Specifying Field Behavior

A field configuration defines the behavior of all fields available in your JIRA installation, including JIRA's own 'fixed'/'built in' fields (known as 'system' fields) and custom fields.

For each field, a field configuration specifies:

  • the description that appears under the field when an issue is edited
  • whether the field is hidden or visible
  • whether the field is required (i.e. the field will be validated to ensure it has been given a value) or optional
  • (for text fields only) which renderer to use

When defining field behavior for one or more JIRA projects and the fields used by the issue types in these projects, you typically start by adding one or more new field configurations (see below). You then begin modifying the behavior of individual fields in these new field configurations.

(tick) A new field configuration should be added for each project and issue type combination which requires specific fields to be present and/or fields that express unique behavior.

You can then associate each new field configuration with a different issue type through a 'field configuration scheme'. A field configuration scheme can then be associated with one or more projects.

This process of association gives you the flexibility of defining field behavior on a per project, per issue type basis. For more information, please see the Overview Diagram.

On this page:

Managing multiple field configurations

You can create multiple field configurations for use on separate projects and issue types.

About the 'Default Field Configuration'

When JIRA is installed, the Default Field Configuration is created automatically. All new projects are associated with this configuration. This configuration is also used for projects that are not associated with a Field Configuration Scheme.

(info) It is not possible to delete the Default Field Configuration.

Adding a field configuration

  1. Log in as a user with the JIRA Administrators global permission.
  2. Choose > Issues. Select Fields > Field Configurations to open the View Field Configurations page, which lists all your field configurations.
    (tick) Keyboard shortcut: g + g + start typing field configurations
  3. Click the Add New Field Configuration button to open the Add Field Configuration dialog box.
  4. Complete the Add Field Configuration dialog box:
    • Name — enter a short phrase that best describes your new field configuration.
    • Description (optional but recommended) — enter a sentence or two to describe when this field configuration should be used.

Editing a field configuration

  1. Log in as a user with the JIRA Administrators  global permission.
  2. Choose > Issues. Select Fields > Field Configurations to open the View Field Configurations page, which lists all your field configurations.
    (tick) Keyboard shortcut: g + g + start typing field configurations
  3. Click the Edit link next to the field configuration you wish to edit.
  4. On the Edit Field Configuration page, edit the field configuration's Name and Description.

(info) Please note: The Default Field Configuration cannot be edited.

Deleting a field configuration

  1. Log in as a user with the JIRA Administrators global permission.
  2. Choose > Issues. Select Fields > Field Configurations to open the View Field Configurations page, which lists all your field configurations.
    (tick) Keyboard shortcut: g + g + start typing field configurations
  3. Click the Delete link next to the field configuration you wish to delete.
    (info) You will be prompted to confirm this operation.

(info) Please note:

  • The Default Field Configuration cannot be deleted.
  • You can only delete a field configuration that is not associated with a field configuration scheme. The Delete link will not be available for field configurations which are associated with one or more field configuration schemes.

Copying a field configuration

  1. Log in as a user with the JIRA Administrators global permission.
  2. Choose > Issues. Select Fields > Field Configurations to open the View Field Configurations page, which lists all your field configurations.
    (tick) Keyboard shortcut: g + g + start typing field configurations
  3. Click the Copy link next to the field configuration you wish to copy.
  4. On the Copy Field Configuration page, specify the Name and Description for the field configuration to be copied.
    (info) The (initial) field settings between the original and copied field configurations will be identical.

(info) Please Note: a newly created field configuration will not take effect until you:

  1. Associate your new field configuration to one or more issue types.
  2. Associate that field configuration with one or more projects.

See Associating Field Behavior with Issue Types for more information.

Modifying field behavior

To modify the behavior of fields in JIRA, you need to modify the field configurations that those fields have been defined in.

To modify the behavior of a set of fields in a field configuration:

  1. Log in as a user with the JIRA Administrators global permission.
  2. Choose > Issues. Select Fields > Field Configurations to open the View Field Configurations page, which lists all your field configurations.
    (tick) Keyboard shortcut: g + g + start typing field configurations
  3. Locate the field configuration of interest and click the Configure link to open the View Field Configuration page, which lists all system and custom fields in your JIRA installation for that field configuration.
    (info) Please Note:
    • The Edit link only allows you to change the Name and Description of the field configuration, not of individual fields.
    • Note that the Edit link is not available for the Default Field Configuration on the View Field Configuration page (listing all field configurations defined in your JIRA installation).
  4. In the Operations  column, you can perform the following actions for any field:
    • Edit — change the field's description (i.e. help text).
    • Hide/Show — hide the field from view or show it.
    • Require/Optional — set a field to be required (so that whenever a field is edited it must be given a value) or optional.
    • Renderers — change a field's renderer (see Configuring Renderers for more information).

(info) Please Note: a newly created field configuration will not take effect until you:

  1. Associate your new field configuration to one or more issue types and then
  2. Associate that field configuration with one or more projects.

