Refresh the Left Navigation Pane via Script


ere’s a quick scripting tip for today. Have you ever needed to refresh the left navigation menu in response to some script action? I don’t think this requirement comes up often, but I just had somebody ask me a question related to this so I figured I would find out how it can be done.

The code below is taken directly from a ServiceNow demo instance, and you can find it in your own instance as well. The server-side example comes from a business rule on the ‘sys_app_module’ table, and the client-side example comes from digging around in the DOM. 🙂

Server-side refresh trigger

–For use in business rules, UI actions, etc.

// tell the UI to refresh the navigator
var notification = new UINotification('system_event');
notification.setAttribute('event', 'refresh_nav');

Client-side refresh trigger

–For use in client scripts, UI policies, etc.

getNavWindow().location = '';


For another way to use UI Notifications, take a look at our article Display Messages With UI Notifications.


William Sun 22-05-2012, 13:34

Any chance we might get the other part of this code? I have actually been trying to get this number to appear beside the link where it actually shows how many active items are on that list. {in reference to the number “64” to the right of “Open” on the image}

Mark Stanger 22-05-2012, 13:38

What other part of the code are you referring to?

Jim Coyne 22-05-2012, 21:13

I’m thinking he means the Outlook-style module counts. William, check out another of Mark’s posts at

William Sun 23-05-2012, 07:39

Exactly, thanks Jim.
I will definitely be adding this to my instance.

John Edwards 25-07-2013, 15:00

I’m looking for a way to force a refresh for all users when I add or remove a nav pane option as part of releasing enhancements. How would this be adapted for such a purpose? I’d like to ensure that all the users are using the same nav pane.

Mark Stanger 25-07-2013, 17:15

This would make up a VERY small portion of such a solution. Proactively updating information in the user’s browser requires a decent amount of scripting and GlideAjax to call back to the server periodically to refresh. It can be done, but it’s actually a fairly challenging scripting setup consisting of a UI script and a Script include at a minimum.

John Edwards 26-07-2013, 07:18

Thanks for the reply, Mark. I was hoping this would be an easy solution. It looks like I’ll have to put that idea on the back burner for a while.

Russell Miller 08-10-2013, 17:09

Hi Mark,

I’m interested in UINotification(), it seems to be an undocumented feature. Do you know any more about it?

Mark Stanger 08-10-2013, 17:11

It is undocumented and I don’t know anything about it aside from this particular function unfortunately. You’ll probably need to go to ServiceNow support to get a good answer on it. If you discover anything, please let me know so that I can post it.


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