Open Dental

Tips & Tricks #28

In this Tips & Tricks post, we will share Open Dental keyboard shortcuts, discuss how to set up required fields to ensure critical patient information is recorded, how to process rollover benefits, and how to request new features for Open Dental.

I love using keyboard shortcuts – what shortcuts work in Open Dental?

Open Dental has a selection of keyboard shortcuts to help you navigate the program. The main ones are below – find the complete list in our online manual.

You've been asking for a keyboard shortcut to open the Select Patient window and it is coming in Version 21.3 (currently in Beta). You'll be able to use Ctrl+P for this!

Here are the general shortcuts that are currently available:

Shortcut Action
Shift + F1Open the Open Dental Manual search page (
Alt + FOpen the File menu.
Alt + SOpen the Setup menu.
Alt + LOpen the Lists menu.
Alt + ROpen the Reports menu.
Alt + TOpen the Tools menu.
Alt + COpen the Clinics menu. When in a window, selects the Cancel or Close button
Alt + EOpen the eServices Setup window.
Alt + AOpen the Alerts menu.
Alt + HOpen the Help menu.
Alt + OLogs off Open Dental. When in a window, selects the OK button.
Ctrl + DInserts date into a text box
Ctrl + QWhen in a note box, opens the Quick Paste Notes window.
Ctrl + XOpen the Referrals for Patient window.
Ctrl + Shift + COpen the Contacts window.
Ctrl + Shift + FOpen the Procedure Codes window.
Ctrl + Shift + WOpen the Wiki.
F1:F12When in the Appointments Module, cycles through Appointment Views.
When in the Chart Module, cycles through Chart Views.
See our manual for Menu and Edit Appointment Window shortcuts

How can I remind my staff to fully fill out Patient Information?

Certain fields are essential, like name, responsible party, phone number, etc. You can set these up as required fields in Open Dental in Setup, Required Fields.

In the Field Type dropdown, select Patient Info. You can also make fields required only if they meet certain conditions. For example, you might only want to include a Responsible Party if the patient is under 18.

In the Patient Edit window, required fields are marked with an asterisk.

If you click OK without entering the required information, a popup will appear as a reminder.

Click Cancel to see which fields were missed.

TECH TIP: You can also set Required Fields for insurance payments.
In the Required Fields window, use the dropdown to select InsPayEdit and set the fields to require for an insurance payment.

My patient’s unused benefits roll over into their next benefit year. How do I record this?

At the end of the patient’s benefit year (or after their last treatment has been completed for that benefit year), take these steps:

First, find their remaining benefit amount. This can be found in the Treatment Plan or Account Module.

In the Treatment Plan Module
In the Account Module, hover over InsRem to see insurance benefit amounts.

Next, enter the rollover amount in the Family Module in Adjustment to Benefits. Enter it as a negative number.

TECH TIP: We’ve rolled over the entire remaining benefit amount for this patient, but some plans may cap how much can be rolled over. Double-check the plan to be sure.
If they’ll lose benefits because of a rollover cap, see if they can get scheduled for care to use those benefits instead!

I would like to see a certain feature added to Open Dental. How do I request this?

We have a Feature Request system built right into our software and each year, we release dozens of features requested by our users. The more offices that vote, the more we know the feature is widely-needed.
In 2020, we released 62 customer-requested features, and so far in 2021, we’ve released 40 features requested using our feature request system.

To use this feature, go to Help, Request Features.

Search using keywords like “appointment module” as shown in this example. Existing feature requests with those keywords will display.

Try to find a match for the feature you’d like to have added.
If you don’t find a match, click +Add to add a new request. Tell us the problem you’re trying to solve – that’ll help us know how to build a feature that solves it.

Don’t miss this step – VOTE on your request! If you don’t vote on the request, it will not be visible in search. Whether you’ve brought up an existing request or you’re adding a new one, the process is the same – simply add points in the My Votes area.

You have 100 points to use, and once a feature you’ve voted for has been implemented, any points you used on that feature are returned to you to use on other features. If you feel a feature is critical to your practice’s operations, you can check the “Is Critical” box, but you can only do this on two feature requests – once a feature you’ve marked “Is Critical” is implemented, you’ll have that available to use on another feature.

Nearly as important as voting on your own feature is promoting it to get other offices to vote on it too!
Promote the feature in the Open Dental Users Facebook Group, in your local network of dentists who also use Open Dental, or in our Forums.

Our team is here to help so please reach out if you have questions or need to troubleshoot an issue.

Categories: Open Dental, Tips & Tricks

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