Introduction

OmniDisplay is an intuitive, easy to use communications platform that enables a user to extract, aggregate, compose and stream live real-time information from multiple external and internal sources to any video display. OmniDisplay auto-installs OmniRSS (an RSS Feed Manager). This provides the capability to source data from available RSS data feeds. OmniRSS User Guide provides details on its use and connectivity.

System Requirements

OmniDisplay is a Windows 10 application; it uses the Windows Extended Desktop to create virtual

displays. Virtual Displays can be published to any physical display that accepts a video output; Smart

TVs, video monitors, LED displays and LED tickers.

Standard Windows 10 desktop hardware is required for single displays with the desktop specification,

power and connectivity being increased as the number of displays to be supported increases.

Connectivity is via HDMI, either directly to physical displays or via network controllers such as those

provided Matrox, Cabletime and others. OmniDisplay has been tested with Matrox Powerstream

software to provide additional network routeing capabilities.

Installing OmniDisplay

OmniDisplay is provided through a secure download. On installation, OmniDisplay is placed into the specified folder and the application is run by selecting it from the Start bar menu. When started for the first time, a sub-folder is created in the documents directory (OmniApps\OmniDisplay), and a further sub-folder is created (Graphics). These folders maintain user configurations, display definitions and media items (text, images and video) which have been imported into OmniDisplay layouts. The default location for all OmniDisplay layout files is Documents/OmniApps/OmniDisplay. Alternatively, when an OmniDisplay layout is created it can be stored in a location of the user’s choice, alongside any media items associated with that layout. This is covered later in this document.  
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During initialisation and subsequent usage any significant events are recorded in a log. The   message   log   is   viewed   to   track the     progress     of     the     application installation     and     initialisation      with successful   events   and   errors   being recorded .    When    the    application    is first   used,   this   message   log   window will    resemble    that    shown    above. Ac tual        messages        may        vary depending   on   the   particular   system configuration.

OmniDisplay Media Options

A comprehensive range of multimedia options are supported and include: Internal data imported from Excel and Application Frames External data extracted from RSS feeds Images, Graphics and Text from on-premise files Pre-recorded video from on-premise files External URL sourced video and live web pages
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OmniDisplay Navigation

File Top Row Tool Bar New Display Layout Defines the size parameters for a new Display Open Content File Opens a file previously saved file from the OmniDisplay folder Save Content Save current content and layout if previously saved Save As Save current content and layout with a new name Remove Layout Removes the Display from the list of active Displays Publish Saves current content and layout to a user named folder Schedule Set up a schedule (Load various files at different times). Playlist Set up a Playlist (Load various files at defined intervals). Run OmniTicker Activates OmniTicker to run alongside OmniDisplay Edit Top Row Tool Bar Undo Undoes the last editing action Redo Resets the last editing action to the prior status Cut Deletes current selection after copying it to the clipboard. Copy Copies the current selection to the clipboard Paste Creates new selection from clipboard contents. Paste Link Create a DDE link or links from selection in Excel. Bring Forward Brings selected object one layer forward Send Back Sends selected object one layer back Bring to Front Brings selected object to the front Send to Back Sends selected object to the back New Item Creates a Text, DDE, RMP or Graphic object Delete Permanently deletes and Item or group of Items Select All Selects all objects in the layout Search/Replace Identifies/Replace ‘Service’ & ‘Topic’ from a Feed Handler Item Properties Identifies the object properties Tools Top Row Tool Bar Layout Properties Establishes the width and height of the layout in pixels Comms Properties Only used when setting up a serial connection, default ‘None’ Environment Options General, Display, DDE & RMP Cache settings Refresh Display Trans-Lux ONLY - refreshes physically connected Display Clear/Refresh Board Trans-Lux ONLY - clears/refreshes connected Display Clear/Refresh All Boards Trans-Lux ONLY - clears/refreshes ALL connected Displays Feed Handler Connect Connection settings for local host (defaults set) World Clocks Identifies world time zones from Windows registry Clean Graphics Folder Removes all graphics objects not in use by active Displays View Top Row Tab View Status Bar Identifies object source when mouse hovers over the object DDE Link Status Identifies status of links with Excel spreadsheet Message Log Maintains log of programme actions Help About Identifies the current programme release level
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Edit Top Row Buttons Cut Deletes current selection after copying it to the clipboard. Copy Copies the current selection to the clipboard. Paste Creates new selection from clipboard contents. Undo Undoes last action (up to 100 levels). Redo Undoes last ‘undo’. Colour Set the colour of the selection’s text. Edit Bottom Row Buttons Text Create a single line static text object. DDE Create a DDE link. Paste link Create a DDE link or links from selection in Excel. E Create an Item using data from OmniRSS. Clock Create a time or date Item. World clock Create a world clock Item Graphic Create a graphic / media Item Colours Text Set ALL Text to a chosen colour. Backg Set the Background colour. Display Bold Emboldens all characters on the published display. Hide editor Minimises editor to the task tray. Double click icon to restore. Publish Opens Display Management Dashboard Display Name User defined physical Target Display Virtual Display File name given to the OmniDisplay Layout Display No Display number for Extended Desktop X & Y Coordinates for the Target Display Lock XY Checked locks X&Y coordinates on Target Visible Checked makes Layout visible on Target
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On Right-Click Functions On Right-Click replicates editing functions available from the main menu, but adds three specific additional functions: Restore aspect Background Zoom Restore aspect returns a resized object to its original   proportion. It can be used for all objects, but is relevant to video and graphic images. Background provides an option to create a watermark background image. A JPEG image can be selected from source to act as a watermark. To avoid distortion the image should be the same size as the layout (e.g. a layout of 1080 x 1920 pixels requires an image of 1080 x 1920 pixels. The image replaces the background colour  selected from the main menu. Clear background removes the watermark image and returns the background to the colour previously selected. OmniDisplay has a ‘Transparent background’ option where the published image will appear as a transparent overlay.  Zoom allows the layout editor to change the visible size of the layout; Zoom does not affect the actual layout size.
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OmniDisplay Save, Save As and Publish Option

