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Create an issue and a subtask

The building blocks of any project are issues. Issues act as the packets of work that travel through their respective workflows within their projects until the work is completed.

An issue can have subtasks that can be assigned and tracked individually. You can also control issue-level security to restrict an issue to select members of your team. 

On this page, you'll learn more about creating and converting issues and subtasks, and setting issue-level security. You can also import multiple issues and subtasks via the CSV import. Learn how to import multiple issues from a CSV file.

For those just getting started, head over to our admin docs to learn how to configure issue types

You need the Create Issue project permission for the issue's relevant project.

Create an issue

To create an issue anywhere in Jira:

  1. Select Create ().

  2. Type a Summary for the issue.

  3. Complete all required fields and any other fields that you want.

    1. Optional: To change which fields appear when you create another issue, select Configure Fields and select and deselect the fields you want. When you next create an issue, the selected fields will be displayed.

    2. Optional: To create other issues with the same Project and Issue Type, select the Create another checkbox. Depending on your configuration and issue creation history, some fields may be pre-populated. Review these before creating the new issue.

  4. When you're finished, select Create

If you create an issue on a board that’s using a JQL filter, the issue will inherit fields such as custom values and labels.

Your newly created issue will appear at the top of your backlog, unless;

  • you've selected an issue in the backlog — your issue will be created right below the selected issue

  • you have specified a sprint when creating the issue — your issue will be created at the bottom of the sprint.

You can quickly create issues using the inline issue create in the Backlog (for Scrum boards, backlog, and future sprints only). Just select + Create issue

If your board's filter specifies more than one project, you'll still need to complete the full Create issue dialog.

When you use the inline issue create to create issues, your issues won’t be restricted to certain roles in the project. These issues can be accessed by anyone who can see your project. To restrict issues, you can create them using the global navigation bar.

You can also create an issue that automatically belongs to a particular epic. If you're using epics, select Configure Fields and add the Epic Link field to the screen. Then, you can add issues to epics as you create them. Learn more about working with epics.

You can perform this action with your keyboard via Jira’s command palette. Use command + K (for Mac) or Ctrl + K (for Windows) to open the command palette while you’re in Jira. Learn more about Jira’s command palette

Create multiple issues at once with existing content

NOTE: This feature is currently only available in team-managed projects.

If you already have an external list of work that needs to be done, you can copy and paste the content directly into Jira to auto-create multiple issues at once. Each new line of text will become a separate issue.

To create multiple issues using existing content:

  1. Go to your external list of tasks. Put each new task on a separate line (max. 255 characters per task).

  2. Copy the list to your clipboard (max. 20 tasks at a time).

  3. Navigate to the Board or Backlog of your Kanban software development project, or the Backlog of your Scrum software development project.

  4. Select + Create issue at the bottom of the backlog, at the bottom of a sprint (Scrum), or at the bottom of a column on the board (Kanban).

  5. Paste. A message will appear: ‘Want a hand with that?’ Choose to create multiple issues (or a single issue).

Clone an issue

Clone an issue to quickly create a duplicate of it in the same project. The cloned issue contains most of the same details stored in the original issue, like the summary, affected versions, and components. Some details aren't cloned, like time logged, comments, history, and links to Confluence pages. The issue status also returns to the first step of the corresponding workflow, and the resolutions are cleared. The cloned issue can be linked to the original issue, but doesn't have to be.

To clone an issue:

  1. Open the issue

  2. Select more actions (•••) > Clone

  3. Optionally edit the cloned issue's Summary

  4. If applicable to the issue you're cloning, you can also select from these options:

    • Clone subtasks to copy existing subtasks

    • Clone attachments to add any existing attachments

    • Clone links to add any existing linked issues

    • Clone sprint values to copy across the issue's current and closed sprint values

  5. Select Create

Split an issue

Splitting an issue is useful when an issue is so big, that it's better to divide it into two or more issues and make work more manageable. Note that you can only split an issue from the Scrum backlog and the Kanban backlog (if enabled), and not from Active sprints or the Kanban board.

  1. Navigate to the Backlog of your Scrum or Kanban software development project.

  2. Right-click an issue and select Split issue

You'll also find the option to split an issue in the sprint or Selected for Development section of your BacklogLearn more about your Kanban backlog.

What happens when I split an issue?

In a Scrum backlog

  • If you split an issue in the backlog, the new issue will be sent to the Backlog section.

  • If you split an issue in an active sprint, you can choose to send the new issue to either the backlog or a future or active sprint.

In a Kanban backlog

After splitting an issue, the new issue will be sent to the  Backlog section. This depends on the column configuration of your Kanban board, but this is essentially the section for the column that's mapped to the initial status of your workflow.

Learn more about setting up your Kanban board

What happens to the issue details?

  • The new issue will be of the same type as the original issue. For example, if you split a story into two or more issues, the new issues will also be stories.

  • The new issue will have most of the same details stored in the original issue, including priority, component, label, etc.

  • The issue details that won't be copied over include work log, comments, issue history, issue links, custom fields, etc — though the original issue will be linked to the new issue.

  • The new issue will have the summary that you entered upon splitting the issue.

  • If the original issue has estimates, you'll be able to enter estimates for the new issues as well. You can also update the estimate of the original issue as necessary.

  • The issue status also returns to the first step of the corresponding workflow, and the resolutions are cleared.

