CueTimer User Guide

Version 2.3 (0)
3. August 2022

Content Overview                     

0. Introduction
0.1 About this User Guide
0.2 Terminology

1. Preparations
1.1 Requirements
1.2 Connections
1.3 Installing license

2. Getting started

3. Displaying the Output-Windows
3.1 Turn on the output buttons
3.2 Local outputs
3.3 Web display
 
4. Create new timers
4.1 Open New Timer window
4.2 Options for new timers

5. Web schedule

6. Using the program – Starting and stopping timers
6.1 Colors in the Cue List
6.2 Rules for what is displayed in the Main Output
6.3 Using commands

7. Manipulating time in the Main Output

8. Speed

9. Messages

10. View buttons

11. Editing the Cue list
11.1 Selecting timers for edit
11.2 Using the edit-buttons
11.3 Moving timers
11.4 Editing directly in the Cue list

12 Preferences menu
12.1 Style
12.2 Local monitor
12.3 Web display
12.4 Progress bar
12.5 Images
12.6 Colours & Animations
12.7 Layers explained
12.8 Transparency
12.9 Bottom layer key color
12.10 Settings for NDI
12.11 Triggers- Configure OSC-commands sent from CueTimer
12.12 Export, Import and reset settings

13. Trigger CueTimer with OSC-commands

14 Control CueTimer with Companion
14.1 Companion compatibility
14.2 Connect Companion and CueTimer
14.3 Add buttons
14.4 Use the commands
14.5 Feedback-buttons

15. Licences & User Account
15.1 Registering the licence to a new computer
15.2 Using the licence
15.3 User account on PresentationTools.com
15.4 Switching the licence to a new computer
15.5 Computer tag

16. Other resources

0. Introduction

CueTimer is a timer-software for conferences, broadcasting, gameshows, or any event that requires precise timing and planning. Display the timers on a screen connected to the computer, through the local LAN network, or over the Internet. The operator can place the timers in a Cue List and use simple shortcuts to move forward during the event.
CueTimer is available for Mac and PC.

0.1 About this User Guide- Mac and PC versions
This guide should cover all you need to know to use CueTimer. Starting from v.2.3, we use one user-guide for both the Mac and PC version. All screenshots in this guide are taken from the Mac-version, but unless it is noted, it should look familiar in the PC version.
In the event that there are differences between the platform-versions, we try to show this. Note that there still might be some small differences between the versions that is not covered by this guide.

0.2 Terminology
Below are some important expressions that will be used throughout in this user-guide:

The application CueTimer creates a list of Timers in what we refer to as the Cue List. From this list, one of the timers can be chosen for the Main Output. Only one timer can be chosen at the same time. We refer to this timer as the Main Timer. To display the Main Output for an audience, you can connect to the the physical Output Windows.

Cue List & Output Windows

On the top of the application-window you find the Command Bar. Here you will find most of the commands that you can do in the application. On Windows, this Command Bar is divided into several tabs.

Command bar

1. Preparations

1.1 Requirements

Mac

A Mac with Mojave, Catalina, Big Sur or Monterey OS. Both Intel and Apple Silicon CPUs are supported natively.

Windows

64-bit PC with windows 8.1, 10 or 11 
.Net 4.8 or later installed. 

1.2 Connections

Monitor output
Connect the computer to a monitor and put the monitor as extended screen. Now you can display the Main Output on the external monitor

ndi icon

NDI
With NDI you can send the Main Output to another device on the same LAN network. This requires that the mac with CueTimer and the receiving device are on the same network.

Webpage
If you have internet-connection you can send the Main Output and info from the Cue List to a webpage that is hosted by our webserver.

1.3 Installing the license
When the program starts for the first time it will enter trial-mode. In this mode the program will work normally for 10 minutes and then close. To use the program without restrictions, a license must be installed. Licenses can be bought from our website www.presentationtools.com/store.
To install the license, copy the license-key to the activation-menu and push “activate”. Activation requires internet-connection.

2. Getting started

Here we will show a simple way to use the program with 3 countdown-timers.
After installing the licence (or in trial mode) the program-interface will look like this:

Create new timers with the “New” button.

Set the name and countdown-length, then push enter or the green button.
Repeat this until you get the 3 timers.

