ACES Digital Signage: Create and Deploy Content
This article explains how to create image content and add it to digital signage displays in ACES.
Note: This article explains how to create image (pdf, jpeg, png) content. If you'd like to create a non-image content item, please email: email@example.com
Step 1: Creating your content
The first step is creating a content (image) file on your local computer. This should be done by using the PowerPoint (or Photoshop) template provided in the digital signage drive under \College of ACES\_Digital Sign Templates. The PowerPoint file has different layouts you can use. If one of these layouts won't work for you please contact firstname.lastname@example.org so a new template can be made that fits the current ACES branding scheme. Directions on how to connect to the signage drive can be found here.
- Open the .ppt (PowerPoint) template file (described above), select which slide layout (via "layouts" on the top menu) you'd like and then simply add content to the different regions.
- When you're finished editing, save this file as a .pdf to the Digital Signage shared drive in your departmental folder. Note: Your departmental folder is YOUR space to organize, structure and clean as you see fit.
After you’ve saved your file to the drive, you'll then need to deploy it to your sign.
Step 2: Deploying content to your sign
A: Easy Content Deployment with Content Feed
The process is to simply edit a .csv file (using Excel). No connecting to FWi or a remote server! This method requires a bit of setup work beforehand, which email@example.com can assist with.
- On the signage drive, in your departmental folder, find your Content Feed file which has a file type of .csv and open it will Microsoft Excel. (It should have "Feed" in the file name and should be the only .csv file)
- Each row in this file represents one piece of content, while each column represents different pieces of information about the content such as the file path location (column B), duration of how long it will be displayed (column C) and the start date of when the content should start displaying (column E).
- When adding new content, you will only need to edit columns B (URL) and F (EndDate). Column C (Duration) and column E (Start Date) are optional, but can not be empty.
- Please see below for a screenshot of a sample Feed csv file. Row 2 is in use, displaying "19_09_09_Learning Tools.jpg", while row 3 is open.
- Once the file is opened, you'll want to find the next "open" row (row 3 in the image above) and edit columns B and F. Column B will need to be updated with the complete location path and filename of the content you want to post and columns E and F will need to be checked to make sure the display dates are correct.
- After updating the row(s), save the .csv file (Excel will have a few pop ups you can say "yes" to) and close the file. If you leave the file open in Excel, your sign will not be able to access it to get the new content information.
That's it! You sign checks the Feed .csv file every 10-15 minutes, so your new content will not display until after it has checked in again.
B: Original Content Deployment with FWi Content Manager
This method requires you to remote connect into ASTS' FWi terminal to access the digital signage software, Content Manager. If you are unsure of how to do this, directions can be found here.
- Once you have remote connected, open Content Manager. Once opened, look in the "Content" tab (lower left-hand section) and locate your department's folder.
- Right click on this folder and select "New content in this category", and then select "Adobe PDF" (or whichever type of content it is).
- A “properties” window will pop up. This is where you need to enter information about your content:
- Start with number 1. (in red in the above image) which is URL information by clicking on the "3 dots" icon next to the text box. A second window will appear, which you will again need to click on the "3 dots icon" in the top right. On the next window that appears, you want to point to where this files lives on the shared signage drive. Once you've located your file, click "Open" and "OK" to get back to the above screen.
- Number 2. (in red in the above image) are optional fields that you may want to change:
- For Duration: This is how long your content piece will be displayed before rotating on to the next content item in the same region. 30 seconds is the default and a good duration for most content items. If it is text-heavy, you may want to set the duration longer, however if there are several content slides on your sign, you might want to set duration to a lower number so the content is shuffled through quicker.
- For Suggested Recurrence: This is where you can set your content item to only display at a certain time, start at a certain date/time, or end by a certain date/time. The default is to play the content all day, everyday. It's useful to change this, for example, when you have content about events and want the content to stop playing after the event has occurred.
- Depending on which type of content you’ve chosen, there may be additional fields to fill out. If you have any questions, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Once everything has been filled out, click OK. Your content will now be available in FourWinds. To locate it, click on the “Content” tab in the lower left hand corner of the program and select your department's content folder. If you don’t see your content immediately, you may need to click on the “Name” heading to alphabetize the content; brand new content usually appears at the bottom of the content list.
- Once you have located your content, click on the content and drag it up to the appropriate region on your sign (usually "Main"). Make sure you are only dragging the content you want, it's easy to grab extra content you didn't mean to.
- Once the content has been dragged to your sign's content region, right click on your sign and select deploy to deploy it to your sign. Doing so will copy these settings and files to your signage player and will display it as scheduled. NOTE: Hitting "Save" or "Refresh" will not update your sign; you must hit "Deploy" for any changes to take effect.
Please remember: Be very careful when you click/drag. Do not delete any content unless you own it.
(For Signage Admins) To share college-wide content on all ACES signs:
- Create your content using the ACES digital sign template (described above)
- Save the content as a .pdf, .jpg, or .png to the "\College of ACES\Shared\Feed\Current Content"
- When saving, add a prefix to the file name of which date the content should be removed, using format "YY_MM_DD_"
- "MyContent.pdf" which ends on July 14, 2019 should be renamed and saved as "19_07_14_MyContent.pdf"
- Edit "\College of ACES\Shared\Feed\ACES-ContentFeed.csv" to add this new content to the next open row.
- You will only need to edit columns B (URL) and F (EndDate). Column C (Duration) is optional.
Please see below for a screenshot of ACES-ContentFeed.csv. Row 2 is in use, displaying "19_09_09_Learning Tools.jpg", while row 3 is open.