Visual Schedule Builder

Visual Schedule Builder (VSB) is an online self-serve tool that helps plan your course schedule. It lets you graphically view schedule options and create a timetable based on the courses and times that work best for you. VSB arranges selected courses into conflict-free timetable options and displays them in an easy-to-read weekly schedule.

Please note:

  • VSB does not register you in courses. It helps you create an optimal course schedule plan. You then use it enrol in courses through the Registration and Enrolment Module (REM).
  • VSB does not replace academic advising or degree auditing. It cannot check prerequisites or financial / enrolment blocks that may prevent enrolment in the courses you select.

Access VSB with your Passport York login. Step-by-step instructions and tips for VSB are listed in the tabs below.

Using Visual Schedule Builder (VSB)

Technical Tips

  • To better navigate the VSB, use a desktop computer or laptop.
  • Your Passport York (PPY) login will time out after 90 minutes.
  • Dedicated mobile and tablet versions of the VSB are coming soon.

Note: The French version of the Visual Schedule Builder is coming soon.

How do I build a course schedule?

1. Choose a session

Log into VSB. By default, you will be in the Select Courses panel. If multiple enrolment periods are currently open (for example, for Summer and Fall/Winter), then you can choose the desired academic session using the radio buttons in the top right-hand corner of the screen.

2. Select your course location

Click the Select… link next to Campuses to open a list of campuses. This opens a new window area where , by default, all locations are marked. You can click the checkboxes individually to add or remove individual campus options, click Select All to add all campus options, or click Select None to remove all campus options. TIP: The fastest way to select a single campus location is by clicking Select None and then clicking the location you want.

3. Select your courses

Remember: the VSB is used for planning an optimal schedule. VSB does not enrol you in courses. When you find a schedule you like, you will enrol in courses using the Registration and Enrolment Module and the course catalogue numbers output by the VSB.

Adding a course

  1. In the Enter Course search box, type in a course:
    • code, such as SC/CHEM 1001 or MUSI 1020G or
    • title, whether partial or complete, such as calculus or Introduction to Linguistics or
    • instructor's name, whether partial or complete, such as Rezi or Tom Wilson or
    • catalog number, such as V23R01
  2. Choose the desired course from the list of results.
  3. Click the Select button.
  4. Repeat steps 1‐3 for other desired courses for the session. Possible schedules are generated automatically as you add courses.

Removing a course

To remove a course from the list of desired courses, click the ‘X’ in the upper right-hand corner of the coloured box for that course. To unselect a course from schedule generation without entirely removing it from the list, click the check mark next the course code in the upper left-hand corner of the coloured box for that course.

4. Pin courses to schedule

You can pin a specific course option to the schedule to force the system to keep that course in the same place. You can pin (or unpin) a course with any of these methods:

  1. Clicking any of the course meetings within a given graphical timetable schedule.
  2. Clicking the course title below the graphic timetable schedule.
  3. Clicking the coloured box containing the course ID / course title within the Results panel.


Browsing through your results

To browse through your generated schedule possibilities, you can use either the arrow keys on the page, or the arrow keys on your keyboard (saving time when you are paging through many results). When you hold down the arrow key, it will speed scroll through the different options.

Building a schedule with too many schedule scenarios

If the list of courses you select yields too many possible schedule combinations for VSB to handle, you will see the following warning:

There are too many schedule possibilities. You must reduce the number of enabled classes or pin down some class(es) before adding more courses.

If you see this warning, we highly recommend first pinning down any courses required for your major.

Campus change warning

A warning icon—an exclamation mark inside a triangle—will pop up in the timetable if two courses adjacent in time (60 minutes or less between them) are offered in two different locations. This warns you to ensure adequate travel time between campuses.

Choosing session and course location

Session: You cannot select any courses until an academic session is selected at the top of the Select Courses panel.

Location: Unless you change the settings, all course campus locations are selected by default.

Resolving conflicts

If you select a course that has an unavoidable time conflict with other courses that you have pinned (or courses that have only one meeting group), then the number of your possible schedule results will automatically reduce to zero and the system will display the following message:

No Results
There are no conflict-free schedule combinations with the selected courses.

In the Select Courses panel, a warning icon—an exclamation mark inside a triangle—with the message All classes of this course conflict with all classes of [conflicting course ID] will show up for all conflicted courses.

To resolve conflicts, first pin your core (major and/or minor) courses and then try to add other courses (such as general education or elective) courses to your schedule.

If you select two courses that have no class options with open seats that do not conflict with each other, VSB will still display all schedule combinations but will also display the message: Warning: Not all classes selected above have seats available.

Timetable layouts

VSB timetables look different depending on the academic session. The summer session timetable displays a single week-like calendar block. The fall/winter session timetable is divided into two halves: the left one displays fall courses and the right one displays winter courses. Courses that run across throughout the fall/winter session (such as Term Y courses) will appear in both halves.

If you select courses offered only on week days, they will get displayed in a five-day timetable grid from Monday to Friday. If any of the courses you are interested in are offered on weekends, they will be plotted in a six- or seven-day calendar (including Sunday and/or Saturday) depending on the day(s) your course is offered. Be sure to look at the top row of your timetable to see which columns correspond to which days of the week.

How can I refine the results and find my best schedule?

