Configuring swimlanes

A swimlane is a horizontal categorization of issues in the Active sprints of a Scrum board, or on a Kanban board. You could use swimlanes to help you distinguish tasks from different workstreams, users, application areas, etc.

Before you begin

You must be a Jira administrator or a board administrator for the board to configure its swimlanes.

On this page:

Choosing a different type of swimlane

You can choose to set up your swimlanes in a variety of ways, as shown in the following table.

Base your swimlanes on...Explanation

One JQL query per swimlane (see below for examples). By default, two swimlanes will be created:

  • Expedite — this swimlane is based on the following JQL query: priority = Blocker 
  • Everything Else — this swimlane is always at the bottom of the screen, and cannot be deleted. It acts as a "catch-all" for issues that do not match the JQL of any of the swimlanes above it, hence it has no JQL specified.

You may want to create additional swimlanes that map to other values of your Jira 'Priority' field, or use a different field to categorize your swimlanes.

StoriesOne parent issue per swimlane (i.e. each swimlane contains all of the parent's sub-tasks), with issues that have no sub-tasks appearing below.
AssigneesOne assignee per swimlane, with unassigned issues appearing either above or below the swimlanes (your choice).


One epic per swimlane, with issues that don't belong any to epics appearing below the swimlanes.

If you want to change the order of the swimlanes on your board, navigate to the Backlog of the board and drag and drop the epics as desired.

No Swimlanes

No horizontal categorization of issues in the Active sprints of a Scrum board, or on a Kanban board.

To choose a different type of swimlane:

  1. Go to the desired board and select Board > Configure.
  2. Click the Swimlanes tab.
  3. In the Base Swimlanes on drop-down, select either QueriesStoriesAssignees, or No Swimlanes, as described above.

Screenshot: the 'Board Configuration' screen — 'Swimlanes' tab

Modifying your Query-based swimlanes

If your swimlanes are based on JQL queries (rather than on stories or assignees), you can create, delete, or change them:

  1. Go to the desired board and select Board > Configure.
  2. Click the Swimlanes tab.

  3. If your swimlanes are based on Queries, you can edit your swimlanes, as described below and the screenshot above.

    Add a new swimlane
    In the blue area, type the Name, JQL, and optional Description, then click the Add button. Your new swimlane is added in the top swimlane position.

    Change the name of a swimlane
    Click in the Name area of the swimlane, modify the existing name, and click the Update button.

    Change the JQL of a swimlane
    Click in the JQL area of the swimlane, modify the existing JQL, and click the Update button. 


    See the examples below for some suggestions. For information on JQL syntax, see JQL (Jira Admin documentation).


    Note, the JQL 'ORDER BY' clause is not used by the swimlane, as it defaults to order by rank.

    Delete a swimlane
    Click the Delete button at the right of the swimlane.

    Move a swimlane
    Hover over the vertical 'grid'  icon, then drag and drop the swimlane up or down to its new position.

Some example JQL queries for your swimlanes:

  • Show all issues that belong to a particular component, e.g. 'User Interface':

    project = "Angry Nerds" AND component = "User Interface"
  • Show all issues that are due in the next 24 hours:

    due <= "24h"
  • Show all issues that have a particular priority, e.g.:

    priority = "Minor"


    priority = "Major"

Next steps

Need help? If you can't find the answer you're looking for in our documentation, we have other resources available to help you. Check out Getting help

Last modified on May 11, 2018

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