Configuring Sub-tasks

Sub-Task issues are generally used to split up a parent issue into a number of tasks which can be assigned and tracked separately. (For details, see Creating a Sub-Task.)

Sub-Tasks have all the same fields as standard issues, although note that their 'issue type' must be one of the Sub-Task issue types (see below) rather than one of the standard issue types.

If Sub-Tasks are enabled and you have defined at least one Sub-Task issue type, your users will be able to:

On this page:

Disabling sub-tasks

Sub-tasks are enabled by default. However, this feature can be disabled from the Sub-Tasks administration page.
(info) Sub-Tasks will be disabled by default if your JIRA installation was upgraded from a version prior to 4.2 that had Sub-Tasks disabled.

To disable sub-tasks:

  1. Log in as a user with the JIRA Administrators global permission.
  2. Choose > Issues. Select Issue Types > Sub-Tasks to open the Sub-Tasks page.
    (tick) Keyboard shortcut: g + g + type sub-tasks
  3. Click the 'Disable' Sub-Tasks link. The page reloads and informs you that sub-tasks are now disabled.

(info) Please Note: Sub-tasks cannot be disabled if one or more sub-tasks exists in the system. You must remove any existing sub-tasks (or convert them to standard issues) before you can disable this feature.

Enabling sub-tasks

Sub-tasks can be enabled from the Sub-Tasks administration screen.

To enable sub-tasks:

  1. Log in as a user with the JIRA Administrators global permission.
  2. Choose > Issues. Select Issue Types > Sub-Tasks to open the Sub-Tasks page.
    (tick) Keyboard shortcut: g + g + type sub-tasks
  3. Click the 'Enable' Sub-Tasks link. The page will reload and inform you that the sub-tasks are now enabled.
    (info) A default sub-task issue type is automatically available for use. You can edit it by clicking its Edit link in the Operations column.

Defining sub-task issue types

Sub-tasks must be assigned one of the Sub-Task issue types, which are different to standard issue types. Please note that at least one sub-task issue type must be defined in JIRA for users to be able to create sub-tasks.

Sub-task issue types can be customized on the Sub-Tasks administration page (described above). The Sub-Tasks administration page also allows you to create, edit (i.e. the name, description or icon) and translate your Sub-Task issue types.

Creating a sub-task issue type

To create a new sub-task issue type:

  1. Log in as a user with the JIRA Administrators global permission.
  2. Choose > Issues. Select Issue Types > Sub-Tasks to open the Sub-Tasks page.
    (tick)  Keyboard shortcut: g + g + start typing sub-tasks
  3. Click Add New Sub-Task Issue Type button to open the Add New Sub-Task Issue Type dialog box.
  4. Complete the following:
    • Name — enter a short phrase that best describes your new sub-task issue type.
    • Description — enter a sentence or two to describe when this sub-task issue type should be used.
    • Icon URL — supply the path of a image that has been placed somewhere inside <jira-application-dir>/images/icons of your JIRA Installation Directory or from an accessible URL.

Editing a sub-task issue type

To edit a sub-task issue type:

  1. Log in as a user with the JIRA Administrators global permission.
  2. Choose > Issues. Select Issue Types > Sub-Tasks to open the Sub-Tasks page.
    (tick)  Keyboard shortcut: g + g + start typing sub-tasks
  3. Click the Edit link (in the Operations column) for the sub-task issue type that you wish to edit.
  4. Edit the Name, Description and/or Icon as described above for Creating a sub-task issue type.

Deleting a sub-task issue type

 You can only delete sub-task issue types through the Manage Issue Types page. For details, please see Deleting an Issue Type. 

Blocking issue workflows by sub-task status

It is possible to restrict the progression of an issue through workflow depending on the status of the issue's Sub-Tasks. For example, you might need to restrict an issue from being resolved until all of its Sub-Tasks are resolved. To achieve this, you would create a custom workflow and use the Sub-Task Blocking Condition on the workflow transitions that are to be restricted by the Sub-Tasks' status.

Configuring sub-task fields displayed on parent issues

JIRA system administrators can define which fields of sub-tasks are displayed in the Sub-Tasks section on the 'view issue' page of a parent issue (which contains one or more sub-tasks). This is done by editing the value of the jira.table.cols.subtasks property on JIRA's Advanced Settings page.

Specify which fields you want to show in the Sub-Tasks section of a parent issue's 'view issue' page by entering the appropriate 'value' for each field in a comma-separated list. The jira.table.cols.subtasks property can accept the values indicated in right-hand column of the IssueFieldConstants table on the Constant Field Values page (of JIRA's API documentation).

