This is a five part series of articles covering the integration between Planning Center Services and ProPresenter 7. If you are still using ProPresenter 6, the majority of this information still applies, although the ProPresenter interface will be different.
- Connecting ProPresenter to Planning Center Services
- Planning Center Services Preferences
- Adding a Planning Center Plan to ProPresenter
- Converting a Planning Center Song Sequence Into a ProPresenter Arrangement
- Planning Center Live and Planning Center Timers
Let's take a look at adding a Planning Center Plan to ProPresenter. We'll also be looking at several of the preference settings so that you have a better understanding of how those options work.
We are assuming that you already know how to use Planning Center Services, so we aren't going to go into a lot of detail about how to do things there. We will explain a few things that require a clearer understanding so that you know how they work with ProPresenter.
The first step will be adding a Planning Center Plan to ProPresenter. Click on the ＋(plus sign) next to Library and select Planning Center Service from the menu.
This will open a second window that shows you all of your available Plans. This is where you will see the effects of Show Historical Service Plans being checked or unchecked. (This article is being written in March 2021.) Since we currently have the Show Historical Service Plans option checked in Preferences we can see the Plans from January as well as the two upcoming Plans in April. If we uncheck that option, we will only see the two upcoming Plans for April. The Select a Plan window will reflect the organizational structure of your Service Types and Plans within Planning Center Services. If you have multiple folders to organize services, you will be able to navigate through those various folders to find the plan you need to add. If a Plan appears to be missing, click the Refresh button to update the list.
We will be adding the April 4, 2021 Plan to ProPresenter. We have already added the song "Who You Say I Am" to our Plan without any attachments in Planning Center. We have also already downloaded that same song from SongSelect so that it is in our library in ProPresenter. Click the Plan that you want to add and then click the Select button. ProPresenter will then add that Plan as a playlist.
After selecting the April 4, 2021 Plan and clicking Select, it is added to ProPresenter and the one song in the order is shown. A Planning Center playlist can be identified by the blue icon to the left that uses the Planning Center logo. We'll take a look at a more complex Plan later, but for now, this one song is all we need.
We can now take a look at the Match Songs in Library setting.
When a Planning Center song is successfully linked to a ProPresenter presentation it will look like a normal presentation in your playlist. The only difference is the second title bar across the top of the slide area. This part is the Planning Center item name and gives you the option to unlink a presentation. You may need to unlink a presentation if you need to manually link a different version of a presentation. We'll look at that step a little later.
If a song was unable to find a match, it will show the drop area. This indicates that nothing has been linked to that item and you need to drop a presentation from the library or a media file from the Media Bin or your hard drive onto it. If you just need it to function as a placeholder, you can click on the Cancel button to remove the drop zone. The cancel button will change to "Link...", which you can then click on later when you are ready to link an item to it.
Now you need to know how to link an existing presentation in your library to a Planning Center item that didn't get linked or that you are changing to a different presentation.
We start by using Search to look for the presentation we want to add. Once the search shows us the correct song, we can click and drag it into the drop zone and it will be linked to that item.
Let's take a closer look at the top left corner where the song name is shown. You can see that the top line matches how the item is entered on Planning Center and the second line matches how the title was entered in ProPresenter. The Planning Center presentation name is the one that will be shown in the playlist after linking a presentation.
Let's take a quick look at a more complex Planning Center Plan before moving on.
We have added a bunch of items to our Plan on Planning Center. Since the Automatically Check for Plan Updates option is enabled in Preferences, ProPresenter let's us know when there are new changes. Click on Update Available to synchronize the changes to ProPresenter.
After downloading all of the new Planning Center items, the playlist in ProPresenter is updated and shows all of the new items. If any songs are matched, those will automatically link. Since there are no other songs in our library, no additional items are linked. The one song we did link remains linked.
We have added some new things to this Plan that we haven't looked at yet. The items with no icon next to them that have bold names are Headers. Headers in a Planning Center Plan and ProPresenter playlist serve the same purpose of organizing your order, however, Headers in a Planning Center playlist cannot be edited. This means you are not able to change the color or link the header to a timer. We'll cover how to make this work later. The countdown and sermon items also have a different icon next to them. This icon indicates an item that has not been linked to a ProPresenter presentation or media file.
Let's take a quick look at linking a media file before moving on to the next section. The process of linking a media cue is the same as linking a presentation. You will drag the media file from the Media Bin or your hard drive into the drop zone and it will link it. The name in the playlist will change to the media cue's name, so if you have really long files names, you might want to edit the name before linking it. You can also update the name in the Inspector. The icon in the playlist also changes to indicate that the item in the playlist is a media cue.
Let's take a quick look at converting your Planning Center Plan into a standard ProPresenter playlist.
Right-click on the Planning Center Plan and select Convert to Standard Playlist. What this does is unlink the Plan from Planning Center and gives you more control over the content of the playlist. And as mentioned earlier, it also will give you the ability to manipulate the headers.
If you have items that are not linked to anything, you will see this warning. Unlinked items can't exist in a standard playlist since the linking mechanism is removed. If you need items to function as a placeholder in your playlist you will need to convert the item to a header (or add a header) on Planning Center first, or add it as a Header after converting it to a ProPresenter playlist.
Click OK to continue or Cancel to not convert the playlist.
Once you have converted the Planning Center Plan to a Standard Playlist you can add new items and edit headers. The playlist is no longer connected to Planning Center, so changes will no longer be synchronized. There is no way to convert a standard playlist back into a Planning Center Plan, so if you did this accidentally you will need to add the Planning Center Plan again.
Let's also take a look at the options for automatically uploading and downloading presentations and media. Each Planning Center membership tier has a limited amount of storage. If you have a lower tier plan, you may want to disable both of these options, or at least disable the automatic upload option so that larger files don't get added to your storage. You can always attach files directly to a song on Planning Center.
We're in a new Planning Center Plan now. This service order includes the same song we've been working with, but it also includes a Sermon presentation and a single media cue. Since we currently have Automatically Upload Presentations and Media enabled in Preferences, all three items will be uploaded as attachments to their items in the Planning Center Plan.
You can click on each item in your Planning Center Plan and see what is attached. If it's a file type that Planning Center can show a preview of (like an image or video) you can also preview the file.
When you unlink an item in ProPresenter it does not remove the attachment from Planning Center. A new linked item will be uploaded and added as an additional attachment. You will need to manage your attachments directly on Planning Center to ensure that you have the correct version of a file attached to an item. We'll see why this is important in a few seconds when we look at downloading attachments.
For this section, we have removed the song and the sermon presentation from our library and deleted the image. We have also deleted the Planning Center Plan in ProPresenter so that we can have a fresh start.
Before we begin, we'll check Planning Center to make sure all the attachments are there. The song and sermon both have an attached .pro file that was uploaded in the previous step. Our media cue also has two attachments available so that we can see how that works.
After adding the Planning Center Plan as a new playlist, the two presentations were downloaded and added to our library and automatically linked to the items in the Planning Center Plan. The second attachment is the one that is downloaded. If you have multiple files attached, the most recent item will be downloaded.
If multiple ProPresenter .pro files have been linked to a song in Planning Center, the wrong song may download to ProPresenter. If this happens, remove the other .pro attachments from that song in Planning Center.