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Different ways to Search Issues in JIRA

August 12, 2017 Jira Tutorial
Search jira Issues, How to search Issues in JIRA

Once JIRA has been setup, team members and client start adding issues in the respective projects. Within no time the number of issues logged in JIRA can amount to hundreds if not thousands. Also, the number of issues logged in JIRA depends on the team size and project attributes. As the number of issues increases, you must have the ability to search JIRA Issue and filter the relevant issues based on different parameters. In this post, we would focus on the different ways you can search issues. We would also talk about the different actions that you can take on the search JIRA Issue.

Topics under Complete JIRA Tutorial Series

Available JIRA Search Criteria

To search issues in JIRA, you must log in with valid credentials and use different search techniques to track down the relevant issues that you are looking for. The different search criteria are:

Figure 1: JIRA Quick Search

Quick search JIRA Issue

As the name suggests, quick search is used to quickly find out the issue of your choice. The quick v option can be used in the following ways.

⇒ Typing Issue key – By typing issue keys you can track the issue of your choice by typing in the issue key. If you are not so sure of the exact issue key, you can start typing in the key value, and you would notice the recommended issues in the form of a drop-down.

  • If few characters of the actual key are entered, you can see top 4 issues that share the same value in the drop-down.
  • If you have managed to enter the correct issue key, only one issue would be visible in the drop-down. Now, you can click or press enter and you would be taken to that specific issue.


Figure 2: Quick search with issue key and description

⇒ Typing in values and not pressing the enter key – The quick search even allows you to search for issues on the basis of issue summary or description.

  • When you enter a keyword or phrase in the quick search JIRA Issue area, top 4 results from the list of all issues that have the keyword is visible in the drop-down.
  • Now, you can select from the 4 visible results and click on the one which is relevant to you.


Figure 3: Quick search results in drop-down when enter key is not pressed

⇒ Typing in values and pressing the enter key – Typing values in the quick search field will show the matching issue list in the drop-down, but when you press enter, you will be redirected to the global issue navigator.

  • In the global issue navigator, you will have to manually filter the list of items and search JIRA Issue on your own.
  • Ideally, if the issue that you are looking for does not appear in the quick drop-down, you must press enter and go through the list manually. Even though it is a more exhaustive searching technique, it would give you complete freedom to further narrow down your search.


Figure 4: JIRA Basic search

Basic search JIRA Issue

Basic search has more customization options than a quick search. It is user-friendly and can help you get the desired list of issues in a short span of time. To use the basic search, you need to follow the following steps.

  • First, you need to click on the issues button from the header and select, “Search for Issues”. If there is already a search filter present, click the “New Filter” button to reset the search criteria and create a filter of your own.
  • In case the “Advanced Search” criteria are visible, click “Basic” button to switch to the basic search.
  • Once the basic search JIRA Issue is selected, you can select different criteria and club multiple criteria to create a custom filter.
  • You can search issues on the basis of project, assignee, issue status and type, issue description or summary, priority and much more. You can even add new search criteria by simply clicking on “More” link to add more search criteria.
  • Once the filter criteria are selected you would be able to see the list of the issues that match the filter description.
  • Another advantage of the basic search JIRA Issue is, you can save the filter and use it for future purposes. Once you have set the criteria for your filter, click on the “Save As” link and enter the name of the filter. Then on clicking “Submit”, your filter would be saved.
  • The newly saved filters are saved are added to the list of favorite filters. When you would like to apply any certain filter which was already saved, all you need to do is go through the list of your favorite filter and select it. Automatically the selected filter would be applied and you would be able to look at the filtered output.


Figure 5: Saved filter list

  • Saved filters using basic search would save you a lot of time. And that’s not all. All the saved filters can be shared with your team members to whom you have granted the permission. Saved filters can be edited or deleted (if permission is provided) according to your varying needs.
  • You can even email or export the filtered issue list in different formats of your choice.


Figure 6: JIRA Advanced Search

Advanced search JIRA Issue

Advanced search in JIRA is the most powerful searching technique of them all. But it comes at a price. If you want to use the advanced search properly, you must be able to work with JQL (JIRA Query Language). If you don’t want to get into complex JQL construction, you can always opt for the above-mentioned techniques to get your filtered issues.

  • To use the advanced search, click on “Issues” at the header and click “Search for issues”. Then click on “New Filter” button to reset the applied filter. Then click “Advanced Search” to use this feature.
  • When on the advanced search page, you have to enter the advanced search JQL query. As you start typing the query, JIRA provided you auto-complete suggestion to help in writing the query. If you don’t get the right auto-complete suggestion, you have to keep typing until you figure out the right query syntax.


