Add task checklists

VSTS | TFS 2018 | TFS 2017 | TFS 2015.1

Many teams find Kanban ideal for tracking work as it supports visualizing the flow of work in progress. And, you can quickly add new items and update status. If you're new to working with the Kanban board, see Kanban basics.

With task checklists, you continue to enjoy lightweight tracking, while gaining visibility into which tasks are still to be completed and those that are done. Task checklists provide a quick and easy way to track elements of work which are important to support completing a backlog item. Here we see several tasks for work in progress, both yet to do and those completed.


Task checklists on the Kanban board are supported from TFS 2015.1 and later versions.

In this topic, you'll learn:

  • How to add a task or set of tasks to a backlog item from your Kanban board
  • How to mark a task as done
  • How to expand or collapse the task checklist
  • How to reorder and reparent tasks or reassign them to a sprint
  • Keyboard shortcuts for working with the Kanban board

Kanban board with several task checklists defined

Add a task or set of tasks

  1. To start adding tasks, open the menu for the work item.

    Open the context menu of a backlog item to add a task

    Open the context menu of a backlog item to add a task

  2. If you have a number of tasks to add, simply keep typing your task titles and click Enter.

    Work item with several tasks added

  3. If you have details you want to add about a task, open the parent work item and then click the links icon links tab.

    Open parent work item, Links tab

  4. Double-click the task, or select and press the Enter key, to open it.

    Open task work item form from task checklist

    Tasks that you create from the Kanban board will show up on your sprint task board. Also, tasks that you create from the sprint backlog or taskboard will show up within tasks checklists on the Kanban board.

Mark a task as done

When you complete a task, simply click the checkbox to change its status to Done or Closed.

Check tasks that are complete

The State of the work item is updated from To Do to Done for Scrum projects, and from Active to Closed for Agile and CMMI projects.

Expand or collapse the task checklist

Upon first opening the Kanban board, you'll see an unexpanded view of checklists.

Expand task checklist for a work item

Simply click the task checklist summary to expand a collapsed task checklist. Click the same summary to collapse an expanded checklist.

Reorder and reparent tasks or reassign them to a sprint

Tasks that you create from the Kanban board are automatically assigned to the sprint/iteration path of the parent work item under which you define them.

You can drag a task within a work item to reorder it. Or, you can drag the task to another work item on the Kanban board to reparent it.

Drag tasks to reorder them within the list

To reassign a task to a different sprint, you must open the sprint backlog where it's currently defined and then drag it to the new sprint.

Customize the Kanban board

To customize or change the layout of the board, see one of these topics.

Q & A

Q: If I manage bugs with tasks, can I add bugs as a checklist to a required?

A: No. Task checklists only support the task work item type.

Use your task checklist for lightweight tracking of to-do lists. If you find that you don't use this feature, you can disable it from the common configurations dialog.

You can also add tags and show tags and fields on cards to support other tracking needs.

In addition, you can:

REST API resources

To programmatically create tasks, see the REST API, Work Items reference.