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How to Create an Issue in Jira

Jessica Greene Avatar
Written by Jessica Greene / February 26, 2019
Last Updated April 23, 2019

Planning project work in Jira starts with creating issues. In Jira, "issue" is an all-encompassing term that's used for any work your team needs to complete, including to-dos, stories, bugs, incidents, epics, and improvements.

How to Create an Issue in Jira

There are a lot of different ways to create issues in Jira, but the simplest way is to click the + icon in the left navigation menu.

create an issue in Jira

An overlay window opens that lets you add details to the issue:

  1. Select the project
  2. Choose the issue type
  3. Add a summary
  4. Add optional details: a description, due date, sprint, priority, assignee, etc.
select issue type in Jira

How to Add Issue Types to a Jira Project

When creating a new issue in Jira, you'll have access to one or more issue types depending on the project template you selected when creating your project.

Jira offers six different issue types in total:

  • Task: For general to-do items
  • Story: For Scrum teams that list requirements in user stories
  • Epic: For very large tasks that need to be broken down into smaller tasks or stories
  • Bug: For defects that need to be addressed
  • New Feature: For product features that need to be developed
  • Improvement: For enhancements to existing features

All of the issue types have the same field options. The big difference is that they each have a unique icon you can use as a quick visual indicator for the type of task.

Jira issue type icons

The project template you select when setting up your Jira project dictates what types of issues you see in the Issue Type dropdown. For example:

  • The "Task tracking" template only offers Task issues.
  • The "Scrum" template includes Epic, Story, Task, and Bug issues.
  • The "Bug tracking" template comes with Epic, Improvement, Task, New Feature, and Bug issues.

If you need a type of issue that isn't available in your template, you can add a new issue type:

First, click Project settings.

open project settings in Jira

Then, click Issue types.

add new issue types in Jira

Finally, click Actions, then select Edit issue types.

add new issue types to projects in Jira

On the Modify Issue Type Scheme screen, you can:

  1. Add a custom issue type.
  2. Select your default issue type.
  3. Choose which issue types you want to be available for your project by dragging and dropping issue types into the appropriate columns. Issue types you want to be available should be in the left columns; those you don't need should be in the right column.
add or remove issue types in Jira

Click Save to apply your changes.

How to Make a Hierarchy of Issues

If you want to create an epic and then break it down into smaller issues, start by creating your epic. Create a new issue, and select Epic as the task type.

create an epic in Jira

Next, click the Backlog menu item and select EPICS.

add issues to epics in Jira

Finally, click Create issue in epic.

create issue within epic in Jira

Type in the name of your issue, and press Enter or return. To edit the new issue and add more details, click the newly created issue, or continue typing issue names and pressing the Enter/return key to create several issues at once.

How to Create Subtasks for Issues

You can also break any individual issue down into subtasks by clicking on an issue to open it, then clicking the checkbox icon to add subtasks:

create issue subtasks in Jira

How to Customize Which Fields Display for Issues

Finally, if you want to customize which fields display for your issues:

  1. Click the + icon to open the Create issue overlay.
  2. Click Configure fields.
  3. Click Custom.
  4. Check or uncheck the boxes for the fields you want/don't want to see.
configure issue fields in Jira

Then, click anywhere outside of the box to close it. Your changes apply automatically.

Creating Issues in Jira Automatically

If you're using a form app, messaging app, or spreadsheet to collect reports of issues, you can use the following Zaps (automated workflows on Zapier) to create issues in Jira automatically:

Or browse all of our Jira integrations to connect Jira to 1,000+ apps.


Issues form the groundwork for managing any project or task list in Jira. And since they're used for any type of task your team needs to complete, it really simplifies the terminology you need to use when telling people how to add new tasks and to-dos to the system.

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