Figure 7: JQL search query for advanced search

  • Each JQL query generally consists of consists of a field, followed by an operator, which is followed by one or more values or functions.
  • You can incorporate different logical operators as well as nested queries to frame the complete search JIRA Issue filter. An example of such a query is as follows
    • (status=open AND project=ABC) OR assignee=Thor
    • In the above query, we are searching for issues which are in open state and belong to the “ABC” project, which may or may not have the assignee “Thor”.
    • If you have prior knowledge of SQL creating a JQL search JIRA Issue filter would a walk in the park.
    • Just like Basic Search, you can save the filters of advanced search as well, and allow permission for other team members to use them. You can even export and email the issue list easily for future reference.

Different Actions on Search Results

Once you have created or selected a filter of your own you would be able to see the list of related issues. With these listed issues, you can perform a number of different actions.


Figure 8: JIRA search result list view

⇒ Changing search result view – Using the view icon, on the page, you can change the how you want the issues to be listed. There are 2 different ways how the issues are listed. You can either view the issues in list view or in detail view. You can use the list view if you want to quickly go through the keys and summary of the filtered issues. In the detailed view, you can view the list of issues along with their description. This view is a more descriptive depiction and is most used by team members when they want to get a sneak peak of the issues. When you click on one of the listed issues, the details of the issue is visible on the right-hand side of the issue list.


Figure 9: JIRA search result detailed view

  • You can even change the sorting order of the listed issues. You can list them in ascending or descending order by simply clicking on a column. For example, if you click on the “Key” column, it would be sorted in ascending order, while clicking on the column again would arrange the list in descending order. You can sort all columns except the ‘Images’ column or the sub-task aggregate columns (columns that start with a sigma ‘∑’ sign).
  • You can choose to remove any column from the filtered issue list or rearrange them according to your needs. To hide any particular column, you have to click on the column and click “Hide”. To rearrange arrange any column or to move it to some other place, simply drag the column and drop it wherever you want to place it.

⇒ Working on individual issues – Depending on the view(list or detailed), you can perform view and update actions differently. To view the issue, you have to click on the issue key or summary. If you are using the list view, you would be redirected to the issue page where you can view the complete details of the issue. But if you are using the details view, you can view the details on the right-hand side of the filtered issue list.

  • You can also perform different actions on the issues, like editing it, transitioning it and logging time for the issues, right from the issue list page. When you are using the list view, you need to click on the cog (gear) icon to perform the different actions. But while in detail view, you can perform these actions from the details panel itself.

⇒ Sharing search results – Sharing of search JIRA Issue results helps other team members to look at the filtered list of issues. When sharing an issue list, a link is sent to the recipient over email along with a note(optional) along with a subject which says, “<Your username> shared an issue list”.

  • If the issue list is retrieved from a saved filter, the link of the filter is sent. But if the recipient doesn’t have permission to access the filter, only the search result link is sent.
  • Sharing of the search result is very useful at the time of release when the team members want to look at an issue list which the client finds important from the release perspective (like critical bugs, and urgent change requests).

⇒ Displaying search results – Search JIRA Issue results depending on the type of view selected (list or detailed) is displayed in JIRA. But for future referencing or to send the search results to stakeholders who might not have the required permission, they can even be exported in different formats.


Figure 10: Exporting JIRA search results

  • After applying the required filter, when the search results are displayed, you can simply click on the “Export” button to export the search results in different formats. JIRA allows you to export the result in Excel format, CSV, HTML, Word document or XML. The report (in any format) can be sent forward to the concerned members for evaluation or reporting.


To sum it up in a few words,

  • JIRA allows users to search through the logged issues in different ways, namely quick search, basic search or advanced search.
  • While quick search is the most popular searching technique among most team members, the advanced search provided more advanced searching ability and allows you to create more complex and sophisticated filters. The only downside being, the advanced search would require knowledge of JIRA Query Language.
  • The search results can be displayed in different formats and searching filters can also be saved for future use.
  • JIRA also allows you to share the search results in different ways and formats for easy accessibility.

About the author

arindam bandyopadhyay author

Arindam Bandyopadhyay is an automation tester with over 5 years of experience in software testing. While during the day he juggles between Eclipse and spreadsheets, at night he lets his fingers do the talking as he writes about anything and everything his paradoxical mind desires.

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