March 25, 2021

Top 5 Helix ALM FAQs

Application Lifecycle Management

When it comes to learning a new software, there are often more questions than answers. Getting started, setting up your environment, and learning how and when to use the tool are just the beginning. To top it off, many of us now work from home with limited access to our teams. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

Listed below are the top questions that have come through our customer care center over the last few months, as well as the solutions. Don’t see your question? Feel free to reach out.Remember, you can always find documentation for any page you are on using the help menus within Helix ALM.

Here’s where to find it on the Web:



And here’s where to find it on the desktop client:



With that, let’s jump right in.

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1. I Have Used Helix ALM For a While, How Do I Upgrade?

We recommend performing a full upgrade of all client and server applications, and other components for all major and maintenance Helix ALM releases. Your upgrades will update executables and drivers, but do not affect existing data files.

Quick Tip: You may want to install the new Helix ALM version in a test environment before upgrading to your production environment. This will allow you to easily evaluate new features, estimate downtime required to upgrade, and ensure no issues occur.

Preparing for the Upgrade

1. Review the release notes for information about new features, enhancements, bug fixes, and important upgrade information.

2. Check the system requirements to make sure computers you are installing Helix ALM components on have the required space, memory, and other resources to run efficiently.

3. If you are upgrading from TestTrack 2011.1 or earlier, review additional steps required to prepare databases for upgrading.

4. Download the current Helix ALM installer.

Performing the Upgrade

The time it takes to upgrade depends on the components you are installing, as well as your data package.

Note: if you are upgrading both Helix ALM and Surround SCM, upgrade the product with the most recent release date to guarantee you install the latest version of the Helix ALM License Server.

1. Stop the Helix ALM License Server and Helix ALM Server.

2. Back up your license server database and Helix ALM databases and projects.

3. Run the Helix ALM installer. You may be prompted to overwrite existing files, such as SOAP or HTML files. Always overwrite these files to ensure that Helix ALM works correctly after the upgrade.

4. Start the license server and Helix ALM Server applications. The server databases are automatically upgraded when the servers start.

5. Upgrade projects if needed. Helix ALM can automatically upgrade projects when the server starts. Or you can manually upgrade them.

After Upgrading

If users cannot log in after upgrading, make sure a license is assigned to the user and that the maintenance for the license is not expired. You can read our full installation guide to learn more.

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2. Now That I Upgraded, What New Items Can I Use?

Now that you have upgraded, it’s good to know what new changes and features you can incorporate. Here are some key features.

Use Baselines to Preserve a Collection of Items  

Baselines preserve data for a collection of items at a specific point in time, such as a project milestone. Information in a baseline cannot be modified, so they provide a reliable way to see historical information about your products and releases. Whether you need to survive an audit or quickly review what changed, baselines can save time, provide insight, and make collaboration easier.


Adding Baselines

Adding a baseline is easy. You select the source items to include, which can be any Helix ALM item type — requirements, requirement documents (including all requirements in the documents), test cases, test runs, issues, and folders (including all items and subfolders in the folders). Capture full traceability information by automatically including items related or linked to the source items.


When a new milestone occurs and it is time to add another baseline, you can duplicate an existing baseline to add the new one with the same collection of items.

Attach Files to Baselines

After you add a baseline, you can attach files to it to save for future reference. For example, you may want to attach a PDF file of a report or exported Microsoft Word document related to a baseline.  

View Differences Between Two Baselines

You can compare two baselines to see what changed. You can see a side-by-side list of all items included in each baseline and easily identify added, removed, changed, and unchanged items.


You can also view differences for items to see detailed changes made between the baselines. This could include changes to fields, workflow, links, folders, and more depending on the item type.


View Differences Between a Current Item and the Item in a Baseline

When you are working with an item, click the baselines tab to see baselines the item is in. You can compare the current item to revisions captured in baselines to see how the item changed.


Run Baseline Differences Reports

When you are viewing differences between two baselines, you can run reports in HTML or PDF format that include information about items that changed. Reports can contain a list of differences between both baselines, a grouped list by item type, or summary of changes.


Note: Baseline features are currently only available in the Helix ALM web client.

Want to learn more about how baselines work in Helix ALM? Watch the webinar below for an in-depth look at the new Helix ALM baseline features.

Only Allow Users in a Security Group to Add or Remove Users in the Group

Administrators can limit the users who can add and remove users in a security group to only those users already in the group.


Learn more about what’s new in our Helix ALM user guide.

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3. How Do I Export Word Templates?

In Helix ALM, we provide templates to export your data in a specific format, or to view and share data offline. For example, some organizations export items to Word to produce the following:

  • Requirements documents in specific formats that include review notes, workflow events, and linked items.
  • Test plans that include linked requirements.
  • Issue lists that feature high priority items.

To perform an export, select items to export and a template to use. You can export from a variety of areas in Helix ALM. For this example, we can export a traditional template via the documents tab:


After clicking on export to Microsoft Word, this screen will appear:


Tip: To export multiple item types in the same document, export them from a folder.

We will be using the document with formatting for this example. But you are able to create your own by configuring an existing template or starting from scratch. Remember, the blue question symbol will bring you directly to our online user guide for additional information. 

Tip:  If you need to transfer requirement documents between Helix ALM projects, use XML export and import in the Helix ALM Client. See the Helix ALM Client help for information about exporting and importing XML files.

This, and more information can also be found in the importing and exporting section of our user guide.


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4. How Do I Integrate With Jira?

Helix ALM has a free and intentionally light add-on available in the Atlassian store. This is separate from a full Jira integration, which is discussed below. This add-on allows you to seamlessly integrate information from Jira directly into Helix ALM.

What is the benefit of an ALM-Jira add-on? Your team likely already uses Jira to manage tasks. But test cases and requirements are often managed in other tools and, in many cases, maintained in Microsoft Office.

This makes it difficult to gain insight into requirements and whether they’ve been approved. Unless, of course, you manually upload a requirements document to your Jira task. And it’s a challenge to see the test case, and whether or not a test run has passed or failed.

It doesn’t have to be that way anymore. ALM tools and Jira can work together.

Helix ALM makes it easy to gain visibility into your requirements and test cases from Jira. That’s because Helix ALM — and its modules Helix RM, Helix TCM, and Helix IM — come with out-of-the-box Jira integrations.

Need to migrate from Jira to Helix ALM? Watch our Jira migration demo to see how easy it is.

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5. What's the Difference Between the Helix ALM Jira Add-on and Helix ALM Jira Integration?

The Helix ALM Jira add-on, found in the Atlassian Marketplace, allows you to send data from Jira to Helix ALM. In addition, Helix ALM has a built-in integration tool that allows this add-on to work properly. To fully optimize the integration and all benefits of Jira, you must first add the Jira feature to your Jira tool and then incorporate the full integration.

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Application Lifecycle Management with Helix ALM

Whether you’re trying to add functionality to your current process or grow to meet the demand of your growing project, Helix ALM offers you the tools you need. With our ability to scale to large projects, our knowledgeable support team, and our ability to interact with current systems, it’s easy to see why our customers find us useful. But don’t take our word for it, sign up for a free trial today.

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