Designer Knowledge Base & User Guide

Initial Configuration Steps

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This getting started guide is intended to provide you with general recommendations for the minimum initial configuration steps of the Designer Application within your organization.

Best-practice is to perform configuration work on a non-production instance e.g. development instance and migrate the configuration through XML file exports to the production instance in a controlled way.

To perform the initial configuration you need ServiceNow System Admin rights. Please contact your ServiceNow Admin for further support!

1. Installation

The installation of the Designer application needs to be performed by your ServiceNow admin and takes around 10-15 minutes. It is a full handsfree installation and needs to be performed on the non-production instances e.g. sandbox, development, test, training, pre-production, and on the production instance.

After the successful purchase of the Designer application licenses will be automatically assigned by ServiceNow to your organizations ServiceNow instances but need to be entitled first.


To receive entitlement go to the app details page on the store.

  • Log in with your HI credentials. Please contact your company HI admin if you do not have credentials
  • Click on Complete Purchase
  • You will be presented with the contract details
  • Accept the Site Terms of Use checkbox and click on Complete Purchase button

Your app will then be entitled for install on your ServiceNow instances. 

Installation Instructions

To install the application from Madrid onwards:

  1. Log in to the ServiceNow instance on which you want to install the app.
  2. Navigate to System Applications > All Available Applications > All.
  3. Search for the app you want to install.
  4. Click on Install. The application is automatically installed onto your instance.
    NOTE: You can select the option to ‘Install with Demo Data‘ which will install the application with example diagrams, indicators & breakdowns and relationship definitions.

2. Metamodel support

Ensure your target metamodel is implemented in ServiceNow and you have a good idea about all interdependencies required. Please check, if the following is in place in ServiceNow before you proceed:

  • Tables (sys_db_object)
  • Relationship Types (cmdb_rel_type)
  • Suggested Relationships (cmdb_rel_type_suggest)

3. Create Your Shape Library

It is recommended to create your own shape library including copies of existing shapes. Do not change existing shapes and libraries as they may get updated.

  1. Activate required / deactivate not required shape libraries
  2. Create Your own shape library
    • Navigate to Designer > Configuration > Shape Libraries
    • Click the New button, add a name and order to the shape library and Submit to create the library.

4. Create / Copy Shapes

The fastest way to add shapes to your shape library is by cloning existing ones.

  • Go to the shape library which contains the target shape you want to clone.
  • Click on the shape.
  • Overwrite the “Shape library” field with the library name you want to put the shape into e.g. “My Shape Library”
  • Right click on the top gray bar and select “Insert and Stay”.

Shapes and shape libraries are essential for users creating diagrams. Limit the number of shapes to have standardized diagrams which can be recognized quickly and understand by any stakeholder.

Start by activating/deactivating the shape libraries and shapes your organization is requiring.

See Shape libraries for further details.

A good-practice is to create your own shape library which contains only shapes you want users to use.

See Create Your Own Shape Library for further details.

5. Create Class Definition

Class Definitions are mandatory to define the tables which are visible within the Repository Browser to query and insert ServiceNow data. The Class Definitions are essential to define the default styling per table, too.

Designer is installed with over 100 pre-configured Class Definitions. Please go to the Class Definitions Table and activate/deactivate those required respectively create new Class Definitions.

The quickest way to create a Class Definition by leveraging the shape styling is the following:

  • Open the shape.
  • Click the “Create Class Definition” UI Action.

NOTE: Avoid redundant Class Definitions. Deactivate not required ones.

6. Set Cross Scope Privileges

Designer is a scoped application and requires ‘Cross Scope Privileges’ to be able to read other tables or create entries in tables (commit) if required.

In order to support the automatic creation and management of Cross-Scope Privileges through Class Definitions, please ensure that the Application Access (Can Read, Can Create, Can Update, Can Delete) is set correctly on the sys_db_object table.

To set the Cross-Scope Privileges automatically:

  • Open a Class Definition.
  • Select “Read Table” to allow Designer to read that table.
  • Select “Allow Commit” to allow Designer to create items in that table during the commit operation.

7. Access Rights (ACLs) Configuration

The ServiceNow admin has to assign the users to the following 4 groups (roles):

  • Designer Admin (minimum required to perform the remaining configuration steps)
  • Designer Editor (to create and edit diagrams)
  • Designer Reader (to read diagrams in presentation mode)
  • Designer Commit (to create new elements and relationships in ServiceNow through the Diagram)

See Roles & Groups for further details.

Designer is a certified application natively running within the ServiceNow platform without any integration needs. A minimum configuration is necessary to provide access to the required tables.

8. Further Configuration

The first points are essential to get Designer running with a minimum configuration. But there are further steps required to configure Designer to increate the value:

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