To create your Theater Seating Chart in Excel, please use the template provided by the DonorView Support Team. It is critically important that the seating chart be set up exactly as established in the template. Any deviations will result in errors that will affect the appearance and ability to select the proper seats. Personal Coaching training sessions are available to assist you with developing your seating charts. Please contact support for more information about Personal Coaching.
The basis for a seating chart is a rectangle divided into rows and columns. All seats must fit into the rectangle, but not every box inside the rectangle must contain a seat.
The first step is identifying the row with the most seats in each section. This will establish the total number of columns that must be accounted for on the grid. In the example below, the back row, Row H, contains the most seats while the number of seats is decreased as you move towards the stage.
To visualize this map in the seating chart format, a grid is created with 8 rows – one for each A, B, C, D, E, F, G and H rows. Then 29 columns, one for each seat in Row H.
The boxes filled with gray are those seats that do not exist, but still must be accounted for in the grid. Once the seating map is uploaded and selected to be used with an event, you can hide those phantom seats so they are not visible or available for purchase.
The grid is just to help visualize which spaces will contain seats and can help you build the Excel spreadsheet for import. The template contains five columns: Section, Row Num, Location, Seat Num, and Info. The seats are identified by the Section, Row, and Seat Number. The Location and Info columns can be used to sort the grid and batch update seats with information like their availability, handicap accessibility or using subscription to purchase.
The Section name is important. The Event Page uses the Section to select seats for the event. You can include an image of the overall theater layout, but seat selection is made by choosing the section first. If there are multiple areas in the theater that use the same row names, for example Row A in the Orchestra Section and Row A in the Balcony, you must assign a separate section for each of those areas.
In the example above, just one section was created for the entire floor, however three sections could have been created instead with a Left, Center, and Right Section if desired.
The chart will import the seats in the order entered on the spreadsheet. You must maintain the convention of numbering Left to Right or Right to Left throughout all the sections and rows. On the Event Page you will be able to select whether the seats will be shown reading left to right or vice versa.
Note that you must also ensure there are no active rows without data in them prior to the upload. If there are blank rows that are active (they appear blank but actually contain a space in one of the fields), it will upload those as blank fields and cause errors. You can use the CTRL +END feature in Excel to take you to the last row of your data to ensure you do not have any rows with no data.
When the spreadsheet is ready to upload, go to Events > Seating Charts. Click on +New and select Import Seating Chart.
Select your file or drag and drop your file into the popup window to begin the import. Once complete, the file will be imported with the name “Imported Seating Chart.” You can rename the chart and assign handicap seats by selecting the new file and click on View/Edit.
You can edit the Seating Chart name and click on the green Save button to save the changes. You can also identify seats as handicap accessible. If you have identified those seats using the info column, you can quickly filter the list to find those seats. Click on the Edit icon on the left side of the row to edit the seat information. Switch Handicap to YES. Those seats will now be shown in blue on the Event Page to quickly identify them for the purchaser. Click the green Save button when all of your edits are complete.
The seating chart is now ready to be used for an Event Page. In this example, the image below is how the seating chart would appear on the Event Page. To get more creative with the seating depiction, see the article “How can I show aisles and other features on the seating chart?” To learn more about assigning pricing and availability on seating, see the article “Using Seating Charts for Events.”