The default path for OmniDisplay layouts files is: Documents/OmniApps/OmniDisplay/ (file name). ‘Publish content to’ provides the user with the option to save the layout file (and any content graphics) to another local or cloud- based folder/ location of their choice. For example, the cloud-based folder could be stored on One Drive, Dropbox or to any other hosted location. This location is stored alongside the content within an OmniDisplay layout.

OmniDisplay Connection Settings

From the Tools tab within OmniDisplay select ‘fetch feed handler’. This will show the default connection settings as ‘localhost’ and Port 5004 for information purposes only; they will match OmniRSS settings. OmniDisplay and OmniRSS and designed to run from the same PC with both installed at the same time.

Display Layout Editor

Any   object   on   the   display   layout   editor   can   be   moved   by   selecting   the   object   and   dragging   it   with   the mouse   to   the   chosen   coordinates. Additionally,   graphical   display   objects   can   be   resized      by   dragging the bottom right hand corner of the object. Multiple   objects   may   be   selected   by   dragging   a   rectangle   on   the   display editor;   all   touched   objects   will   be   selected.   Any   selections   can   be   moved and graphical displays scaled up or down. Text   based   items   can   be   layered;   the   options   opposite   provide   for   items   to be moved back and forward. Restore   aspect   applies   to   video   and   graphic   items   and   restores   the   item   to its original height and width ratio.
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Environment Options

Show Item Positions will highlight objects on the grid allowing the user to see the object boundaries. Show scrolling regions similarly highlights any DDE and RMP objects that where a scroll feature is used to highlight when values change.

Display placement grid provides a visible grid of

dots or lines in the user’s preferred colour. This

provides a user with guides to line-up and resize

objects on a layout.

Additional Options - General

Select all touched objects determines how a selection is made; this can include items partly within the selection rectangle, or only those completely surrounded by the selection rectangle. Where objects overlap each other, a user can opt to select just the top one, or the whole stack. A user can opt for a warning if placing objects on top of each other. ‘Ignore duplicate incoming’ data (checked) will allow a duplicate item to be sent to the display or flash. Where incoming data is the same; ‘Ignore non-printable characters’ will cause any ASCII codes that can not be displayed on the display to be ignored. Get most recent data from feed handlers’ retrieves the latest data from the OmniRSS program when creating a new item. Additional   Options    allow   a   user   to   place   or   move   items,   through   snap to   grid,   snap   to   another   item’s   position   for   easy   alignment,   or   not   to   snap to anything. Snap distance options are 4 or 8 pixels. DDE and RMP Cache have options to respectively identify to a user when an Excel item is unavailable / disconnected.  The same applies when an RMP item is unavailable either as a local or remote item. The values default to those shown opposite, but can be changed to a user’s preference.
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Using the Layout Editor

