Working with issues

Need help working with issues? Jira Core lets you create issues quickly, assign them to the right person, and get working on them right away. On this page, you'll find a quick overview of everything you can do with an issue, as well as links to pages with more detail.  

What is an issue?

Different organizations use Jira to track different kinds of issues, which can represent anything from a software bug, to a project task, or a leave request form.

In Jira Core, an issue is essentially a packet of work. It could be a small task, like "Remember to order pizza for charity night", or a large chunk of hard work like "Build bridging wall between house and garage." It depends on your project, and how you and your team decide to break down your work into issues.

An issue is broken down into several key areas. Here's an example of an issue to send out an invoice. You can see all the critical information, like the assignee, due date and description, all in one place.


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We've released a new issue view for Jira Core boards, and we've started to roll it out for the full-page issue view and project issue navigator. The issue detail view will look a little different, some procedures will change slightly, and we have a new editor with markdown support. Take a look at our info page to see what's changed and get the latest updates.

What are project and issue keys?

Issue keys are unique identifiers for every piece of work you track with Jira. They are easily recognizable and quick to remember.

An issue's key holds very little significance on its own. But, when used by your team, these little snippets represent work to be done, work that's in progress, and work that's been completed.

You'll see issue keys:

  • On issues themselves, as a label
  • In search results and saved filters
  • On cards on your boards or in a project's backlog
  • In links connecting pieces of work
  • In the issue's URL
  • Anywhere you need to reference the work you're tracking

Issue keys are made up of two parts:

  1. The project key (SMART in the screenshot above)
  2. A sequential number

Project keys

Project keys are a series of letters that describe to people across your Jira site what pieces of work are related to your project.

Project keys are the most memorable and recognizable piece of an issue's identifier. For example, our team is codenamed Donut World. We use the project key DONUT to help people across Atlassian know and recognize work that relates to our team.

Project admins can create and assign their project's key when they create a new project. Based on the project's name, Jira suggests a recognizable key. Project admins can customize this while creating a project, by selecting Advanced options. And, they can update it at anytime in their project's settings. Read more about editing a project's details.

Issue keys

Project keys combine with a unique number to create an issue key. This complete key uniquely identifies the work being tracked on any issue.

Issue keys are created when someone creates an issue inside a particular project. Jira keeps count of the unique pieces of work you create in your projects. Issue keys can't be edited or customized.

Each key is sequentially numbered as you create issues. For example, I'm writing this document as part of our task DONUT-2727.

Issue keys take on a life of their own after you settle into working with Jira. You'll recognize the good times and bad through the keys you use to track your work.

Last modified on Jul 24, 2018

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