Custom Project Key and Project Key Limitations

Elizabeth_Johnson March 21, 2023

So I have a group that has a 200+ projects a year. These are not phases, they are each unique projects. 

* They have latched on to the PROJECT KEY being a way to help them distinguish projects. 

*I looked into it, and saw the information below, but then when I tried t his on cloud, I seemed to have a limit of 10 not 20.

*What are the limitations of the PROJECT KEY in JIRA Cloud? I cannot seem to find it spelled out like below. 

*Are we approaching this wrong, and what them not get hung up on the project key? 

*I did encourage them to think of good project names, but I think its because when they open a ticket they see ABC-123 they want the "ABC" to make sense. 


Any help/thoughts/guidance appreciated :)


Regarding Project Key; information found here (

  • regarding the project key 
  • It is recommended that the key be as short as possible. It is not supposed to be descriptive, but rather recognizable and unique. The name and theme of the project can change over time. If the key is too well defined, it will point to the past and not the present.
  • Ensure that you choose a supported project key format. Only formats that meet all of the following rules are supported:
    • The first character must be a letter,
    • All letters used in the project key must be from the Modern Roman Alphabet and upper case, and
    • Only letters, numbers or the underscore character can be used.
      • Examples of supported keys: PRODUCT_2013R2D2MY_EXAMPLE_PROJECT.  
      • Examples of unsupported keys: 2013PROJECT (first character is not a letter)PRODUCT-2012 (hyphens are not supported).


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Nolan McConnell March 21, 2023

The default key size is set to 10. You can have this changed by your Jira administer. As for the supported formats, in my version of Jira Cloud, I cannot use hyphens or underscores. 


I get the error "Project keys must start with an uppercase letter, followed by one or more uppercase alphanumeric characters." after having a project key start with "Agile". 

Trudy Claspill
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March 21, 2023

Adding to this, the length specification for Project Key is documented here:

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Elizabeth_Johnson March 21, 2023

Thanks so much @Nolan McConnell & @Trudy Claspill 


I am a JIRA Admin, so maybe I can look into this. But I also understand the risk of doing this so will be careful and think through before making these changes. 

2 votes
Elizabeth_Johnson November 13, 2023

I wanted to come back and update here; I ended up doing this at the insistence of the business and our project keys had no limits. Seriously we had keys like



After using this method for several projects, the business decided that this was too cumbersome and confusing and we have gone back to the autogenerated key. 

However, it was pretty neat to explore the limitations, etc and learn that JIRA is flexible enough to let you make bad decisions, but then also dial them back :D

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