10 features that power users will love in Dovetail Agent

Last year I highlighted 10 things to love about the new Dovetail Agent, that showcased some of the ways that the new Dovetail Agent is so much better than its predecessor.

Since we use Dovetail Agent every day for supporting our own customers, we’re power users of the app ourselves. 

Here, I’ll highlight some of the features that we love, and that we think other power users will love as well.


Photo by @laurent_peignault


1. Canned Responses

Canned responses are re-usable text snippets that you can use when logging emails or notes. Canned responses can save you time if you’re often typing similar responses. Users can create personal canned responses, and can also share canned responses to workgroups, or to everyone.

And power users will appreciate the @@ keyboard shortcut. Typing @@ (two at signs) will start an inline canned response picker. You can then start typing a canned response name to refine the picker and get to the one that you want.

For example, if I type @@my then the picker will refine the list of canned responses, and only show those that contain the word my:


2. Batch actions

Batch actions allow you to perform the same action on a set of items.

For example, I can select a set of cases that are in a queue, accept them all, log a note to all of them, and then close them all – without having to re-query or re-select the set.

Power users will appreciate the “Automatic Grid Refresh” user preference that controls whether the grid is automatically refreshed or not after a batch action is performed.

Here’s a video that shows how the “Automatic Grid Refresh” user preference enables what I refer to as “multi-batch actions”:

Direct link to video on YouTube.


3. Keyboard Shortcuts

Throughout the app, keyboard shortcuts increase user efficiency. There are shortcuts for navigating through the app (Go Home, Go to Recent Items, Search, etc.), as well as for invoking actions on entities (Edit, Log Email, Log Notes, Dispatch, Assign, etc. ). And the “?” keyboard shortcut shows the user all of the available shortcuts:

The Navigation shortcuts (j, k, p, o, x, t) are definitely geared for power users.


4. Configurable grids

Query results are rendered in a grid, and each grid can be configured to your preference

  • Hide a column
  • Reorder-columns
  • Sort by one or more columns
  • Re-size column widths

Each query can be tailored individually, and the preferences are automatically saved.

And if you choose to download the query to Excel or CSV file – the downloaded results will also honor your hidden columns and column order settings.


5. Configurable console

On the console, you can show/hide the preview pane, resize the preview pane, and how/hide the left navigation sidebar.

This gives you control of how you want your console page displayed.

Combine that with the configurable grid, and you have a lot of control.

How do you like your layout?

Lots of data:



Or more sparse:




6. Favorite Searches & Queries

Once you’ve performed a query or a search, you can favorite it by simply clicking the star icon.

Then all of your favorite searches and queries are quickly available from the left sidebar.



7. Advanced Search

Most users simply type a name, a case id number, or some keywords into the search box.

But power users will appreciate how much more you can do with search.

For example:

search for all open cases created in the last 90 days with a case type of Problem that have a keyword of lorem



8. Custom Home Page

Users can now set their home page to be any page within the app – such as a queue or a query.

For example, perhaps you’re a manager who doesn’t work cases. In this case, you may wish your home page to be My Workgroup’s Open Items or one of your custom queries.

Clicking the Home icon (or using the g+h keyboard shortcut) will take you home.

Clicking the My Work icon (or using the g+w keyboard shortcut) will take you to My Work.

Upon logging in, you’ll be taken directly to your preferred home page, saving you the step of having to load My Work, and then navigate to your preferred page.


9. Tagging

Tagging an object (such as a case) in Dovetail is much like you would tag an object in other systems – such as tagging a photo in Flickr, or tagging a file on a Mac.

Compared to the old WIPbin model, tags provide a great deal of flexibility in how you organize your work.  With WIPbins, an object (such as a case or solution) can only belong to one WIPbin. But with tags, a case can have as many tags as we want.

For example, I may have a WIPbin named “Important”, and a WIPbin named “Waiting on Customer”. But what if I have a case that is important, and it’s waiting on a customer reply? That case can only be in one of those WIPbins at any one time. With tags, I can add two tags to the case: important and waiting-on-customer.

You can even tag  items that you don’t own – which is great for keeping an eye on other cases in the system, such as important issues being worked by your team.



10. Quick Commitments

Commitments are used to set a reminder or follow-up. Some folks refer to them as Reminders, or Ticklers.

If you click on the Commitments tab, then click on the + icon, you can create a full commitment – where you can type in a title, some notes, set an exact due date/time for the commitment, and even set a warning time.

Full Commitment:



But, if you use the l+c (Log Commitment) keyboard shortcut, you’ll get the Quick Commitment form.

Rather than typing a title, you simply pick one from the drop-down list.

The due date defaults to 24 hours from now, and there’s a few helper links to easily set the due date to be in an hour, in a day, or in a week.

Quick Commitment:


This is a much quicker way for adding a commitment with just a few clicks or keystrokes.


11. Friendly URLs

Yep, I snuck in an additional bonus power user feature – at no additional charge.

There are times when you know the ID of a case, subcase or solution.

For example, we sometimes see a case and its closed with a note that says “this is a duplicate of case 16607”. So now I want to go look at case 16607. I can query for it. I can search for it. Or, since I have friendly URLs, I can simply edit the URL.

For example, if I’m here:

then it’s really easy for me to look at that URL, understand it, and change it from 16610 to 16607.

We have friendly URLs for:

  • Cases:
  • Subcases:
  • Solutions:
  • Change Requests:
  • Part Request Headers:
  • Part Request Details:
  • Employees:

Compare those URLs to something like: 
Not so friendly.


Wrap Up

Since we use our own application every day for supporting our own customers, we understand the importance of having features that allow users to work quickly, and allow for some personal tailoring of the app to individual preferences.

If you haven’t experienced the new Dovetail Agentfeel free to reach out to me. I’m happy to walk you through it, or discuss in more detail.


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