Documentation forSolarWinds Service Desk

Automation rules

Automation rules provide a powerful, yet easy way to trigger actions or escalation points, based on parameters of incoming data or comments made within SWSD. With an IFTTT (if this, then that) principle, each automation can be activated and deactivated at any time.

The automation screen populates as you begin to create automation rules.


  • Change ticket status: When an agent enters a comment, the ticket state can automatically update to Awaiting Input. After the Requester responds, the state can automatically update again to Open. See Automation rule to create a change record for more information.

  • Automate tickets entering the system: When an incident is emailed into SWSD, key words in the text can trigger routing to the appropriate team.

  • Update priority: Update ticket priority based on impact and urgency custom field combinations.

  • Apply time-based automations: for more details, see Time Based Automations.

Components of an Automated Rule

Review the list of components for creating automation rules and begin exploring with rules relevant to your organization.


Creating automation rules begins with defining your trigger. What is the catalyst that prompts an automation rule to run?  Consider what actions could be automated to help streamline processes.  The available triggers include:

  • Object created. This trigger hones in on the creation of a new incident, service request, or change in your service desk.

  • Comment added. The automation is triggered by the addition of a new comment to an incident, service request, or note on a change.

  • Object updated. The automation is triggered when a field is updated.

  • Custom. The custom trigger allows you to optimize your automation rules by combining all three triggers (object created, comment added, and object updated) into one rule.


The scope narrows which object the trigger will apply to. You can select from the dropdown menu:

  • Incident/Service Request

  • Change


After your trigger has been defined, you can move to establish your parameters through conditions. The condition parameters define what SWSD will check for a match. The type of condition defines when SWSD will check for a match.

There are two types of conditions: regular and time based. A regular condition performs a check immediately after a trigger occurs, while a time-based condition may decide to reschedule a check to a future point in time. (See Time-based automations for more information.)

Conditions can range from specific keywords, custom fields, or attributes (like priority, state, etc.) among others.  All text fields (name, description, and text based custom fields—including dropdown fields) are checked with the keyword condition.

When adding additional layers to your parameters, your operators between conditions can be AND/OR.


The action(s) behind your automations are initiated when the defined conditions are met. You can take actions such as altering the priority, reassigning ownership, relaying notifications, and updating/appending a record using the CC field. There is no limit to the number of actions within a rule.


Reminder notifications. Using a time-based condition you could remind a technician or team that a requester submitted a comment one day (or more) ago.

Click Save to update the new information entered.

Regular expressions (or regex) within an automation

A regular expression (also known as regex) is a unique text string that defines a search pattern. Regex is a programming language that allows for advanced searching within texts. You may be familiar with wildcard notions such as *.txt, which helps you locate all text files in a file manager

The regex equivalent to *.txt is ^.*\.txt$.

The difference may not look substantial, but it is much more powerful than a simple wildcard. Even if you are not a regex expert, you can take advantage of regex in your SWSD. After you understand a few basic elements, you can create keyword searches that go beyond a single keyword.

Regex breakdown

Regular expressions are a useful way to extend the functionality of the keyword condition in automations. You can include:

  • multiple keywords
  • a variety of spellings
  • uppercase vs. lowercase letters, and more

Best practices for using regex

  1. To adjust for capitalization, create a regex to allow for uppercase and lowercase letters to be considered valid by the system. To do this, you must follow the syntax:

    [kK]eyword or [eE]xample

    The first letter is shown in brackets in both lowercase and uppercase format. This will allow for both: keyword, and Keyword to be recognized.
  2. To use multiple keywords within one condition, create a regex list using the following syntax:(keyword|example|list|complete.

    The | works as an OR in this list. In this example, any one (or more) of the following keywords would trigger the action associated with the automation: keyword, example, list, or comp
  3. To use multiple keywords within one condition, create a regex list using the following syntax:


    The | works as an OR in this list. In this example, any one (or more) of the following keywords would trigger the action associated with the automation: keyword, example, list, or complete.
  4. To combine best practices 1 & 2, make use of a list with both uppercase and lowercase letters -


    This would allow for the following words to be triggers for the automation: urgent, critical, help please, Help Please, help Please, Help please and serious. The addition of the \s in the keyword ‘Help Please’. That \s is the regex code for a space. If the keyword you are looking for has a space in it, you must use \s in place of the space.

  5. To adjust for incorrect, or alternate spellings of words, use the same syntax used for uppercase and lowercase letters. For example, if you wanted to account for a commonly misspelled word such as “consensus” you could use the following:


    This would recognize the following words as the keyword, and thus trigger the action you set for this automation:

    • consensus

    • concensus

    • consenses

    • concenses

    Placing letters inside the brackets [ ] allows for regex to recognize either letter as an option within that keyword. This can be very helpful when dealing with commonly misspelled words.

A quick search of the Internet can provide links to regex tutorials and expressions.

Create a new Automation Rule

  1. Go to Setup > Service Desk > Automation Rules.

  2. From the Automation Rules index page, click the Add .

  3. In the Automation Rule dialog, select the appropriate trigger and scope from the dropdown lists.

  4. Determine whether your rule will use a single condition or multiple conditions. If multiples, decide whether to use the default OR operator or the AND operator.

    Be careful with your use of the AND operator. Ensure that the conditions you are creating could all occur from the trigger.
  5. Determine whether you will use time-based conditions to for your automated actions to take place.

  6. Click + Add Condition .

  7. In the New Condition dialog, select the field and value, and then click Add Condition.

    Each field has its own list of available values.
  8. Notice the default setting in the upper right corner is Active.

  9. Click Save at the bottom when finished.

Example for Incident/Service Request scope

You can see below that the Trigger is Object updated. In this example, if the current value for Site on the ticket is Shelby AND the value for Category on the ticket is updated to Hardware, the automation rule will reassign the ticket to Janet Perez.

Deactivate an automation rule

  1. Go to Setup > Service Desk > Automation Rules.

  2. Click the automation rule you wish to deactivate.

  3. In the Automation Rule dialog, change the toggle from Active to Inactive.

  4. Click Save.

Related Topics

Automation rule to create a change record

Automation rule to mirror a three-strike policy

Time-based automations