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View and Modify Work Items in a Direct Links View

You can manage and review changes to your work items more easily by using the direct links view. You can find work items that are associated by links by using the Work Items and Direct Links query. Within the direct links view (Direct Links Query), you can focus on a group of linked work items by expanding or collapsing leaf nodes. In addition, by using Team Explorer, you can use the drag and drop operation to move or copy link relationships.

A direct links view of work items is especially useful when you want to perform the following tasks:

  • Review active tasks grouped by feature area.

  • Assess changes that were made to work items that you do not own but that your work items depend on.

  • Assess changes that were made to dependent work items at a point in time.

  • Manage commitments made to other project teams.

  • Manage cross-group dependencies.

  • Change link relationships by moving or copying a source work item to a target work item.

  • Export the direct links view to Office Excel for bulk updates to column fields.

You can use the direct links view to list work items which are associated using link types that are based on any type of link. The direct links view can only show one level of dependency. To view multiple levels of hierarchical relationships among work items, use the Tree of Work Items query. For more information, see View and Modify Work Items in a Tree View.

In this topic

After your query is defined, you can save it in order to reuse it or share it with other team members. For more information, see Organize and Set Permissions on Work Item Queries.

Required Permissions

To perform these procedures, you must be a member of the Readers group or your View work items in this node permission must be set to Allow. To save a query as a team query, you must have the appropriate permissions set. For more information, see Organize and Set Permissions on Work Item Queries and Team Foundation Server Permissions.

In Team Web Access, you can create a query or open an existing query and change it to a direct links view. You can also expand and collapse nodes within this view.

To create a direct links view query by using Team Web Access

  1. In the Team Web Access quick launch area, click the arrow next to Queries, and then click Add Query New Query.

    NoteNote

    You can also create a public query by clicking the arrow next to Team Queries and then clicking New Team Query.

  2. For the Type of Query, click Work items and Direct Links.

  3. Specify the filter criteria for the first tier of work items:

    1. Click each column in the query clause to fill in the clause. If a column has a list of accepted values, click the arrow to select one from the list. For a description of the available columns, see Query Fields, Operators, Values, and Variables.

    2. To add another clause to the query, click Click to add a new clause, and specify the values for Field, Operator, and Value.

    3. Repeat step 3b to add all the filter criteria that will return the list of work items that you want. Group or ungroup clauses as needed. For more information, see Specify Query Filter Criteria.

    4. On the query toolbar, click Run Query Run, and confirm that the query returned the results that you expected.

    5. Repeat steps 3c and 3d until you get the first tier of work items that you want.

  4. (Optional) To narrow the search more, specify the filter criteria for linked work items by following these steps:

    Filter Criteria for Linked Work Items

    Filter criteria for finding linked work items
    1. Select the Top level work items filter criteria that will additionally filter both the first and second-tier list of work items as follows:

      Only return items that have the specified links: Only first-tier work items are returned that have links to work items specified by the linked work items filter criteria.

      Return all top level work items: All first-tier work items are returned regardless of the linked work items filter criteria. All second-tier work items that are linked to the first tier are returned based on the linked work items filter criteria.

      Only return items that do not have the specified links: Only first-tier work items are returned that do not have links to work items specified by the linked work items filter criteria.

    2. (Optional) Click Types of links, and then select one or more of the available check boxes for the link types to include in your filter criteria.

    3. To add another clause to the query, click Click to add a new clause, and specify the values for Field, Operator, and Value. You must specify In as the Operator value to filter link types that belong to a set, for example Fulfilled by.

    4. On the query toolbar, click Run Query Run, and confirm that your query returned the results that you expected.

    5. Modify the filter criteria that you specified in steps 4a, 4b, or 4c and then repeat step 4d until you get the first and second-tier of work items that you want.

  5. (Optional) Click Column Options Column Options to modify which columns appear in the query results or how the results are sorted.

  6. (Optional) Click Save Save or Save as. For more information, see Save, Copy, Rename, and Delete Work Item Queries.

  7. (Optional) Click Close Editor to close the query editor and focus on the list of work items.