(info) Please Note:

  • The order of each value in this list determines the order of their representative fields in the Sub-Tasks section of a parent issue's 'view issue' page.
  • The summary field is a mandatory value which assumes first position in this property's value.

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41 Archived comments

  1. User avatar

    Adam Karl

    In the section "Choosing which fields to display in the 'Add Sub-Task' form"  I found that editing this property in my jira-config.properties did not work.  Instead I searched in the propertystring table and found an entry there that was controlling this value.  I changed that and restarted JIRA to get the quick create fields to change.  It seems like this is half way towards being a configurable setting on the Advanced Settings page.  Maybe it will be in 5.x? (I'm running 4.4.3 now).  Anyway, thought I'd let anyone else know who might be fighting this.

    06 Dec 2011
    1. User avatar

      Giles Gaskell

      Hi Adam,

      Thanks for sharing your observations. I don't believe this property ever made it into JIRA's Advanced Settings page. However, be aware that in JIRA 5.0 the jira.subtask.quickcreateform.fields property is effectively deprecated because users can customise these fields themselves on the Create Subtask dialog box.

      Cheers,

      Giles.

      14 Mar 2012
  2. User avatar

    Bob Swift

    Where is there information on what fields can be put in the jira.table.cols.subtasks field??? I did trial and error until I got what I wanted (issuekey). Also, when does the change take affect? Is a restart needed? It doesn't seem to work on just update.

    05 Jan 2012
    1. User avatar

      Giles Gaskell

      Hi Bob,

      Apologies for the delay on this — we've updated the documentation above, which should hopefully now provide more insight into configuring this property.

      Cheers,

      Giles.

      30 Apr 2012
  3. User avatar

    Tomasz Puk

    Configuring Sub-Task filed does not work as described above on JIRA 4.4.1. The entry was modified and then JIRA restarted but nothing changed within the sub-task columns.

    21 Feb 2012
    1. User avatar

      Bob Swift

      See JRA-25343 

      21 Feb 2012
  4. User avatar

    Anonymous

    It is somewhat puzzling to figure out what columns names work in  jira.table.cols.subtasks 

    Can you provide some reference for available column names?

    so far I figured the following: versions, components, issuekey, issuetype, status, resolution, assignee, progress, timespent

    10 Oct 2012
    1. User avatar

      Anonymous

      I desperately need filed name for fix for version!  

      11 Oct 2012
  5. User avatar

    Anonymous

    It is possible to restrict the progression of an issue through workflow depending on the status of the issue's Sub-Tasks. For example, you might need to restrict an issue from being resolved until all of its Sub-Tasks are resolved. To achieve this, you would create a custom workflow and use the Sub-Task Blocking Condition on the workflow transitions that are to be restricted by the Sub-Tasks' status.

    How?

    It seems to me that if one needs to explain this possibility (to people like me), one needs to add a little more detail than a link to a much more complicated topic ('custom workflow')

    04 Dec 2012
    1. User avatar

      Anonymous

       

      How?

       

      It seems to me that if one needs to explain this possibility (to people like me), one needs to add a little more detail than a link to a much more complicated topic ('custom workflow')

      Check out the config workflow condition section here:

      Configuring Workflow#Applyingconditionstotransitions

      14 Feb 2013
  6. User avatar

    Edwin Stol

    I'm looking for some kind of 'inheritance' for the sub-tasks.

    i.e if field 'X' is filled in the parent issue, i want this field to be filled the same for the sub-task(s).
    edit:
    I installed the plug-in from this Answers post:

    https://answers.atlassian.com/questions/53815/copy-field-from-parent-to-sub-task

    21 Feb 2013
  7. User avatar

    Anonymous

    How are sub-tasks viewed on a Kanban board?  I can only see the parent task and am pulling out my hair trying to get its subtasks to show up on the board.

    07 Mar 2013
  8. User avatar

    Ronny Birkeli

    Had the same issue. Turned out that the sub-task where created with the initial flowstatus ie it didn't inherit the status of the story (in my case). So I had to move the task thru the flow manually. Haven't had time to check this, but the has to be a way to solve this. But beeing a rookie on JIRA this is as far as I've come (smile)

    05 Apr 2013
  9. User avatar

    Patrick van der Rijst [Avisi]

    I would like to have that subtasks would have a different numbering than the user story, would that be something we could configure?