Create a subtask

A subtask can be created for an issue to either split the issue into smaller chunks or to allow various aspects of an issue to be assigned to different people. If you find a subtask is holding up the resolution of an issue, you can convert the subtask to an issue, to allow it to be worked on independently. If you find an issue is really just a subtask of a bigger issue, you can also convert an issue to a subtask.

You can only create subtasks if your administrator has enabled subtasks, and has added the subtask issue type to the project's issue type scheme.

To create a child issue:

  1. Open the issue you'd like to be the parent issue

  2. Select the icon beneath the issue summary

  3. Add an issue summary and select Create

Note that when you create a subtask, the following values are inherited from the parent task:

  • project

  • issue security level

  • sprint value (if any)

You can customize the Create subtask screen to show the fields you use most often. To do this, select 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.

You can perform this action with your keyboard via Jira’s command palette. Use command + K (for Mac) or Ctrl + K (for Windows) to open the command palette while you’re in Jira. Learn more about Jira’s command palette

Work with issue types

Change the issue type

After you create an issue, you may want to change its type to better represent the work that needs to be done. For example, you may want to turn an issue that was raised as a task into a bug.

  1. Open the issue you're working with

  2. Click the issue type icon in the top-left corner next to the issue key

  3. Choose the new issue type

If there are different fields in the new issue type, or if it has a different workflow, we'll open the move issue screen to complete the change.

Convert a subtask to an issue

  1. Navigate to the subtask issue you would like to convert.

  2. Select more (•••) > Convert to Issue.

  3. In Step 1. Select Issue Type screen, select a new issue type (i.e. a standard issue type) and select Next.

  4. If the subtask's current status is not an allowed status for the new issue type, Step 2. Select New Status screen is displayed. Select a new status and select Next.

  5. In 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'. Select Next.

  6. The Step 4. Confirmation screen is displayed. If you are satisfied with the new details for the issue, select Finish.

  7. The issue will be displayed. You will see that it is no longer a subtask, that is, there is no longer a parent issue number displayed at the top of the screen.

Convert an issue to a subtask

  1. Open the issue and select on the issue type icon at the top-left of the issue

  2. Select Subtask from the list of available issue types

  3. Select the parent issue for the new subtask

You can't convert an issue to a subtask if the issue has subtasks of its own. You first need to convert the issue's subtasks to standalone issues, then you can convert them to subtasks of another issue if you need to. Subtasks can't be moved directly from one issue to another—you need to convert them to standard issues, then to subtasks of their new parent issue.

Restrict access to an issue

While we recommend working openly, there are times where you may want to restrict who can view a particular piece of work. For example, you may want to restrict who can view tasks related to sensitive financial information, hiring or other personal employment information, or security-related software engineering work.

You can restrict who can view an issue in both company-managed and team-managed projects, but the procedure is different in each.

You can't edit project permissions or roles on the Free plan in Jira, and you can't configure issue-level security on any Free plan (including Jira Service Management). Find out more about how project permissions work in Free plans. To take advantage of Jira's powerful project permission management features, upgrade your plan.

Restrict access to an issue in a company-managed project

In company-managed projects, you can restrict access by setting the issue’s security level.

To set the issue security level on issues in company-managed projects:

  1. Choose the lock icon at the top-right of the issue. This icon only appears if the project has a security scheme configured.

  2. Select the desired security level.

You can also remove an issue's security level by selecting the lock icon and selecting Remove security level.

Jira admins can add, edit, or remove security levels (and their membership) through issue security schemes. Learn more about issue security schemes.

Restrict access to an issue in a team-managed software project

In team-managed projects software projects, you can restrict access to specific roles in your project.

To restrict access, you must have a role with the Restrict any issue permission in the project. Learn more about roles and permissions in team-managed projects.

To restrict access when creating an issue:

  1. Select + Create from the navigation bar.

  2. Complete any required fields for the issue.

  3. Select the Restrict to field in the issue’s list of fields.

  4. Select the roles you want to allow to see the issue from the dropdown.

  5. Select Create.

To restrict an issue to certain roles, you’ll have to create the issue using the above steps. If you create an issue using any other method, the issue won’t be restricted.

If you create a sub-task of an issue that has issue restrictions, then the sub-task will inherit the restrictions from the parent issue. You won’t be able to change the issue restrictions of the sub-task individually. To set issue restrictions to sub-tasks, you will have to update the restrictions for the parent issue.

To restrict access after an issue’s created:

  1. Choose the lock icon at the top-right of the issue.

  2. Select the roles you want to allow to see the issue from the dropdown.

  3. Select Restrict.

You can also remove roles by selecting the X next to the role’s name in the menu.

Team-managed project admins can add, edit, or remove roles and their membership in the Access page. Go to Project settings > Access. Learn more about roles and permissions in team-managed projects.

While bulk moving issues from a company-managed project to a team-managed project, your issues will get moved without any restrictions and these become open.

Deleting a custom role that has associated issue restrictions will make the issues unaccessible to the role. For instance, if there is a custom role Developer, and the issues are only restricted to this role, then the issues become unaccessible when the role is deleted. If the issues are restricted to a set of roles which includes Developer, then the issues can be accessed by other roles when Developer role is deleted.

Delete an issue

To delete an issue, you must have the Delete issues permission in the project where the issue was created. Learn more about project permissions

To delete an issue:

  1. Navigate to the issue and view its details.

  2. Select ... Delete.

You can perform this action with your keyboard via Jira’s command palette. Use command + K (for Mac) or Ctrl + K (for Windows) to open the command palette while you’re in Jira. Learn more about Jira’s command palette

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