Add work item tags to categorize and filter lists and boards

Azure Boards | TFS 2018 | TFS 2017 | TFS 2015 | TFS 2013

Tagging work items helps you quickly filter the product backlog or a work item query by categories that you define. A tag corresponds to a one or two keyword phrase that you define and that
supports your needs to filter a backlog or query, or define a query.

You can add and modify tags from the web portal, from Team Explorer plug-in for Visual Studio. Also, you can open a query in Excel to perform bulk modifications of tags.

Add tags to a work item

Tags should be 400 characters or less and not contain separators such as a , (comma), ; (semicolon), or other formatting character.

From the web portal, open a work item and add a tag. Choose Add tag and type your keyword. Or, select from the list of previously assigned tags.

Add one or more tags to a work item

From the web portal, open a work item and add a tag. Choose Add and type your keyword. Or, select from the list of previously assigned tags.

Add one or more tags to a work item

To add several tags at one time, type a comma between tags. Tags are case sensitive.

Tags that appear in the tag bar are already assigned to the work item. To unassign a tag, simply choose the x on the tag,Delete a tag assigned to a work item.

Note

By default, all Contributors and Stakeholders of public projects are granted permissions to add new and existing tags. Stakeholders in private projects can add tags that are already defined, but not add new tags. To grant or restrict permissions to create new tags, you set the permission Create tag definition at the project-level. To learn more, see Add administrators, set permissions at the project-level or project collection-level.

Bulk add or remove tags

You can bulk update work items to add or remove tags from the web portal. You bulk modify tags in the same way as you bulk modify other fields using the web portal. Or, you can use Excel to bulk add or remove tags.

Bulk add to several work items

Note

Bulk modify of tags from the Visual Studio client isn't supported.

Query for work items based on tags

To query work items based on tags, add a clause for each tag you want to use to support your query.

Note

Adding tags to a query is supported from TFS 2013.2 and later versions.

For example, here we query for all work items that are tagged either Web or Service.

Bulk add to several work items

Tip

You can use the Contains or Does Not Contain operators. To learn more about queries, see Create managed queries.

Show tags in your backlog or query results

Click Column Options to add the Tags field to the product backlog or a work item query. If the option doesn't appear, click the actions icon to select it from the menu of options.

Add Tags to the selected columns to display

All tags that have been added to the listed work items appear.

View with Tags column added

  1. Click Column Options to add the Tags field to the product backlog or a work item query. If the option doesn't appear, click the actions icon actions icon to select it from the menu of options.

    Add Tags to the selected columns to display

  2. All tags that are assigned to the listed work items appear.

    View with Tags column added

Filter lists using tags

From the web portal, you can filter backlogs, boards, and query results using tags.

Begin by clicking the actions icon filter icon.

Check the boxes of those tags that you want to filter on. Keep the OR selection to perform a logical OR for all the tags you selected. Or, click the AND option to perform a logical AND on all the selected tags.

View with Tags column added

  1. Turn on filtering and choose a tag.

    Choose a tag to filter the list by that tag

    The list refreshes. Only those work items with the selected tag are displayed. Filtering the list disables add-a-backlog-item panel, stack ranking, and forecasting.

    Filtered list disables other features

  2. To apply a sub-filter, choose another tag. You filter successively by choosing from the set of tags that appear in the filter tag bar. To start your filter process over, choose All to show all tags.

  3. To show all items, choose All or choose the Tag filter image on backlog and queries pages filter icon to turn filtering off.

Delete, remove, or manage tags

You can't delete a tag itself. However, if you delete a tag from all work items to which it's currently assigned, the system will delete the tag. The system automatically deletes unassigned tags after 3 days of disuse.

If you misspell a tag, don't assign the misspelled tag to any work item and the system will automatically delete it within 3 days.

Another option is to install the Marketplace Tags Manager which adds a Tags page under Boards or Work to manage tags.

Tags are a shared resource, they're associated with a project and not a team. If your project contains multiple teams, all teams will add to and work from the same set of tags.

Limits on number of tags

While no hard limit exists, creating more than 100K tags for a project collection can negatively impact performance. Also, the auto-complete dropdown menu for the tag control displays a maximum of 200 tags. When more than 200 tags are defined, begin typing to cause the tag control to display relevant tags.

You can't assign more than 100 tags to a work item or you'll receive the following message:

TF401243: Failed to save work item because too many new tags were added to the work item.

Simply save the work item with the tags (100 or less) that you've added, and then you can add more tags.

Limit queries to fewer than 25 tags. More than that and the query will likely time out.

Add tags to the default column view on the product backlog

To add the Tags field as a column field for the product backlog, you modify the ProcessConfiguration file to include System.Tags. To learn how, see the Process configuration XML element reference.