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Managing Work Items Using Microsoft Excel Bound to Team Foundation Server

You can use Microsoft Excel to manage and track Team Foundation work items and especially to modify many work items at a time. When you install Team Explorer, you also install the add-ins to Microsoft Excel that integrate it with Team Foundation Server.

You can use Microsoft Excel to perform any of the following tasks:

  • Create work items and add them to Team Foundation Server

  • Make the same change to many work items at the same time, a process known as a bulk edit

  • View and modify a work breakdown structure or a tree list

  • View metrics or roll-ups of key performance indicators that reference Team Foundation data

Creating Work Item Lists

You can manage work items in Microsoft Excel in either of the following sequences:

  • Start your work from Team Explorer or Team Web Access.

    1. Create a work item query in Team Explorer or in Team Web Access. 

      Important noteImportant

      For you to make updates and publish changes back to Team Foundation, Team Explorer must be installed and running on your client computer. It is possible for you to export work items using Team Web Access, however, if Team Explorer is not installed and running, the add-ins to Office Excel that integrate it with Team Foundation Server will not be available.

    2. Open your results in Office Excel.

    Open Query Results in Office Excel
  • Start your work from Microsoft Excel.

    1. Open Microsoft Excel.

    2. Connect to Team Foundation Server.

    3. Import Work Items.

    Add, Modify, and Publish Work Items

Common tasks

Supporting content

Add work items to Team Foundation. You can define a flat list of work items in Microsoft Excel and then publish it to Team Foundation Server. New work items and changes made to existing work items must be uploaded to Team Foundation Server for the changes to be registered in the Team Foundation database. The process of uploading changes is referred to as publishing.

Perform top-down planning. You can create a hierarchical tree list of requirements, features, and tasks and add them as work items to Team Foundation.

Perform a bulk edit of existing work items. You can use Microsoft Excel to add many new work items, modify them, link them to each other and to other items, and publish them to the work item database. 

Redefine a tree structure. You can export a list of work items from a tree query and then modify the structure of the tree and publish the changes back to the database.

Refresh work item data. When you refresh work item data, you retrieve updates made to the work items in the list since the last time you refreshed or published the data. Depending on how the list is configured, the set of work items in the list may change.

Change the list structure or way the list is refreshed. You can use different types of lists to accomplish different tasks. You can convert the list type and refresh the work items and data in the list as needed.

Related tasks

Supporting content

Create work item queries. The quickest way to generate a work item list is with a work item query. You can use work item queries to generate a work item list that contains work items that you want to analyze, augment or modify, and to generate a list of work items for which you want to create links.

Schedule and assign work item tasks. You can use the scheduling and planning tools in Microsoft Project to create, modify, and update a subset of tasks that are stored in the Team Foundation database.

Work offline in Office Excel. After you create a work item list, you can continue to work even when your computer is not connected to the network. When you reconnect the computer to the network, you can reconnect the work item list to Team Foundation Server to publish work item changes and to refresh the work item list.

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