Using Timers Correctly

How to Properly Set Up a Show with Multiple Cues

Import a Rundown from Google Sheets or MS Excel via CSV

To initiate a show, you have the option to import a rundown from Google Sheets or MS Excel via CSV. Upon importing, the Stagetimer will scan the document and attempt to recognize its structure.

Don’t worry if the structure isn’t instantly recognized. You can manually tweak it before committing to the import.

To get started, here’s a template for a simple rundown on Google Sheets that you can copy.

Rundown Template
Rundown Template

Further, you can watch this video showcasing how to use the importer for a visual walk-through.

Decide if You Want to Run Your Show Automated or Manually

Depending on your show’s needs, you can choose to run it manually or automate it.

If you have a dedicated show caller, they usually will manually advance from cue to cue. In this case, we recommend setting up the Stream Deck with Companion. This way, the show caller has easy access to all important actions like start, stop, next, and so on. You can find a detailed guide on how to set it up here.

On the other hand, if you’d like to run the show without manual intervention, you can link all timers together. This means they will run automatically one-by-one. Note that with this option, you might lose the flexibility of letting cues run overtime. However, it’s a great choice if you want to use the Agenda page on some screen in the foyer of a conference center.

Rundown with manually started timers
Rundown with manually started timers
Rundown with linked timers
Rundown with linked timers

Using the Start Time Properly

Every cue can have its own start time, but remember, start times are completely optional.

The ideal approach is to set a start time on the first cue. Stagetimer will then automatically calculate the following start times based on timer durations.

If your event has a break in between, or if there are segments that have hard time constraints (e.g. an esports event reshow starts at 7PM, but the first tournament game has to start at 7:45 sharp), then you can manually set the start time on that cue as well.

Stagetimer uses these hard (user-defined) and soft (automatically calculated) start times to calculate the Over/Under time. This tells you if you’re running late or ahead of schedule. It also shows if the cues’ durations add up properly or if there’s a gap or overlap in time.

To help you differentiate, hard start times are white while soft start times are gray.

Hard and soft start times
Hard and soft start times

Note that if you switch a cue to “scheduled” (under timer triggers), it will use the hard start time to auto-start that particular cue. In all other cases, the hard start time is purely a visual feedback for the controller and won’t trigger any auto-starts.

Sharing the Output with Your Talent, Team, and Audience

Sharing the output of your show is straightforward with the three primary outputs available. They’re accessible via the “Share” button:

Viewer Link (confidence monitor)
Viewer Link (confidence monitor)
Agenda Link
Agenda Link
Moderator Link
Moderator Link
  1. The viewer link: This is the fullscreen version of the small preview in the top left of the controller page. It’s meant as a confidence monitor for your talents on stage. Additionally, it can also be used as live feedback for other teams on the show like lighting, audio, or backstage.

  2. The agenda link: This is a simplified view of the show’s rundown mainly intended for the audience. For instance, visitors of a conference can see the day’s schedule on a screen outside the lecture hall. The agenda page follows the active timer by automatically scrolling along. Internally, it can help everyone stay in sync on current and future segments of the show.

  3. The moderator link: This link is designed primarily for message interaction. For example, if you’re using messages to collect audience questions or transmit social media comments to the stage, someone can use the moderator page. It gives full control over messages but doesn’t allow timer control. For more details on this, refer to this guide.

See all the options available when sharing outputs: Sharing timer and event agenda

Per-Timer Options

Timer Interface Documentation

Timer Triggers

To define how your timer starts, you can choose from the following options:

  • Manual: The timer has to be started manually via the “Play” button either on the cue itself or the transport controls.
  • Linked: The timer is linked to the previous timer such that it starts automatically when the previous timer reaches zero.
  • Scheduled: The timer starts automatically at the given time. This scheduling happens server-side and will start the timer even if the controller page is closed in the browser.

Timer Types

The following options let you define the runtime length of your timer:

  • Duration: The timer has a fixed duration.
  • Until Finish Time: The timer runs until a set time, the duration is dynamically calculated when the timer is highlighted.