See Associating Field Behavior with Issue Types for more information.

Editing a field's description

Fields can be given descriptions to better identify the meaning of the field. These descriptions are typically displayed under the fields they are associated through JIRA's user interface, for example, when creating an issue or editing it:

Screenshot: Sample description text shown beneath the 'Assignee' field

To edit the description of a field:

  1. Follow the first three steps above (in Modifying field behavior) to access the field configuration whose field's description you wish to edit.
  2. Click the Edit link next to the field you want to change and update the field's description.
  3. Click the Update button to save your changes.

Hiding or showing a field

If your organisation or project has no use for a particular field, you have the option to hide it. Hiding a field will ensure that the the field does not appear on any screens (i.e. issue operation screens, workflow transition screens) where the field configuration applies.

(info) Please note:

  • Hiding a field in the field configuration is distinct from not adding a field to a screen. Fields hidden through the field configuration will be hidden in all applicable screens, regardless of whether or not they have been added to the screen.
  • For fields that have a default value: If the field is hidden in the field configuration, then it will not receive a value when an issue is created, regardless of whether the field is present on the Create Issue screen(s). (The following fields can have a default value: Resolution , Status , Priority , Issue Type , Security Level and custom fields.)
  • The fields Summary and Issue Type cannot be hidden and as such there is no Hide option available for these fields.

To hide or show a field:

  1. Follow the first three steps above (in Modifying field behavior) to access the field configuration whose fields you wish to hide or show.
  2. Do either of the following:
    • If you no longer want to expose a field through JIRA's user interface, click the Hide link associated with that field.
      (info) You can make this field visible again at any time by clicking the Show link.
    • If you want to show a field (which is currently hidden) through JIRA's user interface, click the Show link associated with that field.
      (info) You can hide this field again at any time by clicking the Hide link.

Making a field required or optional

Certain fields within your organisation may be compulsory for issues. In this case you can set a field to be required, so that JIRA validates that the field has been given a value whenever an issue is edited. If a required field has not been given a value, JIRA will return an error informing the user that the field should be filled, e.g.:

Screenshot: Sample validation of the 'Fix Version/s' field

To make a field required or optional:

  1. Follow the first three steps above (in Modifying field behavior) to access the field configuration whose fields you wish to hide or show.
    (info) When viewing a field configuration (see above), fields which are already required have that indication next to their name.
  2. Do either of the following:
    • To make a field mandatory when used through JIRA's user interface, click the Required link associated with that field.
      (info) The text Required will appear next to the field's name.
    • To make a field optional, click the Optional link associated with that field.
      (info) The Required text next to the field's name will disappear.

(info) Please note:

  • Fields that are hidden cannot be set to required.
  • If you make a field Required, ensure that the field is present on your Create Issue screen(s).
    • Note that you can have different field configurations for different projects and issue types (see Associating field behavior with Issue Types), so you need to ensure that all Required fields are present on the Create Issue screens for all associated projects and issue types (see Associating screens with Projects and Issue Types).
    • Be aware that there is a feature request (JRA-5783) to make a field required for only one transition. If you are interested, please watch that issue for status updates.

Changing a field's renderer

JIRA renderers affect how a JIRA field's content is either displayed to the user (for text fields) or how a user enters field data (for multi-select fields), thereby enabling you to choose a style which best suits your organisation and your users.

JIRA currently ships with the following renderers:

  • For text fields:
    • The Default Text Renderer, which displays plain text; and
    • The Wiki Style Renderer (utilising the Confluence wiki engine), which displays rich text (HTML).
      (info) To see how a 'Wiki Style Renderer' field will look when it is displayed to a user, please see Editing Rich-Text Fields.
  • For multi-select fields:
    • The Autocomplete Renderer, which allows the user to start typing text which is then 'autocompleted', or to select from a dropdown list of options; and
    • The Select List Renderer, which simply provides a dropdown list of options.
      (info) For custom fields of type Multi Select, only the Select List Renderer is available. Furthermore, when modifying a field configuration, you will not be able to configure a Multi Select custom field's renderer.

Before you change the renderer for a specific field, please read Configuring Renderers, paying particular attention to the Implications for JIRA operations section.

To change the renderer for a specific field:

  1. Follow the first three steps above (in Modifying field behavior) to access the field configuration whose field's renderer you wish to change.
    (info) When viewing a field configuration (see above), the Name column indicates which renderers are currently enabled for all renderable fields, with the current renderer shown in brackets immediately below its field name.
  2. Click the Renderers link for the field you want to change. This will take you to a page where you will have the option to select a renderer from all configured and available renderers.
  3. This page will warn you if there are issues that will be affected by the change. If no issues will be affected then the warning does not show. From this page, choose the renderer you wish to use and click Update.

(info) Changing the renderer only affects how a JIRA field's content is displayed or how a user interacts with a multi-select field — it does not affect the issue data that exists in the system. Hence, you can therefore toggle between renderer types safely.

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