Overview of the "Incident article" knowledge template in ServiceNow


Aside from base-level fields, like "Short description", that are in all knowledge articles, the "Incident article" template for knowledge articles has four unique fields:

  • Symptoms
  • Cause
  • Resolution
  • Workaround

Please review the information below for details about these four fields.

NOTE: You may see other fields, depending on your group memberships.

example screenshot


"Symptoms" field

When using the "Incident article" template, the "Short description" field normally contains a statement of the problem. The "Symptoms" field can be used to provide more details on the problem or to state the problem in a different way, if needed. It is not required to have content in the "Symptoms" field, and you should not use it unless it adds value to your article.

Provide screenshots, when possible.

If available, provide details about the contextual environment (circumstances) under which the symptoms occur.

For errors, even if there is a screenshot, type out the exact, entire error message as it appears in the audience's context. This makes the text searchable.

If there is more than one potential error message, you can document them in two different knowledge articles, or you can put section headers above each bit of error text to delineate "ErrorĀ 1" and "ErrorĀ 2", for instance.

Replace variables in error messages with generic text, and italicize any variables.

Style guidelines for errors are included in Formatting and style guide for knowledge base articles.

"Cause" field

The reason that the error or problem occurred

Always specify a cause. If the cause is unknown, type "Unknown".

"Resolution" field

Use this field to provide the solution for the problem or error. Always specify something. If there is no resolution at the time you create your draft, then type, "There is no known resolution at this time."

Provide details of how to resolve the error or problem, with step by step directions, bullet lists, screenshots, or whatever might be necessary.

Create an "OUTCOME" section to provide a conclusion to the action. In the editor, click the "Horizontal line" button on the toolbar. Immediately after the horizontal line, type the word "OUTCOME" in all uppercase letters on its own line; place the outcome details below it. Write the outcome in present tense whenever possible.

"Workaround" field

When the problem or error has no known resolution, there may be a workaround. Include that info in this field.

An example of a workaround might be using Safari to access a website instead of Chrome.