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Quality Assurance (QA) Workflows, Real-Time Collaboration, and Short Codes

Learn how to edit like a pro in PlexTrac leveraging our Google-Doc-like, real-time collaboration features to build better reports faster. See how to use short codes to automate copy and paste when working on different engagements or with different clients.

Series: PlexTrac MiniDemo Series

Category: Content Library, Product Features, Reports, Templating



Hello. Today we’re going to talk about some of PlexTrac’s QA workflow capabilities. Completing the QA workflow within PlexTrac, where you are doing the report writing, helps to ensure effective collaboration and removes barriers such as unreliable version history, repetitive back and forth messaging, embarrassing errors in the final report let’s go ahead and move into this report that I have open.

You will notice first that we have the ability to track changes. We’ve updated this and you can track changes at the report level or at each individual rich text editor field. If I turn it off at the report level, you’re able to see that I can turn it on just for this field or a few fields. If I have multiple changes that I want to take an action on, I can either take action individually and accept or discard each individual suggestion. I can highlight a few changes and discard or accept the selected suggestions. We’re going to go ahead and discard those because I actually don’t want those changes to be made. Or I can come in and discard or accept all suggestions and we’re just going to discard all suggestions.

This only impacts this specific rich text editor field that you are working in. It will not affect any of the other fields that you are working in. You also have the option to comment on any information in a reg text editor field just by highlighting and clicking the comment button. Once you have made the comment, in order for other people to see this information, you want to go ahead and click comment and then of course you can edit or remove any comments that you have made. If I have another user in here and they leave a comment, I can see that pop up in my instance immediately. I don’t have the option to edit their comment, but I can remove it if I am an admin user or above. You may have noticed as I have been working in this instance, some of our other new functionality, which is our real time collaboration.

The other users working on the QA process or this report show up at the top of this section letting me know that they’re in here working and then I can see if they are clicked into any of the sections. I can see their cursor with their matching color to their icon up here. So this user right there is Tammy standard user. As we can see when I hover over her cursor and if she were to make any changes, I can see those being typed in real time. These features within Plextrack drive team collaboration and efficiency with a Google like review, change tracking and commenting experience for multiple review levels to take place. All of this helps cut QA time and improve report quality. The other thing that you will notice in this narrative section are several shortcodes.

That is this information right here with the two percentage symbols and some text in between each set of those. We have the ability to utilize built in shortcodes or define your own shortcodes. These shortcodes are tied to fields at the report and the client level. So if we look at the report details for this we can see things like author name, report author email, date of delivery, client short name. These fields all came in when I attached this manual pen test report template to my report when I created it and I was able to fill in the information then. Or I could wait as you can see from these other two custom fields and fill in the information when I have it. Like I don’t know the date of delivery yet because I’ve not delivered this report.

It’s just in QA. If we look at report details a little bit further we can also see some things like start date and end date or report name. Those are all built in fields that Plextrack has that you can utilize through shortcodes in bringing in additional information into your report. All of that to say that I can enter information one time for accuracy sake. And it allows it to then populate throughout the report anywhere that I would utilize shortcodes. So how do we make these shortcodes happen? Well first we would go into the account admin and then click on the shortcodes section. And from here we can see all of the custom shortcodes that are in my instance already.

But there’s also default shortcodes. These are the ones built into Plextrack. So let’s go ahead and create a new shortcode. And we’re going to create a short code called application name. So one thing to keep in mind, any shortcode needs to have the two percentage symbols on either end of a complete string of text. There can’t be any spaces or special characters. And so anything that you do here just needs to be a complete string of text.

So I can do that underscore if I want to have a space to make it easier to read or not. Then the source is where am I going to put this custom field? So for application name I’m going to put that at the report level and then the custom field label. This is what you’ll type into your custom field to create it. And we’re just going to call it application name and click save. So now this application name is an option for me to add a shortcode into my instance. We’re going to copy the shortcode and then we’re going to go back into that report that we were just working on and into the narrative section.

And I can go ahead and enter that shortcode in and then go back to the details section and again enter that information in as a custom field. So that custom field label needs to match exactly what we put over in the admin panel. We’re going to create an application name and then save our report details and go back to our narrative section. You will notice in those details I left a few blank and that’s a little bit on purpose, so you can see that not all of these will fill in. We’re going to go ahead and click search and replace and then replace shortcodes. And this will replace all shortcodes in the report with the information from those custom fields. You’ll notice that if I left any of those fields blank that that information did not come through, such as report and date or date of delivery or author email.

I didn’t add any of those, but you will see that client name, application name, start date, author name, all of those were populated with the information from those custom fields, but the ones that were left blank remained as the shortcode, which shows that if there is no data associated with the field, the shortcode will not be replaced with anything. This shortcode functionality helps drive accuracy by allowing users to enter values into the client and report level fields one time to automatically pull information into the findings and narratives, and in turn minimizing errors. All of our features included in our QA workflow really help to save time for Plextruck users as they work through the reporting process, making the final report quicker to complete and more consistent.