Atlassian Jira

Customize Issue Types in Jira

Before we begin, I want to explain what issues are in Jira. Issues are pretty much all of the things you need to do during a project to get it to the end and everything that comes up during a project. You may start with a series of Tasks (one default issue type in Jira) and within that, you have some sub-tasks (another default issue type).

There are two types of issues in Jira, a Standard type and a Sub-task type. A Standard type is a top-level issue. A Sub-task type is intended to be underneath of a Standard issue type. It is a task (or issue) within another issue.

The type of project you are working on in Jira will influence the default issues that may be available to you. Jira Software projects (Scrum, Kanban) give you “Bug”, “Epic”, “Story”, “Task”, and “Sub-task.” Business-related projects only provide “Task” and “Sub-task.”

So your company has some special lingo it likes to use, or you want to designate things a certain way. This may cause you to be annoyed by the default Jira Issue names. I worked at one place that insisted that Bugs be called Errors and Tasks had to be called Action Items.

If you have administrative access to your instance of Jira, this is not a problem. Using my personal copy of Jira (You can learn how to acquire and install a cheap personal copy here: Self-Hosting Jira for Small Teams Part 1: Installing Jira), I will guide you through this process. It has been a bit since I used the cloud-based version of Jira, I believe the color scheme and some of the icons are slightly different. The general process is the same.

*You need administrator access to your Jira instance, you cannot make or modify issue types without it.


Access the issues section

You need to click the gear icon on the right-hand side of the page and from the dropdown select “Issues”



From there you may be taken to an administrator login page, it depends on if you are already logged in or not. So either provide your password or move to the next step.


Information on issue types

On the left-hand side of the screen are several options. We are going to focus on the “ISSUE TYPES” group of options.

In that group, we have “Issue types,” “Issue type schemes,” and “Sub-tasks”\


Issue Type Schemes

In this view, you can modify the types available for specific projects. You can change default order, for example, if you want your first choice of issue type options in your project to be “Epic” you can modify that here. You can also create your own schemes if you are handling various projects or picky project managers.




Sub-tasks are intended to be part of a standard issue. In this view you can modify the default sub-task (which is sub-task), create new sub-tasks, or delete a sub-task type. This could be useful if you think of Epics as larger user stories and you want to create a “User Story” sub-task.

To create a new sub-task, click the button on the right-hand side of the screen “Add sub-task issue type.”


Give it a name and a description.


And then it gets added to the sub-task list. If you want to customize the icon, select “Edit” next to the Sub-task you want to change and you will be presented with this view below:


And then use an existing image in the system or upload a new one for the sub-task.



Issue types

Since I showed you how to add sub-tasks, if we navigate to the “Issue types” view, our new sub-task should be present. Sub-tasks can only be used under a standard issue type.

New_Subtask ontasklist

From this view, we can create new issue types or edit existing ones.


We are going to change the issue “Bug” to “Errors,” so find “Bug” in the list and choose “Edit.”


Then on the following view replace the name of the Issue from “Bug” to “Error” (or whatever you want it to be).


Hit the update button and the modified Issue should appear in your Issue list. This will only work for new projects created. It is recommended by me that you only create issues, don’t modify the existing default ones. You can do it, it just might make things a little harder to understand.


All existing projects will still be using “Bug” as the Issue name. In order to replace “Bug” with “Error”, we need to create a new Issue and associate that new issue with the project and then remove “Bug”. To create a new Issue, we would click the “Add Issue Type” button on the right-hand side of the screen.

*I have changed “Bug” back to its original name and the image below is me creating a new Issue that we will call “Error”.

AddNew Error.png

Just hit the “Add” button and the new Issue will show up with a system chosen icon that we can change if we would like (see the process above when we did this for new sub-task creation and follow that).

AddNew Error2

Back to Issue Type Schemes

We created the sub-task “User Story” and the new Issue “Error” and now we want to associate that with one of our projects. In addition, we want “Epic” to be our default Issue for the project. In order to do that we will have to navigate back to the Issue Type Schemes View. IssueTypeGroups

We will find that “User Story” and “Error” are in the Default Issue Type Scheme but it is not in our project. We also want to remove “Story” from our project since we want all User stories associated with an Epic and we want to remove “Bug from our project since all Bugs will no be Error Issues.



On the same line as your project, there should be an edit button. We would click that and get a screen that resembles the below.


To first thing we should do is get rid of “Story” and “Bug” from the “Issue Types for Current Scheme” and then add “Error” and “User Story” to the “Issue Types for Current Scheme”. You can do this by clicking on the items and moving them between the two boxes above.


Since we removed “Story” our Default Issue Type has switched to “None”. We want to change that to “Epic”. This is simple enough, it is just a dropdown and when finished with that click the “Save” button.


If your project has Issues assigned to the values we removed, Jira well let you know and insist that you change them to a valid issue for the project. Jira will guide you through this. It is fairly easy to do.

When completed, your Issue Type Scheme should look like the below image.



Creating a new issue within the project I modified shows “Epic” as the default:


And as a new standard issue, we see “Error” and not “Bug” as an option (“User Story” and “Sub-task” are not standard issues, but sub-task issues. They do not show up on the initial creation of an issue but must be located under a standard issue).



And that is the end of this tutorial. Hopefully, you have learned how to create your own issues (and sub-task issues) and learned to associate those issues to your projects.

2 replies »

  1. excellent issues altogether, you simply won a new reader.
    What might you recommend about your publish that you made some days in the past?
    Any certain?


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