Introduction to Changes
The Changes module introduces a two-layer timetabling scheme. Essentially this means that for each date in the calendar there are two timetables: one which is pre-planned in advance, and one which is the actual one that takes place in real life.
If your institution is in fact interested in keeping track of the "planned vs. actual" schedules, you will find the Changes module incredibly useful because it allows making and tracking daily changes very easy and comfortable. The interactive tools and methodologies, to which you are used by now in the timetable creation phase, e.g. drag and drop, conflict resolution, combinations etc. are all available in the Changes mode as well.
To access the Changes mode, just click on the "Changes" button at the bottom right corner of the screen.
The only thing that you will notice if this is the first time that you are entering this mode, is that the day names at the top of the timetable you are viewing will switch to calendar dates of the current week.
Now, the principle is simple – everything that you could do in the "Interactive" mode, you can do in the "Changes" mode. And the way you do it is also the same. Same toolbars, same menus, same features.
Changes vs. Interactive
The only difference will become apparent once you do something. For example, try deleting a cell. If you do, you will see that besides the cell becoming empty, a red stripe will appear at the left side of the deleted cell.
The stripe signifies that the original cell and the current cell are not the same, i.e. a change has been made. The red color of the stripe signifies that the original cell has been deleted. The other possibilities are green and yellow. A green stripe means that the original cell was empty and the change has scheduled a new cell instead of the empty cell.
A yellow stripe means that there has been some other kind of change – either a different activity was scheduled instead of an originally planned activity, or some aspect of the original activity has been modified (for example, the activity has been moved to a different room).
There is actually another subtle difference between the Interactive and Changes modes. It's quite simple – in the Changes mode, you can edit any cell's property inside the Properties pane. To remind you, in the Interactive state, properties of a cell which belong to the activity (such as the subject of an activity) cannot be edited on a cell-to-cell basis (unless the activity's property was left blank of course). In the Changes mode, however, you are free to modify any aspect of any scheduled cell. This modification will be applied only to the date that you made it for. The occurrence of the same activity one calendar week later, for example, will not be affected by a change you made to it one week earlier.
Planned Generic Days
Notice how each generic day in the Resources entry window has a property "Weekday". This property's sole purpose is to help the program know which generic day should be used as the "layer-1" base schedule in the Changes mode. If you only have one week of generic days, there is no problem because the days are recurring each week. If, however, you have more than one week of generic days, the program may not know precisely which generic week should be associated with which calendar week. After all, you may have two generic Wednesdays and the program needs to know which one is the one to use as the base planned schedule for January 1st 2020.
To resolve this ambiguity, the Properties pane in the Changes mode has an additional property which appears when you select any time range in the schedule. It is called "Day (Planned)". If you select any time range on January 1st 2020, for example, and look in the Properties pane, you will see that you can select any of your generic days in this property. This property simply defines which generic day will be used as the base schedule for all activities on that calendar date. It does not matter in which resource's schedule you make this selection – it applies automatically for all resources on that date and you need to make it only once.
Very similarly to the Conflicts pane, the Changes pane sums up all the existing changes in the schedule. Each change is shown in a separate row.
Each row has 4 columns: Change, Day, Time and Resources. The "Change" column specifies one of 3 types of changes: "Deleted", "Added" or "Changed". This depicts the nature of the change – whether it is a cancelled activity, a newly scheduled activity or a modified activity. The "Day" and "Time" columns contain the weekday, date and time of the change. The "Resources" column specifies the involved resource. Note that if there are multiple resources affected by a change, each resource will have a separate row in the Changes pane. If you double click a row, the program will take you to the schedule of the resource whose change you double clicked on, and also highlight the changed cell.
Above the list of changes are a toolbar and a line of tabs. They are all used to filter the list of changes. At the left side of the toolbar is a button which filters the type of changes you would like to see. These are the 3 types as explained above: "Deleted", "Added" and "Changed". You can select or deselect them using the check boxes at the left side of each type. By default, all are selected.
The following 6 buttons are used to select the type of resource for which to display the changes. Only one type can be selected at a time.
The line of tabs above the toolbar has two additional filters.
The first allows you to narrow down the list to only the changes that belong to the resource whose schedule you currently see on screen (as selected in the navigation pane above the schedule). To apply this filter, just click on the second tab (the one to the right of the tab which says "All"). If you select a different resource in the navigation pane, the list of changes will be automatically updated to reflect the changes of the newly selected resource. The last tab is the "day and time" filter. If corresponds to the current time range selection in the schedule. When you select any time range in the main schedule, this tab will show the day and time you selected, and if you click on it, it will narrow down the list of changes to only the changes that intersect the selected range. This tab can be deselected if you click on it again.