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All About ServiceNow Email Watermark

ServiceNow notifications play an important role in alerting users of any event occurred. In any notification, a watermark indicates that it is unique and helps to identify the target record for inbound email actions.

Watermark Sample

Watermark format

The email watermark always begins with “Ref:” to identify the label as a watermark. After this identifier, the default label is 31 characters in length and consists of:

  • Customizable prefix — The default prefix is MSG.
  • Auto-numbered identifier — The numeric string identifying the source record, such as incident, problem, or change request.
  • An underscore character followed by a random 20-character string
Watermark Format

When inbound emails are processed, the system matches random watermarks to the appropriate source records.

How To Configure the Watermark In ServiceNow?

By default, ServiceNow generates Watermark every time but an administrator can configure them to the following:-

  • Create a custom watermark prefix for each instance to prevent accidentally triggering events in the wrong instance
  • Add custom prefix characters after MSG
  • Omit watermarks from individual email messages
  • Hide watermark globally

Create a custom watermark prefix for email notification

Any email notifications that are forwarded from one instance to another might be more easily distinguished with different prefixes for each instance. To avoid unintentionally triggering events in the wrong instance, create a unique watermark prefix for each instance.

By default, email notifications use the watermark prefix MSG, but you can create a custom watermark prefix.


  1. Navigate to All > System Definition > Number Maintenance.
  2. Open the MSG record in the Email Watermark [sys_watermark] table.
  3. Enter the unique Prefix for this instance.
  4. Click Update.

Once done, your custom watermark applies to all new email notifications. Email notifications that existed before you created a custom watermark keep the same watermarks as before.

How To Omit Watermark From a Particular Notification?

You can omit watermarks on email notifications if you do not want the instance to match the notification to an existing record.


  1. Navigate to All > System Notification > Email > Notifications.
  2. Select the email notification to update.
  3. Click the Advanced View-related link.
  4. In the What it will contain section, select the Omit watermark check box.
Omit Watermark From Notification

Hide Watermark Globally

Rather than omitting watermarks, it is possible to hide watermarks on a global basis using HTML markup. However, Watermarks can only be hidden in the HTML message. The text version of the message, because it does not have markup allowing show/hide semantics, will always have the watermark.


  • Navigate to sys_properties.list in the Application Navigator.
  • Create a new property named and set it to false.

This ensures that all watermarks are hidden on all email messages. This cannot be done on a per-email basis.

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