File type data sources

You can import a file from a local source, a remote network server, or another instance by providing a path and authentication information.

For file type import sets, you can select from a list of file retrieval methods, including FTP, FTPS, SCP, and HTTPS.

File retrieval methods

The following file retrieval methods are available to copy the file from where it resides to ServiceNow to be loaded into an import set.

After defining the files that are compatible for importing, define how the files can be imported.

Note: For the import to succeed, your FTP server and client must be set up for the same authentication mechanism that you select here. Refer to the following article for an explanation of FTP protocol support
Table 1. File Retrieval Methods
Attachment Attach a file to the record and import that file in an import set.
File Select a file to import from a local drive or a network location (not typical). Selecting this method provides a field to specify the network path. The system limits your selection to one of these file locations for increased security.
  • Tomcat home. For example, /Apache Tomcat.
  • Glide system home. For example, /<Tomcat home>/webapps/glide/itil/WEB-INF/.
  • Temporary directory. For example, /tmp or /var/tmp depending on how your system is configured.

If you need to specify an arbitrary network path, consider using a different file retrieval protocol such as FTP or SCP where you can secure the communications channel.

Note: The ability to retrieve character-separated value (CSV) files from a MID Server is not available in the base system.
SFTP Retrieve a file using SFTP. Fields are provided for the server name and logon credentials.
FTP Retrieve a file from an FTP server in your network. Fields are provided for the server name and logon credentials.
Note: FTP transfers are sent as clear text and cannot be encrypted. Use SCP or SFTP instead whenever possible.
FTPS (Auth SSL) An FTP Secure authentication command issued through the Secure Socket Layer (SSL) protocol. This method is also known as explicit FTP over SSL.
FTPS (Auth TLS) An FTP Secure authentication command issued through the Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol. This method is also known as explicit FTP over TLS.
FTPS (Implicit SSL) In implicit security, the FTPS server defines a specific port for the client (990) to use for secure connections. Implicit security automatically begins with an SSL connection the moment an FTPS client connects to an FTPS server.
FTPS (Implicit TLS) In implicit security, the FTPS server defines a specific port for the client (990) to use for secure connections. Implicit security automatically begins with a TLS connection the moment an FTP client connects to an FTP server.
HTTP Retrieve a file using HTTP. FIelds are provided for the server name and logon credentials.
Important: For HTTP and HTTPS protocols, the file path is automatically URL encoded. Do not specify a URL-encoded file path when using either of these protocols.
HTTPS Retrieve a file using HTTPS. Fields are provided for the server name and logon credentials. Use this method to transfer data between ServiceNow instances.
SCP The Secure Copy protocol (SCP) securely transfers files between a local and a remote host or between two remote hosts, using the Secure Shell (SSH) protocol.

File data source examples

These examples describe how to import various file types as data sources.

Excel data source file

You can import using both the XLSX format, and the legacy XLS format. XLS is the default format for spreadsheets created in Excel for versions 2003 and older. XLSX is the default format for Excel 2007 or later. Use XLSX instead of legacy XLS whenever possible for optimal performance.

Note: All .xls files must use the 1900 date system as opposed to the 1904 date system. The 1904 date system causes your dates to be imported with a year that is four years earlier than what appears in your spreadsheet. Refer to MS Support for additional information about date systems.
Microsoft Excel demo data

XML data source file

XML data source definitions have an extra field to specify the "XPath for each row." This field is an XPath expression to select the elements whose children are converted to rows in the import set table. Each selected element causes a row to be created in the import set table. The children of the selected element are converted into columns in the row. For example, to import the asset information from the sample XML file below, the XPath expression should be specified as "/export/asset." This expression matches the three <asset> elements in the file, so three rows are created. Although one could also specify "//asset", this expression is much less efficient for large files. Use the absolute location path form for XPath expressions when using the XML loader. In other words, avoid expressions containing "//" unless strictly necessary.

Be careful not to specify an insufficiently restrictive XPath expression with a large XML file. For example, the expression "/export" would be wrong for the following sample file, since it matches the document (root) element. In general, you should never specify an XPath expression which matches the root element unless you want everything in the document to be made into a single row. Specifying an insufficiently restrictive XPath expression when attempting to load large XML files could result in lengthy processing times and incorrect output. For this reason, it is best to test and debug XML data source specifications with small XML files containing only a few rows worth of data. Once the specification has been tested, you can run it again with the full file.

Notice that the <userInfo> elements contained within <asset> contain child elements. This type of nesting creates a column called "userInfo" that contains XML for the <userInfo> element. If Expand child nodes is checked, individual columns are also created for userInfo/lastName and userInfo/firstName. If Expand child nodes is not checked, only the userInfo XML column is created.

When loading data from an XML file, ServiceNow samples the first 10 records to determine what fields are required to hold the data. If none of the first 10 records specify a value for a field, ServiceNow does not add that field to the table that holds the imported data. Ensure that at least one of the first 10 records specifies a value for any fields being imported.

<?xml version= "1.0" encoding= "utf-8" ?><export><asset><assetTag>AT-01939</assetTag><type>Desktop</type><os>Windows 7 Professional</os><lastlogondate>12-07-2010 12:31:24</lastlogondate><userInfo><lastName>Loo</lastName><firstName>David</firstName></userInfo><isenabled>true</isenabled></asset><asset><assetTag>AT-53480</assetTag><type>Desktop</type><os>Windows 7 Professional</os><lastlogondate>09-07-2010 13:25:53</lastlogondate><userInfo><lastName>Merritt</lastName><firstName>Norris</firstName></userInfo><isenabled>true</isenabled></asset><asset><assetTag>AT-55782</assetTag><type>Desktop</type><os>Unknown</os><lastlogondate>01-01-1900 00:00:00</lastlogondate><userInfo><lastName>Currie</lastName><firstName>Mike</firstName></userInfo><isenabled>true</isenabled></asset></export>

CSV data source file

CSV files are used as a cross-compatible file format for transferring files across platforms. A CSV file is a text file that defines a grid, where commas define columns and line breaks define rows. To define precise spacing for importing strings, you can optionally wrap text in quotes.

"jared.laethem","Jared Laethem","","2008-02-24 22:21:32","true"
"jerrod.bennett","Jerrod Bennett","","2007-08-12 12:12:18","true"
"eric.schroeder","Eric Schroeder","","2007-07-03 11:50:20","true"
"rob.woodbyrne","Rob Woodbyrne","","2007-07-03 11:49:57","true"
"admin","System Administrator","","2007-07-03 11:48:47","true"
"christen.mitchell","Christen Mitchell","","2007-05-16 15:26:42","true"
"rob.phillips","Rob Phillips","","2007-01-22 11:25:34","true"
"davin.czukowski","Davin Czukowski","","2006-07-11 14:01:26","true"
"luke.wilson","Luke Wilson","","2006-02-07 15:29:48","true"
"bow.ruggeri","Bow Ruggeri","","2005-07-07 11:39:58","true"
"don.goodliffe","Don Goodliffe","","2005-05-02 12:28:40","true"
"david.loo","David Loo","","2005-02-22 16:00:00","true"
"guest","Guest","","2004-05-01 17:00:00","true"
"fred.luddy","Fred Luddy","","2004-05-01 17:00:00","true"

When using CSV files, you can specify the encoding charset using the Properties field on the Data Source form. You may need to configure the Data Source form to see this field. For example, to use utf-8 encoding, enter charset=utf-8.