Documentation forSolarWinds Service Desk


This feature provides a powerful, yet easy way to trigger actions or escalation points, based on parameters of incoming data or comments made within SolarWinds Service Desk. With an IFTT (if this, then that) principal, each automation can be activated and deactivated at any time.

The automation screen will populate, as you begin to create automation rules.

Use Cases

  1. When an Agent enters a ‘public’ response, the state can automatically update to “Awaiting for customer”.  Once the Requester responds, the status will change to “open”.

  2. Automation of tickets entering the system: e.g. When an incident is entered in Orion, key words in the text can trigger routing to the appropriate team and/or individual. You can set priorities etc. via the use of key words and regular expressions. 

  3. Utilize the custom fields to trigger priority based upon custom impact and urgency field combinations

How to

This section is broken down to two subheadings:

  1. Create a new automation rule
  2. Use regular expressions (or regex) within automations

Feel free to review all the content below or click the link to go directly to the topic of interest.

To create a new automation rule:

  1. Navigate to your Setup menu and select Service Desk
  2. Click on Automation Rules

  3. The Index page displays all rules created.
  4. To add a new Automation Rule click the icon.

Here you can define the scope of conditions that will be met, in order for your automated actions to take place.

Look at the example below:

This rule defines that all incidents created for the EMEA region, and meet the conditions:

  • Site: Shelby
  • Category: Hardware

will be met by the automated action of reassignment to Janet Perez.

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


Creating automation rules begin 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, 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 a note on a change.

  • Object updated - this trigger reviews all fields and automates based on the preselected conditions.

  • Time Based - the ability to create conditions and actions based on time and date triggers

    For additional information on Time Based Automations, please click here.


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

  • Incident/Service Request

  • Change


Once your trigger has been defined, you can move to establish your parameters. Conditions can range from specific keywords, custom fields or attributes (like priority, state, etc.) among others.  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 more. There is no limit to the number of actions within a rule.

Notice the Update Record section in Actions.

Here agents and administrators can easily scan for titles and add more actionable details to the index.

Use case:

Any agent/administrator, can update text fields to increase workflow efficiency.

For example: as there are many onboarding requests. Appending the requester computer model (custom field) to the subject would enable agents to handle tickets faster.

As soon as a ticket is opened for a new hire, an automatic field is displayed to enter the type of computer needed.

Make sure to click the icon to keep the new information entered.

How to use regular expressions (or regex) within automations

A regular expression (also known as regex) is a unique text string that defines a search pattern. The regex concept is an advanced level commonly used wildcard. You may be familiar with wildcard notions such as:

  • *.txt - this helps you locate all text files in a file manager

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

The difference may not look substantial, however it is much more powerful than a simple wildcard. Don’t worry, even if you are not a regex expert, you can take advantage of regex in your SWSD. Once 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

Let's look at some helpful tips to get the most out of this function.

  1. How 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 below:

    [kK]eyword or


    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. How to use multiple keywords within one condition - first you must create a regex list via 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 this automation: keyword, example, list, or complete.

  3. How to combine best practices 1 & 2. Making use of 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.

  4. 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.