Now you will have a list of timers that are ready to start in the Cue List

The next step is to activate the output-windows. This is where the countdown will be shown for your audience. You find these buttons in the top command-tab to the right. Push the “Fullscreen” button to view the output on the external monitor.

On Windows, you find these button under the “Output” tab above the command-bar.

You should now be able to see the first countdown on the external monitor Before a countdown-timer has started, the total duration of the timer will be shown.


To start the first countdown, push the “Fire next” button

The first timer in the list has changed its color to red. This means that this timer is running and sent to the Main Output. Push Fire again to start the next timer in the list, or push Cue Next if you want to move forward without starting a new timer.

3. Displaying the Output-Windows

3.1 Turning on the output-buttons

The output-buttons can be found to the right on the commands-bar. On Windows these are placed in a similar position, but under the tab “Outputs”. On Mac you can also access these buttons from the top toolbar.

3.2 Local Outputs
We call these outputs “Local Outputs” because the graphic displayed here is generated from within the CueTimer application. With the webpage, the graphics is generated on the local browser where the window is displayed. This difference becomes more important when setting the style for the outputs, (chapter 12) because you can set different style for the local outputs and the web display.

Fullscreen monitor-output
This will display the Main Output on the external monitor. If you want to manually assign the monitor on which the Main Output will display, do this from the “Fullscreen Monitor” dropdown menu.

Preview-window
This is a free-floating window that is a copy of what is shown in the Fullscreen-Monitor. It can be scaled and placed anywhere you like. Use this as a monitor to see what is happening on the fullscreen.

NDI
Activate the NDI output

3.3 Web display
Push the Web Display button to open this menu:

From the Web Display menu push “Generate new link” to create a new webpage. The link shown here will display the web-version of the Main Output. Distribute this address to those you would like to gain access to the page.

You can always delete this page and create a new. We recommend that you do this for each event with new groups of people. Pages that are deleted will no longer receive data from the CueTimer application.

4 Create new timers

4.1 Open New Timer window

Push the “New” button from the command-tab
Shortcut Mac: command + n
Shortcut Windows: control + n

In the “New Timer” window, write the name and edit the duration. (Tip: Use “tab” key to move forward in the window) Push “enter” or green button to insert the new timer into the list.







4.2 Options for new timers

Name
Name or description of the timer

Different timer-types

There are 5 different timer types you can choose from

CountdownTimer will count down from the time set on “duration”

End Time – Timer will count down to the time of the day set in «End Time”
Count up – Timer will count up from 0

Clock – Timer will display clock

Empty – Timer will display nothing

Duration/End Time
“Duration” can be set for countdown-timers. This will be the total duration that the timer will count down from. For end-time timers you can set the end-time value (time of the day). When the end-time timer starts, it will count down to the end-time value.

Start

When start is “on”, you can either:
With autostart “off”: Set a tentative value for when the timer should start according to the schedule. This will be shown in the web-schedule.

With autostart “on”: Timer will automatically start when the start-time value is reached.

Warning
For countdown and end-time timer types, set the threshold for when warning-style will begin. When this value is set to 0, warning-style will not be shown.

End action
For countdown and end-time type timers, choose what will happen when time has run out.
Stop – Timer will stop at 0

Overtime- Timer will continue. (+ 00:00:01)

Repeat- Timer will repeat (same as pushing “repeat” button)

Fire Next – “Fire Next” command (same as pushing “fire next” button)
Cue Next – “Cue Next command (same as pushing “cue next” button)

When you have created several timers, the Cue List will look something like this:

5. Web schedule

The web-schedule will display the name, start-time and duration as an ordered list starting with the timer set to fire next. When hovering over this page with the mouse, a button top right of the page will let you toggle between the counter and the schedule page. It is synced to the CueTimer app so that every change in the Cue list is automatically updated in the web-schedule.

6. Using CueTimer – Starting and stopping timers

6.1 Colors in the Cue List
Timers in the Cue List can have different colors attached to them depending on what their status is:

Green/grey color means that the timer is next in line to be started

Red color means that this countdown has started and is the Main Timer.

6.2 Rules for what is the Main Timer
This is the timer that will be displayed in the Output-Windows
The timer in red will always be the Main Timer. If there is no red timer, the green timer will be displayed. If the «Blackout» or «clock» button is enabled, then this will override what is in the Cue List.

