ServiceNow and Internet Explorer Support  

Version support

Per ServiceNow product documentation, Internet Explorer 9 and newer IE versions are required to use UI14 and UI15 (see Navigation and the User Interface). However, given the increased usage of AngularJS in UI15 and HTML5 compliance, there are known limitations within IE9 that can affect the overall performance of the instance.

To avoid performance issues, we recommend upgrading to Internet Explorer 10 and above. Another workaround is to set the the glide.ui.doctype.ie_version property to 10. This allows users with Internet Explorer 9 or below get UI11 (see Performance degradation when using UI15 in IE9).

There are various plugins which have more specific requirements:

In Geneva, a new UI has been released, which is opt-in, where you can enable this by activating the UI16 plugin.

The browser requirements will be similar to that of UI15 where it supports IE9. However, we do recommend that you upgrade to IE10 or above for an improved experience. Further details are available in the Geneva documentation here and here.

HTML5 and Standards mode

Similar to other sites that use HTML5, ServiceNow adds the <!DOCTYPE html> declaration to the content served from the platform. This does not override the browser settings. Internet Explorer follows a path to determine if it can render in Standards mode. When a site lacks the DOCTYPE declaration, the browser switches to Quirks mode.

This is the logic that Internet Explorer uses to select the document mode:

  • Overriding the document mode in Developer Tools. This setting remains for the lifetime of the tab.
  • In IE9, if the document is in an iframe element, the top-level page (for example, where the iframe is defined) determines the document mode.
  • Using the X-UA-Compatible meta tag or HTTP response header (see Compatibility Meta Tag and HTTP Response Header).
  • Using Compatibility View settings to force a web page to be displayed in a less-standard document mode.
  • The Local Compatibility Site list, the Microsoft Compatibility Site list, and the Enterprise Mode IE Compatibility Site list can force a web page to be displayed in other document modes.
  • The Group Policy settings override and force all pages to render in a specific document mode.
  • If none of the above, then the browser uses the DOCTYPE declaration to determine if the page renders in Standards mode, Almost-standards mode, or Quirks mode.

ServiceNow's use of the <!DOCTYPE html> declaration means that the browser renders in Standards mode unless the customer has made a setting (per the above) that forces a document mode.

Compatibility View

ServiceNow does not support Compatibility View (often referred to as Compatibility Mode. See Browser Support in product documentation). We strongly advise against running our application in that mode. The reason is that the browser presents itself differently to the application, which can lead to invalid results because the application is being told to behave differently.

The following affect how the IE behaves:

  • Document mode:
    • This is the version the browser uses to render the page. However, this is just an approximation to the older versions of Internet Explorer and should not be used to determined whether web sites or web applications work properly in an older browser.
  • Browser mode:
    • This determines how the browser presents itself to the web server and Javascript (affects compatibility with Javascript).

If possible, do not modify the browser behavior in this manner. If you have any issues, submit an Incident (INT) with the Technical Support team so they can look into and correct the issue. Setting the Compatibility View may be a temporary workaround but should not be considered a resolution or long-term fix.

We recognize some of our customers may have a company policy to run browsers in Compatibility View (usually forced though Group Policy or internal proxy settings) and cannot switch it off because it breaks their other customizations. Therefore, we do make an effort to remove as many problems that occur in Compatibility View as possible.

Setting the  glide.ui.allow_ie_compatibility_mode property to false overrides the browser's compatibility settings and forces our application out of Compatibility View. This allows UI14 to run in Internet Explorer versions prior to IE9 without breaking the interface. The property was introduced to resolve this issue: When using Internet Explorer, the UI14 interface does not work in Eureka

Enterprise mode, which was introduced in IE11, can be used to force a web page to render in a specific document mode (see What is Enterprise Mode?).

Protected Mode in Service Portal

In Windows 10, Cortana and tooltips may prompt users to turn on Protected Mode while browsing IE11. Having Protected Mode on can cause a blank page to load in Service Portal. In the developer tools console, you will see the following error:

To turn Protected Mode off, open Internet Options > Security, and make sure 'Enable Protected Mode (requires restarting Internet Explorer)' is unchecked, then click ok.

Browser security

There are occasions where the UI does not render correctly, but the issue is not present in other browsers, such as Chrome and Firefox. You can identify whether any group policies are causing or influencing the behavior by conducting tests on an isolated machine, as this is usually the case.

For example, another feature introduced to UIs in Eureka and Fuji (UI14 and UI15, respectively) is the use of web fonts for icons, called 'retina_icons', and located, for example, in the Edge. The icons do not appear in the UI, but you can view them in another browser. This is most likely due to the security settings that are usually deployed in a group policy.

To resolve the issue in Internet Explorer, follow the steps below:

  1. Open Internet Explorer.
  2. Go to Tools > Internet Options.
  3. Go to the Security tab.
  4. Click Custom Level.
  5. Scroll down to the Downloads section.
  6. Under Font Download, select Enable.
  7. Click OK to save the changes, and then click Apply
  8. Refresh the browser screen.


Windows 10 introduced the Blocking Untrusted Font feature which can also cause this behavior to occur.

Browser Performance

To reduce the size of the response transmitted from the platform to the browser, the data is compressed. Please take steps to ensure that your implementation of Internet Explorer is configured to take advantage of this. Additional steps to improve the performance of the browser is to allow Internet Explorer cache javascript and images. Further information can be obtained from the ServiceNow product documentation: 

If you're running Internet Explorer within a virtual environment (example: Citrix, or VMWare VDI), please refer to KB0621097 as it has information tailored to resolving performance issues with Internet Explorer in this environment:

KB0621097: Diagnosing IE11 performance issues within virtual environments when using UI16

Browser Cache

When clearing the browser cache in regards to troubleshooting the platform, be sure to uncheck the 'Preserve Favorites website data'. If you have your ServiceNow instance bookmarked, clearing your browser cache with this checked will not remove the temporary Internet files affiliated with it. 

Article Information

Last Updated:2020-09-25 07:16:47