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Action required – Atlassian is changing how epics and issue hierarchy work in Jira Cloud

Hello community!

Issue hierarchy is changing in Jira Cloud. Chances are that you and your teams will want to edit your issue or filter data to handle a few subtle but impactful alterations Atlassian is making. Here’s what you need to know.

Atlassian wants to make issue hierarchy capabilities more generic and flexible, so Jira can be more easily configured to cater to more teams' use cases. This requires some untangling and consolidation of a bunch of technical approaches that have grown organically and via third-party add-on acquisition over the years in Jira. At this point, you may have already stumbled across this article from Dec 2021 or this one from Apr 2022 in the Atlassian Community, or noticed changes in JQL functions or in how issue hierarchy is configured in Settings.

In addition to that, there are changes to the fields that are used to establish parent-child relationships between issues, the fields that are used to name epics, themes, etc. as well as the ones that set their colour, status, and more. In essence, issues in company-managed projects will now follow the new system of team-managed projects in Jira Cloud. Some of the resulting changes don’t affect the Jira user interface much and may not be overly important to you unless you work with Jira APIs. Other changes you may have already noticed recently or will notice soon, depending on Atlassian’s rollout progress.


In terms of Fields, here’s what’s changing (old → new):

Linking parent issues
[Epic link], [Parent link][Parent]

Background colour of lozenges in backlogs, boards, etc.
[Epic color][Issue color]

Titles on lozenges in backlogs, boards, etc.
[Epic name] → [Summary]

Determining whether an epic appears in the backlog panel
[Epic status][Status category]


To prepare (or postpare) these changes, you may want to edit existing Screens, JQL queries of Filters, or update certain field values. E.g., Atlassian suggests here to rename epics in your company-managed projects by setting their [Summary] to their [Epic name] field values, if they aren’t already the same. This ensures that the colourful lozenges in your backlogs, boards, etc. display a short and useful title. They describe one way of doing this, which is to export your issues to a CSV file, edit them in Excel or Google Sheets, and import them back into Jira.

This is a rather cumbersome and error-prone operation, further complicated by the tight issue limit of the Jira export feature. If you’re looking for a much quicker and easier way to do this, check out JXL for Jira. JXL allows you to list issues (e.g. all epics in your Jira site) in a spreadsheet-like table view right inside Jira. You can then simply copy and paste field values, exactly the way you’d do it externally in Excel, Google Sheets, Apple Numbers, Airtable, Smartsheet, or your spreadsheet application of choice.



Select, copy and paste. It’s that simple.


If this sounds interesting, here’s how to get it done:

  • If you haven’t already, install JXL. A free 1+ months trial is available here on the Atlassian Marketplace. (After the trial it’s free for up to 10 users and very competitively priced for larger teams)

  • Once installed, navigate to the Sheets page of any project.

  • Create a sheet and set its scope to a JQL query along the lines of: (issuetype = "Epic").

  • Add columns to your table, specifically the [Epic name] and [Summary] fields.

  • There’s also a smart column called [Project configuration type] available, which you can use to hide any epics from team-managed projects from the table using column filtering, if needed.

  • Now simply click the header of the [Epic name] column to select all cells in it and copy all values (⌘+C on macOS, Ctrl+C on Windows, Linux, etc. or right-click into the selection and choose Copy in the context menu).

  • Click the header of the [Summary] column and paste everything in there (⌘+V on macOS, Ctrl+V on Windows, Linux, etc. or right-click into the selection and choose Paste in the context menu).

  • That’s it. You’re all set. You can do this with a handful of issues or with 10,000 issues, no worries.

Tip: The lozenges in backlogs and boards are optimised to display titles of 19 characters length, longer ones get truncated.


By the way, as amazing as copying and pasting fields in bulk is, JXL can do much more. The app combines the power of Jira with the simplicity of spreadsheets. Features include creating and inline editing issues in highly customizable tables, grouping and structuring issues in custom hierarchies, summing up fields, applying conditional formatting, and more. It’s the all-in-one issue editor and organizer that saves its users countless clicks and hours. JXL is built cloud-first on a modern stack, it does not store any customer data whatsoever externally, and it performs blazingly fast at any scale. Available for Jira Cloud, Data Center and Server, compatible with all Jira products, and in Cloud of course with both company-managed and team-managed projects.

I hope this was a useful tutorial (if so, you may want to follow our blog or subscribe to our newsletter as well). If anyone has any questions, please get in touch or comment. We’d love to hear from you. Stay safe. ✌️


Disclaimer: The author is on the JXL team ;)



Thanks for this post @Daniel Franz - Fine Software  - Love the old → new comparison, that helps! 

Like # people like this
Marin Varvodic Marketplace Partner Dec 01, 2022

Thanks for the post @Daniel Franz - Fine Software

Wish you all the best with JXL and hope that we will collaborate together soon. Love your product!

Like # people like this

Great post @Daniel Franz - Fine Software . Are there any dates for these changes or can I find them in roadmap? 

Like # people like this

Thanks @malgorzata.korcik[Appfire] tough question to answer actually. Changes due to deprecations on API level were due 30 Nov 2022 based on this article. So that's the best answer I have. Maybe someone from Atlassian can clarify.


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