6.3 Using the commands
The buttons to the left in the top menu-bar are explained below. They will only affect the Main Timer.

“Fire” button (shortcut: spacebar)
This starts the next timer. The timer previously in green will now change color to red.

Single Timer Mode
When turned on, the behavior of the fire-button and command changes: the next timer will stay the same. The next time the “cue next” button is pushed, the current timer will reset and be ready to run again. This mode is great for repeating the same timer many times, or in situations where there is no chronological list of timers that you want to play.
You can verify that Single Timer Mode is on by looking at the Fire Next icon: it will then have a repeat-icon in the middle.

Mac: Single Timer Mode can be toggled on/off from the top menu bar

PC: Single Timer Mode can be toggled on/off rom the Options tab in the commands bar

Cue Next” button
Shortcut Mac: command + enter
Shortcut PC: control + enter

When the first presenter/act is done, you can push button “cue next”. This will display the next timer but not start it. Next time you push “fire” this timer will start. The use of “cue next” is optional, you could also just use the fire-button to start the next timer without cueing it first. Pushing this button twice will reset all timers in the Cue List.

Holding down SHIFT-key while pushing the “Cue Next” button will reset and cue the current timer in red without starting it. It is an easy way of repeating the same timer instead of moving forward in the list.
(Shortcut: SHIFT + Command + Enter)

“Pause” button
Shortcut Mac: Command + p
Shortcut PC: Control + p

This will pause the Main Timer

“Restart” button
Shortcut Mac: Command + r
Shortcut PC: Control + r

This will restart the Main Timer

“Undo” button
This is an undo-button for starting timers: In case the fire-button is accidentally pushed twice, this button will continue the previous started timer. It only applies if there is still another timer running in the project apart from the timer in red.

7. Manipulating time with the commands

+ and – buttons
This will add or subtract 1 minute to the Main Timer.

100% field
Changing this number will increase or decrease the speed of the Main Timer by this percentage.

You can also change these values from the Cue list, by editing Duration, End or Speed.

8. Speed

The idea behind “speed” is that the operator can manipulate the time left without the change being visible to the speaker. In the example above, speed has been changed to 110% in the top timer (John). This has shortened the total duration and pushed “End Time” forward, but the only change in the visible countdown is that the countdown will go slightly faster. We recommend using this feature with caution, and not to go below 80% or above 120% as going outside these numbers can make the speed-change too obvious in the Output Windows.

9. Messages

It is possible to display short messages in the Output Windows. Push the edit message button to open the message-menu. Use the text-field to write your message. Push “Show” to display it. The button will turn orange. Push this button again to hide message. “Clear” button will clear the text-field.

10. View-buttons

These buttons will override data from the Cue List and take over what is shown in the Output Windows.

“Blackout”
! In the PC version this button is called Hide
This will hide all info except the background key colour. See chapter 12 for more info

“Clock”
Display the clock

11. Editing the Cue List

11.1 Selecting timers for edit
To select a timer for edit you can mouse click it or navigate with the playlist with the arrows. The color in the left column will change to blue.

To choose more than one timer, mouse-click while holding down the shift-button.

11.2 Using the edit-buttons

“New“button
shortcut Mac: command + n
shortcut PC: control + n

Opens the New Timer menu from where you can create new timers

“Delete” button
shortcut Mac: command + backspace
shortcut PC: delete button

Delete the currently timer(s). Exception: It is not possible to delete a timer in red.

“Copy” button
shortcut Mac: command + c
shortcut PC: control + c

Copy the selected timer(s)

“Paste” button
shortcut Mac: command + v
shortcut PC: control + v

Paste the timer(s) that have been copied. The timer(s) will paste below the selected cell.

Set Next” button
shortcut Mac: command-click on timer
shortcut PC: control click on timer

Makes the selected timer the next timer that will start with the “fire next” button.

“Reset” button
Use the reset-button to put the timer(s) that are not in red back to initial state. This command can also be done by pushing the Cue Next button twice.

11.3 Moving timers
You can move timers with drag & drop. Select timers with the mouse and hold down the button, then move them to a new position and release the button.

11.4 Editing cells in the Cue list
Most of the cells in the Cue List are available for edit. To select a cell for edit, push on it twice with the mouse or use the arrows to select and then push enter.

