maybe i'm just not seeing it but is there an easy way to view the ticket history? the only comparable feature i can find is by going to "Your Work" then viewing recent entries but i would like to be able to search through and filter all old tickets.
You can find a built-in option for ticket history in the Activity section while opening each ticket you're interested in.
If you'd like to get a history for a list of tickets for some project or assignee, you can check solutions from the Marketplace. My team has developed the Issue History plugin that shows a full changelog for the selected list of tickets.
Let me know if you have any questions.
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I think I'm a bit stuck on the detail of your question.
You say "an easy way to view the ticket history" and the answer to that is "click on issue history for a list of (almost) every change to the issue"
Next, there is "is by going to "Your Work" then viewing recent entries" - that's a separate question, it's looking for stuff you have updated recently, not the history of a single issue. "your work" is a good way, but the question is becoming a little fuzzy, as "your work" draws in things that you've directly affected, and I am not sure that that is what you are looking for.
Personally, I install the Jira Toolkit on every Jira I get my paws on, and create a "participants" field that gathers together a list of people who are the reporter, assignee or have commented on an issue. Then I can use the JQL "Participants = currentUser() order by updated" to get an ordered list of issues that I've done something with. But again, I'm not sure that is quite what you need.
Finally, you say "i would like to be able to search through and filter all old tickets." - absolutely, almost all Jira users want to be able to do that, and Jira lets you. The problem with that sentence is not that you can't search, but that the question is too vague. You can search and filter all old issues. But on what would you like to do it?
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You should be able to see the history in the detailed issue view. If you scroll down you should see History as an option under Activity:
Sometimes depending on the size of your browser window you will see a compact version of it like this
Then you just have to click on the dropdown and select History.