in between will also be selected

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  • Choose Rectangle Mode from the top left of the plan (for seats that are in a straight line) and click and drag to select all seats under the rectangle
  • Choose Paint Mode (for seats that are on a curve) and click and drag your cursor to 'paint' over the seats that you want to select

If you need to mask further seats to those selected, hold the Shift key and click/click and drag.

Any masked seats will appear here as a red X; in the Sales Interface and online, however, these seats will be invisible: 

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NOTE: if your plan has multiple areas, you can select each area (e.g. Stalls, Circle, Balcony) from the dropdown list in the top left-hand corner and mask seats within them as necessary:

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From here, you can either click Save or, if you also need to update the background image for that area, follow the instructions laid out in the earlier part of this article to do so.

Unreserved seating plans

For unreserved seating plans, you can simply enter the number of seats you want to mask in this Layout Overlay:

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Once you've entered this number, click Save.

Updating the background image

It's likely that, when you mask seats, you'll also need to update your background image to reflect these changes.  For example, let's say production requires a thrust stage, taking out the front row of seats; you'll mask your front row and take it entirely off sale, then  upload a new version of the background image to reflect the stage position and remove the row letter for the masked front row:

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You can use any picture editing software to create, or make changes to, the background image for your seating plan. If you want to use the current image as a template, right click over the background and select Save as... to save the image to your computer. Once saved, you can open and edit it in any picture editing software.

NOTE: you can make the canvas size larger (i.e. to add further detail to the edges of your plan); however, the size of the seats will remain the same, so you can't change the size of any part of the image that outlines the seating plan, such as row letters, circle borders, etc.

Once you've created or edited your background image, click Upload Image:

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NOTE: you can upload a background image as either a JPG, JPEG, GIF or PNG file.

From here, you just need to browse to the file's location on your computer, click to select it and upload. Once uploaded, you can drag and drop the background image to get the best fit by clicking the Move button and dragging the image to its new location.

Editing a Layout Overlay 

You can change the Layout Overlay for any Instances that are already on sale; there are a few ways in which you can do this, depending on where else the Layout Overlay is being used, and if your changes will affect all or only some of these Instances. 

Updating a Layout Overlay at the global level

You can update a Layout Overlay at the global level, changing it for use going forward and against all (or some) of the Instances currently using it.

  • Head to Admin > Seating > Seating Plans and select the seating plan in question
  • Click Layouts from the options listed at the top
  • Select the Layout Overlay you wish to edit, then click Edit and mask off seats and/or change the background as required
  • Click Save and a pop-up will appear:

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  • Select the appropriate option, click OK and the bulk update will start

NOTE: if you select None or choose to only update selected Instances, any Instances that you've chosen not to update will now have a 'custom' Layout Overlay that reflects the original version.

Updating a Layout Overlay at the Instance level

It might be the case that you don't want to make a global change to a Layout Overlay, but simply need to change it for a particular Instance.

If you need to make changes to the Layout Overlay for a particular Instance but don't want to make changes to the original version:

  • In Admin > Events, select the Event
  • In the Instances tab, select the Instance you wish to edit
  • In the Seating Plan tab, click Edit in the bottom right corner
  • In the Layout Overlay dropdown, select Custom:

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  • In the pop-up that appears, mask off seats and/or change the background as required, then click Save:

Alternatively, you can create an entirely new Layout Overlay, either starting from scratch as before or copying an existing one, and apply this to an Instance. To copy a Layout Overlay, click the down arrow next to its name and select Copy:

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This copy will be named as the original Layout Overlay name plus - Copy:

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NOTE: if it's not the first time you’ve copied a particular Layout Overlay, the new one will have - Copy (number) appended to its name.

You can rename your copied Layout Overlay by clicking the down arrow and selecting Rename.

Make a note of your new Layout Overlay's name and then:

  • In Admin > Events, select the Event
  • In the Instances tab, select the Instance you wish to edit
  • In the Seating Plan tab, click Edit in the bottom right corner
  • In the Layout Overlay dropdown, select the new Layout Overlay you've created, then click Save

You could also use the Bulk Instance Update tool to change the Layout Overlay of a number of Instances at once.

NOTE: if changing the Layout Overlay leads to seats that have already been sold becoming masked, you'll see this message:

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Whilst this won't affect the sold status of those seats, it will mean that, if the tickets are returned, the seats will remain masked/not go back on sale.

Further reading

Hopefully this article has given you all you need to know in order to set up your Layout Overlays. Next, you'll want to read our article on Price Band Overlays, or return to the Introduction to Seating Plan Overlays.

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If you still have questions about Layout Overlays, or if you would like to discuss anything related to seating plans, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Spektrix Support team.

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