ServiceNow Knowledge: Article Lifecycle Overview

The lifecycle of a Knowledge Base article begins with a draft and progresses through article retirement. The lifecycle stages are referred to as Workflow States.

The current Workflow state can be seen in the upper right corner of the ServiceNow knowledge edit screen:
Knowledge edit form with arrowing pointing to Workflow field.

Understanding workflow states

  • Draft: The creation phase. While in Draft, anyone can edit the article.
  • Review: The review phase, awaiting review by someone other than the creator. Only editors can edit an article in Review.
  • Published: Made easily available to users of ServiceNow in all searches. Published articles in the Public KB are also available to end users via the [email protected] site (
  • Pending Retirement: Still easily available while an editor goes through process of confirming article can be retired.
  • Retired: Marked as retired, the end of an article's lifecycle. Retired articles won't show up in searches or reports unless the Workflow state Retired is added as a search parameter. Retired articles in the Public KB are automatically removed from the [email protected] site (

Typically, the standard knowledge workflow progresses as follows:

  1. Knowledge drafter creates a new article using the Knowledge Base editor.
    • Workflow state is Draft.
  2. Knowledge drafter clicks Submit for Publishing.
    • Workflow state is Review.
  3. Knowledge editor approves the publishing of the article.
    • Workflow state is Published.
  4. When an article is no longer necessary, an editor clicks Submit for Retirement.
    • Workflow state is Pending Retirement.
  5. Knowledge editor approves the retirement of the article.
    • Workflow state is Retired.

Viewing workflow states in reports and filters

  • You can add the Workflow State to reports and filters. This field shows the current state of an article. For instructions on personalizing your list view, see Use List Views, Displaying additional fields.
    Knowledge search screen with arrow pointing towards Workflow column.
  • You can see all articles owned by your team in Draft stage in the Knowledge Action Items Homepage.