Static text Static   text   is   a   single   line   text   object,   used   for   titles,   headings and   messages.   Simply   enter   text   in   the   value   field   and   select   a colour.   For   video   all   displays,   a   user   can   choose   a   font   style and   size.   The   text   item   is   then   dragged   to   its   position   on   the display editor. The   Static   text   option   has   a   Playlist   function,   whereby   for   each line   of   text   vertically   revolves   in   a   predetermined   sequence   to allow,    for    example,    welcome    messages    to    scroll    within    the same   display   area.   Various   scroll   effects   and   sequences   are available in time intervals. Multi-line Text This option is available through the add ‘Media’ item dropdown menu. It provides a simple text editor (.txt format) allowing a user to create a box of text with the font and colour of choice which will wrap-around in the box provided. Multi-line text objects can be entered directly into the application in the box provided or loaded from a ‘.txt file; the competed text should be saved.   Different text based messages can be incorporated into Playlists, scheduled to run in a user’s chosen sequences and times. A text box can be sized to accommodate the desired height and width that best suits the display.
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Creating a DDE Excel Link

A     DDE    object    is    a    live    link    to    an    Excel spreadsheet.   There   are   two   ways   of   adding either   single   link.   One   is   to   manually   use   the DDE   button,   enter   the   path   (Topic)   for   the Excel     spreadsheet     and     the     Item     (cell). Where     required,     the     cell     length     to     be displayed    can    be    manually    set    with    the length’ control. The   simplest   way   is   copy   the   range   of   cells and   use   ‘Paste   Link’.   This   brings   across   the the    cells    formatting,    fonts    and    alignments. Resizing   a   group   of   cells   thereafter   can   be achieved by resizing the group.  Additional   formatting   can   include   conditional   colour formatting    based   on   changes   from   previous   values and changes within a range of values. The   examples   shown   opposite   will   colour   the   object according   to   a   range   of   values   and   whether   the   value is   positive   or   negative,   other   options   are   time   and previous value related.

External Sourced Data

Externally   sourced   data   is   provided   through   OmniRSS   (RSS   Feed Manager   and   Yahoo   Finance   interface).   These   data   items   are   referred to as RMP (Record Management Protocol) Items. The   ‘E’   button   shows   the   dialog   box   opposite.   The   Service    dropdown menu includes RSS (RSS data feeds) and WWW (Yahoo Finance). In   this   example   the   service   selected   is   RSS,   Topic    is   the   BBC   News data   feed   and   Item   00   is   the   first   item   from   that   data   feed.   The   prefix text   box   allows   you   to   add   text   which   will   appear   before   the   item’s data. For    numeric    data    extracted    from    Yahoo    Finance,    all    previously described    formatting    is    available,    in    exactly    the    same    way    as    for Excel.   Any   number   of   individual   data   items   can   be   added   to   a   layout. As each item changes at source, those changes appear in the layout. Individual items can be grouped together in Playlist.
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A   Playlist   provides   an   advanced   function   whereby   individual   data   items   will   appear   in   a   vertically rotating message bar. The   vertically   rotating   message   bar   provides   an   opportunity   to   create   a   user   defined   list   of   data   items to   be   displayed.   In   the   example   above,   RSS   feeds   have   been   selected   from   multiple   sources.   The user   defines   the   interval   or   length   of   time   each   data   item   appears,   the   time   taken   to   scroll   and   any scroll effect; the latter has various options that can be used to create a visual impact.

Creating a Clock

Two types of clock are available: A Local Clock which takes its time and date from the host Windows desktop and world clocks that take their time from the Windows registry of time differences. For a Local Clock select the icon from the editing menu and select the date and time in the required formats. To create a world clock select the world clock icon to access the ‘Service’. Clicking the icon provides a pop-up window of time zones; required time zones will be added to the dropdown list and are selected through the Topic menu.
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Adding Graphical and Video

Images and Video A   user   can   locate   the   required   file   through   Windows Explorer and drag it to the Layout Editor. Alternatively   the   media   button   can   be   selected   from the   toolbar,   select   item   type   from   the   drop   down   list and use the load file button. Images   and   Video   can   be   individually   added   to   the Layout   Editor,   or   grouped   and   added   to   a   Playlist   of images or videos.