To create a direct links view query by using Team Explorer

  1. In Team Explorer, open your team project, expand the Work Items node, and then select Team Queries or My Queries.

  2. On the Team menu, click Add Query Add Query.

  3. For the Type of Query, click Work Items and Direct Links.

  4. Specify the filter criteria for the top-level or first tier of work items by following these steps:

    1. Click each column in the query clause to fill in the clause. If a column has a list of accepted values, click the arrow to select from the list. For a description of the available columns, see Query Fields, Operators, Values, and Variables.

    2. To add another clause to the query, click Click here to add a new clause, and specify the values for Field, Operator, and Value.

    3. Repeat step 4b to add all the filter criteria that will return the list of work items that you want. Group or ungroup clauses as needed. For more information, see Specify Query Filter Criteria.

    4. On the query toolbar, click Run Query Run, and confirm that your query returned the results that you expected.

    5. Repeat steps 4c and 4d until you get the first tier of work items that you want.

  5. (Optional) To narrow your search more, you can specify the filter criteria for linked work items:

    Filter Criteria for Linked Work Items

    Filter criteria for finding linked work items
    1. Specify the And linked work items that match the query below. Perform the same sequence of steps provided above in step 4.

      To add another clause to the query, click Click to add a new clause, and specify the values for Field, Operator, and Value. Specify In as the Operator value to filter link types that belong to a set, for example Fulfilled by.

    2. Select the Linking Filters that will additionally filter your first-tier list of work items as follows:

      Return all top level work items: All first-tier work items are returned regardless of the linked work items filter criteria. All second-tier work items that are linked to the first tier are returned based on the linked work items filter criteria.

      Only return work items that have the specified links: Only first-tier work items are returned that have links to work items specified by the linked work items filter criteria.

      Only return work items that do not have the specified links: Only first-tier work items are returned that do not have links to work items specified by the linked work items filter criteria.

    3. (Optional) Click Return selected link types, and then select one or more of the available check boxes for the link types to include in your filter criteria.

    4. On the query toolbar, click Run Query Run, and confirm that your query returned the results that you expected.

    5. Modify the filter criteria that you specified in steps 5a, 5b, or 5c and then repeat step 5d until you get the first and second-tier of work items that you want.

  6. (Optional) Click Column Options Column Options to modify which columns appear in your query results. For more information, see Add, Remove, Reorder, and Sort Columns.

  7. (Optional) Click Save Save or Save As. For more information, see Save, Copy, Rename, and Delete Work Item Queries.

  8. (Optional) Click Collapse upper panel Collapse Top Panel to close the query editor and focus on the list of work items.

To change a query to a direct links query by using Team Web Access

  1. In Team Web Access, click the Work Items tab.

  2. Click the arrow next to the query that you want to modify, and then click Edit.

  3. For the Query Type, click Work items and Direct Links.

  4. (Optional) Modify the query.

  5. Click Save Save.

To change a query to a direct links view query by using Team Explorer

  1. In Team Explorer, open your team project, expand the Work Items node, and then select Team Queries or My Queries.

  2. Right-click the query that you want to modify, and then click Edit Query.

  3. For the Type of Query, click Work Items and Direct Links.

  4. (Optional) Modify the query filter criteria.

  5. Click Save Save.

To expand and collapse leaf nodes in a direct links view query

  • In Team Web Access:

    • To collapse a node, click Collapse.

    • To expand a node, click Expand.

  • In Team Explorer:

    • To collapse all nodes, click Collapse all (Collapse All).

    • To collapse a single node, click Collapse.

    • To expand all nodes, click Expand all (Expand All).

    • To expand a single node, click Expand.

To change link relationships of work items in a direct links view by using Team Explorer

  1. In Team Explorer, open a direct links view query.

  2. Modify the query to list the work items that you want.

  3. Change the link associations of work items, by following one of the listed procedures:

    • To move a work item, click a source work item and drag it to a new target work item.

    • To add a new link relationship, click a source work item, press the CTRL or Shift key, and drag it to a new target work item.

    • To delete a linked relationship, open the target work item, click the Links tab, and delete the source work item. For more information, see Create or Delete Relationships Between Work Items.

      Work items whose links have been changed are highlighted in bold and the link icon (Link has been modified) appears in the modification column, which indicates that they have been modified.

  4. Save or discard the changes:

    • To save the modifications, click Save Save Results.

      NoteNote

      If one or more parent work items does not save, open each work item individually and click Save Save Work Item.

    • To discard the changes, click Refresh query Refresh. In the dialog box that opens, click No.

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