Top-Down Initial Setup 

Before anything else:

  1. Click on the Guided Tour and UI Basics links.
  2. Decide your group's security policies. Then use Configure Group to setup your password, privilege-level, and self-registration policies.

Populate your people database:

  1. Read this overview.
  2. Customize your registration form as desired.
  3. If you are going to use Import People, specify privilege levels in the import file as desired.
  4. Use Import People and/or use admin-Register Person and/or solicit self-registrations.

When you run your first event:

  1. Use Create Event to get going.
  2. Then do the Running-an-Event checklist.

    (Some of its items will be real quick if you can base your new event on a sample event).

Make your website public (optional*):

  1. Use Configure Group to setup the page trim you want (e.g. your group logo).
  2. Tell people how to access your site.

*This becomes required if you decide to allow people to self-register, do self-signups, view event schedules, or view signups done on their behalf.

Running-an-Event checklist 

Build a signup procedure:

  1. Review these design considerations.
  2. Click on Make Signup Schedule. Then create the event's signup schedule(s). As part of this (or from Manage Activities), create the activities people can signup for.
  3. If you have info you want people to supply when they signup, use Make Signup Form to create and update a form for entering this data.
  4. Click on Setup Auto-Messages. Then specify which actions send a confirmation message to the affected person. If desired, customize the auto-messages themselves.

Setup desired info sharing:

  1. If you want to provide instructions on the event's self-signup page, enter them on the Update Event Properties page.
  2. If you want to provide people the big picture of what goes on at your event, use Make Event Synopsis.
  3. If you want reports about the signups you get, create them using Make/Output Report.

Solicit and manage signups:

  1. If/when you want to allow self-signups, set the event's web stage to Published.
  2. Announce your event, as described here. If desired, save a draft for later use.
  3. Later, use Email Announcement to send everyone a reminder (or use it to schedule automatic reminders).

When the event is over:

  1. If desired, use Email Announcement to send Thank You notes to everyone who helped out.
  2. Update event's Web Stage when/if desired.

PRESTO's Factory Settings

Group Configuration:

Registration from:


Populating Your People Database

Initially there are no people in your database. You need to populate your database because only registered people can be signed up. It is also what enables people to login.

If your group has a computerized list of past volunteers or the like, you can use Import People to get this list into PRESTO all at once. For other people, you and/or the people themselves will have to do Register Person commands to enter this data.

Either way, beforehand you need to think about privileges, your registration form, and the Roles registration field; and afterwards, you need to tell your users about your PRESTO website.

Importing Non-default Privileges

Suppose you are planning to do an Import. Suppose further you know who in the import file should get an initial privilege level different than the one setup in Configure Group. If so, you might want to set their privilege levels within the import file so that you do not have to do Update Person commands afterwards.

Customizing your Registration Form

Before you populate your database, you need to decide if you want to customize your registration form. You might want to:

You use Customize Registration Form to make these changes. However if you are planning on doing an Import that includes your group-specific fields, you can save a little work by doing the Import 1st — because it will do the Adds for you.

Using the Roles field

Roles enable you to selectively deal with people in your database. For example, you might want to send an announcement to just the people with some role. Additionally there are some PRESTO features that rely on roles. Either way, it would be a good idea to decide what roles you want to use before you populate your people database.

Note: the Roles field is turned off in new groups. If you plan to use roles, you must go to the Customize Registration page and do an Add Field command with Field Name set to "roles".

Pre-defined Roles

These are: inactive, guest, and sponsor. The inactive role causes a login attempt to fail with a "Logins-not-allowed" message.

The guest role must be a person's only role. The sponsor role must be a person's first role. (Otherwise they are treated as normal roles and have no special meaning). The signup of such a person is highlighted with a bluish color in the admin UI.

The guest role means the person is a "limited member". The side-effects of this are:

The sponsor role allows one to do "anonymous signups" on behalf of others. That is, a sponsor can be signed up for overlapping schedule items or multiple times for the same item. A sponsor signup can later be given to another person, by displaying the spot's signup form and filling in the Give Spot to field.

