Configuring Swimlanes

A swimlane is a horizontal categorisation of issues in the Active sprints/Kanban board on a board.

You can choose to set up your swimlanes in a variety of ways, as shown in the following table.

(info) Note that only the administrator of a board (or a person with the 'JIRA Administrators' global permission) can configure a board's swimlanes.

On this page:

Base your swimlanes on... Explanation

One JQL query per swimlane (see below). By default, two swimlanes will be created:

  • Expedite — this swimlane is based on the following JQL query: priority = Blocker  (You can change this column's Name, JQL and Description if you wish. See the JIRA JQL documentation for help with your JQL query.)
  • Everything Else — this swimlane is always at the bottom of the screen, and cannot be deleted. It acts as a "catch-all" for issues that do not match the JQL of any of the swimlanes above it, hence it has no JQL specified.

You may want to create additional swimlanes which map to other values of your JIRA 'Priority' field, or use a different field to categorise your swimlanes (see examples below).

Stories One parent issue per swimlane (i.e. each swimlane contains all of the parent's sub-tasks), with issues that have no sub-tasks appearing below.
Example (click to enlarge):
Assignees One assignee per swimlane, with unassigned issues appearing either above or below the swimlanes (your choice).


One epic per swimlane, with issues that don't belong any to epics appearing below the swimlanes.

If you want to change the order of the swimlanes on your board, navigate to the Backlog of the board and drag and drop the epics as desired. See Working with Epics for more information.

No Swimlanes  

Choosing a different type of swimlane

To choose whether to base your swimlanes on JQL queries, stories or assignees (or to have no swimlanes),

  1. Navigate to the desired board, then click Board > Configure.
  2. Click the Swimlanes tab.
  3. In the 'Base Swimlanes on' drop-down, select either Queries, Stories, Assignees or No Swimlanes, as described above.

Screenshot 1: the 'Board Configuration' screen — 'Swimlanes' tab.

Modifying your Query-based swimlanes

If your swimlanes are based on JQL queries (rather than on stories or assignees), you can create/delete/change them as follows:

  1. Navigate to the desired board, then click Board > Configure.
  2. Click the Swimlanes tab.

  3. If your swimlanes are based on Queries, you can edit your swimlanes as described in the following table and Screenshot 1 (above).

    To do the following:

    Do this:

    Add a new swimlane

    In the blue area, type the Name, JQL, and optional Description, then click the Add button. Your new swimlane is added in the top swimlane position.

    Change the name of a swimlane

    Click in the Name area of the swimlane, modify the existing name and click the Update button.

    Change the JQL of a swimlane
    Click in the JQL area of the swimlane, modify the existing JQL and click the Update button. (See the examples below for some suggestions.) For syntax, see the JIRA JQL documentation.
    Note, the JQL 'ORDER BY' clause is not used by the swimlane, as it defaults to order by rank.
    Delete a swimlane

    Click the 'Delete' button at the right of the swimlane.

    Move a swimlane

    Hover over the vertical 'grid'  icon, then drag and drop the swimlane up or down to its new position.

Some example JQL you might wish to use for your swimlanes:

  • Show all issues which belong to a particular component (e.g. 'User Interface'):

    project = "Angry Nerds" AND component = "User Interface"
  • Show all issues which are due in the next 24 hours:

    due <= "24h"
  • Show all issues that have a particular priority e.g.:

    priority = "Minor"


    priority = "Major"

(info) For more details, see the JQL documentation.

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