HTML formatting email notification templates in SCSM

January 2, 2013 at 3:36 pm in Service Manager by kurtvh

Hello,

As you probably know, in System Center Service Manager you have the ability to create templates to send out email notification in clear text or HTML. This blog post is not going to detail how to configure notification templates in Service Manager, but bundles information around the HTML tags for your mail notification templates.

For completeness, some background information around notification templates in Service Manager:

  • Notification templates are created in the Administration workspace of the SCSM console
  • Notification templates are created per Class.
  • Via subscriptions you can select what class of objects you are subscribing to.
  • Properties of the selected class or properties of a class related to the selected class can be inserted in the template.
  • Procedure to create templates: Creating Notification Templates in System Center Service Manager

A simplified start point for your HTML notification template is to create the desired email layout in MSWord and save it the MSWord document as Web Page (Filtered). You can open the file in notepad and copy/paste the HTML code in the template editor of the SCSM console. From that point you only need to add the class properties to the template and you have a complete customer customized notification templates ready for use in your subscriptions or workflows.

The MSWord approach provides structural definition of the HTML formatted email with a lot of <style> information. In some cases you need to get into the HTML tags in order to configure the desired result. Therefore it is helpful to know a bit what the HTML tags standing for and how you can fresh-up your templates with the proper HTML tags.

Example tags that can be used in your notification templates:

Creating A Hypertext Link to the SCSM Self-service portal: You can open the ticket in the <a href="http://someserver:82/SMPortal/SitePages/My%20Requests.aspx?RequestId=$Context/?$Id$?">Self Service Portal</a> to provide feedback.

  • HTML Tag – <a href="http://someserver:82/SMPortal/SitePages/My%20Requests.aspx?RequestId=$Context/?$Id$?">Self Service Portal</a>
    • A stands for Anchor. It starts the link to another page.
    • HREF stands for Hypertext REFerence. That’s a nice, short way of saying to the browser, "This is where the link is going to go."
    • “http:://someserver:82/SMPortal/SitePages/My%20Requests.aspx?RequestId=$Context/?$Id$?” is the full address of the link. Also notice that the address has an equal sign in front of it and is enclosed in quotes.
    • Where it reads "Self Service Portal" is where you write the text that you want to appear on the page.
    • /A ends the entire link command.
  • You can open the ticket in the Self Service Portal to provide feedback.

E-Mail from your template: <A HREF="mailto:Servicedesk@scug.be">Click here to email Servicedesk</A>

  • Notice that it’s the same format as a link except in this link you write "mailto:" in place of the http:// and you place your e-mail address in place of the page address/URL.
  • You can extend the “simple” mail functionality with a formatted response. For example when create a template to notify a reviewer, you can use the Exchange connector functionality and provide pre-formatted email link to reply on review request.
    • <A HREF=”mailto:Servicedesk@scug.be:?subject=Class property to add– make sure you have the [ID] included&body=[Approved]”>Click here to approve request</A>
      • mailto:Servicedesk@scug.be: email address to use
      • ?subject=Class property to add– make sure you have the [ID] included – Subject of the email, make sure that you stick on the requirements of the Exchange connector.
      • &body=[Approved] – Sending an [Approved] in the body of the mail will tell SCSM to approve work item via Exchange connector

In order to customize the tags with specific color or so, you need to extend these lines with the proper tags and configuration.

HTML Tags overview

The next overview provides a list of HTML tags you can use in formatting email notifications. The goal of this overview is not to provide a complete HTML Tag reference; for official information about HTML and its development, see the World Wide Web Consortium site at http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/.

BASIC ELEMENTS

  • Document Type  <HTML></HTML>  (beginning and end of file)
  • Title  <TITLE></TITLE>  (must be in header)
  • Header  <HEAD></HEAD>  (descriptive info, such as title)
  • Body  <BODY></BODY>  (bulk of the page)

STRUCTURAL DEFINITION

  • Heading  <H?></H?>  (the spec. defines 6 levels)
  • Align Heading  <H? ALIGN=LEFT|CENTER|RIGHT></H?>  
  • Division  <DIV></DIV> 
  • Align Division <DIV ALIGN=LEFT|RIGHT|CENTER|JUSTIFY></DIV> 
  • Large Font Size  <BIG></BIG>   
  • Small Font Size <SMALL></SMALL>  
  • Time of Change  <INS DATETIME=":::"></INS>  
  • Comments  <INS CITE="URL"></INS>   
  • Time of Change  <DEL DATETIME=":::"></DEL>   
  • Comments  <DEL CITE="URL"></DEL>   
  • Acronym  <ACRONYM></ACRONYM>   
  • Abbreviation  <ABBR></ABBR> 

