Helios Calendar for Omni CMS
Helios End of SupportLink to this section
On March 29th, 2024, we will end support for the Helios calendar. End of support means that we will no longer resolve bug fixes, security updates, or any form of troubleshooting from the help desk. We will also not be able to help with any solutions that integrate with calendar feeds, such as showing events on your homepage.
Contact your account manager or reach out to the help desk to start a discussion about transitioning to the new CMS calendar. This will ensure that your website visitors can continue to benefit from an enhanced and comprehensive calendar experience.
The Helios calendar for Omni CMS displays an interactive calendar on one of your website pages, using your website styling. The calendar uses PHP and MySQL for its database and is installed on the production server (IIS and Apache supported).
This calendar has a separate administrator log-in and interface from Omni CMS. From this interface you can create events, categories, and locations, connect your calendar to social media, and more.
Create CategoriesLink to this section
Categories are used to sort and filter events, and must be created before you start adding events, so categories are available during the event creation process. Categories can also be nested (for example the broad "Arts" category can contain the subcategories of "Theater," "Visual Arts," and "Music.")
To add a category:
- Hover over the Events menu in the top bar.
- Select Categories > Category Management.
- Under "Add Category," type the name of the category.
- If you want to nest it under an existing category, select the parent category from the dropdown.
- Click "Save Category."
Editing a category allows you to change the name and parent. Deleting a category removes that specification from any events that have it, orphaning them.
Create LocationsLink to this section
Like categories, locations are set up before adding events, and are then selected when creating a new event. The new event form has fields for filling out an address, but a location created in calendar has additional options for data that automatically load into the event when the location is added.
To create a new location:
- Hover over the Locations menu in the top bar.
- Select Edit Locations > Add Location.
- Fill out the location details. This includes the location name and any description you want to add.
- A location can also be set to "Public" or "Admin only" (controlling whether or not public users can pick the location when submitting an event).
- Fill out the address of the location.
- Enter contact information, if applicable.
- You can also add the location to your Eventbrite calendar and get a short URL.
- Select Save Location.
Select Merge Locations to search for the locations you wish to combine. When merging locations, choose one, and any events using the other locations are assigned to the selected location.
Add and Manage EventsLink to this section
Events can be created from the admin interface.
To create a new event:
- Hover over the Events menu in the top bar.
- Select Edit Events > Add Event.
- Fill out the event details. This includes the name of the event and any description.
- Though a cost can be stated, this doesn't affect actual ticketing.
- Set the date and time of the event.
- Checking the "Override Times" box removes the start and end times from the event. You can then either select "All Day Event" or "Event Times to Be Announced”
- Choose the registration method.
- Limit: The maximum number of attendees who can register. Enter "0" for unlimited registration.
- Allow Between: The date range that attendees can submit their registration.
- RSVP Type: Choose between attendees registering for the individual event or for an entire series.
- Email Notices: Can be turned on or off.
- Under "Settings," you can set up how the event is displayed, including whether it is featured (granting it more prominent styling) and which categories it belongs to.
- Multiple categories can be selected. When picking child categories, make sure to pick the parent as well, or else the event won't display.
- Enter location information. If you type the name of an existing location, choosing it automatically fills out the location data.
- Enter contact information for the event.
- API publishing options lets you publish the event to other accounts you configured with your calendar, such as Twitter and Facebook.
- Save the event. It now appears on the calendar.
To edit an existing event:
- Hover over the Events menu in the top bar.
- Select Edit Events > Edit Event.
- Search for the event you want to edit. Selecting a category is required.
- Choose your event from the search results.
- The screen shown has the same options as creating a new event. Make and save the necessary changes.
Events in a search result can also be bulk edited. When editing events as a group, the event information screen for the first event is brought up. Any edits made to that event are automatically applied to the others selected.
Events can be recycled and deleted. Recycling an event creates a new event based on the information of the event being recycled, without affecting the original event. Deleting an event permanently removes it from the calendar, with no way to restore it.
Billboard events are displayed more prominently on the home page; once a Billboard event has occurred, it is removed from the display and the next Billboard event shown in its place. Selecting "Billboard Events" from the menu brings you to a listing of all events on the billboard; they can either be edited or removed from the billboard.
Orphan events are those that are not assigned to at least one category or have no location information. Selecting the "Orphan Events" option from the menu brings you to a listing of any orphaned events; they can be edited, deleted from the calendar, or selected and mass-deleted.
An event that occurs on multiple dates (whether it is a recurring event, multi-day event, or multiple date event) is called an event series. An event series consists of multiple individual event records that are closely related and have been identified by an admin as such.
Selecting "Create Series" brings up the event search page. From the search results, select the events you wish to group together, and select Create Event Series. Those events are considered a series, and can be edited as a group.
Note: If an event is already in a series, adding it to another series removes it from the previous series.
Submitting EventsLink to this section
Visitors to the calendar on your website can also submit events, which then need approval to be added to the calendar. These submissions can be managed, including turning them off entirely, from Settings > Preference > Public Event Submission.
