Sometime between 2008 and 2010, when I was a customer, ServiceNow introduced the tabbed interface for forms. It wasn’t until 2015 that this became the default. For years I had to tell people, “There’s a better way to look at these forms…” then show them what to click to get there (painful). Once they went to tabbed forms, few ever went back. I yearned for a way to make the system default to tabbed forms, then I where this gem was hiding - user preferences.


You can make tabbed forms, list sort order, theme, or any other user preference a default for new users quite easily. While you cannot prevent them from changing it to something else afterward, you can certainly put them on a path to a better (or at least consistent) experience.


Let’s say you want all new users to have their UI16 left navigator default to Favorites instead of the standard menus/modules. Here's how:


1. Click the star icon to change your view to favorites

2. Navigate to sys_user_preference.list (or filter on pref to filter down to User Administration> User Preferences.) DO NOT, go back to the menus/modules directly or you’ll change the value of the user preference we’re trying to set.

3. Sort the list by recently updated records.

4. Locate your recently change preference for favorites (navigator.activeView). You may have to filter on records where you are the user.


5. Open the record.

6. Check the System box

7. Remove the User value.


8. Insert (not Update, not Save) the record.


Login or impersonate a user who has never tried UI16 before… You’ll see it default to favorites. While this isn’t terribly useful for a new user, it serves as an example how you can make default user preferences.