Originally published Oct 4, 2018, updated November 9, 2020
Issue creation is one of the basic actions you can make in Jira. People usually spend a big chunk of their working time in this software, especially if they have to recreate the same Epic over and over again. Here’s the detailed guide on how to avoid repeating this task with Issue Templates for Jira Cloud and Server – the solution for automating issue creation.
What is an Epic in Jira
An Epic is an issue type which accumulates stories or tasks on the same subject. This is a way to divide your larger piece of work into smaller ones. It also makes easier for the particular tasks’ assignees to see the wider context of their tickets. Let’s take the New product strategy as Jira epic example. You can add to it stories, like Product positioning strategy, Pricing strategy or Creating an ideal customer profile, with sub-tasks inside. Such structures are possible to build both in Jira Cloud and Server.
The view of an Epic in Jira Cloud with the stories assigned to it
An Epic issue template in Jira Cloud
Probably there are bigger activities that you and your team perform on a regular basis, like preparing marketing campaigns, planning business trips, or arranging onboarding for new employees. To speed up your work, you can prepare an Epic issue template and create tasks (components of that larger action) under it. But before doing it, you need to configure your templates project.
In the Configuration section of Apps → Issue Templates for Jira, choose a project where you will store all your templates or create it right from this screen, if you haven’t done it beforehand. Bear in mind that when you change the repository project here, the configurations will be cleared, but the issues themselves will remain inside the project. It means that recreating the issues which you’d like to restore won’t be necessary. However, you’ll have to provide the specific parameters (like name and scope) once again for every template to have them clearly visible on the list while creating an issue.
For your template repository, you can choose either Business, Software or Service Desk project type. Keep in mind that they have different predefined issue types. If you’d like to create Epics and Stories, you’d need to add them manually to a non-software project. Also, note that Issue Templates for Jira Cloud hasn’t worked for the next-gen projects yet. We recommend you to work with a classic Jira project, Software type.
If you don’t see the Epic issue type when creating a template, you have to add it to the project in the Issue types section of the Project settings
However, if you’ve already chosen a non-software project type, you need to add the Epic Name field to your Create Issue screen, otherwise you won’t be able to create an Epic in this project. You can do it in the Screens section of the Project settings. You should also add the Epic Link field to the same screen to have your stories properly linked to your Epic. If not, the stories won’t be linked because Jira mechanism can fill with values only the fields which are visible on the screen.
Basically, templates look just like regular issues. The only difference is that the first ones have the Template configuration section. Let’s see how to use it and prepare the right issue template. To create a template:
- Go to your templates repository project and click a plus icon.
- When the Create Issue screen appears, select Epic as the issue type (which is the only way to make an Epic template), provide Epic Name, Summary, Description and fill the rest of the needed fields.
- Once your template is created, open it and adjust the Template configuration settings. In the General section, you can edit your template name, select the Scope, and switch the Copy Subtasks toggle to on.
A Scope is a set of fields that defines which values will be copied from your template to the target issue. The default Scope consists of a summary and a description only, but custom Scopes can also store values from non-text fields, like Assignee or Priority. As its name states, the Copy Subtasks toggle allows copying the added sub-tasks altogether to the target issue. The sub-tasks fields’ values will be autocompleted.
If you need more complex structure for your repetitive tasks, you can use our Create issues from linked templates feature. Thanks to it, your linked templates will turn into issues in your target project.
How to create an Epic issue template in Jira Server
Issue Templates for Jira Server looks and works a little bit different than the Cloud version of the app. Before creating an Epic issue template, you need to configure a few settings.
- Go to Jira Administration → Issues → Fields → Custom Fields, find the Template custom field and add it to the screens of the projects you want to create issues from your templates in.
- Add Epic issue type to the Templates project and make sure that you also have it in the target projects. To do so, head to Jira Administration → Issues → Issue types → Issue type schemes. If the Epic issue type isn’t visible on the list for the right project, click Edit and add it to the scheme.
- Come back to Custom Fields section in Jira Administration and make sure that the Epic Name and Epic Link fields are added to all needed screens (both of Templates and your target projects).
- Go to Workflows in your target project’s settings, click the pencil icon under the Actions section. Once the desired workflow appears, click Diagram, hover over Create transition and press Post Function on the right panel. Then click Add post function and select Create Structure post function from the list and click Add.
- Make sure that your post function is added at the right position and click Publish.
Now, the Create Structure Post Function combines all the possibilities of older post functions: Create issue, Copy Sub-tasks, Copy from Epic and Copy Values. Create Structure allows adding additional values from a template to the issue. You can create new tasks or construct a complex structure of issues based on a template.
How to apply the template to a newly created issue?
- Go to Project Settings > Workflows.
- Select the workflow and go to Diagram > Edit.
- Click on the transition of your choice (in most cases: Create) and go to Post Functions.
- Click Add Post Function and select Deviniti [Issue Templates] – Create Structure.
- Remember to Publish the changes.
- Go to Project Settings > Screens and select your project’s Default Issue Screen.
- Add the Template field. You can also check, validate, and automatically add the Template field with correctness of the configuration of a given Project by going to Check & Configure project.
- Create a new issue.
- Select an Issue Type.
- Select the Template from the drop-down list.
- Fill in other fields and click Create.
Note that your templates have to be of the Epic issue type to make this work. To create such a template, click the Create button, choose Templates as your target project and Epic as your issue type, provide a summary, the Epic Name, description, and the rest of the needed fields and click Create. Now open the freshly created issue and add stories or tasks. You can also create sub-tasks inside of them which will be later copied to the target issue, thanks to Create Structure post function. As the last step, you need to configure the sub-task that will be used in the post function. First, create a template in project TEMP with an EPIC type and add stories to it. You can also add a sub-task and link to other Template issues to be created at the moment. Next, configure which fields are to be copied on each template on the Fields tab. Add the Create Issue post function. On the Create screen in the sub project, choose Template to create a template. Finally, click Create to confirm the operation.
You can also turn a preset template into an Epic template. There are three different categories of ready-to-use templates available in Jira Administration → Manage apps → Issue Templates → Get Started. Once you choose the set that you need, the templates will appear in your repository project. Then open a template you’d like to use and change an issue type from Template to Epic with the Move option. After that, you can add stories or sub-tasks to your Epic template.
Create issues from templates
You don’t have to spend time on creating the same Epics with Stories and sub-tasks again and again. You create needed templates only once, adjust their settings and you’re able to create target issues in less than 10 seconds, both in Jira Cloud and Server.
If you’d like to learn more about Issue Templates for Jira Cloud or Server, take a free 30-day trial from the Atlassian Marketplace. You can also book a live demo via Calendly or watch the tutorial about Issue Templates for Jira Cloud or for Jira Server to see the app in action. Additionally, you can read more about the app:
- How to create structures of linked Jira issues from templates
- How Jira user story template enhances teams’ agility
- How we automated a workflow with Jira sub-task templates
Dimitry Hryb is a Marketing Manager at Deviniti. For the last couple of years, he has been on the mission to help people make the best use of Jira Software and Jira Service Desk at work by creating guides and tutorials for Atlassian users all around the globe. Dima is an acclaimed contributor to the Ecosystem who received Atlassian Community Content Awards three times in 2018. He spends the rest of his time winning pool tournaments, producing music, biking around and playing with his cat.