One question we get asked a lot by IT professionals is how to get the most out of Atera’s custom fields feature. This article will go into detail about exactly what custom fields are, and how they can be used to help streamline and personalize the way you run your IT departments and MSP businesses. We’ll even provide a few simple examples for utilizing custom fields in your own environment. Ready? Us too!
What exactly are custom fields?
Custom fields are a method of personalizing the functionality of Atera so that you can more easily manage, monitor, search and act within any IT environment.
Think about any data field that you fill in across the Atera platform. This could be in ticketing, for customers, contacts, contracts, SLA, agents, SNMP devices, or for TCP/HTTP, as well as any generic forms and pages. The idea of custom fields is simple, it’s a way of creating your own labels or data entry fields, so that you can use your language in your day-to-day business work. Standard fields are the way that you create IT automation profiles, create instructions for scripts, and search and deploy actions across your business. If you can customize those fields, then you can customize the way you work, and the automations that happen to make your work life easier.
You only need to create a custom field once, and then it will always appear moving forward, unless you edit it or delete it from the platform. If for example you want to create a custom field for tickets that is called “Paused”, you’ll always be able to use this paused identifier when you are working with tickets.
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How can I add a custom field?
You can access custom fields directly from the Admin panel, choosing Basic Setup, and then clicking on the custom field. You’ll be able to see all the options for categories you can add custom fields to at the top, so simply toggle to the right one.
As you can see from the screenshot, on the top row of tabs you’ll be able to identify the default fields which are included as standard. For tickets, you can see Status, Priority, Impact and Type. Simply click add field, and you’ll be able to choose the Target, the Type, and the new custom field that you want to create.
One great feature is the ability to mark the new field as either required or not required. If for example, you’re an MSP, and you have seen over time that your technicians are not getting essential information from customer interactions, you can add a field for this data, and mark it as required, to ensure they won’t be able to forget. If you choose required, then technicians won’t be able to open a ticket without including that field. You can also choose between marking a custom field as private or not private, so that you can hide certain information from customers, ensuring it won’t appear automatically on their customer portal, if you wish.
You can also choose the order that the fields will appear in. Simply drag and drop to move the fields around until you’re happy with the process.
Can I edit existing fields, or only add custom ones?
Great question! Most of the default Atera fields across the platform are not editable, and are created that way as standard. However, you can choose to edit the ticket status field, and add more field values to your ticket status, which will then be carried over across all tickets.
Quick reminder! It’s important to remember that if you set custom ticket statuses, these will impact any Service Level Agreements that are attached to the tickets, plus reporting and ticket automation profiles that are associated with that kind of ticket status.
Under Custom Fields, and under the Ticket tab, you’ll see that under default fields, the Status option has an edit icon. You can see what it looks like in the screenshot, below.
By clicking on this edit icon, you’ll open up a window that’s called Ticket Status Fields. Click on Create Status, and then you can choose to add your own new statuses, such as “Waiting for Dave” “Urgent” or “Good for training”. You’ll be prompted to choose the status behavior, whether that’s open, pending, resolved, or closed.
Don’t forget, you can drag and drop your statuses to the order that you want them in order to best reflect the way you do business.
Can I delete custom ticket statuses?
We wouldn’t leave you stuck with a bad decision forever now, would we? It’s simple to delete custom statuses, but make sure to choose a new mapping for any tickets that are attached to the status. Head to Edit Field, and then click the trash can icon. Don’t forget to click apply, and you’ll be prompted to confirm which values you want to delete and what you want them to be replaced with.
For other kinds of custom fields, you can use the icons next to each field to edit or delete, making sure to click apply when you’re done so that any changes are saved.
What are some ideas to use custom fields for?
There are a ton of great use cases for custom fields, for any time you want to create a data field that’s not included as standard within Atera.
One example is the use of silent tickets, more information for which can be found here in the knowledge base. The idea is simple, sometimes you want to work on a ticket without a notification going to the customer by email. To do this, create a Silent custom field, making sure you toggle the options to not required for use, and private to customers. Then, set up an automation rule so that when tickets are opened, the notification emails are only sent if the Silent custom field is set to “no”.
Another idea is using custom fields on the Agent page, in order to capture additional information. For example, you might want to add the warranty date, or the date of the last patch, so that technicians and other stakeholders can quickly and easily track and monitor that information about each device with an agent installed.
By creating custom fields, you can also more easily search for specific devices, refining your device search by the custom data fields that you create. First, head to Devices and click on Custom Fields. Then, select a device type and click to open the window that is indicated to the top right of Custom Fields.
You can then use the Custom Field Filters to search for your devices according to any custom fields which have been created previously, streamlining the way you manage and find devices on demand.
That’s custom fields!
Custom fields really are one of the most flexible approaches to using Atera, giving you the control to create data fields on your own terms across your business.
We love seeing what the Atera community do with customizable features on the Atera platform, so do let us know if you have a particularly interesting or unique use for the custom fields feature — you never know, you might find yourself highlighted in one of our next IT pro in the spotlight features!