11.5 Importing and exporting the Cue list

From the “File” menu you can reset, import and export the Cue list you have created.
Mac: The file-menu can be found in the top menu bar
PC: The file-menu can be found in the File tab above the command
bar.

12 Preferences menu

Here you can customize the style and looks of the counter-windows, configure NDI,  and set up OSC-triggers. 
Mac: The Preferences-menu can be accessed from the top menu-bar.

PC: The preferences-menu can be found from the Options tab above the command bar.

12.1 Style

You can customize how the Output Windows appear from the Style settings. This is divided into 6 horizontal tabs. To the left you find the General settings.
The options for “display hours” and “display seconds” are useful for making the counter and the clock take less space in the Output Windows. 
New in v.2.3: Choose the date-format. These formats are taken from the general settings of your computer. To customise this further, open the date&clock preferences on the computer.

12.2 Local monitor

Here you can set the size, location and font of the content in the Preview, Fullscreen and NDI windows. They will have identical properties except size and the NDI-output is always 16:9. 
New in v.2.3: New options for Clock, Date, Border, Logo, Background Image and Shadow. To show an element, push the ON button.

The Crop & Scale settings will make the content only use part of the screen. This is useful for Picture in Picture settings. The background key color will set color for the area that is outside of the content. For chroma-keying, you would normally set this color to green. This colour also has transparency which translates to an alpha-channel on the NDI-output and transparency for the Fullscreen output. 
The Background Key Colour chooses what will be shown when the Blackout/Hide button is on, or if the regular background is made transparent. The same option can be set from the Colour & Animations menu.

12.3 Web display
You get separate options for size and positions for the web-display. The content will react dynamically to changes in the browser-size so that it should look good on any device. 
On the bottom you find settings specific to the schedule-page. 

12.4 Progress bar 
Here you set the style for the progress-bar which is available for the local monitor outputs. 

12.5 Images
Choose the images for background and logo. The background-image has some additional options: With Opacity you can blend the image with the background color. The “stretch” option will stretch the image to fit the screen when the aspect-ratio of the image and the output don’t match.

12.6 Colors & Animations

In the Color & Animation menu, you can set the colors and animations for the elements in the Output Windows. We have 4 different submenus:
Normal, Pause/Cue Next, Warning and Overtime.
This lets you set a different color-style depending on the state of the countdown.

Below is an example with the standard template shown the first time you open the CueTimer application, using a countdown with 10 minutes duration:

When the countdown is running in NORMAL, before warning is reached,
09:55 – Text/Numbers are white with black background

When paused, or before the timer has started,
10:00 – The text is a little bit greyer.

When the timer reaches the warning-treshold,
00:40 – The text is white with orange background.

When the timer has run out (Overtime),
00:00 – The text is white with red background.

The Default button forces the style to always follow NORMAL for that element. For example, from the standard template just shown, if the Default button is pushed for the Background, the background will always stay black.

12.7 Layers explained

In CueTimer it is possible to stack different elements on top of each other. For example, the countdown is always on top of the background-color.
By using Opacity, it is possible to blend elements of different layers together. For example, if you are using a background-image and give this an opacity of 50%, you can use the background-color as a filter on the image.

Below is an overview of how the elements are sorted in layers, starting from top to bottom. The top layer will always cover the bottom.

TOP
Text & numbers
Progress bar
Border
Logo
Background image
Background color (for the different timer-states)
Bottom layer key color
BOTTOM

12.8 Transparency


When the opacity is set to 0 for the background and key color, the background will be transparent. The output-windws display transparency differently:

FULLSCREEN
The desktop-background will be shown

NDI
Transparency = alpha channel.

WEBPAGE
The page will have no background-color. In most browsers this will result in a white background. If you embed the page into other pages or programs, the background should be transparent.

Tip: If you embed the webpage with transparent background in a video-software like OBS or Vmix, you can blend the countdown directly with the video.

12.9 Bottom layer key color

If you don’t want to show complete transparency, you can use the bottom layer key color instead. These options can be found in 2 places:
– On the bottom of the Colour & Animations menu
– The same colour-picker can be found in the Local Monitor and Webpage tab.
! Note that this is the only part of the color & animations menu which has different options for the Local Monitor and the webpage. For example, this lets you use a chroma key-color for the Fullscreen-output, while using a regular black background for the webpage. 