Timer Appearances

Here’s how you can choose to display your timer:

  • Countdown: The default, the timer counts down from the duration total to zero.
  • Count Up: The timer counts up from zero to the duration total.
  • Time of Day: Showing only the current time of day, or clock, and hiding the progress bar.
  • C/D + ToD: Countdown together with Time of Day.
  • C/U + ToD: Count Up together with Time of Day.
  • “Hidden”: The timer and progress bar are hidden, but all other elements like the logo and the title are still visible. This is different from the “blackout” option where all elements of the timer are hidden.

Global Settings for all Timers

Customizations affecting all timers
Customizations affecting all timers

Note that these options are available to paid users. See all other options available under Customization.

Time Formats

Stagetimer offers a variety of formats for your timer, choose the one that suits your needs the best:

  • 1:17:30:59 (d:hh:mm:ss)
  • 1:17:30:59.5 (d:hh:mm:ss.S)
  • 41:30:59 (hhh:mm:ss)
  • 41:30:59.5 (hhh:mm:ss.S)
  • 230:59 (mmm:ss)
  • 230:59.5 (mmm:ss:S)
  • 92 (sss)
  • 92.5 (sss:S)
  • 1d 17h 30m 59s
  • 41h 30m 59s
  • 230m 59s
  • 92s

Time of Day Formats

For the time of day (clock), you can choose one of these formats:

  • AUTO (use browser time format)
  • 19:05:21 - 24H with seconds
  • 19:05 - 24H without seconds
  • 7:05:21 PM - 12H with seconds
  • 7:05 PM - 12H without seconds
  • 7:05:21 (12h w/o AM/PM)
  • 7:05 (12h w/o AM/PM)

Behavior when reaching 0:00

Also, decide what happens when your timer reaches zero:

  • Stop countdown at 0:00
  • Continue countdown after 0:00


Choosing a specific helps you sync up with your international team or adjust if your browser got it wrong. By default, rooms use the browser’s default timezone. But with the timezone chooser you can set a specific timezone, ensuring everyone sees the same time, down to the exported CSVs.

Screenshot of Timezone Chooser Popup
Timezone Chooser Popup

How to Access the Timezone Chooser

Navigate to the Controller page. On the left-hand side, underneath the transport controls, you’ll find the current time of day. Right next to it is the timezone (e.g., “Asia/Singapore”). Click on it, and the Timezone Chooser Modal will appear.

Timezone Options

Inside the modal, you’ll get two options:

  1. Auto (Use browser default): This is the default setting and will utilize your browser’s timezone setting. Any connected device will show clocks in their own timezone.
  2. Manual selection: A dropdown list of available timezones, complete with the timezone name, time of day, and GMT offset. Any connected device will show clocks in the chosen timezone.

Additional Quality of Life Settings

Wrap-up Times & Actions

Wrap-up settings
Wrap-up settings

“Wrap-up times” is the term for the yellow and red sections of the progress bar, which help signal to the talent when their segment ends. You can define the duration of the yellow and red parts on a per-timer basis or apply a single setting to all timers.

Additionally, you can set a sound to play or the timer to flash when these points are reached. For example, you can set the timer to flash 3 times when it reaches the red part and then let it flash indefinitely once it goes past 0:00. These options are available to paid users.

Timer flashing
Timer flashing

Title, Speaker & Notes

Title, speaker and notes
Title, speaker and notes

The current title appears at the top of the viewer (aka confidence monitor), and the current Speaker is shown at the bottom. For premium plan users, you can change title & speaker position.

Notes are primarily for the show caller and are never shown on the viewer. You have the option to display notes on the agenda or moderator page by adding a link parameter. This allows you to share an agenda link with notes with your team and another link without notes with the public.

You can also choose to hide individual or all titles and speakers, for instance, if you want to use the speaker field for internal purposes, invisible to the talent on stage. Remember, you have full flexibility in using the title, speaker, and notes fields.

Title and speaker on confidence monitor
Title and speaker on confidence monitor