Working with issues

Need help working with issues? In Jira Software, issues help you manage code, estimate workload, and keep track of your team. On this page, you'll find a quick overview for everything that you can do with an issue.

Boards can display up to 5000 issues at a time. If your board is trying to display more than 5000 issues at once, you'll receive an error message, and be prompted to update your filters.

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.

Issues are the building blocks of any Jira project. An issue could represent a story, a bug, a task, or another issue type in your project.

Here's an issue in a Scrum backlog:

  1. Selected issue: Select an issue to view its details.
  2. Backlog: Estimate issues and plan your sprints.
  3. Issue actions: Move an issue, clone it, log time spent working on it, and perform other actions.
  4. Issue details: See the assignee and description, make comments, and add content to the issue.


tip/resting Created with Sketch.

We're rolling out a new issue view, with a consistent appearance across Jira and one screen to view and edit. It looks a little different and some procedures have changed slightly, so take a look at our info page to see what's new and get the latest updates. To turn the new issue view on or off in Jira Software projects for now, head to Your profile and settings () > Personal settings and toggle the switch for the New Jira issue view.

Here's an issue in the full-page view:

Note the following details:

  • The issue detail view may show different fields to the full view, if it has been customized by your administrator.
  • To see the full view, open the issue in a new tab/window by clicking the issue key.

Most information on an issue is self-explanatory. Here are a couple of things to be aware of though:

Why can't I see the development panel?

This panel only shows if Jira is connected to your development tools. You will be able to see related commits, builds, etc, to help you evaluate the development status of your issue. See Viewing the development information for an issue.

Why can't I see the Time Tracking panel?

This panel will be shown on the issue, if your administrator has set Time Tracking to 'Remaining Estimate and Time Spent'. If an issue has sub-tasks, the Remaining estimate for the issue plus sub-tasks is rolled up into the parent issue.

What activity is shown in the History and Activity tabs?

The History tab of an issue records the following information: creator of the issue (this may be the same as the reporter, but can be distinct), changes to an issue field, attachment of a file, deletion of a comment, deletion of a worklog, creation or deletion of an issue link.

The Activity tab has the same information, plus additional information, such as comments. However, this may load more slowly, especially if there has been a lot of activity on the issue.

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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