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The Best of: Milestone’s Tips, Tricks, and Little Known Features in XProtect

We’re recapping our 9 favorite Milestone time-saving tricks from Milestone’s MIPS 2021 on-demand session: Tips, Tricks, and Little-Known Features of Milestone XProtect.

We’ve condensed this 37-minute video into a super skimmable and searchable format. Learn how to embed custom HTML code, enable a diagnostic overlay in the web interface, create simple keyboard shortcuts, and more.

Tip #1: Click and Drag Camera Streams Using Tile Swap (2:53)

Did you know that you can easily move your Milestone camera streams around by simply dragging and dropping?

Move your live footage around by following easy steps:

  1. Toggle your mouse over the top portion of the video where the name of the camera is listed
  2. Click and drag the footage to a new area on your screen
  3. Rearrange your cameras as you please!

You can also double click the top part of a camera in view mode to make the camera full screen.

But these rearrangeable tiles aren’t just handy for camera usage. You can also input maps, HTML pages, text, or other elements into the tiles and move them around as necessary.

It makes multitasking much easier.

Tip #2: Embed Customizable HTML Code as a Tile (4:30)

By using a Milestone plugin called Axis Optimizer, you can embed customizable code from HTML sites into tiles, as mentioned in tip #1.

Here’s how:

  1. Find any embeddable HTML code from your desired site. In the video, they use code from Weather Widget to view current weather conditions.  In our example video we are just using the YouTube embed code.
  2. Click the “Embed” or “Get Code” button on the site to open up the pre-written embeddable code.
  3. Copy the code and paste it into your notepad software on your computer.
  4. Save the code as an HTML Document (*.html) by naming the file in quotation marks (ex. “weather.html”)
  5. Go back into Milestone and click “Setup”
  6. Click on Axis Optimizer and “Web View” option into your open tile
  7. When prompted for a web address, hit “Browse” and select the Text Document you just created with your embeddable code
  8. Click “OK,” exit Setup mode, and there you have it!

You can now view any embedded web link or widget in a Milestone tile on your view screen!

Tip #3: Eliminate the Chevron in Smart Client Tile (7:00)

If you find that the Chevron on the bottom of each tile is bothersome, annoying, or just not necessary (as is the case when embedding an HTML link), you can hide it with just three clicks.

All you have to do is:

  1. Click “Setup”
  2. Click the down arrow on the Chevron
  3. Click “Setup” again to save.

Boom.

Tip #4: Adjusting Scaling Issues for Cut Off Text in Milestone Management Client (7:30)

If you’ve ever launched Milestone Management Client and had issues using the navigation screen because of the text being cut off, here’s the solution.

The typical reason this issue occurs has to do with the Microsoft text scaling on your desktop. The standard solution is to fix the text scaling settings in Windows itself (changing the scaling from 125% [usually the recommended scaling setting] to 100%).

However, this change will alter the text scaling across all applications on your computer. And if you have poor eyesight like me or a high resolution monitor, making the text smaller often makes things even more difficult.

The Milestone Solution:

  1. Before opening Management Client, right click on the shortcut to the application and select “Properties” from the dropdown menu
  2. Once the properties settings are open, select the tab “Compatibility” and click on the “Change high DPI settings” button
  3. In the DPI settings window, check the box under the “High DPI scaling override” section that reads “Override high DPI scaling behavior”
  4. Underneath that box, the settings asks “Scaling performed by,” and select “Application” from the dropdown menu
  5. Click “OK” to save your setting changes

Now, your text will scale appropriately for readability in Milestone without affecting anything else on your PC.

Tip #5: Customizing Your Keyboard Shortcuts (9:05)

This is a Milestone time-saving trick worth mentioning time-and-time again because of how useful it is for a variety of situations.

In Milestone XProtect Smart Client, you’re able to customize any keyboard shortcut you want for any particular function.

Our favorite, by far, is using F5 or CTRL + R to reload server configuration.

Here’s how:

  1. Head into your Settings and select “Keyboard” to access the keyboard settings
  2. Once opened, under “Categories” select “Application”
  3. Under the “Commands” list, scroll down to select any command you want to create a shortcut for. In this case, the Milestone pros chose “Reload server configuration”
  4. After selecting, input the keyboard shortcut you’d like to use for this function in the textbox labeled “Press shortcut key” and hit “Assign”

Milestone will push it through and you’ll be able to essentially log out and back into Milestone to reload the server with just a click on your keyboard!

Tip #6: Add a Diagnostic Overlay to Your XProtect Web Interface (16:00)

In addition to adding a diagnostic overlay with additional information about your camera streams directly to your video footage, you can also add this feature easily in XProtect Web Client.

How to add a diagnostic overlay to your XProtect web interface:

  1. Open Settings
  2. Scroll down to “Video Diagnostics”
  3. Turn on or enable “Video Diagnost Overlay”

Milestone has now introduced both direct streaming and transcoding to the diagnostic overlay function in the web interface, so you can now see what frames you’re receiving, how you’re receiving them, the video codec, and the resolution of your video with the diagnostic overlay.

Tip #7: Optimize Resolution with Adaptive Streaming (16:55)

Another function that is useful to turn on but is not set up in Milestone by default, is adaptive streaming. 

The adaptive streaming tool allows the Milestone software to use the appropriate resolution of a video stream that best suits the camera’s strength or quality.

For example, it is not efficient to stream a 5-megapixel camera into a small Smart Client tile.

No one needs all those pixels in such a tiny space.

This feature requires both server-side and client-side configuration in order to activate it. Check out our blog, XProtect Adaptive Streaming for step-by-step instructions on how to turn this feature on.

After enabling this function, you should see a drastic increase in image quality in video streams.

Tip #8: Create an Instant Layout in Milestone Smart Client (24:00)

If you find yourself needing to view a selection of cameras that are all related (for example, all parking lot cameras), use this simple trick to create an instant layout in Milestone Smart Client. How to create an instant layout in Milestone Smart Client:
  1. Under “Views,” search the keyword or term to locate all cameras related to it. For example, searching “parking” or “door” will bring up every camera you have that has either term in the name
  2. Once the search results appear, select the first camera by clicking on it
  3. While holding down “Shift,” click on the last camera in your results to select all cameras
  4. Hit “Enter”
  5. Your instant layout is created!
You can make this layout permanent by enabling “Setup” mode and renaming the layout and moving it to an appropriate folder.

Tip #9: Add Smart Client installer to the server (31:20)

Milestone Tips, Add Smart Client to download manager
I have always wondered about how to add a new Smart Client installer to the Management Server download page. I remember back many years ago there was a server side installer that would do that for you but those special versions are no longer. Thankfully there is still a way to do this.
  1. Download the version of Smart Client you would like to add to the download page
  2. Right click on the installer, click “Create a shortcut”
  3. Right click on the new shortcut you created click “Properties”
  4. In the target text field, at the end of the current entry, after the last quotation, add a space and then type --ss_registration
  5. Click “Apply”

Recapped from the pros themselves in Tips, Tricks, and Little-Known Features of Milestone XProtect, those are our 8 favorite Milestone time-saving tricks laid out for you in a super skimmable and searchable format!

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