    12 Apr 2013
  10. User avatar

    Anonymous

    I created sub tasks by mistake when I meant to create 'story' tickets. How can I convert sub taskss to storys? JIRA 5 does not appear to allow this conversion. 

    30 Apr 2013
    1. User avatar

      Andrew Lui [Atlassian Technical Writer]

      Hi,

      To convert a sub-task to a story, open the sub-task, click More > Convert to Issue and follow the prompts. Unfortunately, it is not possible to do this in bulk.

      Kind Regards,
      Andrew

      30 Apr 2013
  11. User avatar

    Victor Castillo Escoto

    Related to blocking parent issue transitions based on sub-task status, is it possible to do the same but based on siblings?

    That is, having two sub-tasks where I do not want the second to be transitioned until first one hits x status.

    I haven't been able to achieve this, but not sure if possible.

    30 May 2013
  12. User avatar

    Vadim Evfimiou

    How can I configure sub-tasks fields displayed on the parent issue in JIRA OnDemand?

    29 Jul 2013
  13. User avatar

    EM-soft

    I have same question as Vadim. Where do I do this on an OnDemand. Right now it is as it was in my old system that I have imported.

    23 Aug 2013
  14. User avatar

    Susan Griffin [Atlassian]

    Hi there, this option is not available in JIRA On Demand. The On Demand documentation can be found here.

     

    25 Aug 2013
  15. User avatar

    EM-soft

    Hi Susan, the page you link to is this page. 

    If it is not possible in OnDemand then why did it change when I imported my old data?

    Can you then change it for me if I tell you to what to change it?

    25 Aug 2013
    1. User avatar

      Susan Griffin [Atlassian]

      Hello again. I meant to send you to this same page in the OnDemand space, which is here. There is a note in the Configuring Sub-tasks section that states, "Not applicable to JIRA OnDemand." I honestly don't know why it changed when you imported your old data, that sounds like something our Support team may be able to help you with. You can contact them by clicking the Support button at the bottom of this page.

      Cheers,

      Susan

      25 Aug 2013
  16. User avatar

    Anonymous

    Hi, my manager performed a bulk transfer of sub-tasks that were incorrectly assigned. However some of the sub-tasks were closed before the transfer and are now open. The problem is it will not allow anybody to close the transferred sub-task. Anybody have any ideas?

    Thanks,

    Luke

    11 Nov 2013
  17. User avatar

    Darren Ehlers

    I create my subtasks on my Agile board, and order them as I need in the story issue.  But, on the issue detail view of the Agile board "Plan" tab, the subtasks seem to be ordered based on the issue number, and NOT on the order that I specified in the parent story issue.

     

    21 Nov 2013
  18. User avatar

    Anonymous

    When I create Acceptance, Tests or Bugs as a subtask within a parent story why is the different icon not visible from the plan mode view? When I go to detail view I can see the assigned icons for each sub-task type. 

    10 Jan 2014
  19. User avatar

    Gabriel Mendes

    Hello,

    Is there a way to change the way sub-tasks are shown in the issue by grouping them by sub-task type?

     

     

    13 Jan 2014
  20. User avatar

    Oliver Anders

    Hello,

    by using "Create on Transition" (thanks Bob), I´m creating 3 subtasks every time a specific type of transition is used. So far, everything is okay. What I´m looking for is a way to give each of the created sub-tasks a specific name (the Name of a component of the parrent task, for example). Do you have a hint for me? I´m stuck for 3 days now on this problem. 

    05 Mar 2014
    1. User avatar

      Bob Swift [Bob Swift Atlassian Add-ons]

      Yes, use Substitution variables in your summary or description for example.

      05 Mar 2014
  21. User avatar

    Anonymous

    Hello - I just inherited a project in JIRA and have not been properly trained, so I am hoping someone can help a newbie out. When I clone an issue all tabs from the parent screen are carried over. However, when I convert that clone to a subtask, all of my tabs disappear. Can anyone tell me how to correct this? I assume it is a configuration problem, but I have tried several things with no resolution. One thing I noticed is when I convert the clone to a subtask and it follows the workflow to 1. select issue type, 2. select new status, but when it gets to 3. update fields, it says this step is not required.

    Any help with this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    12 Mar 2014
    1. User avatar

      Andrew Lui [Atlassian Technical Writer]

      Hi,

      I suspect that your subtasks are associated with a different screen than your other issues. You may need to configure your issue type screen scheme to associate subtasks with the same screen as other issues. 

      Have a look at the following topics:

      If you run into problems, don't hesitate to contact our support team for assistance.

