Best tool to add, update, and link work items

Azure Boards | Azure DevOps Server 2019 | TFS 2018 | TFS 2017 | TFS 2015 | TFS 2013

Azure Boards provides you several tools—many designed to perform a single task and others that support several tasks. This article provides a guide to the best tool for specific tasks that will help you work most efficiently.

Work item form

If you want to make a single update to one work item, you can do that from within the work item form. When you want to add or update several work items at a time, then you'll want to use a backlog or query.

Work item form controls | Work item field index

Best tool for:

Additional supported tasks:

Work Items

Use the Work Items page to quickly focus on work items of interest to you.

Best tool for:

  • Listing and filtering work items of interest to you, specifically work items that meet the following criteria:
    • That are assigned to you
    • That you chose to follow
    • Where you were mentioned
    • That you've recently viewed or updated
    • That has been recently updated, completed, or created for the project.

Additional supported tasks:


The two types of Kanban boards, product backlog and portfolio backlogs, provide the quickest means for adding user stories and portfolio work item types. You can also quickly add and update the status of child items within a hierarchy. As shown in the following image for the Agile process, when you add tasks to user stories, users stories to features, or features to epics, you automatically create parent-child links between the work items.

Agile process, hierarchy of work items types

Product backlog board | Features or Epics board | Customize cards

Best tool for:

Additional supported tasks:


To understand the differences between backlogs, boards, taskboards, and Delivery plans, see Backlogs, boards, and plans. If your backlog or board doesn't show the work items that you expect or want, see Set up your backlogs and boards.


To understand the differences between backlogs, boards, and taskboards, see Backlogs, and boards. If your backlog or board doesn't show the work items that you expect or want, see Set up your backlogs and boards.


You can quickly add and prioritize your product and portfolio backlogs, which list work items either as a flat or hierarchical list. You can also quickly add and reparent child items within a hierarchy.

Product backlog | Portfolio backlogs

Best tool for:

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Sprint tools provide teams a focused view of work items they've assigned to a specific sprint. You can add tasks to work items and prioritize your sprint backlog.

Sprint backlog | Taskboard | Capacity

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Additional supported tasks:


Queries enable you to filter work items within or across projects for the purposes of listing, updating, or sharing work items.

Best tool for:

Additional supported tasks:

  • Create a chart and add it to a dashboard
  • Create a chart to get a count of items or sum a field
  • Create a chart that shows a burndown or burnup over time


When you want to review the schedule of stories or features your teams plan to deliver, use Delivery Plans. Plans show scheduled work items that are assigned to sprints of selected teams against a calendar view.

Best tool for:

Additional supported tasks:

Office integration tools


Starting with Azure DevOps Server 2019 and Visual Studio 2019, the Team Foundation plug-in for Office is deprecating support for Office Project and Storyboarding with PowerPoint.

Office application Best tool for:
  • Adding or updating many work items and their fields
  • Adding or changing hierarchical links between work items
  • Importing a project plan to a project
  • Adding tasks to Project and publishing them as work items
  • Creating or updating parent-child links or predecessor-successor
  • links
Storyboarding with PowerPoint

Test tools, test artifacts, and bugs

Testing tools used several work item types—such as test plans, test suites, test cases, and more. You create and manage them from Test Plans/Test or using one or more test tools. Several of these tools also support creating bugs.

Test tool Best tool for:
Test Plans

Additional supported tasks:

Test Runner
Test & Feedback extension

Additional supported tasks:


Other tools

Tool Best tool for:
Adhoc search
  • Find a specific work item using its ID or a keyword
  • Find one or more work items across all projects in a fast, flexible manner
  • Perform full text search across all work item fields
  • Review work items assigned to a specific team member
  • Search against specific work item fields to quickly narrow down a list of work items
  • Determine what key words will support a managed search.
Work item templates
  • Capture templates
  • Apply templates to update work items
  • Use templates to create work items
  • Manage work item templates.
Request and capture feedback

Marketplace extensions

A number of additional tools become available when you install one of the Extensions for Azure DevOps, Boards category.

TFS Power Tools

Provides you access to these additional tools through the Team Explorer plug-in for Visual Studio. Additional requirements may apply.

  • Process Template Editor
  • Additional check-in policies for Team Foundation Version Control
  • Team Explorer enhancements including Team Members
  • Team Foundation Power Tool Command Line
  • Test Attachment Cleaner
  • Work Item Templates