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Impersonate a user

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Impersonate a user

Administrators can impersonate other authenticated users for testing purposes.

When impersonating another user, the administrator has access to exactly what that user would have access to in the system, including the same menus and modules. ServiceNow records anything the administrator does while impersonating another user as having been done by that user.

Use this feature to test what different users can do in the system and to perform actions for them in their stead.
Note: IT System Administrators [admin] can impersonate ServiceNow users. However, when impersonating a user with an application admin role for Human Resources or Security Incident Response, an admin is not able to access features granted by that role, including security incidents and profile information. Access to modules and applications in the navigation bar is also restricted. Also, admin cannot change the password of any user with an application admin role for Human Resources or Security Incident Response.
Note: The user account to be impersonated must have a User ID. This ID can be found in the User [sys_user] record for the account. If this value is missing, the message The user you selected could not be impersonated appears.
Several different logins are recommended to test the system:
  • An admin account to do work.
  • An itil (or similar) login to test as a technician.
  • An ess login to test as an end user.

More logins may be required to adequately test the system.

Note: When you impersonate a user who is locked out or is inactive, the system forces a logout after you generate an event or click a link. All changes made while using impersonation affect the current session. Make sure you properly logout, then login after impersonation is completed.

Impersonate a user in UI16

Before you begin

Role required: impersonator


  1. In the banner frame, click your user name to open the user menu.
  2. Select Impersonate User.
    Impersonate User dialog box
  3. Select a user from the Recent Impersonations list or enter a different user's name in the user selection field.
  4. To return to your original login, follow these same steps then select your name from the list.

Impersonate a user in UI15 or UI11

Before you begin

Role required: impersonator


  1. Click the impersonate icon (UI15 impersonate icon in UI15, UI11 impersonate icon in UI11) in the banner frame.
    The Impersonate User dialog box appears.
  2. Select the user from the Recent Impersonations list, click the lookup icon and select the user's name from the full list, or type the user's name.
    Impersonate first
  3. Click OK.

Impersonate a user on a mobile phone

The impersonation option is not visible in the mobile view of the platform, and impersonating is not supported for mobile phones. For most mobile phones, however, it is possible to impersonate a user by switching to standard view, performing the impersonation, and switching back to mobile view. Some mobile devices may have problems rendering the Impersonation dialog.

Show or hide impersonation button

You can set a system property to show or hide the impersonation button. By default, the system shows the impersonation button.

Before you begin

Role required: admin

About this task

The system property only controls the visibility of the impersonation button, which is rendered by the impersonate_button UI macro. The impersonation button opens the impersonate_dialog UI page. Modifying either the impersonation UI macro or impersonation UI page are not recommended.


  1. Navigate to System Properties > UI Properties.
  2. Clear Enable impersonation button in banner line to hide the impersonation button, or select it to show the impersonation button.
  3. Click Save.

What to do next

Administrators can still access impersonation by navigating directly to the impersonate_dialog UI page.

Log impersonations

Impersonations are logged in the System Log.

Logging can be enabled or disabled with the glide.sys.log_impersonation property.

Figure 1. Impersonate log

Force logout

In some cases, impersonating a user might cause an issue that makes it difficult to switch back (for example, if in a test environment, the user is being presented with a broken page).

To return to the user, navigate to http://<instance name> and log back in.