What are Jira issue links

Jira, developed by Atlassian, is one of the most popular project management tools used by teams worldwide for tracking issues, managing projects, and collaborating efficiently. A key feature that enhances Jira’s functionality is issue linking. Issue linking in Jira allows users to create relationships between various issues, helping teams understand dependencies, blockers, duplicates, and other connections critical for project management.

This blog post will delve into the intricacies of Jira issue links, their uses, and how they can optimize your workflow. We’ll also address some frequently asked questions and provide external resources for further learning.

What Are Jira Issue Links?

Jira issue links are a way to establish relationships between different issues within a Jira project. These links can represent various types of relationships, such as:

  • Dependency: Indicating that one issue depends on the completion of another.
  • Blocker: Showing that an issue is blocking the progress of another.
  • Duplicate: Identifying that an issue is a duplicate of another.
  • Relates to: General linking without specifying a specific relationship type.

These relationships help in visualizing and managing complex projects by making it clear how different tasks and issues are interrelated.

Types of Issue Links in Jira

Jira provides several default link types, and you can also create custom link types as needed. Here are some common link types:

  1. Blocks/Is Blocked By: This link type is used when one issue is preventing another from progressing. For example, if Issue A cannot proceed until Issue B is resolved, you would link Issue B as blocking Issue A.
  2. Clones/Is Cloned By: Used when one issue is a clone of another. This is useful when a task or bug needs to be duplicated for tracking purposes.
  3. Duplicates/Is Duplicated By: This type is used when an issue is a duplicate of another. It’s useful for tracking and consolidating issues that are essentially the same.
  4. Relates To: A generic link type used to show that issues are related but without a specific directional dependency.
  5. Causes/Is Caused By: Indicates that one issue causes another. This can be useful for understanding causal relationships within your project.

Creating Issue Links

Creating issue links in Jira is straightforward. Follow these steps to create a link between issues:

  1. Open the Issue: Navigate to the issue you want to link from.
  2. Link the Issue: Click on the “More” button (usually represented by three dots), and select “Link” from the dropdown menu.
  3. Select Link Type: Choose the appropriate link type from the options provided.
  4. Specify the Linked Issue: Enter the key of the issue you want to link to.
  5. Add Details (Optional): You can add additional comments or details about the link.
  6. Create the Link: Click “Link” to create the relationship.

Managing Issue Links

Once links are created, they can be managed easily:

  • Viewing Links: Linked issues are displayed in the “Issue Links” section of an issue’s detail view. You can see the type of link and the linked issue’s key and summary.
  • Editing Links: You can edit or remove links by clicking on the link and selecting the appropriate option.
  • Automating Links: With Jira automation rules, you can automate the creation and management of issue links based on specific triggers and conditions.

Benefits of Using Jira Issue Links

Using issue links in Jira provides several advantages:

  1. Better Visibility: Links provide a clear picture of how issues are related, making it easier to understand dependencies and the overall project structure.
  2. Improved Collaboration: Teams can see how their tasks are interconnected, fostering better collaboration and communication.
  3. Enhanced Tracking: Identifying blockers, duplicates, and related issues helps in prioritizing work and ensuring critical tasks are addressed promptly.
  4. Streamlined Workflows: Automation of issue linking can save time and reduce manual effort, leading to more efficient workflows.

Use Cases of Jira Issue Links

Let’s explore some practical scenarios where Jira issue links can be highly beneficial:

  1. Managing Dependencies in Agile Projects: In Agile projects, it’s common to have tasks that depend on the completion of other tasks. By linking these issues, teams can easily track which tasks need to be completed first, ensuring a smooth workflow.
  2. Tracking Blockers in Bug Fixing: When a bug is blocking the progress of a feature development, linking the bug as a blocker helps the development team to prioritize the fix and resolve the issue promptly.
  3. Handling Duplicate Bugs or Tasks: Duplicate issues can clutter your project and cause confusion. By linking duplicates, you can consolidate information and ensure that all related details are tracked in a single place.
  4. Visualizing Epic and Story Relationships: In larger projects, it’s useful to link Epics to Stories or Tasks to visualize the breakdown of work and how individual tasks contribute to larger goals.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: Can I create custom issue link types in Jira?

A1: Yes, Jira allows you to create custom issue link types. You can define new link types that suit your project needs via the Jira administration settings.

Q2: How can I find all issues linked to a specific issue?

A2: You can use Jira’s search functionality with JQL (Jira Query Language). For example, using the query issue in linkedIssues("ISSUE-1") will return all issues linked to ISSUE-1.

Q3: Can issue links be used in Jira automation rules?

A3: Yes, you can use issue links in Jira automation rules. For example, you can create a rule that automatically links issues created by a specific user or under certain conditions.

Q4: Are there any add-ons for advanced issue linking in Jira?

A4: Yes, there are several add-ons available in the Atlassian Marketplace that offer advanced issue linking features. Some popular ones include “Structure for Jira” and “BigPicture.”

Q5: Can I link issues across different Jira projects?

A5: Yes, you can link issues across different projects in Jira, allowing you to manage dependencies and relationships at a broader level.


Jira issue links are a powerful feature that enhances project management by providing a clear visualization of relationships between issues. By effectively using issue links, teams can improve collaboration, streamline workflows, and ensure better tracking and resolution of tasks and issues.

Whether you are managing complex dependencies, tracking blockers, or consolidating duplicates, Jira issue links offer the flexibility and functionality to handle a wide range of project management scenarios.

External Links and Resources

  1. Jira Software Documentation
  2. Jira Query Language (JQL) Guide

By leveraging the power of issue links, you can optimize your project management processes, improve team collaboration, and ensure a smoother workflow. Dive into Jira’s documentation and community resources to master this feature and take your project management skills to the next level.

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