Interactively filter backlogs, boards, queries, and plans in Azure Boards

TFS 2017 | TFS 2015

With filter functions, you can interactively apply one or more filters to an Azure Boards tool. Each tool is already filtered to show a subset of work items according to the tool function. For example, Backlogs and Boards display work items based on the selected Area Paths and Iteration Paths for the team. Query Results list work items based on the query clauses you've defined.

You enable the filter feature by choosing Filter.

Screenshot of initial keyword filter function.

From these tools, you may still have a large number of work items listed or displayed. Interactive filtering supports your ability to focus on a subset of them. You can apply one or more filter functions to each of the Azure Boards tools.

Use filters to complete these tasks:

  • In daily scrum meetings, filter the Kanban board to focus on assigned work for a specific sprint.
  • Or, if your team uses the Sprints Taskboard, filter for a team member's completed assigned work.
  • To focus on a group of work items, filter based on the Parent Work Item, by Area Path, or Tags.
  • To triage work items, create a query and filter to focus on similar work grouped by Area Path or Tags.

Supported filter functions

Filter functions are available from all Azure Boards tools: Boards, Backlogs, Sprint Backlogs, Taskboards, and Queries. The set of features supported depends on the tool and Azure DevOps version. (Use the content selector to view the filters available for your version.)

Supported options are indicated with a ✔️ or listed.




Tool

Keywords or ID


Fields

Parent
Work Item


Tags


✔️

  • Assigned To
  • Work Item Type
  • States
  • Area Path

✔️

✔️


Notes

  1. While the Parent Work Item isn't a filter function for Backlogs or Query Results, you can add the Parent field as a column and then do a keyword/phrase search on the Parent title to effectively filter on parent work items. The Parent field is supported for Azure DevOps Server 2020 and later versions. See also the Parent field and Parent Work Item section later in this article.
  2. The Parent Work Item filter is supported for Sprint Backlogs and Taskboards for Azure DevOps Server 2020 and later versions.

Other filter, sort, group, and reorder functions

Along with the standard filter functions summarized in the previous table, the following table indicates which tools have other filters you can apply, sort, group, and reorder functions. Some functions, such as reorder, don't work when the filter function is enabled.


Tool

Filter settings

Sort

Group

Reorder


✔️ (Note 1)

✔️


✔️ (Note 1)
In Progress items
Completed Child items

✔️ (Note 2)

✔️ (Note 3)


✔️ (Note 1)

✔️ (Note 2)

✔️ (Note 3)


✔️ (Note 1)
Person

✔️ (Note 4)

✔️


✔️

✔️ (Note 2)


✔️ (Note 7)


Notes

  1. The Work items page is subject to filters based on the view selected. Boards and backlogs are subject to filters defined for the team as described in Set up your Backlogs and Boards. Completed and In Progress work items are determined based on the state categories assigned to the workflow state as described in How workflow states and state categories are used in Backlogs and Boards.
  2. Grouping is supported through portfolio backlogs and boards, parent-child links, and tree hierarchy. Tree hierarchies are flattened when filtering is applied and reinstated when filtering is cleared.
  3. Backlogs and Sprint Backlogs support reordering. However, when filtering is enabled, reordering isn't supported.
  4. Taskboards provides a Group by function based on People or Stories.
  5. Query Results supports multi-column sort.
  6. Work items appear in the order defined for the team Sprint backlog, which it inherits from the team product backlog.
  7. Semantic search supports sorting search results by the following fields—Assigned To, Changed Date, Created Date, ID, State, Tags, Title, and Work Item Type—and Relevance.

To learn more about these other functions, see the following articles:

Parent Work Item filter and Parent field

The Parent Work Item filter enables you to focus on one or more select features or epics. This filter function was added in July 2016 and made available in Azure DevOps Server 2017 and later versions.

The Parent field was added to Azure Boards in July of 2019 and then made available with the release of Azure DevOps Server 2020. You can add the Parent field to a list through the Column Options dialog, except for the Work items tool. You can also add the Parent field to cards on the Kanban Boards and Taskboards.

Persistence and saving filter options

Once you set the filter options for a specific view, your settings persist until you change them. There's no save button or other action you need to take.

Note

You can't set default filter options, nor set filter options for other members in your team.

Prerequisites

  • All project members can exercise filter functions.
  • All filter functions are set only for the current user until the user clears them.
  • To filter using fields, first add the field as a column or to the card. For example, to filter by Assign To, Iteration Path, or Work Item Type—or the contents of any other field—add those fields to show on the cards, backlog, plan, or list.

To add columns or fields, see the following articles:

Open and clear filter functions

  1. From the Azure Boards tool, choose the view you want. For example:

    • For Backlogs and Boards, choose the backlog level you want, such as Stories, Features, or Epics
    • For sprint Backlogs and Taskboards, choose the iteration
    • For queries, define the query filter criteria of interest.
  2. Choose any other view settings available for your view. For example:

    • For Backlogs, from the View options menu, enable/disable In Progress items
    • For Taskboards, from the Person menu, choose All, Unassigned, or a specific team member.
  3. For list views, add columns to display fields containing text you want to filter on or possibly sort on. For card views, add fields to display on cards containing text you want to filter on.