PRESENTATION FORMATTING

  • Bold  <B></B>  
  • Italic <I></I>
  • Subscript  <SUB></SUB> 
  • Superscript <SUP></SUP>
  • Typewriter  <TT></TT>  (displays in a monospaced font)
  • Preformatted  <PRE></PRE>  (display text spacing as-is –> for example if you add a description to the template in formatted text)
  • Width  <PRE WIDTH=?></PRE>  (in characters)
  • Center  <CENTER></CENTER>  (for both text and images)
  • Blinking  <BLINK></BLINK>  (the most derided tag ever)
  • Font Size  <FONT SIZE=?></FONT>  (ranges from 1-7) 
  • Change Font Size  <FONT SIZE="+|-?"></FONT>   
  • Font Color  <FONT COLOR="#$$$$$$"></FONT>   
  • Select Font  <FONT FACE="***"></FONT>   
  • Point size <FONT POINT-SIZE=?></FONT>   
  • Weight  <FONT WEIGHT=?></FONT>   
  • Base Font Size <BASEFONT SIZE=?>  (from 1-7; default is 3)
  • MS Marquee  <MARQUEE></MARQUEE>

LINKS, GRAPHICS, AND SOUNDS

  • Link Something  <A HREF="URL"></A>  
  • Link to Location  <A HREF="URL#***"></A>  (if in another document)
                                 <A HREF="#***"></A>  (if in current document)
  • Link to Email <A HREF="mailto:@"></A>
  • Specify Subject <A HREF="mailto:@?SUBJECT=***"></A>  (use a real question mark)
  • Alignment  <IMG SRC="URL" ALIGN=TOP|BOTTOM|MIDDLE|LEFT|RIGHT>
  • Display Image <IMG SRC="URL">
  • Alternate <IMG SRC="URL" ALT="***">  (if image not displayed)

DIVIDERS

  • Paragraph  <P></P>  (closing tag often unnecessary) 
  • Align Text <P ALIGN=LEFT|CENTER|RIGHT></P>
  • Justify Text <P ALIGN=JUSTIFY></P>  
  • Line Break  <BR>  (a single carriage return)
  • Clear Textwrap  <BR CLEAR=LEFT|RIGHT|ALL>  
  • Horizontal Rule  <HR>  
  • Alignment  <HR ALIGN=LEFT|RIGHT|CENTER>  
  • Thickness <HR SIZE=?>  (in pixels)
  • Width  <HR WIDTH=?>  (in pixels)
  • Width Percent <HR WIDTH="%">  (as a percentage of page width)
  • Solid Line  <HR NOSHADE>  (without the 3D cutout look)
  • No Break  <NOBR></NOBR>  (prevents line breaks)
  • Word Break <WBR>  (where to break a line if needed)

BACKGROUNDS AND COLORS

  • Tiled Bkground  <BODY BACKGROUND="URL">   
  • Watermark  <BODY BGPROPERTIES="FIXED">   
  • Bkground Color  <BODY BGCOLOR="#$$$$$$">  (order is red/green/blue) 
  • Text Color  <BODY TEXT="#$$$$$$">   
  • Link Color  <BODY LINK="#$$$$$$">   
  • Visited Link  <BODY VLINK="#$$$$$$">   
  • Active Link  <BODY ALINK="#$$$$$$">

MISCELLANEOUS

  • Define Table <TABLE></TABLE>  
  • Table Alignment  <TABLE ALIGN=LEFT|RIGHT|CENTER>  
  • Table Border  <TABLE BORDER></TABLE>  (either on or off)
  • Table Border  <TABLE BORDER=?></TABLE>  (you can set the value)
  • Desired Width  <TABLE WIDTH=?>  (in pixels)
  • Width Percent <TABLE WIDTH=%>  (percentage of page)
  • Table Color  <TABLE BGCOLOR="$$$$$$"></TABLE>
  • Table Row  <TR></TR>  
  • Alignment  <TR ALIGN=LEFT|RIGHT|CENTER|MIDDLE|BOTTOM> 
  • Table Cell  <TD></TD> (must appear within table rows)
  • Alignment  <TD ALIGN=LEFT|RIGHT|CENTER VALIGN=TOP|MIDDLE|BOTTOM> 
  • Cell Color <TH BGCOLOR="#$$$$$$"> 
  • Comment  <!– *** –>  (not displayed by the browser)
  • Send Search  <A HREF="URL?***"></a>  (use a real question mark)
  • URL of This File  <BASE HREF="URL">  (must be in header)
  • Style Sheets  <STYLE></STYLE> (implementations vary)

 

Hope this helps in creating the required notification templates in your Service Manager environment.

Have Fun,

Kurt Van Hoecke

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