Share work plans and progress

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Using work items to track your work provides a host of benefits, including the ability to easily share information. You can capture most information within the work item Description or other rich-text formatted field. If you need to maintain the information in a different format, you can easily link to or attach a file.

Using work items, you can share information in the following ways:

  • Add information to the Description or other rich-text field
  • Link to a web site or file, or attach files
  • Link to a storyboard file


If you have stakeholders who don't contribute code but want to contribute to the discussion and review progress, make sure you provide them stakeholder access so that they can view work items and dashboards.

Rich text fields

To convey detailed information, you can format text and insert images inline within the description field or any HTML field type.

The rich text formatting toolbar appears above each text box that can be formatted. It only becomes active when you click within the text box. You can format text in HTML data fields, such as the Description, Accepted Criteria, and History. Available fields depend on the work item type, if you've customized the process, and the platform you work on.

The specific set of formatting features differs depending on the client you use. In all clients, you can bold, italicize, and underline text. You can also add and remove hyperlinks, format text as ordered or unordered lists, and add images.

Rich text tool bar - VSTS

You can use the Remove format icon or CTRL+Spacebar to remove formatting from highlighted text.


The History field is no longer a rich-text field. To annotate the work item history, add to the Description or Discussion fields.

Rich text tool bar - web portal

You can also use the following shortcut keys to format your text:

  • Bold: Ctrl+B
  • Italic: Ctrl+I
  • Underscore: Ctrl+U

You can copy and paste HTML text or an image from another application directly into the text box using Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V shortcuts.

To support traceability and add context to work items, you can link items to other work items or objects. From a links control tab, you can choose from various link types to based on the objects you want to link to.

Again, your link options will differ depending on the client you use. For specific guidance, see these resources:

Attach files

To help track a work item, use the Attachment tab icon or Attachments tab to attach a file with supplemental information.

For example, you can attach a screen image that illustrates a problem, a line of code in a text file, a log, an e-mail thread, or a product feature's specification.

Attachment control toolbar

Attachment controls, web portal VSTS


You can drag and drop files into the attachment area. From the browse menu, you can multi-select several files and attach within a single action. Also, you can add attachments to your pull request comments. You can also add attachments in pull request comments by drag-and-drop or by browsing. For details, see Syntax support for Markdown files, widgets, and pull request comments, Attachments.

You can edit, open, save, or delete an attachment by clicking an attachment and opening it's actions icon actions menu.

Attachment menu options,  VSTS


You can add up to 100 attachments to a work item. Attempts to add more result in an error message upon saving the work item.

Attachment controls, web portal (on-premises TFS), and Eclipse

Click the plus icon plus icon to add an attachment. Click an item and then click open icon to open the attachment or download icon to save a copy.

Attachment size

By default, the size of work item attachments is limited to 4 MB. You can use the TFS web service to increase the size of files you attach up to 2GB.


Storyboarding your ideas and goals increases visual understanding. With PowerPoint Storyboarding you can bring your ideas to life with storyboard shapes, text, animation, and all the other features that PowerPoint provides.


Feature availability: Storyboarding with PowerPoint requires Office PowerPoint 2007 or later and the TFS Storyboarding add-in. You install the TFS Storyboarding add-in for PowerPoint by installing one of the latest editions of Visual Studio or Team Foundation Server Standalone Office Integration.

By linking your storyboard to a work item, you provide your team access to the shared file where they can add their comments. From the Links tab icon, Links, or a Storyboards tab, you can link storyboards that you created using PowerPoint Storyboarding or other application. When you make changes to a linked storyboard, the work item continues to link to the file with the latest changes.

You can open Storyboarding with PowerPoint from the actions icon actions menu within a work item form.

Start storyboarding within work item web form, web portal VSTS

To link to an existing storyboard, click the Links page icon Links tab and add a storyboard link.

From the Storyboards tab, click Start Storyboarding to open Storyboarding with PowerPoint. Or, you can link to an existing storyboard.

Storyboard links control

To open PowerPoint with storyboarding, see Storyboard your ideas using PowerPoint.

Email a work item query list

A common way teams share information is through a list of work items. You can quickly generate a formatted list using the Copy as HTML or Copy to clipboard options. See Copy list.

Team dashboards

You can share progress and status with your team using configurable team dashboards. Dashboards provide easy-to-read, easy access, real-time information. You can add widgets to provide markdown information, query charts, and more.

For details, see Dashboards, charts, & widgets.

Team project wiki

You can use your team project wiki to share information with other team members. Each wiki corresponds to its own git repository and supports collaborative editing of its content and structure.

To learn more, see Create a wiki for your team project.

SharePoint project portal

You can use a SharePoint site to share and access documents from your team project. Your team can use the SharePoint site, also referred to as the project portal, to share information in the following ways:

  • Share data contained in reports or dashboards
  • Share team progress using predefined or customized SharePoint dashboards
  • Share documents, files, images
  • Share team knowledge and processes using the SharePoint wiki.

To learn more, see Share information using the project portal.

As you can see, there are many ways to share information using work items alone. See these additional tools and features to support planning, tracking, and sharing information with your team.

Marketplace extensions

You may find additional ways to share information and collaborate as a team by adding a Marketplace extension.