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Custom Bridges

Add a custom bridge for a program we don't currently include. This is useful for customers who have the technical ability to write output files and don't wish to wait for Open Dental to write the bridge. 

For instance, you could create a link called Outlook with a path of outlook.exe to launch Outlook each time you click that button in the toolbar. You could even add a command line argument such as [PatNum]. You would have to create a macro in Outlook to recognize the command line argument containing the patient number. The macro would open up the patient in your contact list.

Other possibilities include bridges to Excel or to your own custom program. You might have a web-based program, for instance, that you use to build special customized treatment plan layouts. Your program could take the PatNum, and use queries to load all the other necessary info. Your program would then function like an extension of Open Dental.

You can also use a custom bridge to create a unique reporting URL from the Reports dropdown. See Add a Report URL below.

Add a Custom Bridge

  1. Click Main Menu, Setup, Program Links.
  2. Click Add, then enter the settings. Do not click Add to activate a bridge we already support.

  • Internal Name: This field will not populate for custom bridges.
  • Description: How the program is listed in the Program Links window.
  • Enabled: Check this box to enable the bridge. Uncheck it to disable the bridge.
  • Path of file to open: Enter the path to the program's executable (.exe) on your computer or network. It can be a local path or a server path. This path will be used by all computers connected to the database, unless you enter a local path override on an individual machine. If the path is inaccurate, and Open Dental cannot find the .exe file, then the program bridge will not work. 
  • Local Path Override: On an individual machine you can enter a path to a program's executable (.exe) that will override the Path of file to open. This is usually left blank.
  • Optional command line arguments:  If a program bridge requires a command line argument, it will be specified in the Notes area. If the bridge specifies, enter the output file location here. Otherwise, this is usually left blank.
  • Text on Button: The text that will appear on the toolbar button, if you select to display a button in a module.
  • Plug-in dll name: See Plug-in Framework.
  • Additional Properties: You can edit values, but cannot add new properties. To change a value, double click on a row.
  • Notes: Any program specific details.
  • Add a button to these toolbars: Highlight the module(s) where you would like a button to appear in the toolbar. Press Ctrl while clicking to select more than one module.
  • Button Image: Import an image that will show on the button, if you select to display a button in a module. The imported image must be 22x22 pixels. Click Clear to remove the button image.

Output File: Build your own output file (for example, .txt or .ini) for custom program bridges. This requires technical knowledge of output file builds and should only be attempted by those with the required knowledge. Don't create an output file for bridges that do not require one.

Click Output File.

  • Output File Path: Enter the .ini or .txt file location.
  • Output Template: Enter the command line arguments for the output file.
  • Replacements: (Optional) Insert replacement fields. These fields replace the selected information (e.g. [FName]) with information for the selected patient when activating the custom bridge.

Click OK.

Add a Report URL
Use custom bridges to add a button in the Reports dropdown with a custom description. Click to launch your internet browser and load the URL entered in the path of file to open.

  1. Enter a description that will show in the program links window. Check the Enabled box. If Enabled is unchecked, the bridge will still show in the window.

  1. Enter the website URL in the Path of file to open.

  1. Enter the text on button that will show in the Reports dropdown.

  1. Select ReportsMenu.

  1. Click OK. You will now have a custom URL link in the Reports dropdown. The custom bridge will also show in your program links window with the Description entered as the label.


Open Dental Software 1-503-363-5432