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JQL to find all stories under a list of epics with a certain label

Ari Xu
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Oct 04, 2023

I have a label (Q4) I'm using to tag epics that are being planned to work on in the upcoming quarter. I have multiple epics with this label but not all the tickets within these epics have this label.

Is there a way to have a JQL query to find all the tickets (story, task, bug etc.) that belong to epics with this label?


3 answers

1 vote
Hannes Obweger - JXL for Jira
Marketplace Partner
Marketplace Partners provide apps and integrations available on the Atlassian Marketplace that extend the power of Atlassian products.
Oct 04, 2023 • edited Oct 05, 2023

Hi @Ari Xu,

slightly expanded version of Mikael's great answer:

Unfortunately, this is trickier than one might think; as a "hierarchical query", it would really require some kind of join or subquery, which isn't available in plain Jira/JQL.

A few directions forward:

  • If it's a one-off thing, you could first query the relevant epics, and then use the keys of these epics in a second query, in a "parent in (KEY-1, KEY-2, ...)" clause.

If you want to run your search dynamically, without manually stitching two queries together, you'll need extra tooling:

  • You might be able to use Jira Automation to "propagate" epic information down to the epic's children, and then use the respective field(s) on the children to include them into your filter. Obviously, this will add a fair bit of complexity to your system.
  • There's different apps from the Atlassian Marketplace that can help with that. First, there's a number of apps that extend JQL by additional functions, including hierarchy-related functions.
  • Alternatively, you could try one of the more hierarchy-focused apps from the Marketplace. These apps typically have their own ways of figuring out parent/child relationships between issues, and provide more powerful ways of searching through issue hierarchies. I myself work on such an app, in which your use case would be easy to solve - I'll provide more details below.

Hope this helps,



Hannes Obweger - JXL for Jira
Marketplace Partner
Marketplace Partners provide apps and integrations available on the Atlassian Marketplace that extend the power of Atlassian products.
Oct 04, 2023

Just to expand on the last point, this is how this would look in the app that my team and I are working on, JXL for Jira. Put simply, you'd create a sheet with all issues that are potentially relevant to you, enable the default issue hierarchy (that's just one click), and then use JXL filtering capabilities to narrow down to the issues that you care about:


Once you have your list of issues, you can work on these directly in JXL (much like you'd do in e.g. Excel or Google Sheets), trigger various operations in Jira, or export them for further processing.

Any questions just let me know!

1 vote
Mikael Sandberg
Community Leader
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Oct 04, 2023

Hi @Ari Xu

Welcome to Atlassian Community!

Out-of-the-box JQL cannot do nested queries that you need to do in order to get the result you are looking for. You would need an app that extends JQL in order to do that. There are a handful of apps in the Marketplace that can do this. I have used Enhanced search and JQL Tricks in the past to do this type of search.

0 votes
Charlotte Santos
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Oct 05, 2023

Hi @Ari Xu 

I’m Charlotte, a support engineer at Appfire and I’m here to help you.

Unfortunately, using vanilla JQL, you’ll not be able to do it dynamically.

In the app where my team works, JQL Search Extensions for Jira, you can use this query to find all the issues that belong to an Epic with a specific label:

issue in childrenOfEpicsInQuery("labels = Q4")

Please contact our support if you have any other questions about this query.

We’ll be happy to help you!

Best regards,


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