User Interface Basics


Clicking on a link displays another page or a box. These conventions apply:

A phrase that is a link switches to a black background and white text if you hover the mouse pointer over it.

The Top-of-page Menus

The top-center menus and their MORE sub-menus provide commands for designing the current event (e.g. Make Signup Schedule), for managing its signups (e.g. See/Do Signups), and for sharing info (e.g. Email Announcement). Also if a command works on the current event or makes use of it (like Email Announcement does for its TO-list options), there is a set-current-event menu above the top-center menus.

Additionally on the top right:

Dropdown Menus

Dropdown menus () are mainly used in 2 ways.

  1. In forms, you use them to choose input values.
  2. When they are right on pages, they perform actions. For example, on many admin pages there is a dropdown menu to change the current event.

How to use them:

Dynamic Menus

A dynamic menu is used for selecting from potentially large lists, in particular people. In appearance, it is a text box followed by a bluish down-arrow icon: .

When you do not know the name you want, click on the down-arrow to display the list's first 50 items. If you know the name you want, simply start to enter it — only the names matching what you typed will be displayed. Usually entering 3 or 4 letters narrows the menu to a small list.

As with a regular dropdown menu, you select a menu item by clicking on it or arrowing to it. As with a text field, ctrl-Z undoes edits so far. (Note that ESC does that too, and also ends editing mode).

Match vs. Phonebook View, and Phonebook Order

Match View applies when you enter something (except 1 capital letter) and simply means displaying all the names (up to 30 at a time) that match what you typed.

A phonebook is all the names of some sort of thing. Phonebook View means 50 consecutive names of a menu's phonebook: The A's and forward if you click on the menu's down-arrow icon; the entered LETTER and forward if you enter a single capital letter.

Both views present menu items in Phonebook order: people are sorted by last name, and other things are sorted by 1st part of name.

Ways You Can Identify a Person

A registered person can be identified by first name, last name, some of both, or email address. You can enter some of both using either first last style or last, first style.

If you enter only letters, multiple name-parts might match. For example, if you enter JOH in a person menu, it will match Joh* * and * Joh* (i.e. everyone whose 1st name starts with Joh and everyone whose last name starts with Joh).

Ways You Can Identify Other Things

This depends on what the menu is for:


Any name part you enter has a * appended to it. In other words, entering s is equivalent to entering s*.

An entered name may also include explict wildcarding. For example:

Special Menu Items

Some dynamic menus include special menu items.

Admin Home Event List and Event Dynamic Menus

You control the events listed on Admin Home via the List line's radio buttons:

As with any dynamic menu, you enter characters in its text field when you want you reduce the size of its menu. For events, the basic rule is: what you enter will match any phrase in an event name. For example, if some of your event names include "Book Sale", entering b or s would match such events. Conversely if that still matched too many events, you could continue typing (say "book sa") to further reduce the number of matches.

Event dynamic menus are special in that the starting menu may not be all events. In the example above for instance, the starting menu was Development Events. To both refine what matches and/or match events not in the starting menu, you can:

Entering Field Values in a Form

Optional vs. Required Fields

If a field is required, an asterisk (*) is appended to the field's name.

Entering Dates

M/D/Y, Y-M-D, and Month Day, Year are all accepted. If a year is omitted, it is defaulted. In the context of an event, it is set from the event's start date. Otherwise it is set to the current year. If only two year-digits are supplied, 20 is prepended. For example (during 2000), 1/25 and 00-1-25 and Jan 25 and January 25, 2000 are all the same date.

Entering Times

Hour:Min and Hour are both okay. For example, both 8am and 8:00AM mean 8 o'clock in the morning. 24-hour clock times are also accepted; that is, 23:00 is the same as 11PM.

When both AM and PM are omitted, PM is assumed. However if AM can be inferred, it will be (e.g. 11-1 is treated as 11AM-1PM). When AM or PM is entered, it can be either upper or lower case, but just A or P is not accepted.

Special cases:

When creating a schedule item whose activity does not yet exist, the time-info you enter controls the type that the new activity is given.

Creating Links to Web Pages

Insert Link to: a web address

You can put a link to a web address into an email message, forum message, or description field. A user will see link text underlined, and a click on this goes to the specified web address. But in the edit box, you will see LINK(link text=web address). For example, LINK(Example PRESTO would lead to a user seeing Example PRESTO site.


  1. Entering no link text is okay. This generates LINK(=web address) — which is equivalent to LINK(web address=web address).
  2. The actual link automatically contains http:// if the web address does not contain protocol://
  3. The web address may contain a ? and arguments.
  4. To un-insert a LINK(...), manually delete it like any other text. If you ever manually insert LINK(...), note that the LINK must be all caps.
  5. If a group's About Us contains only a link, a click on About Us will itself display the web page you identified (rather than a little box containing the link). This save-a-click feature also applies to activity descriptions and event instructions. Also since link text is not applicable in this situation, you should leave it blank.

Insert Link to: your group's home page (Email only)

When you insert a link to your group's home page (i.e. Self-Signup Home), you create a login-able link. Login-able links work as follows:

Event announcements should include a home-page link as a matter of course. More generally, whenever a user might want to use PRESTO as a result of a message (e.g. cancel a signup after receiving a signup reminder or signup confirmation), it is a good idea to include a home-page link in the message.

Directly Entering a Link

You can also insert a web link by entering a simple full web address. For example, if you typed into an announcement, would be what each recipient would see when the message arrived.

If you create something containing HTML, rather than just plain-text, you can also encode links in the usual HTML way. For example, the HTML for the link above is:
<a href=""></a>.