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Add tags to work items to categorize lists and boards
Azure Boards
Learn how to add work item tags to categorize and filter lists & boards when working in Azure Boards and Azure DevOps.
<= azure-devops

Add work item tags to categorize and filter lists and boards

[!INCLUDE version-lt-eq-azure-devops]

Tagging work items helps you quickly filter the product backlog or a work item query by categories that you define. A tag corresponds to a one or two keyword phrase that you define and that supports your needs to filter a backlog or query, or define a query.

Tags are a better choice to filter work items than using text strings as described in Guidance to create high-performing queries.

You can add and modify tags from the web portal, from Team Explorer plug-in for Visual Studio. Also, you can open a query in Excel to modify tags in bulk.

Tags are a shared resource, they're associated with a project and not a team. If your project contains multiple teams, all teams will add to and work from the same set of tags.

[!INCLUDE temp]

::: moniker range="azure-devops"

Users with Stakeholder access for public projects are allowed to add new tags. ::: moniker-end

Add tags to a work item

Tags should be 400 characters or less and not contain separators such as a , (comma), ; (semicolon), or other formatting character.

[!TIP] We recommend that you don't use the @ character in a tag. Tags that start with the @ character can't be used in a work item query. The @ character signifies a macro within a query and therefore the tag isn't recognized as a tag.

From the web portal, open a work item and add a tag. Choose Add tag and type your keyword. Or, select from the list of previously assigned tags.

[!div class="mx-imgBorder"] Add one or more tags to a work item

To add several tags at one time, type a comma between tags. Tags are case sensitive.

Tags that appear in the tag bar are already assigned to the work item. To unassign a tag, choose the x on the tag,Delete a tag assigned to a work item.

::: moniker range="azure-devops"

By default, all Contributors and Stakeholders of public projects are granted permissions to add new and existing tags. Stakeholders in private projects can add tags that are already defined, but not add new tags. To grant or restrict permissions to create new tags, you set the permission Create tag definition at the project-level. To learn more, see Change project-level permissions. ::: moniker-end

Bulk add or remove tags

You can bulk update work items to add or remove tags from the web portal. You bulk modify tags in the same way as you bulk modify other fields using the web portal. Or, you can use Excel to bulk add or remove tags.

[!div class="mx-imgBorder"] Edit work items dialog, Bulk add to several work items.

Bulk modify of tags from the Visual Studio or other supported clients isn't supported.

Query for work items based on tags

To query work items based on tags, add a clause for each tag you want to use to support your query.

You can use the Contains or Does Not Contain operators. Tags that start with the @ character can't be used in a work item query as the query editor interprets the @ character as a macro. To learn more about queries, see Create managed queries.

For example, here we query for all work items that are tagged either Web or Service.

[!div class="mx-imgBorder"] Screenshot of Query Editor to query on tags.

[!INCLUDE temp]

[!NOTE] The ability to query for work items that don't have any tags attached to them is not a supported feature. If you'd like to up vote the request to support this feature, you can do so on our Developer Community page, Be able to search for empty tags.

Show tags in your backlog or query results

Choose Column Options to add the Tags field to the product backlog or a work item query. If the option doesn't appear, choose More commands :::image type="icon" source="../media/icons/actions-icon.png" border="false"::: to select it from the menu of options.

[!div class="mx-imgBorder"] Column options dialog, Add Tags to the selected columns to display.

All tags that have been added to the listed work items appear.

[!div class="mx-imgBorder"] Screenshot of product backlog, View with Tags column added.

Filter lists using tags

From the web portal, you can filter backlogs, boards, and query results using tags.

Begin by choosing Filter :::image type="icon" source="../media/icons/filter-icon.png" border="false":::.

Check the boxes of those tags that you want to filter on. Keep the OR selection to run a logical OR for all the tags you selected. Or, choose the AND option to run a logical AND on all the selected tags.

[!div class="mx-imgBorder"] View with Tags column added

Delete, remove, or manage tags

You can't delete a tag itself. However, if you delete a tag from all work items to which it's currently assigned, the system will delete the tag. The system automatically deletes unassigned tags after three days of disuse.

If you misspell a tag, don't assign the misspelled tag to any work item and the system will automatically delete it within three days.

Another option is to install the Marketplace Tags Manager, which adds a Tags page under Boards or Work to manage tags.

Color-code tags on boards

You can highlight tags on Kanban board cards by color-coding them. These colors only appear on the Kanban board that you configure. They don't appear on backlogs or taskboards. To learn more, see Customize cards, color-code tags.

[!div class="mx-imgBorder"] Boards>Settings>Tag colors dialog

::: moniker range="azure-devops"

Chart work items and group by tags

You can't group a query-based chart by tags, however, you can group a Chart for Work Items widget by tags that you add to a dashboard. This feature is in public preview. To enable it, see Manage or enable features and turn on Enable group by tags for work item chart widget on dashboard.

To group a Chart for Work Items widget by tags, complete the same steps provided in Track progress with status and trend query-based charts, Add a chart widget to a dashboard. Make sure that your flat-list query contains Tags in the query clause or as a column option. Then, choose Tags for the Group by selection. To filter the chart to show only some tags, choose the Selected tags radio button and then choose the tags you want the chart to display.

:::image type="content" source="../../report/dashboards/media/charts/configure-chart-widget-tags.png" alt-text="Screenshot of Chart by Work Items, Configure, Group by Tags.":::

::: moniker-end

Related articles

Marketplace extension

Limits on the number of tags

While no hard limit exists, creating more than 100,000 tags for a project collection can negatively impact performance. Also, the autocomplete dropdown menu for the tag control displays a maximum of 200 tags. When more than 200 tags are defined, begin typing to cause the tag control to display relevant tags.

You can't assign more than 100 tags to a work item or you'll receive the following message:

TF401243: Failed to save work item because too many new tags were added to the work item.

Save the work item with the tags (100 or less) that you've added, and then you can add more tags.

Limit queries to fewer than 25 tags. More than that amount and the query will likely time out.

::: moniker range="< azure-devops"

Add tags to the default column view on the product backlog

To add the Tags field as a column field for the product backlog, you modify the ProcessConfiguration file to include System.Tags. To learn how, see the Process configuration XML element reference.

::: moniker-end