4. Create Shapes & Library

Learn how to create & copy shapes and edit the shape library.

Designer Admin Rights Required 

Creating the Shape Library

A shape library is a shell for a set of shapes. It is recommended to create your own shape library including copies of existing shapes.

You can change everything but create a clone of shapes & libraries first

Do not change existing shapes and libraries as they may get updated with a future release.

The first step to your own shape library is to identify those shapes you want to reuse.

A – Click the settings icon to see the existing shape libraries. Alternatively, navigate to Designer > Configuration > Shape Libraries

B – Activate the libraries of interest and reload the Designer to check the individual shapes in the Designer Shape Library left-hand panel.

C – Click the New button to create a new shape library.


D – Enter a unique, recognizable name for the shape library.

E – Right-click on the gray bar to see the Save option. In some configurations, this option is not available. In that case, use the Submit button, go back, and re-open the newly created shape library.


F – After the save action, the related list for shapes is visible.


Creating / Copying Shapes

The fastest way to add shapes to your shape library is by cloning existing ones.

  • Go to the shape library which contains the target shape you want to clone.
  • Click on the shape.
  • Overwrite the “Shape library” field with the library name you want to put the shape into e.g. “My Shape Library”
  • Right-click on the top gray bar and select “Insert and Stay”.

Shapes and shape libraries are essential for users creating Diagrams. Limit the number of shapes to have standardized Diagrams which can be recognized quickly and understand by any stakeholder.

Start by activating/deactivating the shape libraries and shapes your organization is requiring.

The UPDATE pitfall

If you just click the Update button, it will update the current shape by removing it from the library and adding it to the new one. In this case, it will not be a copy!


Shape Library Table & Shape Form

Designer contains a rich set of pre-defined shape libraries including thousands of shapes, which can be extended and sorted as required.

Shape libraries and shapes are supporting domain separation.


A – Select Shape Libraries application menu to see the shape library list.

B – Click New to create a new shape library.

C – The Image column contains a static preview of some shapes contained by the shape library. The image is not updated automatically.

D – Only Active shape libraries are visible within the Designer canvas.

Shape Libraries Form

The shape library form contains the relevant field to configure the shape library, including the references to the individual shapes within the library.


A – Categorize shape libraries to logically group them. The category is not used within the Designer canvas.

B – The Name of the shape library is visible in the Designer canvas and should be unique.

C – Select a ServiceNow group to make the shape library available only for a selected group of people. If the Global (G) is active, the Group (C) settings will be overwritten.

D – Short description of the content of the shape library.

E – Static image of the shape library for preview purposes.

F – Active shape libraries are shown within the Designer canvas. Deactivate to hide it from all users.

G – Global shape libraries are visible for all users. This option overwrites the Group (C) option. Uncheck and set a Group (C) to make the library available for a selected group of people.

H – The order number positions the shape library amongst the other shape libraries.

I – The related list shows all shapes as part of the library.

Shape Form

The shapes form is accessible via the shapes libraries form and contains the specification of an individual shape.


A – The Shape Library indicated to which library the shape belongs to.

B – The shape Name is used for display/tooltip and search within the Designer canvas.

C – Setting the default table will associate the shape with a table while creating future state elements (CTRL+M in Designer).

D – The order number positions the shape within the shape library.

E – Only Active shapes are visible within the shape library.

F – The Label contains the text to be displayed within the shape. HTML code can be used for extended formatting (see table shapes).

G – Defines the default width of the shape.

H – Defines the default height of the shape.

I – The styling of the shape, which can be defined through formatting in Designer (CTRL+E in Designer to copy the style of a shape).

J – Check the Relationship box to indicate, that the shape is a relationship.

K – Extended and custom SVG styling of shapes can be entered here (See Editing Stencils).