      Kind regards,
      Andrew

       

      12 Mar 2014
      1. User avatar

        Anonymous

        Thank you, Andrew. The same screens are associated with my issue types and subtasks. Could this be a subtask workflow issue?

        14 Mar 2014
        1. User avatar

          Andrew Lui [Atlassian Technical Writer]

          It's probably best to raise a support request at this point. We'd need to get a better idea of how you've set up your project.

          Kind regards,
          Andrew 

          16 Mar 2014
  22. User avatar

    John Benjamin

    Is it correct to assume that you can't add a custom field value in the subtask columns that display?

    02 May 2014
    1. User avatar

      John Benjamin

      I figured it out...the answer is:  Yes you can add a custom field, just include customfield_xxxx (where xxxx is the unique ID for your custom field).

      20 May 2014
  23. User avatar

    William Crighton [CCC]

    Jeez...glad I'm a veteran of adding comments to Atlassian doc pages...seems like every time I've got something to say I see the friggin 'crikey' electro-man getting shocked....and trust me, after you lose post after post, he ain't getting shocked anywhere near enough. continuing...

    For those trying to change the columns which appear for sub-tasks when viewing an issue here is a direct link to the available values (indirect link provided above - this links directly to the aformentioned DocumentConstants:

    Also, as mentioned in the post above you can reference Custom Fields - however you must reference them via the unique string value, which is 'customfield_' and the custom field database id (from the table customfield. You can determine this id easily by browsing to your JIRA instances administration/issues page, selecting custom fields and then clicking the 'cog' on the line with your custom field and hovering over any of the options. The custom field id will appear in the 'cog' option's url - i.e. for our field 'Jane Says' cog option 'Configuration' shows the following (screenshot attached).

    screenshot: https://icons.capitalcityconsultants.com/ccc/determine-janesays-customfieldid.png

    We used the following fields - NOTE - I cannot figure out how to order them like they are ordered in the list, but at least the data is there.
    Column list: issuekey, assignee, status, duedate,customfield_12320, progress,timespent,timeestimate

    Resulting in the following when viewing an issue's subtasks:

    https://icons.capitalcityconsultants.com/ccc/image-of-subtasks-with-columns.png
    Hope this helps someone

    -wc

    16 Jul 2014
  24. User avatar

    Frankely Diaz

    I was wondering if there's any option to show subtask's activity in the parent activity because my team is very descriptive when they finished a task and sometimes we wanna see all activity from  the history, is such option posible ?

    22 Sep 2014
  25. User avatar

    Sharmin Ghasemi

    Is there any way that subtask keys are made from the original task keys and not assigned a new number?

    in many cases our tasks have to have a fixed number until they are resolved/done and the number has a unique meaning for the team.

     

    for example if the main task is: 

          ABC-123

    the subtasks would be like below or similar:

          ABC-123-1

          ABC-123-2

          ABC-123-3

           ABC-123-4

     

    03 Mar 2015
    1. User avatar

      Bob Swift [Bob Swift Atlassian Add-ons]

      No, that is not possible. You will need a custom field to record any meaningful information like that.

      03 Mar 2015
  26. User avatar

    Peter T

    Hello,

    Configuring different columns to be visualized for the issue sub-tasks in JIRA is now easy and powerful. I am happy to announce our new add-on Issue Matrix which provides multiple improvements how sub-tasks and linked issues are visualized. You can control per issue type and project which custom and system fields are shown in the Issue View screen, their order and other improvements such as table headers and other.

    See more on its functionality here: https://botronsoft.atlassian.net/wiki/display/ILV/Concept and let us know in case you need any information.

    Cheers,
    Peter T

     

    17 Mar 2015
  27. User avatar

    Hyeonoh Ji

    Hello...

    Can I configure Sub Issue each Parent Issue??

    Such as..

    I have 2 main issues; "Bug" and "Feature" and 2 Sub Issues; "Sub Bug" and "Sub Feature".

    I try to create a sub issue..

    If I try to create a sub issue of main issue "Bug", then it shows only "Sub Bug" on the create sub issue type list.

    On the other hands, if I try to create a sub issue of main issue "Feature", then it shows only "Sub Feature" on the create sub issue type list.

     

    Maybe it is set that it shows all sub issues by default..

    I want to change it..

     

    is it possible??

    17 Apr 2015
  28. User avatar

    Mary Gell

    Hi!

    I could be way off here, but is it possible for a subtask to be part of a different workflow to the parent task? Could there be a way to configure it?

    12 Jul 2015
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