Building a structure manually allows you complete freedom in terms of choosing only the issues you want to include within your structure and arranging (or rearranging) them to your exact needs. When you add items to a structure manually, their position is stored within the Structure app itself – so you're free to move things anywhere you like, without affecting the issues in Jira.

Changes to issue properties from within Structure are reflected in Jira, regardless of how your structure is built.

Adding Issues to a Structure

You have a couple of options for filling your structure - you can create new Jira issues directly from Structure or add existing Jira issues to your structure. For the purpose of this guide, we're going to assume you already have issues you want to work with. So let's open the Add menu and select Search and Add.

Manually add existing issues

You can locate issues from Jira using a JQL or Text search.

  • Text Search - Search for word(s) or a specific phrase (placed in quotes)
  • JQL Search - Specify conditions using Jira fields

Selecting Issues

We've done a simple search for all issues in the project Getting Started. This project only has a handful of issues, but for larger projects you can narrow your search by adding additional parameters, such as searching for issues with a specific status or assigned to a specific person. To learn more about searching with JQL, see the Atlassian guide to Advanced searching.

Once you have a list of results, you can:

  • Select just the issues you want to include in your structure and click Add selected
  • Click Add All to place every issue in your structure

In either case, the issues you've selected will be added to your structure:

Once you've added issues to your structure, they appear in a single-level list. By moving issues around the Structure board, you can create complex hierarchies to organize your projects.

Organizing Issues

Issues can be moved in any of these ways:

  • With the mouse
  • Using the Structure toolbar
  • Using keyboard shortcuts (Press Ctrl+? for a complete list)
  • Via cut/copy and paste

Using the Mouse

To move an issue with the mouse, use the drag bar on the left side of the issue row. Press and hold the bar, then drag the issue to its new location.

You can move an issue up or down in the list, or move it right or left to adjust its position in the hierarchy. In the example below, we are moving the issue Small Bug to the right, so it will become a child of Task 2.

As we continue to move items, we can arrange them into more complex hierarchies. For example, we've placed issues beneath their corresponding epics, tasks under corresponding issues, and bugs under tasks:

This is a very simple example, but you can create structures as simple or complex as necessary, using as many levels as you need.

Using the Toolbar

You can also move issues using the toolbar. Simply select the issue by clicking anywhere in the issue's row (except on a link, which will take you to the Issue Details page) or using up/down on your keyboard. The selected row will be highlighted. Now you can use the toolbar to move issues up, down, left or right.

Toolbar buttons

You can move items in the following ways:

  • Up - Moves issue up a row
  • Down - Moves issue down a row
  • Left - Moves issue to a higher level within the hierarchy
  • Right - Moves issue to a lower level in the hierarchy, making it a child of the issue above it in the structure

Cut/Copy and Paste

You can also move items using Cut, Copy and Paste. This is particularly useful when moving an item across a large structure.

First, select the issue by clicking anywhere in the issue's row or using up/down on your keyboard. The selected row will be highlighted.

  • To move the item, click the Cut button in the toolbar. Then highlight the new location you want the item and click the Paste button. The original item will be placed in the row below the selected item.
  • To create a copy of an item, click the Copy button. Then highlight the location you want the copy placed and click Paste. The copy will be placed beneath the highlighted item.
You can include multiple copies of an issue within a structure. The issue will still only exist once in Jira, but it can appear in multiple locations throughout your structure. This can be useful if, for example, a single task affects multiple stories.

Selecting Multiple Issues

To move more than one item at a time, click the small circles at the far left of each item's row. (Hint: The circle is only visible when the item is selected or when you hover over the item with your mouse.)

Once you've selected your items, you can cut/copy and paste them using the toolbar, or you can drag them to a new location using any selected item's drag bar.

You can scroll through selected items using the up/down arrows on the selection panel, or use the Filter button to hide all non-selected issues. To close the selection panel, click the button on the right.

Adding Folders

You can also add folders to a structure to further organize your issues. To do so, open the Add menu and select Folder.

Once you've named the folder, you can arrange it in the structure and add items beneath it, using the methods described above.

Next Steps

Next we'll look at how to edit issues from within a structure.

Editing Issues in Structure