Copy or clone work items

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There are two types of copy functions you can use. The first is to duplicate a single work item, referred to as copy or clone. In addition, you can choose to change the project or work item type when copying/cloning a work item.

The second copy function is to copy a multi-selected list of work items to the clipboard, referred to as copy as HTML or copy to clipboard.

Use this topic to learn how to:

  • Copy or clone a work item, essentially making a duplicate of a work item
  • Change the work item type, for example from a bug to a user story
  • Copy a list of work items to email or share with others
  • Copy the URL of a work item

Prerequisites

  • You must be a member of the Contributors group or be granted Stakeholder access to add, modify, or remove work items
  • Or, you must have your View work items in this node, and your Edit work items in this node permissions set to Allow.

To learn more, see Set permissions and access for work tracking.

Copy or clone a work item

Clone a work item when you want to create another instance of it. This action opens a form with all fields filled out. No history or attachments are copied.

Copy a work item when you want to create another instance of it and optionally change its work item type. This action opens a form with all fields filled out except for the Title. A related link to the original work item is created. Also any parent link is copied over. No history or attachments are copied over from the original work item.

  1. From the web portal, open the work item you want to copy or clone, open the … context menu, and click Create copy of work item.

    VSTS, web portal, user story work item form, open context menu, click Create copy of work item

  2. Choose the project and work item type if different from the copied work item. Optionally change the Title and provide additional details. To link the copied work item as a Related link type and maintain all other links (related links and external links) included in the copied work item, check the Include existing links checkbox.

    VSTS, web portal, user story work item form, open context menu, click Copy work item

  1. From the web portal, open the work item you want to copy or clone, open the … context menu, and click Create copy of work item.

    TFS 2017, web portal, user story work item form, open context menu, click Create copy of work item

  2. Choose the project and work item type if different from the copied work item. Optionally change the Title and provide additional details. To link the copied work item as a Related link type and maintain all other links (related links and external links) included in the copied work item, check the Include existing links checkbox.

    TFS 2017, web portal, user story work item form, open context menu, click Copy work item

  1. From the web portal, open the work item you want to copy or clone, and click the copy/clone icon. The copied work item is automatically linked to the original work item through a Related link type.

    TFS 2015, web portal, user story work item form, click copy-clone icon

  2. Choose the project (if copying to another project) and work item type if different from the copied work item. Optionally change the Title and provide additional details. The copied work item is automatically linked to the original work item through a Related link type.

  1. From the web portal, open the work item you want to copy or clone, and click the copy/clone icon. The copied work item is automatically linked to the original work item through a Related link type.

    TFS 2013, web portal, user story work item form, click copy-clone icon

  2. Choose the project (if copying to another project) and work item type if different from the copied work item. Optionally change the Title and provide additional details. The copied work item is automatically linked to the original work item through a Related link type.

Change the work item type

If you have a large number of work items whose type you want to change, use Change work item type. If Change work item type isn't available to you, you can export a set of work items using Excel, copy them to a new Excel list, and re-import them by specifying a different work item type. See Bulk add or modify work items with Excel.

Copy a list of work items

With this option, you can copy an HTML formatted table of selected items from either a backlog page or query results list. You can then email this list using your choice of email client, or paste into a Word document, Excel spreadsheet, or other application.

Note

The data copied with Copy as HTML is the same as that copied when you select Email selected work items. If you don't have an SMTP server configured, you can work around this by using Copy as HTML. For on-premises TFS, all email actions require an SMTP server to be configured.

  1. From the web portal, open a backlog or query results page, and multi-select the work items you want to copy to the clipboard.

  2. Open the … context menu of one of the selected work items, and then choose Copy to clipboard or Copy as HTML.

    Here we multi-select from the product backlog and choose Copy to clipboard.

    VSTS, backlog page, multi-select items, open context menu, Copy to clipboard

  1. From the web portal, open a backlog or query results page, and multi-select the work items you want to copy to the clipboard.

  2. Open the … context menu of one of the selected work items, and then choose Copy as HTML.

    Here we multi-select from the backlog page.

    TFS 2017, Backlog page, multi-select items, open context menu, click Copy as HTML menu option

  1. From the web portal, open a backlog or query results page, and multi-select the work items you want to copy to the clipboard.

  2. Open the context icon context menu of one of the selected work items, and then choose Copy as HTML.

    Here we multi-select from the backlog page.

    TFS 2015, Backlog page, multi-select items, open context menu, click Copy as HTML menu option

Paste the contents into your email client

Paste the contents of the clipboard into your email client or other application. To open a linked work item, requires users to have read access to the project or area node for those work items.

The formatted table contains a link to each work item included in your selected results list. A link to a query that will open only those work items selected is also provided.

 Copy as HTML paste results

Copy the URL

Copy the URL from the web browser address or hover over the title and then click the Copy to clipboard icon copy-to-clipboard icon.

Copy hyperlink for a work item from web portal

Right click the link ID to open the browser copy link option.

Copy hyperlink for a work item from web portal