Link Controls, Restrictions, and Field Reference

This topic describes the controls and data fields that are associated with creating links and hyperlinks. You create relationships between work items through the Implementation, Links, All Links and Test Cases tabs on the forms for work items.

For more information about how to use links, see Choose Link Types to Effectively Track Your Project. For more information about how to create links, see Link work items and objects to support traceability.

Each tab provides a toolbar, which contains the buttons that the following illustration shows. The links control toolbar for Team Web Access provides a subset of these controls.

Links control toolbar (Team Explorer)

Work item form link toolbar controls

The following buttons become available only after you perform a specific action:

  • The button to create a work item that is linked to the open work item (Add New Linked Work Item) becomes available only after you save the open work item.

  • The buttons to open the list of work items in a query (Open in Query) and Open in Office Open in Microsoft Office become available only when at least one work item is listed in the links control tab.

  • The buttons to open a work item (Open Work Item), edit a link (Edit link), and delete a link (Delete link) become available only after you click one or more work items listed in the links control tab.

The Storyboards links control restricts users to add links only to storyboards or network shared files. With this control, you can add a new link, open a linked item, and delete a link. Also, only the Team Web Access version displays the Start Storyboarding link within the toolbar.

Storyboards links control (Team Web Access)

Storyboard links control in Team Web Access

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All tabs that support creating links between work items are implemented by using the LinksControl element on the work item form. This element controls filtering and restricting the types of work items to which you can link, the types of links that you can create, and whether you can link to work items in another team project. For more information about how to restrict links, see LinksControlOptions Elements.

The following table summarizes the link control restrictions defined for the Scrum process template. For descriptions of the work item types, see Scrum Process Template for Visual Studio ALM.

Tab name

Work item type

Link restrictions

All Links

Feedback Request

Feedback Response

  • No restrictions.

Links

Product Backlog Item

Bug

Impediment

Shared steps

Task

Test Case

  • No restrictions.

Links

Code Review Request

  • Allows only Parent and Child links to Code Review Response work items.

  • Excludes links to work items in other team projects.

Stories

Feedback Response

  • Allows only Related links.

  • Allows links to Bug and Product Backlog Items.

  • Excludes links to work items in other team projects.

Storyboards

Product Backlog Item

  • Allows only Storyboard links.

Tasks

Product Backlog Item

  • Allows only Child links to Tasks.

  • Excludes links to work items in other team projects.

Test Cases

Product Backlog Item

Bug

  • Allows only Tested By links.

  • Allows links only to test cases.

  • Excludes links to work items in other team projects.

Tested Backlog Items

Test case

  • Allows only Tests links.

  • Allows links to Bug and Product Backlog Items.

  • Excludes links to work items in other team projects.

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The following table summarizes the link control restrictions defined for Agile process template. For descriptions of the work item types, see Work Items and Workflow (Agile).

Tab name

Work item type

Link restrictions

All Links

User story

Bug

Feedback Request

Task

Test Case

  • No restrictions.

Implementation

User story

Task

  • Allows only Parent and Child links between user stories and tasks.

  • Excludes links to work items in other team projects.

Links

Issue

Shared steps

  • No restrictions.

Links

Code Review Request

  • Allows only Parent and Child links to Code Review Response work items.

  • Excludes links to work items in other team projects.

Stories

Feedback Response

  • Allows only Related links to user stories.

  • Excludes links to work items in other team projects.

Storyboards

User Story

  • Allows only Storyboard links.

Test Cases

User story

Bug

  • Allows only Tested By links.

  • Allows links only to test cases.

  • Excludes links to work items in other team projects.

Tested User Stories

Test case

  • Allows only Tests links.

  • Allows links only to user stories.

  • Excludes links to work items in other team projects.

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The following table summarizes the link control restrictions defined for the CMMI process template. For descriptions of the work item types, see Work Items and Workflow (CMMI).

Tab name

Work item type

Link restrictions

All Links

Requirement

Bug

Change Request

Feedback Request

Issue

Review

Risk

Shared Steps

Task

Test Case

  • No restrictions.

Implementation

Task

  • Allows only Parent and Child links between requirements and tasks.

  • Excludes links to work items in other team projects.

Links

Code Review Request

  • Allows only Parent and Child links to Code Review Response work items.

  • Excludes links to work items in other team projects.

Stories

Feedback Response

  • Allows only Related links to requirements.

  • Excludes links to work items in other team projects.

Storyboards

Requirement

  • Allows only Storyboard links.

Test Cases

Requirement

Bug

  • Allows only Tested By links.

  • Allows links only to test cases.

  • Excludes links to work items in other team projects.

Tested Requirements

Test case

  • Allows only Tests links.

  • Allows links only to requirements.

  • Excludes links to work items in other team projects.

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All lists of links display the following data fields:

  • Work item ID

  • Work Item Type

  • Title

  • Assigned to

  • State

  • [Link Comment]

You can add or remove columns from the list of links, and you can customize the default columns and the column order. For more information, see LinksControlOptions Elements.

For more information about these fields, see Titles, IDs, Descriptions, and History Field Reference and Assignments and Workflow Field Reference.

The following table describes the [Link Comment] data field. For information about data types and default field values, see Working with Work Item Fields.

Field Name

Description

Reference Name

Data Type

Default Value for the Reportable Type Attribute

Default Value for the Index Attribute

Link Comment

Contains comments from the team member who created the link. You can configure this attribute field to appear as a column in a list of links on a work item form.

System.Links.Comment

PlainText

None

False

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The following table lists fields that do not appear on the work item forms but that are tracked for each type of work item when you link them. You can use these fields to filter queries and create reports.

Field Name

Description

Reference Name

Data Type

Default Value for the Reportable Type Attribute

Default Value for the Index Attribute

External Link Count

The number of links from the work item to artifacts that are not work items and that are registered through the Team Foundation Linking Service. For more information, see this topic on the Microsoft Web site: Linking Service.

System.ExternalLinkCount

Integer

None

False

Hyperlink Count

The number of hyperlinks that are defined for the work item.

System.HyperLinkCount

Integer

None

False

Related Link Count

The number of links from the work item to other work items.

System.RelatedLinkCount

Integer

None

False

Link Description

Contains the work item type, ID, and title of the work item that is the target of the link. You can configure this link attribute field to appear as a column in a list of links on a work item form.

System.Links.Description

PlainText

None

False

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The following table lists the reports defined within the default process templates that TFS provides that require you to create links between specific work items.

Process template

Report

Link requirements

Agile

Stories Overview Report (Agile)

Stories Progress Report (Agile)

You must create links between user stories and tasks and between user stories and test cases.

CMMI

Requirements Overview Report (CMMI)

Requirements Progress Report (CMMI)

You must create links between requirements and tasks and between requirements and test cases.

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