A member with this role might be a pseudo-person (like the WeHelp organization) or a real person. Either way, you are trusting the sponsor to really "deliver" the number of people she signed up. (So it is okay for a real-person sponsor to "keep" 1 signup for herself).

When a sponsor uses the self-signup UI, the signup button never goes away and her signups are shown below it. Conversely if you do not want sponsor self-signups (or give-to's), simply leave the email address blank in the sponsor's registration form.

Examples of sponsor usage:

Orienting New People

Just as you told all your current people how to access your group when it got started (see below), you probably want to give each future registrant the same sort of info.

You can automate this if desired:

There are 3 cases for category:

Conditional Activities

A conditional activity will be included on a person's self-signup page only if the person's registration info contains a role with the same spelling as that activity's Base Name. For details, click here.

Announcing your PRESTO website and/or an Event

It is important to recognize that you are providing a new user interface for your people. It may be a simple interface, but you still need to get them started. Also it is a good idea to test out your instructions on a small group of people before you make a general announcement. Last but not least, you might find that saving drafts of your announcements will save you time in the long run.

Note that your needs will probably change over time. For your first event, your message might contain both website and event instructions. Then depending on how far apart in time your events are, your later event announcements might omit more or less detail.

The sections below discuss generally the things you must cover. You of course may need to include instructions that are specific to your group. The annotated example below will hopefully give you a sense of the extra things you might want to include.

Finally after your group is up and running, occasionally a new person will register. So you ought to send her an analogous message to what is described below. See here for how to automate doing this.

Announcing a Website whose People Database is Already Populated

To do this:

Example Login instructions, and personalization for user whose Basic/Auto password=3579:

Go to LINK( If you need to login, enter !p.password! and click on the Login button.

Go to If you need to login, enter 3579 and click on the Login button.


Go to If you need to login, enter the password you created and click on the Login button.

depending on whether this user has since created her own password.

Announcing a Website While Relying on Self-Registration

This approach is mostly of interest to groups that are not in a position to pre-register their current contact list using Import People.

Via whatever mediums you wish to use (e.g. your regular email client), send a message to your current contact list that includes at least the following:

Announcing an Event

Click on Email Announcement and follow the instructions above for setting the From, Reply-to, and To fields.

If you are allowing self-signups:

If you are only doing admin-signups or allowing that as well, you will need to:

Either way, if you have setup automatic confirmation messages, you might want to mention that.

Annotated Example (of announcing your website and telling already-registered people how to do signups)

(As noted in the message, some of the bullets below may not apply to your group. Similarly you may want to provide fewer or more how-to details than are shown here).

You can reserve courts, see your upcoming reservations, and cancel courts 24x7 by logging into our new PRESTO website. You can also still call the club.

To access PRESTO and login:

To reserve a court:

To cancel a court:

Automatic email messages:

Using temporary schedule views:

Event Design

To design the web pages for your event, you need to make choices on how to present it to people. For example, you might want to create two PRESTO events to describe your overall event if you put it on over two weekends.

[Always under construction -- more ideas appreciated]

Planning Exercises

The classic event involves people being someplace for some number of days. Accordingly the schedules for such events contain on-site activities.

Sometimes though, you are actually doing a planning exercise. For example, you want people to fill out a questionnaire, and you want this info by some date. In this case, you should create planning activities whose type is Questionnaire, rather than on-site activities.

Questionnaire Style

You can create empty questionnaires and use the signing-up or not as the answer to a question. However it is more flexible to have a questionnaire activity whose signup form has multiple questions. For example, suppose you are asking Election Officers about re-appointment and whether they can work at the November election. A form with these 3 fields is one way of doing it:

Field NameField Type
Interested in Re-appointment?2-item menu (Yes, No)
Time preference?4-item menu (Morning, Afternoon, Neither, Don't care)
Comments?Multi-line text field

An Event is more than a Schedule

Designing your web pages is only part of the job. You also need to consider the overall flow of things. In particular, different kinds of events have different communication needs. For example, for a book sale, a please-sign-up announcement and a signup-reminder announcement might meet your needs. But for a party, you might want to send out a Who's Coming announcement to everyone before the party.