12.10 Settings for NDI

Here you can set the resolution and framerate for the NDI output. 
By default the NDI will use the “Public” NDI which means that it is easy to discover this signal for other NDI-devices on the network. With custom groups you can control where you want the NDI- video to be discovered. Then the receiving device has to look for this same group in order to recieve ndi-video sent from CueTimer.
!Note that CueTimer will disregard the settings of the software Access Manager. Access Manager does not control the group-settings of CueTimer. At the moment it is not possible to use CueTimer with NDI Discovery servers on Windows and Linux computers.

! Use the “Apply Changes” button in the bottom right corner to view the changes

12.11 Triggers- Configure OSC-commands sent from CueTimer

The second tab in Preferences-menu sets the OSC-commands sent from CueTimer.
OSC-commands can be sent from CueTimer on 5 events:
– when a new timer is fired
– when the current timer reaches the overtime-treshold
– when the current timer ends
– Cue Next command is performed
– end time of the current counter sent as an OSC-string.
The OSC-commands and addresses can be user-defined from the menu

! Use the “Apply Changes” button in the bottom right corner to view the changes

12.12 Export, import and reset settings

On the top of the menu you will find buttons which are explained below

Export
Saves the current settings as a file that can be imported again.

Load
Loads a file of previous settings

Reset
Puts menu back to initial state

13. Trigger CueTimer with OSC commands

You can trigger commands in CueTimer through OSC. This allows you to start and control timers from external devices and software like Qlab, Resolume and Mitti. OSC can be sent over the local LAN-network.

Port and IP-adress
4779 is the port used for incoming OSC. Make sure that this port is not blocked by a firewall.  The OSC-message sent to CueTimer must use this port along with the IP-address of the computer using CueTimer. If you want to send OSC from another software on the same machine, then use the Localhost address 127.0.0.

Commands
Global commands
These commands from the program-interface can be triggered with OSC:

The OSC-adresses for the global commands are shown below. These commands can have any type or argument, they will still work. For simplicity we still recommend that you use string, float, or integer type commands.

DescriptionOSC-path
FireNext/global/fire
CueNext/global/cue
Pause/global/pause
Restart/global/restart
  

Individual timer-commands

You can also fire and cue individual timers in the Cue list. To do this you first have to use the ID-field in the CueTimer Cue list to set a unique ID for the timer you want to trigger. Then you will use this same ID in the OSC-path to trigger this timer.

There are two actions you can trigger with individual timers:

Fire
The timer will start from the beginning. (If you send the command twice the timer will restart.)

Cue
The timer will be set as the next to fire the next time the fire-button is pushed.
In the example below, if we receive an osc-command to fire the timer with ID 1:

Then:

From the first image, if we instead send a command to set 1 as cue, then:

Below are the OSC-addresses used for triggering individual timers. Replace {id} with the ID used in the ID-field in CueTimer

DescriptionOSC-pathOSC-typeOSC-argument
Fire timer/timer/fireString{id}
Cue timer(set next)/timer/cueString{id}

!CueTimer will not accept # in the id-field. If the sign # is used as a part of the argument and ID, the OSC-message will simply not work. Also, the OSC-protocol does not allow spaces in the argument-field. So instead of having an ID called “keynote speaker”, you could name it “keynote_speaker”.

14 Control CueTimer with Companion

Companion is an open-source software that lets you control multiple devices through the local network. It is possible to connect a Stream Deck box with buttons for better hands-on operation, or you can use a web-browser. For more info and download-links, please go here: www.bitfocus.io

14.1 Companion compatibility
Companion v.2.2 has all the latest commands for CueTimer 2. Companion v.2.1 also has a CueTimer module, but some of the features are missing.

14.2 Connect Companion and CueTimer
Make sure that CueTimer and the Companion software are on the same LAN-network.
1. Open Companion and CueTimer. (Which order doesn’t matter)
2. Go to Companion settings and add the CueTimer module.  The easiest is to use the search-field. If the module can’t be found it means that you need a newer version of Companion.

3. Set the correct IP-adress for CueTimer
If CueTimer is on the same computer as Companion, then you can use the Localhost address 127.0.0.1. If they are on separate machines you will need to find the IP-address of the Mac running CueTimer and plot this into the Target IP.
CueTimer uses port 4778 for communicating with Companion. Always use the default target-port.

