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Ranking an Issue

Ranking an issue alters its relative priority within its current column and swimlane. Ranking your issues helps you to organise tasks in your product/sprint backlog more effectively.

Rankings allow you to prioritise issues at a more granular level than issue priorities in JIRA, as rankings can help you to determine whether a single issue is more important/urgent than another single issue. For example, you may have two separate issues which both have a priority of 'Major'. Using JIRA Agile ranking, you can assign one of the issues a higher ranking than the other.

To rank an issue in the Backlog (Scrum boards only):

  1. Click Backlog.
  2. Rank an issue by dragging and dropping it to a higher or lower position in the backlog (see Screenshot 1 below);
    Send multiple issues to the top or bottom of the backlog by selecting them (Shift>Click or Ctrl>Click) and right-clicking (see Screenshot 2 below).

To rank an issue in the Active sprints/Kanban board:

  1. Click Active sprints (Scrum board) / Kanban board (Kanban board).
  2. Rank an issue by dragging and dropping it to a higher or lower position within its current column (see Screenshot 3 below).
    (info) If an issue has sub-tasks that are in the same column and swimlane as itself, the sub-tasks will be shown in a group below the issue.
    • When you rank an issue that has sub-tasks, all of the sub-tasks that are currently grouped with that issue will be automatically moved with it.
    • Sub-task issues can only be ranked in relation to their 'sibling' issues.

Tips and notes:

(tick) You can also use Keyboard Shortcuts 's' + 'b' to move an issue to the bottom of its current column, or 's' + 't' to move it to the top.

(info) Please note:

  • You can only rank issues if ranking has been enabled — see Enabling Ranking.
  • You can only rank issues if you have the 'Schedule Issue' and 'Edit Issue' permissions for the issue you want to move higher or lower on your board.

Screenshot 1: Dragging and dropping an issue in the backlog (on the Backlog screen)

Screenshot 2: Right-clicking select issues to send them to the top/bottom of the backlog (on the Backlog screen)

Screenshot 3: Dragging and dropping an issue within a column (in the Active sprints/Kanban board)

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21 Archived comments

  1. User avatar

    Reese Gibbons Schmit

    Can you search by ranking? For example: I want to find all issues in x project that are ranked higher than TIC-1234.

    08 Oct 2013
  2. User avatar

    Mihail Mihaylov

    How can I change the issues' ranking within an Epic? Currently using the action button in the header Issues in Epic I can select Rank to Top or Rank to Bottom, but more precise ranking is not possible.

    13 Mar 2014
    1. User avatar

      Andrew Lui [Atlassian Technical Writer]

      If you change the rank of the issues on the board (Plan mode), the order of the issues will be reflected in the 'Issues in Epic' section in your epic. 

      Kind regards,

      16 Mar 2014
  3. User avatar

    Shane Dosch

    It would be nice if there was an equivalent Plan board for Kanban.  Once you get a larger number of issues in a Kanban board, i.e, > 20, ranking in that board becomes cumbersome.  The Plan board, with it's smaller issue sizes, makes it much easier to rank issues because you can fit a good 50 or so on a screen.

    22 Apr 2014
    1. User avatar

      Stefan Kamphausen

      I second this.  The planning people are in dire need of some better management of upcoming tickets.  Not having a plan/backlog view for Kanban may become a show stopper for us and not being able to do Kanban may in turn become a show stopper for JIRA in the first place.

      16 Apr 2015
      1. User avatar

        Martin Jopson [Atlassian]

        Please follow  GHS-6175 - As a Kanban PO I would like the Plan mode so that I may order and groom a large backlog Open

        01 Jun 2015
  4. User avatar


    I think something that would help is to highlight a ticket, or multiple tickets, on the Kanban board, and have an option like "Rank below..." or "Rank above..." which would then ask you for a ticket number. The tickets you highlighted would then be ranked below or above the nominated ticket.

