HOWTO: Search the ServiceNow Knowledge Base


  •  Suggestions how to search the ServiceNow Kbase.


  •  Find information quickly in ServiceNow by using any of the available searches below. Searches are not case sensitive. Use advanced options for more specific queries:

Access Knowledge:

  1. Go to Partners Applications > Utilities > IS Service Hub or
  2. If prompted, login with your Mass General Brigham user name and password
  3. Click Search Knowledge
  4. Type the search terms or article number KB####


To perform a single character wildcard search, use the percent sign (%) symbol. This wildcard finds terms that contain any one character to replace the percent sign. For example, to find text or test, search for: 


To perform a multiple character wildcard search, use the asterisk (*) symbol. This wildcard finds terms that contain 0 or more characters to replace the asterisk. For example, to find planned or placed, search for:


Phrase Searches:

Use quotation marks to search for a phrase with multiple terms. Zing finds only matches that contain the exact words in the exact order you specify, ignoring stop words (common words that are excluded from searches) and punctuation. For example, the following searches return the same results because the stop word a is ignored:

"email password"
"email a password"

Wildcards do not work within quoted phrases; they are ignored as punctuation.

Boolean Operators:

For these searches, the AND operator is applied by default, which means if no Boolean operator is entered between two terms, the AND operator is used. For knowledge base searches, if the AND search returns poor results, the search is automatically re-run with the OR operator. 

Boolean operators are case-sensitive. For example, OR is an operator while or is a search term that may be a stop word.


OR or vertical bar symbol (|)

Finds a match if either of the terms exist in a document (a union using sets). For example, to find documents that contain either "email password" or just "email", search for: 

"email password" OR email


"email password" | email


Finds a match if both terms exist in a document (an intersection of sets). For example, to find documents that contain "CPU load" and "10 minutes", search for: 

"CPU load" AND "10 minutes"

NOT, minus (-), or exclamation point (!)

Excludes documents that contain the term after NOT (a difference of sets). For example, to find documents that contain "CPU load" but not "10 minutes", search for: 

"CPU load" NOT "10 minutes"


"CPU load" -"over 10"

The NOT operator cannot be used with just one term. For example, the following search returns no results: 

NOT "10 minutes"

NOT must be a stand-alone word. For example:

atom NOT ion
excludes the term ion
searches for the term notion

Minus and exclamation point must immediately precede the excluded term. For example:

email !Joe
Excludes Joe
email ! Joe
Includes Joe.


How Punctuation Affects Search Results

Search uses select punctuation symbols to improve search results. For example:

  • Apostrophes ('): ignores trailing possessives and retains most others. For example, a search for O'Reilly's locates matches to O'Reilly and O'Reilly's.
  • IP addresses: locates numbers that follow a typical IP address pattern.
  • Numbers: locates terms that follow a typical product or record number pattern. To meet this pattern, search terms must contain frequent numbers and only these punctuation characters: underscores (_), hyphens (-), or periods (.). For example, a search for INT123-456 locates exact matches to the search term.
  • Acronyms: locates acronyms whether they are separated by periods (.) or not. For example, a search for u.s.a. locates matches to usa or u.s.a.. Note that wildcard searches may affect acronym handling. For example, a search for u.s.* may yield better results than a search for u.s*
  • Company names: locates terms containing punctuation characters that are common in company names: ampersands (&), plus signs (+), or hyphens (-). For example, a search for RM&S locates exact matches to the search term.
  • Host names: locates sequences of letters and numbers separated only by periods (.). For example, a search for locates exact matches to the search term.


If escalation is necessary, please assign the ticket to the ITSM Knowledge Management - phs group

Go to KB0024159 in the IS Service Desk

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