4. Check connection
If CueTimer is open and connection between the apps then the status will be OK.

Troubleshooting: If status is not OK, or commands cannot be sent, you can check:
– LAN connection between CueTimer and Companion
– Firewall settings. Port 4778 must not be blocked.

14.3 Add buttons
We have made presets that you can drag and drop to the button layout-page. All commands and feedback are available from here.

You can also import the commands and customize through the regular button-menu

14.4 Use the commands

When everything is set up you can view the counter and execute all of the commands from the button-bar in CueTimer using the Companion web-emulator or a Stream Deck device.

We also included buttons for activating outputs and select Single Timer Mode. From the Preset-menu these buttons will lit yellow when they are on:

Some new commands are only available through Companion:

Move up and down
This will move the assignment of the next(green) timer.

Before move down:

After:

Trigger individual timers
The “Fire” and “Cue” presets will let you trigger individual timers to start or set as next. This works very similar to OSC-triggering mentioned earlier in this chapter.

From the Companion menu, set the ID of the timer that you want to trigger. Then this must correspond to a timer in CueTimer with identical ID.

After pushing this button in Companion, the timer with ID “1” will start.

Feedback on ID-buttons
When using the presets the buttons will have background-color depending on the status of the timer, and name of the timer on top. So, when the timer is running it will look like this:

From the button-menu you can also change so that you see the duration of the timer instead of the name. Then the button will look like this:

14.5 Feedback-buttons

Along with the commands you can also have buttons that only shows the status of CueTimer. These can be chosen from the feedback-page in the presets or selected manually from the button-menu. The top row in the feedback presets shows info for the timer that is currently displayed in the counter-windows.

The counter and name will use the same text and background-color as the main counter-window. (Except name-color follows counter-color). These colors can be set using the Preferences menu in CueTimer
We also have feedback for what is the the next/green timer.

15. Licences & User Account

To use CueTimer without restrictions, you need a licence. Licences can be bought from our Store page.

15.1 Activating the licence on a new computer
After you buy a licence, this will be e-mailed to you. When you open CueTimer, you will first see this menu:

Push Activate. Now copy and paste the licence-code from your mail into the activation field and push “Activate”

The licence is now installed

! This process requires Internet-connection, and your computer must be able to contact our server which is placed on the domain www.presentationtools.com. Make sure that no firewall on your computer prevents the CueTimer application from contacting our server.

15.2 Using the licence
The licence can only be activated on one computer at a time. The licence-key is stored in the user-data on your computer. This means that if you change the user, you will have to repeat the activation-process, or use another licence.
After you have activated the licence to your computer, you can use CueTimer also while not connected to the Internet.

15.3 User-account on PresentationTools.com
If you have a yearly subscription for your licence, you can monitor and release your CueTimer licences from our webpage. To do this you need a user-account using the same email-address registered to your licences. Accounts can be created from this page. You must verify your Email-address to complete the process. After the user has been created, you can go to the Dashboard-page and manage your licences from there.
To access your licences, push the “Keys” button for your subscription.

15.4 Switching the licence to a new computer
From the image above you can see that the CueTimer licence is “In Use”. This means that this licence is now activated on a computer. To use the same licence on a different computer, you first need to deactivate the licence from your current computer. You can do this by pushing the Release button. The licence will now be free to use on a different computer. The old computer with the licence does not need to be online for this process to work.
The second way to release the licence is directly from the user-interface in the application. From the top menu-bar, go to Activation, then push the Release button. This process requires Internet connection.

! Note that uninstalling the application itself does not de-activate the licence, since this process does not involve our web-server. It is possible to have a licence registered to the computer also when CueTimer is not installed on the machine.

To activate the licence on a new machine, repeat the steps from 15.1

15.5 Computer tag

If you tag the computer, this name will be shown in the user-dashboard under “Computer Name”. This can be a useful feature if you need better control of which computer(s) has the licence(s) installed.

16. Other resources

On our youtube-page you will find video-tutorials on using CueTimer.
We will also reply to mails as fast as we can. Our email address is info@presentationtools.com.
To start using CueTimer, go to this page, download the software, and have fun!


Contact:
info@presentationtools.com