  4. Open the filter function.

    Choose Filter .

  5. Choose the filters of interest.

    The page refreshes to show only those work items that meet all the selected filter criteria.

Inactive functions

When filtering is applied, the following functions are disabled or altered.

  • For backlogs, the add-a-backlog-item panel, reordering (stack ranking), and forecasting tools are disabled.
  • For backlogs set to Show Parents, the tree hierarchy is flattened.

Clear or dismiss filtering

To clear and dismiss filtering, choose Clear and dismiss filtering .

Filters remain in place until you explicitly clear them. When you refresh your backlog, board, or other tool, or sign in from another browser, filters remain set to your previous values.

Once the board is filtered, you can choose the filter icon to hide the drop downs and view the applied filters on the board. The filter icon turns opaque to signify a filtered board.

Filter logic and Boolean operators

Applying Boolean operators to filters is only supported for tags, as described in Filter based on tags later in this article. All other filters are applied with an implicit AND operator.

Apply keyword and ID filters

The keyword filter function filters lists or cards based on the fields displayed via Column Options or board settings. Also, you can enter a value for an ID, even the ID field is visible. As such, when filtering, consider what fields contain the keyword text or tags you want to filter on and make sure it's displayed.

Filtering is case-insensitive.

Ignore characters by keyword filter criteria

The filter criteria ignores the following characters when the field value starts with the character: {, (, [, !, @, #, $, %, ^, &, *, ~, `, ', ".

Filter a board using a keyword

Here we filter the Kanban board to only show those cards that include 'Web', either in the title, tag, or displayed field. Kanban board, Filter using keyword search, earlier versions.

Filter a backlog by using a keyword

Here we filter the Backlog with Show Parents enabled, to only show work items that include 'web'.

Backlog, Hierarchy, Filter using keyword search.

The filtered set is always a flat list, even if you've selected to show parents.

Filter based on a field

With filtering turned on, choose one or more values from the multi-select drop-down menu for each field available to you. The values for these fields are populated as follows:

  • Area: The Node Name, which specifies the last node of an Area Path, of valid Area Paths and for which there are work items assigned to that Area Path
  • Assigned To: All users who are currently assigned to work items on the board plus Unassigned
  • Iteration: All Iteration Paths selected for the current team and for which there are work items assigned to that iteration
  • Work item type: Work item types defined for the Requirements Category (product backlog) or Features or Epic categories (feature or epic portfolio backlogs), subject to work items being assigned to the work item types
  • Tags: All tags assigned to work items on the board
  • Parent Work Items: All features defined for the team, or all epics defined for the team when viewing the Features board

Note

Filter options are dependent on the work items that meet the filter criteria. For example, if you don't have any work items assigned to Sprint 4, then the Sprint 4 option won't appear in the filter options for the Iteration Path.

Filter a Kanban board by using select field values

You can filter by select field values using the Kanban board for your product backlog (Stories, Product Backlog Items, or Requirements) or a portfolio backlog (Features or Epics).

For example, here we filter for all items assigned to Jamal and Raisa.

Kanban board filter logic

Cards are filtered based on the assignments made in the following order and logic:

  1. Assigned to: Show all cards that are assigned to user 1 OR user 2 AND
  2. Iteration: Show all cards that are assigned to Iteration 1 OR Iteration 2 AND
  3. Work Item type: Show all cards that are work item type 1 OR work item type 2 AND
  4. Tags: Show all cards that have tag 1 AND or OR tags 2, based on your selection of AND | OR. AND
  5. Parent Work Items: Show all cards that have Parent Work Item 1 OR Parent Work Item 2.

Filter a backlog by using fields

Here we show a filtered backlog based on the keyword "issues". Filtered pages show the filtered icon. The filtered set is always a flat list, even if you've selected to show a hierarchical backlog view.

Filtered backlog based on the keyword issues.

Filter based on the Parent Work Item

You can use the Filter by parent feature to filter by select parent work items using the Kanban board for your product backlog (Stories, Product Backlog Items, or Requirements) or a portfolio backlog (Features).

You can use this feature only when you've created features or epics and linked them to user stories or features, respectively. A quick and easy way to create the links is to map them using drag-and-drop. Mapping creates parent-child links between the work items.

Note

The Filter by parent feature doesn't support filtering of parent work items of the same work item type. For example, you can't filter the Stories backlog by specifying user stories that are parents of nested user stories.

To start filtering, choose Filter . Choose one or more values from the multi-select drop-down menu for the Parent Work Item. These values are derived from the Features you've defined.

Here, we choose two features on which to filter the board.

The final board displays just those stories linked as child work items to the selected features.

Filter based on tags

If you've added tags to your work items, you can filter your work using one or more tags. For backlogs and query results, add Tags as a column option before filtering on tags.

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

Screenshot of filtering board based on tags, TFS 2017 and 2018 versions.

To learn more about tags, see Add tags to work items to categorize and filter lists and boards.