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Can't link to closed issues

In the event we've discovered a bug that relates to an older bug that is now closed, we want to create a Related To link.  However, every time I try to create this link, I get the following error "We can't find an issue with the key [URL to the issue]".

The issue still exists in the system, because I can easily go to that closed issue, and create a link back to the new bug, but that requires a lot of extra steps and is not intuitive.

How can I allow linking to closed issues??

13 answers

Updated Answer:

Posting a new answer since this method is different than what I previously offered as a work-around back in March.

This now seems to be fixed in the current version of Jira Cloud. I am not sure of there were updates when moving to the new issue view or somewhere else along the way, this was addressed - or even if it was working this way before and just not obvious.

While it is still not 100% intuitive, the interface allows you to link to completed issues from the Link Issue box if you know the exact key of the old ticket. It will not appear in the drop down as you type out the ticket name, but if you select the option for "XYZ-123 (Exact key)", after typing the full ticket name, it will try to link to that ticket and, if it exists, add the link to the current ticket.

The only way I know how to do this is to visit the closed issue and create a link back to the issue you are working on.

When you go back to the original issue, it will show the link to the closed item.

This may restrict the type of link you can create to the closed item, but hopefully you can make the link you need using this method.

That's a great idea, and I did figure out how to link the two items together this way before posting, but it's so backwards and unintuitive.

I'm still hoping to either understand why Jira restricts linking direction from Open --> Closed issues, or to learn how to change this unwarranted restriction in process.

The most likely answer is that you could have thousands of closed issues, potentially. But I agree, that there needs to be some way to do this if you are searching for an exact match to the issue.

Is this an intended solution? For me, it looks like a bug.

I am unable to easily link a bug issue type to a story that it refers to. That doesn't look like good user experience.

@Zofia Safteruk-Przybysz I would consider my suggested solution a workaround at best. While it is not really a bug, it is definitely not an expectation of how the feature would work. It would be something that Atlassian would have to address.

@Neil Monroethanks Neil, that's what we may have to keep doing. Do you know by any chance if this issue is raised with Atlassian already? If it's not I will try to find a way to raise it ;)

I would consider this as a bug, since you can still link the two tickets together, but it requires an extra step for the user to go to the closed ticket and link back out. If linking to a closed ticket in general is a questionable behavior, I'd want that to be a configuration for the project.

I do not know if Atlassian is currently tracking this in their backlog, but I would like for them to track this.

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We've had several instances where we need to reference a "Done" issue but it would not show up in the Link box, confusing our QA person (and kind of making us developers look bad because we recommended switching from Trello to Jira), so I think this is a definite user experience problem.

If a user can link an existing (non-deleted) ticket to a ticket, the feature should not behave as if the ticket doesn't exist when typing in the ID Code (like ID-123) in the Link box for a finished (archived) ticket.

It should work intuitively, practically, and consistently. Right now I consider this a bug or at very minimum a design flaw. The workaround (pasting the entire link into the Description box or a comment) is just extra steps, and makes these "linked" issues less noticeable, possibly causing missed info or duplicate tickets.

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I am frequently trying to link back to a ticket that may have been recently closed. What is more problematic, is that I am pretty sure that I used to be able to do this and they have removed the ability in more recent releases. We have been using Jira cloud for 4ish years.

I am a little surprised we haven't seen a response on this thread from Jira.  This seems like a bug

1 vote
Deleted user Mar 03, 2020

Andrew, I'm not sure if there's an option to restrict linking issues based on status, but are you able to type in the exact issue key and press "Enter" to see if it resolves to the ticket? (So only typing ID-1234, and then press enter to see if it then shows the correct closed ticket).

This usually works for me.

I've tried both typing in just the ID number ID-1234, and pasting the full URL in. Both methods fail to resolve, and give me the error "can not find issue..." as stated above.

For reference, I am using Jira's "New Issue View".

I've also noticed that, at the top of the issue linking dropdown, it only recently started showing the label "Open Issues".   I've asked my fellow admins, and none of us know about any permission or admin setting related to this.


Thanks Richard, this works to some extent. The remaining issue is that you need to know the exact number, which is not always the case. I often just know some key words in the closed bug.

For the more recent posts inquiring about a fix, please see my answer from Oct. 2020. This still seems to reflect the current behavior of Jira (Apr 2022).

Same problem 

is there any official issue regarding to this bug ?

Even I'm facing the same issue - reported in 2020 and we are 2021 

Surely this is a bug and quite an annoying one. We often have to link "fixed by" to closed issues.
My workaround is to use the Jira desktop app to link issues. This seems to work fine there.

@Andrew Herman thanks for opening this discussion :) 

I've been trying to find an answer/solution for the past few months, this behaviour is really irritating (quite user-unfriendly) and it definitely makes our lives harder, especially if we like keeping things organized. Linking two closed tickets is basically impossible! 

We can't be sure if this is a bug or the intended behaviour but hopefully, they'll sort it out soon or at least come with an answer.

This is a fairly common use case that Jira does not support. Some users have presented workarounds here, but that is what they are, workarounds.

Jira, please address this issue.

Having the same issue, someone found out how to fix this? 
If i want to link an issue i should be able to do so at all time..

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