Creating a Sub-Task

Sub-task issues are useful for splitting up a parent issue into a number of smaller tasks that can be assigned and tracked separately. This can provide a better picture of the progress on the issue, and allows each person involved in resolving the issue to better understand what part of the process they are responsible for.

All the sub-tasks related to a parent issue are summarised on the parent issue's main screen (see 'Working with Sub-Tasks' below). Sub-tasks always belong to the same project as their parent issue.

Sub-tasks have all the same fields as standard issues, e.g. Summary, Description, Reporter, Assignee, Status. Note that sub-tasks have a different set of issue types from the standard issue types.

Sub-tasks cannot have sub-tasks of their own. However, if you need to break up a sub-task into smaller sub-tasks, you could achieve this by first converting the sub-task to a standard issue. You would then be able to create sub-tasks for it.

On this page:

Creating a sub-task

To create sub-tasks, you need to have the Create Issue permission in the parent issue's project. There is no option to set security on a sub-task, as sub-tasks inherit their parent issue's security levels if any have been set.

(info) Sub-tasks can only be created if your JIRA administrator has enabled sub-tasks and added the sub-task issue type to the project's issue type scheme.

To create a sub-task:

  1. Navigate to the issue you would like to be the parent issue of the sub-task you are about to create.
  2. Select More > Create Sub-Task. You will see the Create Subtask screen.
  3. Fill in the details as needed, and then click Create at the bottom of the page.

Tip: You can customize the Create Subtask dialog to show fields you use most often. To do this, click Configure Fields at the top right corner of the dialog, and use the All and Custom links to switch between the default screen and your custom settings. Your changes are saved for future use.

Working with sub-tasks

If an issue has sub-tasks, the issue screen displays a list of all the issue's sub-tasks:

  • Show open sub-tasks only – The sub-task list has two views: Show All and Show Open. Show All lists all sub-tasks, regardless of status, while Show Open only shows sub-tasks that have not been resolved (i.e. do not have a Resolution ).
  • Time Tracking – The colored bars show the time-tracking data for the issue and its sub-tasks.
  • Perform actions on sub-tasks – Click on the right side of the sub-task in the list to display the Actions dropdown menu:

    Tip: You can also type a period ' . ' to access issue actions.
  • Quickly create sub-tasks – Once an issue has one or more sub-tasks, you can quickly create additional sub-tasks by clicking the '+' icon.

Searching for sub-tasks

When sub-tasks are enabled, two extra entries appear in the Issue Type dropdown list in the search form.

  • To search standard issues only, click All Standard Issue Types.
  • To search sub-task issues only, click All Sub-Task Issue Types.
  • To search for one specific type of issue or sub-issue, select just one Issue Type or one Sub-Task Issue Type.

If no entries are selected from the Issue Type list, the search returns all the standard and sub-task issues that meet the search criteria.

Converting a standard issue to a sub-task

  1. Navigate to the issue you would like to convert.
  2. Select More > Convert to Sub-Task.
  3. In the Step 1. Select Parent Issue and Sub-Task Type screen, type or select the appropriate parent issue type and the new issue type (i.e. a sub-task issue type). Click Next.
  4. If the issue's current status is not an allowed status for the new issue type, the Step 2. Select New Status screen is displayed. Select a new status and click Next.
  5. In the Step 3. Update Fields screen you will be prompted to enter any additional fields if they are required. Otherwise, you will see the message 'All fields will be updated automatically'. Click Next.
  6. The Step 4. Confirmation screen is displayed. If you are satisfied with the new details for the issue, click Finish.
  7. The issue will be displayed. You will see that it is now a sub-task, that is, its parent's issue number is now displayed at the top of the screen.

Note: You will not be able to convert an issue to a sub-task if the issue has sub-tasks of its own. You first need to convert the issue's sub-tasks to standalone issues (see below); you can then convert them to sub-tasks of another issue if you wish. Sub-tasks cannot be moved directly from one issue to another — you will need to convert them to standard issues, then to sub-tasks of their new parent issue.

Converting a sub-task to a standard issue

  1. Navigate to the sub-task issue you would like convert.
  2. Select More > Convert to Issue.
  3. In the Step 1. Select Issue Type screen, select a new issue type (i.e. a standard issue type) and click Next.
  4. If the sub-task's current status is not an allowed status for the new issue type, the Step 2. Select New Status screen is displayed. Select a new status and click Next.
  5. In the Step 3. Update Fields screen you will be prompted to enter any additional fields if they are required. Otherwise, you will see the message 'All fields will be updated automatically'. Click Next.
  6. The Step 4. Confirmation screen is displayed. If you are satisfied with the new details for the issue, click Finish.
  7. The issue will be displayed. You will see that it is no longer a sub-task, that is, there is no longer a parent issue number displayed at the top of the screen.

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