Zendesk with VSTS

If you use Zendesk to support your customers, you can create work items in VSTS directly from your Zendesk tickets. Then you can configure VSTS to update the Zendesk ticket when the work item is updated.

Install the VSTS app for Zendesk

  1. Download the .zip file that contains the VSTS for Zendesk app from GitHub.

  2. If you don't have a Zendesk account, get one.

  3. Go to your Zendesk administration page to mange your apps.

    Zendesk administer page, manage button

  4. Upload the VSTS for Zendesk app .zip file

    Upload app button on Zendesk manage apps page

  5. Install and configure the app

    VSTS for Zendesk installation page with the work item tag

    If you use a work item tag, work items you create from Zendesk will have that tag. Later, you can use it to find items that were created from Zendesk.


Each user of the app must provide credentials so that the VSTS app can create and query work items as that user. Creating a personal access token is recommended.

  1. Navigate to the VSTS account you associated with your Zendesk account (from step 5 above)

  2. Open the profile menu and select Security

    Profile menu

  3. Create a personal access token

    Zendesk ticket page, Apps button, login


    • Give the token a recognizable name so you can find it later if you need to revoke it or check its expiration date
    • Scope the token to the account associated with Zendesk
    • Limit to at least Work item (read and write)
  4. Copy the token and paste it into the Password field of the VSTS app in Zendesk

    Profile menu

    • If you are running version 0.5.0 or higher of the app, you do not need to specify a Username. Otherwise, supply any value into the Username field (for example "me").

Create a work item from Zendesk

  1. Go to a ticket in Zendesk and log in to the VSTS for Zendesk app.

    Zendesk ticket page, Apps button, login

  2. Add a work item to VSTS based on this ticket.

    VSTS for Zendesk, new work item

  3. Create the work item.

    Create work item dialog box

  4. Open the work item in VSTS directly from Zendesk.

    Zendesk ticket with work item

    In VSTS, the work item is tagged with the tag you set up , and it's linked back to the ticket in Zendesk.

    Work item in VSTS with tag and link to Zendesk ticket

Configure VSTS to update Zendesk tickets

Close the loop by configuring VSTS to update the Zendesk tickets whenever there's a change in the work items that were created from Zendesk.

  1. Go to the your Zendesk API administration page.

    Zendesk administration, APIs

  2. Enable token access and copy your token.

    Channels/tokens with token access enabled

  3. Go to your VSTS project service hooks page: https://{account_name}.visualstudio.com/{project_name}/_apps/hub/ms.vss-servicehooks-web.manageServiceHooks-project

    Project administration page

    Click Create Subscription.

  4. Start configuring Zendesk.

    Sevice hooks tab, Zendesk selected

  5. Use the Work item is commented on event. You can filter for comments, too. For example, you can only act on comments that contain the string "Zendesk:" and only those comments will be reflected back to Zendesk.

    Configure the event dialog box with the tag set to Zendesk:

  6. Configure the action that Zendesk will take in response to that event. This is where you provide the Zendesk access token.

    Configure action dialog box


The Zendesk documentation states to append the User name with "/token". Do NOT include this on the User name as the integration already accounts for this.

Now when you comment on the work item, a private comment will be added to the Zendesk ticket.


VSTS doesn't charge for the framework for integrating with external services. Check out the specific service's site for pricing related to their services.

Q & A

Q: Why do I keep getting prompted for a user name and password?

A: If you supplied a Personal Access Token (recommended) in the login panel of the app, make sure the token is scoped either to "all accessible accounts" or to the specific VSTS account configured in the app's settings. To open the app settings from Zendesk go to Settings > Apps > Manage.

Also make sure the token has not expired and that it has the Work items (read and write) scope.

For more details, see the Authenticating section above or the Authenticate access with personal access tokens topic.

Q: Can I programmatically create subscriptions?

A: Yes, use the REST APIs.