Help context types and prioritization

You can create a help context with the type Form, List, or Record, and link it to a particular table in your ServiceNow instance. If you have multiple help contexts, prioritization determines which help contexts apply to what a user views.

Help context types

When a user clicks the help icon, the system analyzes the relevant help contexts to determine which help page to display.
  • Record-level help applies to only one specific record, not the list or form for that table.

    For example, if a Record type help context exists for the Validate Number record in the Business Rule table, the help icon only directs to the page specified when a user views that record.

  • List-level help applies to the list for a table. If no form-level help is defined, list-level help also applies to the form for the same table.

    For example, if a List type but not a Form type help context exists for the Business Rule table, the help icon directs to the page specified by the List type help context when a user views any list or record (if record-level help is not defined for it) in the Business Rule table.

  • Form-level help applies to the form for a table. If no list-level help is defined, the form-level help also applies to the list for the same table.

    For example, if a Form type but not a List type help context exists for the Business Rule table, the help icon directs to the page specified by the Form type help context when you view any record (if record-level help is not defined for it) or list in the Business Rule table.

  • If both list- and form-level help are defined for a table, the appropriate help is displayed for the list and the form.

    For example, if a List type and a Form type help context exist for the Business Rule table, the help icon directs to the page specified by the List type help context when a user views the Business Rules list. The help icon directs to the page specified by the Form type help context when a user views any record (if record-level help is not defined for it) in the Business Rule table.

Important: If you create a help context for a base table list or record, the help system opens that target topic for any list or record in a table that extends the base table if no other help context is created in that extended table.

Help context prioritization

When there are several matching help context records, the following rules determine which help context is used, in descending order of priority.
  1. A customer-created help context is used instead of a default help context provided in the instance for the same table.
  2. A help context that matches the user's language setting is used instead of a help context in the default language of the instance. See the Language field on the Help Context form.
  3. A help context for a closer table in an extended table hierarchy is used instead of a help context for a further table.

    Consider the case of the Linux Server [cmdb_ci_linux_server] table, which has the following parentage: cmdbi_ci > cmdb_ci_hardware > cmdb_ci_computer > cmdb_ci_server > cmdb_ci_linux_server. If help contexts exist for both the cmdb_ci_server table and the cmdb_ci table, the help icon directs to the page specified by the cmdb_ci_server help context when you view a record in the cmdb_ci_linux_server table.