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ActivDesk Manual - Chapter 2
  ActivDesk Manual


1. Installation
2. The basics in 20 minutes
3. Administrator Functions
4. Support Tickets
5. The User Manager
6. Template Manager (Customization)
7. The Knowledge Base
8. The End User Interface

2. The Basics in 20 Minutes

2.1 Create Support Categories
2.2.Create Accounts For Your Support Staff
2.3 Placing links from your Web Site to the Support Desk
2.4 Customizing the look and feel of the support desk your customers will use - Global Template Method
2.5 Customize Automatic Email Responses
2.6 Testing the System



ActivDesk should be very easy to use and is in a lot of cases self-explanatory. Please read this guide as it will save you time. This section has been written to get you started in the shortest time possible. It provides you with the basics of setting up your Support Desk.


2.1 Step 1 - Create Support Categories.

In this section we assume that ActivDesk has now been successfully installed on your server or web hosting account.

Users requesting support from you can submit their support queries to categories that you have defined.

To add 'support categories', log into the Main Admin Control Panel with the super user or root account. The user name and password to use would be the one that was supplied when ActivDesk was installed.

Now click on the 'Admin Functions' tab. Then click on 'Category Manager'. After that click on 'Add a New Category' to add a new category.


2.2 Step 2 - Create Accounts For Your Support Staff.

If you have more than one person providing your customers with support then you can create 'Support Staff' accounts. Your Technicians or Support Staff can then each have their own accounts to log in with when providing customers with support.

How to add a Support Staff account

Inside your Admin Control Panel click on the 'Admin Functions' Tab. Once you have opened the Admin Functions screen click on the 'Support Staff Manager' tab.

Once the Support Staff Manager screen is open simply fill in the details and select the sections you wish to give the user access to. This will allow you to restrict access to certain sections.

If you want a user to have full access to everything you need only select 'Yes' at the Super User section. This will give a user full access to all functions regardless if anything else was selected.

Now that you have Support Staff accounts you may send your Support Staff the URL to the control panel so that they can log into ActivDesk to provide support to your customers. Support staff members can access the Control Panel by loading the admin.cgi script in their browsers (just as you did to get into the control panel) and by supplying their user names and passwords that you specified as explained above.

Important Note: Note that a support staff member has to subscribe to a support category to receive notification when new support messages are posted in categories. To do that the support staff member has to log into the Main Admin Control Panel. Then click on 'My Profile' and select the categories where he/she would like to receive notification when new messages or replies are posted.


2.3 Step 3 - Placing links from your Web Site to the Support Desk

Now you should have created support categories so that your customers can choose a support category when sending support requests to you. You should also have created support staff accounts so that your Support Staff can log into the Control Panel to provide your customers with support.

To be able to provide your customers with access to your Support Desk you will need to place links from your web site to ActivDesk so that your customers can register support accounts and post support tickets.

The control panel will provide you with the links you need to place on your web site or web pages of your web site. You can obtain them by clicking the 'Home' tab (after logged in) and then by clicking the 'Integration' link.


2.4 Step 4 - Customizing the look and feel of the support desk your customers will use

ActivDesk uses HTML templates that defines the look and feel of the customer Control Panel. You can customize the templates so that it fits the look and feel of your web site for example. The templates can also be thought of as skins. All aspects of the templates can be customized to your liking. You can use any type of design. Note that ActivDesk uses no HTML code of it's own. It relies on the HTML code obtained from the templates to put everything together. The templates are ordinary HTML files which you can edit to add your logo, menu bar, graphics, css, etc. - You can even add JavaScript if you require to do something with JavaScript. The template functionality of ActivDesk allows you to literally implement any kind of design.

The Template concept in a few short words:

The templates that is used by ActivDesk is just ordinary HTML files. The only exception is that the templates or HTML files contains variable words that ActivDesk uses for pointers where it needs to place data. You can basically open the HTML files with your favorite web editor or with what ever you prefer and edit away. Some templates use other templates in combination with each other to form a single page.

How to edit the templates:

You can edit the templates from the Template Manager. To go to the Template Manager, log into the Control Panel. Then click the 'Template Manager' tab. Click on any of the template links in the template manager to edit templates.

Templates can be edited by copying and pasting the HTML code directly into your web editor when editing templates from the Template Manager. Once you have changed the template contents, you may copy and paste it back into the edit box and save it.

You may also open the template files directly with your Web Editor to edit them. The templates are stored inside your ActivDesk ‘data’ directory. The file names of the templates are always indicated when you click the 'Template Manager' tab.

What is the variable words in the templates/HTML files?

The variable words are enclosed by !! or %% characters. Examples of such variable words are:

%%date%% or %%pages%% etc...

These variable words are replaced by chunks of data supplied by ActivDesk when users use the Support Desk (log into their control panel, post new tickets, etc.) The location of the variables in the templates acts like pointers where ActivDesk substitutes the variable words with data. In some cases templates are combined with each other via these variable words.

For example:

%%date%% is replaced by the date and %%pages%% are replaced by the number of pages that contains support tickets, etc...

Note: It is very important that most of these variable words are present in your templates. Without them the Support Desk (or User Control Panels and Knowledge Base) may not function correctly. Only remove variable words if you know what they do.


2.5 Step 5 - Customize Automatic Email Responses

ActivDesk has various situations where it will automatically send out email responses. To customize the messages that ActivDesk sends out go to the Control Panel and click on the 'Admin Functions' tab. Then click 'Custom Emails'. Customize each email with the details suited to your needs.


2.6 Step 6 - Testing the system

By now you should have created support categories (step 1), added support accounts for support staff, (step 2) placed links to the ActivDesk software on your web site (step 3) and you should have customized the templates to define your own look and feel or to duplicate the look and feel of your web site into the Support Desk. (step 4)

1. First create a dummy support account. To do this click the link to register a support account from your web site. You had to place this link on your web site as explained in step 3.

2. After you have created a support account, post a support ticket.

3. After you have posted a support ticket, log into the main Control Panel and click on the 'Support Tickets' button.

4. Click on the 'Open Tickets' link in the category where you posted the support ticket.

5. Then click on the subject of the support ticket to reply to it.

6. After you have replied to the support ticket, log into the control panel of the dummy support account you created as explained in step 1 in this section.

7. Click the on the subject of the support ticket to view the reply you have just posted from the main control panel.

Experiment with posting tickets, and replying to it. It will give you a good idea of how all interactions with your customers will work.


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