Using Global Text Search

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Note: This article applies to Fuji and earlier releases. For more current information, see Global Text Search Suggestions at

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1 Overview

Global text search

Global text search finds records in multiple tables from a single search field.

Note: For Exact Match searches, records are returned from the Task (task) and Knowledge (kb_knowledge) tables only.

To perform a global text search, click in the search box (located in the upper right of the banner frame) or press Access Key + S.

Search results are grouped into logical collections called search groups. Users can search the groups for which they have access rights. Within each search group, results are divided by table. Administrators may customize search groups. The default search groups are:

  • Tasks: e.g., Incidents, Change Requests, Problems
  • Policy: e.g., Business Rules, UI Policy, Client Scripts
  • People & Places: e.g., Users, Groups, Locations, Companies
  • Knowledge & Catalog: Knowledge Base and Service Catalog

Knowledge and Service Catalog results are displayed as they are in their respective applications, while other results are displayed in list format.

Example. Search results for network.

2 Search Suggestions

2.1 Type-ahead suggestions

The knowledge base and global text searches provide suggestions as you type. Type-ahead suggestions appear under the search box. Suggestions are based on similar searches that begin with the same characters.

Type-ahead search

2.2 "Did you mean?" suggestions

The knowledge base and global text searches provide “Did you mean?” suggestions. Suggestions appear if your original search does not return any results and an alternate spelling or similar recent search does. For example, if you misspell a search term (such as eail), the correct spelling (email) may appear as a suggestion. Suggestions appear beneath the search box on the results page.

Note: Administrators must enable the "Did you mean?" properties for users to see these suggestions.

Did you mean? suggestions

For more information about suggestions, see Global Text Search Suggestions on the ServiceNow Community.

3 Controlling the Results You See

3.1 Text Search Groups

Navigating to System Definition > Search Groups displays the record list of the groups that global search results will be organized in. These groups can be modified as filters. For instance, by default the Policy group returns results for active scripts. Changing the conditions in the Policy record can return results for all scripts, rather than just active ones.

3.2 Collapse or Expand Results

You can collapse/expand each search group and search table as you wish, and your settings are used for subsequent searches if you choose. For example, if you are rarely interested in Policy or Core Items search results, but still wish to search them each time, you can collapse them.

3.3 Deselect Results

If you do not want to search some groups or tables, you can deselect a search group or table on a per-user basis. Your preference is saved for subsequent searches. To deselect a search group, uncheck its checkbox on the search results page:


If you click a search group's link (e.g., the blue "Tasks" link in the above screenshot), you will get a dialog where you can deselect specific tables in each group:


3.4 Preferences

Click the Search tips and preferences link to set the following personal Global Text Search preferences:

  • Use remembered expand / collapse preferences - specifies whether you want the collapse state of any search groups/tables remembered for your next search. For example, when checked, if you collapse the search results for the "People & Places" search group, it will be collapsed on your next search. When unchecked, all groups/tables are expanded for every search.
  • Show list of tables with no search matches - specifies whether or not you wish to see a summary of tables that had no search matches. For example: No matches for Requests, Catalog Tasks, Tickets
  • Show selectable search groups - hides or displays the search group checkbox row
  • Show groups with no search matches - if unchecked, hides a search group if it returns no matches. If checked, you get a placeholder row telling you there were no matches for that group.
  • Return task record if searching for exact number - if unchecked, displays the full search results page even if the search term matches a task number. If checked, you get the task record when the search term matches a task number.


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