All possible conflict-free schedules are reviewable in the Results panel. The courses are colour-coded and laid out in the following two areas:

  • A Legend area showing details of each course selected, such as the course title and number, period, section, lecture meeting group number, tutorial and/or laboratory meeting group number, seat availability, campus, classroom location, instructor, course catalog number, start date and end date. Below that list, the Schedule Cat #s box shows all catalog numbers for the courses in the currently-displayed schedule.
  • A Schedule area with courses plotted on a visual timetable schedule and a monthly timeline indicating course start and end times/dates; see Timetable layouts for more information on these views.

If the course is offered in a physical class space, then there will be a one-to-one correspondence between these two formats. However, if the course is offered fully online, then it will be displayed in the course detail list and the monthly timeline but you will not see it listed in the weekly schedule grid.

When you navigate through your schedule options using the arrows located below the Navigate Schedules heading, the options in the Legend and Schedule areas are automatically updated.

Prioritizing specific times

One great feature of VSB is the ability to block off personal time when you don't want classes. You can create these blocks by clicking and dragging in the timetable grid. The system will preferentially show you possible schedule that avoid these times. (Possible schedules that show classes overlapping with these blocked-off times will still appear but will be moved to the back of the viewing order.)

To remove a blocked-off time, click it in the timetable grid.You can also prioritize schedule options by using the options in the Sort preference drop-down menu in the top right-hand corner of the Results panel.

Narrowing down your results

There are three simple ways to narrow your results and find your best schedule:

  1. Save favourite choices by clicking those courses in the grid to pin them. This prioritizes that specific course and arranges your other course options around it. When all your courses are pinned, the number of generated results is get reduced to one: your desired timetable. To remove a pin, just click that course again. (See Pin courses to schedule, above, for more methods of pinning and unpinning.)
  2. Use the filters located in the top-right corner of the Results panel to show/hide full classes, online classes and/or on-campus classes. (See Filtering, below.).
  3. Choose course terms, sections and meeting groups within sections from the drop-down menus within each course in the Select Courses panel.

You can also simply browse through all the results until you find the schedule you like.


Entering and removing personal times manually

If you would like to manually enter personal times, rather than clicking and dragging on the schedule grid, you can enable accessibility features by clicking Increase Accessibility in the Select Courses panel. You can then type a time range in the Add Personal Times box below the timetable grid in the Results panel, then click Add Time. To remove every personal time added to the timetable grid, click Clear all Personal Times.


All filters are applied to your search by default, indicated by a checkmark. You can narrow down your choices by unselecting some of the following options:

  • Full classes: If you don't want to see classes that are already full (note: VSB includes full classes in your list of courses in case the course you are interested in is full today but may have space tomorrow);
  • Online classes:If you are not interested in taking online courses;
  • On-campus classes: If you would like to take only online courses.

Sorting preferences

You can sort the viewing order of possible schedule by choosing from the Sort preference drop-down menu:

  • None: No schedule is prioritized.
  • Most days off: Schedules with the most days without a course are shown first.
  • Morning classes:Schedules with morning classes (before 12 PM) are shown first.
  • Mid-day classes: Schedules with mid-day classes (12 PM-6 PM) are shown first.
  • Evening classes: Schedules with mid-day classes (12 PM-6 PM) are shown first.
  • Time off campus: Schedules with the fewest on-campus hours are shown first.
  • Most on-campus: Schedules with the most on-campus hours/days are shown first.

Keep in mind that these sorting preferences do not change the number of your schedule results: they simply change the viewing order of those results. VSB will not save your sorting preferences between logins, so you need to apply them each time you create a new schedule.

Showing similar options

Some course sections will have sets of "Similar Options", such as a lecture meeting group and a tutorial meeting group and/or a laboratory (lab) meeting group. In such sets, tutorials/lab meetings are typically offered in different locations than the lecture meeting.

Click Show Similar Options in the Results panel to see alternate options for the same course, and click the radio button to the left of an option to select it. Click Hide Similar Options to hide these alternate options again.


If you increase the zoom on your browser, or use a narrow display monitor, then you will only be able to view one panel of the VSB (Select Courses or Results); you can switch between them by clicking the panel names. In this case, the Generate Schedules button will appear in the Select Courses panel: it will only become clickable (turning from grey to green) if at least one course is selected, and will switch you automatically to the Results panel to see the schedule options.

I have my schedule. Now what?

Enrolling immediately

If your enrolment window is open, and you have no advising and/or financial blocks on your record preventing enrolment, you can immediately use the Registration and Enrolment Module (REM) to enrol in courses. To do this quickly, copy the course catalog numbers (one at a time) from the Cat #s box below the list of courses in the Results panel. Enrol as soon as you can after deciding on your schedule because the seat availability information is constantly updated constantly. It is possible that a course that was not full when you created your VSB timetable may be full by the time you go attempt to add it within REM.

Enrolling later

If you cannot enrol immediately (for example, because your enrolment window is not open yet and/or you have an advising or financial block preventing enrolment), then you can copy or bookmark the URL address in your VSB browser to e-mail the schedule result(s) on screen to your academic advisor or to keep for later use. Pasting the URL into a web browser will display that set of schedules again, but you may have to log into Passport York to see it.