Live Screen Capture

URL Selection This    media    type    uses    data    sources    using    any URL;   this   could   be   live   video   such   as   Sky   News, Bloomberg or the BBC (if in the UK). The    URL    is    entered    into    the    dialogue    box    as shown opposite. The   portion   of   the   web   page   to   be   shown   on   the display    is    captured    using    the    source    rectangle over   the   browser   window   which   appears   when when the ‘Go’ button is activated. The   rectangle   can   be   adjusted   by   dragging   its borders   to   fit   the   desired   target   image.   Source width and height adjusters can also be used. Each   item   can   be   resized   using   the   display   editor   to   fit   the   desired   size   on   the   display;   this   will automatically re-scale the source rectangle to fit the user’s preferred size on the display. Restore   aspect   can   be   used   to   ensure   the   image   is   in   the   same   proportion   as   that   shown   in   the browser.   Where   this   is   a   video   source   the   sound   can   be   set   to   active   or   mute   within   the   browser window. Application Frame This   media   type   sources   data   from   any   open   window   on   the   desktop.   It   works   on   the   same   principles of   selecting   an   area   to   the   displayed   as   identified   by   the   source   rectangle   whose   X   and Y   coordinates are adjusted in the panel. In   the   example   below,   the   open   application   window   is   Excel   and   the   graph   within   that   spreadsheet   is selected   for   display   as   an   Application   Frame.   Whenever   there   is   a   change   in   source   data   this   is immediately reflected in the display.
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An   Application   Frame   can   be   a   selection   of   any   open   window   application.   For   example,   if   a   user wants   to   display   a   data   selection   such   as   a   management   dashboard   from   another   application,   this can be selected and resized on the layout as required. Device Capture OmniDisplay   can   support   the   integration   of   devices   such   as   a   webcams   and   video   cameras.   The layout   image   above   has   a   live   webcam   from   the   host   desktop;   this   could   be   used   to   provide,   for example, periodic broadcasts to employees alongside other company information. External devices may require integration with OmniDisplay.

Layout Playlists & Schedules

Layout   Playlists   can   be   set   up   with   list   of   virtual displays    (files)    to    be    published    at    user    defined intervals. These    are    standard    OmniDisplay    layouts    that enable   a   user   to   set   the   time   each   virtual   display layout is published to a physical display. Similarly,   a   schedule   can   be   set   up   for   loading different   layouts   to   the   same   display,   or   a   Playlist of files can be displayed in rotation. In   the   example   opposite   two   files   are   scheduled   to load,   one   at   9am,   and   one   at   3pm,   each   day.   A schedule   will   be   saved   to   ensure   it   a   automatically loads with the application on startup. When   a   play   list   is   active,   it   cannot   be   edited, without   first   disabling   the   Playlist.   If   the   Playlist   is no longer required it can be deleted.
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Publishing Virtual Displays

The   Publish   button   brings   up   the   Display   Management   Dashboard.   This   lists   all   the   Virtual   Displays that are available to publish to physical displays. For ease of reference, the Display Name is user defined, whereas the Virtual Display is selected from the dropdown menu, which lists displays that are open and available. These include standard layout displays, layout playlists and and layout schedules. Display No: This is the display number identified from Windows Extended Desktop. For example a second monitor would be 2 and a third and forth, 3 and 4. X & Y: For a standard video display these are usually be set to (0,0). Where the virtual display is required to appear on a display larger than the virtual display size in pixels, the X and Y coordinates would be specified by the user and will need to be set such the virtual display appears in the correct position on the the target display. Lock XY: Ensures each time OmniDisplay restarts the virtual display will appear in the correct place on the target physical display. Visible: A user can opt to the make a particular virtual display not visible on the target display. This could be a user is editing the virtual display or has chosen the publish a different virtual ticker to that physical ticker or display
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Alphanumeric Trans-Lux Displays

OmniDisplay continues to support Trans-Lux alphanumeric DataWalls (and tickers) for those customers who have retained an interest and use for these displays. Default settings for Trans-Lux in brightness address, brightness,  flash count and panel widths are set opposite, whereas the user is required to define the width (characters) and height (rows) for the target display (DataWall). Trans-Lux DataWalls are serially connected. Within the Tools menu, Comms Properties are specific to Trans-Lux DataWalls; the target DataWall is matched to the physical display through the Comm port, which will automatically show those ports available on the host desktop. For existing customers using Trans-Lux DataWalls or Trans-Lux Tickers, further information is available by contacting support at support@initiostar.co.uk