    I agree with other people's comments (both here and in various forums) that re-ranking using drag-and-drop becomes cumbersome when the number of tickets grows large.

    I appreciate that there are techniques to make it easier like Rank to Top and Rank to Bottom, or temporarily creating restricting filters on a Kanban board to make the list smaller. But even with that it's still tedious and time consuming.

    I also understand that giving the user access to the Global Rank field to edit it directly is dangerous.

    That's why I like the addition of a feature that will let you target more precisely where you want to re-rank your tickets to. Because moving ticket A in the middle of a long list to be below ticket B, also in the long list, is difficult. You do a ton of scrolling around trying to find where you are in the list.

    10 Jun 2014
    1. User avatar

      Frank Schophuizen

      This is exactly what I am looking for.

      Is there a change request for Atlassian to implement this?

      03 Jul 2015
  5. User avatar

    Kiran Patel

    Is there a rest API by which we can manipulate this???

    Also as Shane said, I have exactly the thing he's saying where I can display issues depending on project and user dynamically and I want to add the functionality of moving the rank of issue, for a particular project/user, up or down.

    18 Jul 2014
  6. User avatar

    Tally Brostowsky

    How can I set the default rank (when creating an issue) to be on top and not bottom?

    all the new issues we open are at the end of the back log, but I want them on top

    29 Jul 2014
  7. User avatar

    Jan Kocian

    Hi, is there any good way how to rank Epics among themselves?

    The only way I've found so far is in the Planning mode using the Epics filter section on the right, but it's not really convenient as the column is quite narrow (and therefore gets useless once you have more epics)

    Thanks for advice

    17 Sep 2014
    1. User avatar

      Frank Schophuizen

      Option 1: Use a Kanban board, filter on showing only Epics and show only a single column.

      Option 2: Use a Structure board with a JIRA Agile synchronizer

      03 Jul 2015
  8. User avatar

    Leslie Brown

    Is there any way to restrict which users or roles can rank issues?  We have many users who need to be able to create issues but due to conflicting priorities amongst the varying teams we support, we need only a select few to have the ability to prioritize the work in the backlog.

    07 Oct 2014
    1. User avatar

      Martin Jopson [Atlassian]

      The permissions required for actions are listed here: JIRA Agile - JIRA Configuration#JIRAConfiguration-Permissions

      07 Oct 2014
  9. User avatar

    Tonni Tielens

    Is there a way to filter new issues that are not yet manually ranked?

    08 Oct 2014
    1. User avatar

      Martin Jopson [Atlassian]

      Tonni Tielens, not currently. You might want to add something to the issues to differentiate them e.g. label, epic, and then filter on the absence of that.

      09 Oct 2014
  10. User avatar

    Oleg Teplov

    Value type had changed for Rank field. In the past it was integer (numeric) and now it contains letters and symbols. Where can I read more about logic of formatting?

    21 Oct 2014
  11. User avatar

    Jeff Krueger

    Hoping this might help someone else.  

    I spent a large amount of time trying to rank items in a KanBan board.  Once sub tasks were added there was no way to move the story up and down.  This was due to the swim lane setup.  It was based on stories instead of assignee.  This kind of makes sense, but was one of those things that was just over looked.

    30 Oct 2014
  12. User avatar

    Colin Higbie

    Any chance a future update would allow us to sort sub-tasks independent of their associated Story/Task? It is often the case for us that some subtasks for a given feature are critical, and others are polish, and others fall in between. We would always want to implement the critical features across various tasks before the polish features. In other words, ranking subtasks independent of their Story.

    14 Mar 2015
  13. User avatar

    Elizabeth Akagla

    Could you clarify if Sub-tasks are now visible from the Backlog view?

    12 Jun 2015
    1. User avatar

      Andrew Lui [Atlassian Technical Writer]

      Hi Elizabeth,

      No, sub-tasks are not visible from the Backlog view (see Using the Backlog).

      Kind regards,

      12 Jun 2015
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