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Email URL links to TFS work items and queries

To share the details of one or more work items, you can email a link to a query, a table-formatted list of linked work items, or a single work item. You can perform these tasks from Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS), the web portal for Team Foundation Server (TSF), or Team Explorer.

If you’re working from the Team Explorer plug-in for Eclipse, you’ll need to open the web portal to access these features.

Each of the first three options requires you to first create or run a work item query.

You can also use any text editor to compose a message, and you can build a hyperlink to a work item and post the hyperlink on a Web page or send in an email message.

With this option, you capture a URL of a query written using the work item query language (WIQL). You can capture this query for any saved or unsaved query.

  1. Open the queries page, display the query of interest, and choose Copy query URL.

    Copy query URL


    If you don’t see the Copy query URL option, open the Editor view.

  2. Paste the URL into an email to share. Opening the query requires users to have read access to the team project.

To learn more about WIQL, see Query for Bugs, Tasks, and Other Work Items.

With this option, you can copy an HTML formatted table of selected items in a query result list. You can then email this list using your choice of email client.

  1. Open a web browser and display a query results list.

  2. Select an item or highlight several items and choose Copy as HTML.

    Copy as HTML selected work items


    The formatted table contains a link to each work item included in your selected results list.

  3. Paste the contents of the clipboard into your email client. To open a linked work item, requires users to have read access to the team project or area node for those work items.

To use this option, your TFS administrator must have configured an SMTP server for TFS. For VSTS users, your selected query results are emailed from the account.

  1. Display a query results list.

  2. From the web portal, select an item or highlight several items and choose Email selected work items from the context menu.

    Email selected work items


    Or, from Team Explorer (Visual Studio), choose Send Query to Microsoft Outlook. This option requires that you configure Office Outlook on your client computer.

    Email query results list
  3. On the To line, type the user name(s) of valid users (ones who have access to the team project).

    Send query by email (TWA)

Open the work item in your web browser and choose Email work item.

From Visual Studio or Team Explorer, choose Send work item to Microsoft Outlook. This option requires that you configure Office Outlook on your client computer.

From the web portal, open the work item and right-click the link ID to copy the shortcut.

Copy shortcut link to a work item

From Team Explorer, open the shortcut menu from the open work item to copy the full path.

Email a hyperlink for a work item


The hyperlink you copy opens the work item in the web portal.

A: Define a link that conforms to the following syntax:


   Example: https://fabrikam/DefaultCollection/Phone%20Saver/_workitems/edit/133

For on-premises TFS:


   Example: http://fabrikamprime:8080/tfs/DefaultCollection/Phone%20Saver/_workitems/edit/133


  • AccountName specifies the name of the VSTS account.

  • ServerName specifies the name of the server that is running Team Foundation Server.

  • Port specifies the port that Team Foundation Server uses. The default value is 8080.

  • CollectionName specifies the name of the team project collection.

  • TeamProjectName specifies the name of the team project.

  • WorkItemNumber specifies the ID of the bug, task, or other work item to which you want to link.

A: Yes. You can permanently remove work items from the TFS database by using the witadmin destroywi command. Work items whose state is set to Closed, Done, or Removed remain in the database and can be reactivated. Permanently removed work items can’t be restored nor reactivated.