To get help from ITS, submit a Helpdesk ticket by sending email to helpdesk [at] There are a few things you can do when writing one to make sure folks on the receiving end understand you. Read on to find out how to make your Helpdesk tickets clear and concise — and get help fast!

Send Email to Helpdesk (and Nowhere Else)

This is important for several reasons: the biggest is that your ticket will get quicker attention. Message to Helpdesk enter our Helpdesk system, and everyone in ITS can see it. You can think of it as trying to get in touch with your boss by sending an email to coworker and hoping they’ll forward it. Sending your computer issue anywhere other than helpdesk [at] adds additional complexity that could work against you getting a reply.

One Issue per Ticket

It may be tedious to create a separate ticket for each issue or request, especially  if you have several things that need to be taken care of. Still I highly recommend writing a separate email for each. Usually it isn’t a problem but it’s not hard to imagine a situation where an IT worker in a hurry (and we’re never in ever in a hurry) might quickly respond to one part of a multi-part ticket and forget to respond to anything else in that ticket.

The Best Subject Is a Summary

Have you ever received an email with a subject like “FW: FW: RE: that thing!” and decided to look at it later only discover it was an important time-sensitive email? Avoid vague subject lines, particularly if something isn’t working and needs attention right away. Instead, summarize your issue or request. These are great: “Can’t print to the 5th Floor printer”,  “Unable to send email with Outlook 2003” or “Need a way to create PDFs from Word”.

The Body Should Describe

Be as clear as possible:

  • If you need something, let us know what it is you need and why you need it. The why is particularly important as often there are several options and we’ll need to help you find the best one.
  • If something isn’t working, describe the problem and how to get it to happen again. How to make the problem reoccur can be invaluable when trying to fix it.
  • Optional: Any error messages or a screenshot of the problem can be a real help.

A Few Other Thoughts

  • You can forward an email (including a “thread” of messages and replies), but please include a brief summary at the top, along with what you need from ITS. Also, replace the subject line with a summary of the problem.
  • If the ticket is time sensitive, let us know what your deadline is like.
  • Double-check on things we say are “fixed.” Often there are changes we can make on a server or remotely that should fix certain issues, but computers are complex enough that sometimes that isn’t exactly the case.
About the Author
James Curran