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Adding Outgoing Transition to Active Workflow

A previous admin set-up a workflow/schema with a closed status that does not have any outgoing transitions. I need to add a re-open status to the workflow and allow the users to transition the status of an issue from "closed" to "re-open", but the system will not allow me to create the transition - stating "the step 'closed' has no outgoing transitions in the active workflow, so you cannot add any outgoing transitions in the draft workflow."

Is there any way around this? Or is my only alternative to create a new project with the correct schema/transitions and then migrate the existing issues to it?

11 answers

1 accepted

26 votes
Answer accepted
Thomas Schlegel Community Leader Jun 04, 2012

Hi Cory,

according to this is correct. You cannot do this with an active workflow.

But you don't have to create a new project. Create a copy of your existing workflow, edit it and add it to a new Workflow Scheme. Add this scheme to the existing project. Every issue will be converted to use the new workflow, but this is maybe better than creating a new project.

Best regards


That did it - thanks for the quick and accurate reply.

Thomas Schlegel Community Leader Jun 05, 2012

you're welcome :-)

Like Zaldy Parian likes this

Just jumping in here Thomas... i have the same problem.

So I have this workflow which is part of 2 Workflow Schemes. Each of these schemes are attached to projects with thousands of historic & current issues/items.

What's the step-by-step process if I wanted to create a transition out of 'Deferred' (to 'Ready for Dev') in this workflow?

Is it..

1. Create copy

2. Edit Copy (add the transition)

3. Add this 'new' workflow to the 2 schemes?

4. Remove the 'old' workflow from the 2 schemes?

Confused with the last 2 - especially since it'll all explode like a big bang if issues do not stay in their old statuses!

Cheers mate.

Thomas Schlegel Community Leader Aug 01, 2013

Hi Nitin,

1. ok

2. ok

3. Create two new workflow schemes as copies from the old ones

4. Remove the workflows you want to replace with new ones

3. Add the new workflows to the new workflow schemes

4. Replace the old workflow schemes in your projects with the new ones

If the new workflow does not have all the old statuses, you will be asked to which new status you want to convert the issues.



Hi Thomas, That's just awesome and I just successfully did it for 1 of our smaller projects.

At step 3 - why do you see create 2 new schemes?

I did it with 1.

Thought I'd double-check before doing it for our biggest projects (projects with 1000s of issues)


Thomas Schlegel Community Leader Aug 06, 2013

Hi Nitin,

two workflow schemes because you mentioned, you have two workflow schemes. So I thought, they are somehow different. If they aren't, you don't need two of them.



thanks my friend.

actually - what i found to be working better was this..

  1. Copy original workflow
  2. Edit copy
  3. Assign edited copy to relevant issue types in the workflow scheme
  4. When no issue types are assigned to the original workflow within the workflow scheme, it will automatically get removed form the scheme.

this saved me from having to 'Switch scheme' in each project that used the old workflow scheme.

That said - wouldnt have got there without your help. Thanks a tonne mate!

Thank you so much for posting this answer. IT WAS SO HELPFUL !!

I wasted about 2 hours before finding this answer.

I really don't like and understand why Atlassian had to make this SO COMPLEX, UNINTUTIVE, AND DIFFICULT TO USE. URGH !!

JIRA is now officially the most difficult tool to use at our disposal.

So, 5 years later and this is still not any better. This is one of the reasons that I ALWAYS give Atlassian 0 stars when they ask for a review; and would NEVER recommend their product to ANYONE.  

Like # people like this

amen to that. ridiculous.

Like # people like this

Agree, this part is


There is a relatively painless way to fix this (apart from losing the changes already made to the workflow) without reassigning the workflow scheme to every project that uses it.

Follow these steps:

  1. Copy the Workflow.
  2. Assign the copy the Workflow Scheme.
  3. The original will now be unused and can be modified as needed.
  4. Once done, assign the original back to the Workflow Scheme.
  5. Finally, delete the copy.

Effectively, this makes the workflow temporarily unused so you can edit it.

thanks this saved me many grey hairs and stopped all the 'blue' words i was sprouting. 

By far the easiest for me

Thanks - this worked smoothly for me. 

Eduardo I'm New Here Feb 10, 2021

Thanks. This way much more easier.

This is a BRILLIANT solution.  Saved me hours of potential confusion.  Thank you!!!

It's just great how they tell you you can't do this after you've spent all the time adding the transitions...

It would be helpful if someone could explain what this error even means? In my case I had an 'open' state that I removed all the transitions from and pointed them to a 'ready for dev' state instead. Then later I decided to move them back to open, the way they were originally working and moving them back triggered this error. Open had outgoing transitions originally, I moved them and then put them back, and it tells me there are no outgoing transitions? What is it even saying?

I have some 3000 projects using same scheme.Hence I need to manually associate the new scheme with all the 3000 projects.Any other methods?

In 6.x, you can edit an active scheme. You don't have to do it project by project.

You also can automate such tasks with JIRA CLI and a loop in any scripting language

Not entirely true, in 6.x you can update active workflows except for closed transition. You cannot add a transition (reopen) to closed transition while active.

I have workflow with global transition from everywhere to Closed.

But JIRA thinks Resolved is a terminal state! And doesn't allow to add outgoing transition, just like topic started described! 

Do you have "close" permission in your permission scheme ? Or is there any condition registered in your transition to "Closed" that may prevent it to be available for your user ?

The case is about inability to save draft workflow. Jira allows to edit active workflow then refuses to save your work. You must abandon your changes and create a copy of workflow then edit it and replace old workflow with a new in the scheme.

Hard to believe this is still an issue 7 years after it was first reported- UGH!!

You must be new here. 5-10 years to solve simple usability problems seems to be the norm. I wish I were being cynical or exaggerating.

@Jeff Aguilera  You must be an optimist. You think that at some point they will fix it.

Like Jeff Aguilera likes this

I have this issue trying to modify a default service desk workflow, provided by Atlassian.

Oh, and this is 8 years later, btw.

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