To submit an event from the public calendar:
- While viewing the calendar, click the "Submit" button.
- If CAPTCHA is enabled, fill it out.
- Enter your contact information. If the administrator approving your event chooses, you will be emailed when the event is added to the calendar.
- Fill out the event details. You can also add a message for the calendar administrators that won't be displayed on the calendar.
- Click "Submit Event."
To approve a submitted event:
- Hover over the Events menu in the top bar.
- Select Manage Events > Pending Events.
- From the list of submitted events, select the edit icon (pencil and paper) for the event you want to improve.
- Events can be declined by selecting the checkbox and clicking "Decline and Delete Selected Events" below the list.
- Edit the event information as desired. You can select a checkbox to notify the submitter by email that their event was approved.
- Save the event to add it to the calendar.
Importing EventsLink to this section
You can import events from an existing calendar or database. Importing events requires you to select a category that is applied to all those events (as opposed to assigning categories per event), so it is recommended you import events in batches (for example, import all Science events first, then import all Athletics events as a separate batch).
To import events into calendar:
- Hover over the Tools menu in the top bar.
- Select Import Events.
- Choose "CSV Import" from the Select Import Type dropdown. The "iCalendar" option is not recommended.
- Download and open the import template, located in the right-hand menu.
- Add your events information into the CSV file under the appropriate columns. Make sure to follow the same format provided in the template, as the import won't proceed correctly otherwise. This includes:
- Prefacing commas and apostrophes with a backslash, for example "We\'re importing data."
- Using HTML tags in the description for formatting, for example <b>This text is bolded</b>
- Encoding quotation marks (for example "This is a quoted remark.")
- The use of other special characters is not recommended, as it could break the import process.
- Save the CSV file once all your data has been added and close the file.
- Open the CSV file in Notepad, Notepad++, or some other simple text editor.
- Copy the contents of the file and paste it into the "Event Data" field.
- Select the appropriate category.
- Select "Import Event Data." The events are added to calendar.
UsersLink to this section
Because the Helios calendar uses a separate interface from Omni CMS, the users are managed separately as well. The only types of users are either administrators or public users. The system also keeps track of users that have signed in to the public calendar via other supported networks.
Admin users have potential access to the entire calendar, depending on their account permissions. They can make and approve events, create categories and locations, and other administrator functions. To create a new administrator:
- Hover over the Users menu in the top bar.
- Select Administrators > Add Admin User.
- Fill out the user details and email notice settings.
- Choose which account permissions they have.
- Click "Save Admin" to create the user.
When Helios calendar is connected via API to other accounts, such as Facebook or Google, users can sign into the public calendar via an account in one of those supported third-party systems. Once signed in, event submissions are assigned to their account, making future updates easier for both the user and the admin.
Select Users > Public Calendar > Manage Users to manage public users. They can be edited, banned (or unbanned), and deleted. Banning a user prevents them from interacting with the system; deleting them removes their information, but does not prevent them from being re-added.
Connecting to Social MediaLink to this section
Calendar can be integrated with Google Maps and Bitly. Manage these from Settings > APIs > Third-Party Services.
Bitly is a service that creates shortened URLs for events, for ease of remembering and typing, or simply to take up less visual space on a page. The Bitly API key is provided with a Bitly account.
NewslettersLink to this section
You can send out a newsletter to subscribers, informing them of any upcoming events. Users can sign up for newsletters from the public-facing calendar, as well as being manually added by an admin. We strongly recommend using the opt-in confirmation email so the user knows they have been subscribed, and to reduce complaints of spam.
The first step to creating a newsletter is composing a draft. Drafts can be used to send more than one newsletter and reused for future mailings.
Selecting Create Newsletter from the menu brings up a list of all newsletter drafts. If the newsletter is what you want to send, select either Approve or Approve & Send Now.
Selecting Approve brings you to the Newsletter Queue. Selecting Approve & Send Now takes you to the Sending Newsletter screen.
Select the “play” button to send the newsletter. As sending an email to hundreds of addresses can take a while, there is an option to pause the process. Do not navigate away from the page while a sending is in progress, as that will stop any remaining emails from being sent.
The queue can be accessed both from the Newsletters menu and by selecting Approve when creating a newsletter. From here you can delete a newsletter, send it (or pause a sending), and if available, view the newsletter archive and newsletter report.
Selecting Newsletter Templates brings up a list of all newsletter templates configured for your calendar. You can preview, edit, or delete existing templates, as well as adding new ones.
PagesLink to this section
Edit any non-event pages, like a home, or calendar digest, page, under Pages.
After selecting your page from the Pages dropdown, you see the page customization screen. It contains the following options:
- Page Status: On or off. Toggling it off merely keeps the content from being displayed
- New For: The number of days, after publishing, that events will be labeled as "new" and displayed within the digest event list.
Digest Welcome Message
Use the WYSIWYG editor to configure the message. Text can be formatted, and images and media, links, tables, and other options inserted, and various checks (such as spell check) can be run.
Additional DocumentationLink to this section
Find additional documentation about the Helios calendar for Omni CMS on GitHub.