Manage link types [witadmin]

Similar to work item types, you can define and modify custom link types. However, you can't make any changes to system-defined link types. Before you add a new link type to your team project collection, review the link types available for your use. See Link work items to support traceability.

You manage the link types defined for a team project collection by using the following witadmin commands:

  • deactivatelinktype:  Deactivates the specified link type. Users will no longer be able to create links of this type. Existing links of this type will continue to function correctly.

  • deletelinktype:  Permanently removes the specified link type from the database. All links defined with this link type are also removed.

  • exportlinktype:  Exports the definitions of link types. You can export the definition of a single link type or all link types defined for the server.

  • importlinktype:  Imports the definitions of link types from an XML file. If a link type with the same reference name already exists, it will be updated to match the imported link type. If the link type does not already exist, a new link type will be created.

  • listlinktypes:  Lists the available set of link types on a server.

  • reactivatelinktype: Reactivates the specified link type, and optionally assigns it a new name.

To run the witadmin command-line tool, open a Command Prompt window where either Visual Studio or Team Explorer is installed and enter:

cd %programfiles(x86)%\Microsoft Visual Studio 12.0\Common7\IDE

On a 32-bit edition of Windows, replace %programfiles(x86)% with %programfiles%.


For the team project collection where the link types are defined, you must have the following permissions set:

  • To list or export link types, you must have your View project-level information permission for a team project in the collection set to Allow.

  • To delete, import, or reactive link types, you must be a member of the Project Collection Administrators security group or have your Manage work item link types permission set to Allow.

For more information, see Permission reference for Team Foundation Server.


Even if you log on with administrative permissions, you must open an elevated Command Prompt window to perform this function on a server that is running Windows Server 2008. To open an elevated Command Prompt window, choose Start, open the Command Prompt shortcut menu, and then choose Run as Administrator. For more information, see the Microsoft Web site: User Access Control.

witadmin deactivatelinktype /collection:CollectionURL /n:LinkName
witadmin deletelinktype /collection:CollectionURL /n:LinkName [/noprompt]
witadmin exportlinktype /collection:CollectionURL [/n:LinkName] [/f:FileName] [/e:Encoding] 
witadmin importlinktype /collection:CollectionURL /f:FileName [/e:Encoding] [/v]
witadmin listlinktypes /collection:CollectionURL
witadmin reactivatelinktype /collection:CollectionURL /n:LinkName




Specifies the URI of the team project collection. The format for the URI is the following: http://ServerName:Port/VirtualDirectoryName/CollectionName

For example:


If a virtual directory is not used, then the format for the URI is the following:


/n: LinkName

The name or the reference name of the link type to deactivate or delete.

/f: FileName

The XML file of link types. Required for import, optional for export. If you omit this parameter, the command output appears on the display.

/e: encoding

The name of a .NET Framework 2.0 encoding format. The specified encoding will be used to export or import the XML data. For example, /e:utf-7 specifies Unicode (UTF-7) encoding. If you omit this parameter, witadmin attempts to detect the encoding, and if detection fails, witadmin uses UTF-8.


Validates the link type XML without importing it.


Disables the prompt for confirmation.

/? or help

Displays help about the command in the Command Prompt window.

For the structure of the link type definition schema, see Link type element reference.

For information about how you can restrict the types of link relationships that team members can make, see Link controls, restrictions, and field reference and LinksControlOptions Elements.

Unless otherwise specified, the following values apply in each example:

  • URI for the team project collection: http://AdventureWorksServer:8080/tfs/DefaultCollection

  • Server name: AdventureWorksServer

  • Input or output file name: myLinkTypes.xml

  • Link type name: mylinktype

  • Default encoding: UTF-8

The following command displays the custom link types defined for Team Foundation AdventureWorksServer.  

witadmin listlinktypes /collection:http://AdventureWorksServer:8080/tfs/DefaultCollection

The following example displays the definition of the link type in the Command Prompt window:

witadmin exportlinktype /collection:http://AdventureWorksServer:8080/tfs/DefaultCollection

The following examples deactivate the link type, mylinktype, and then reactivate it:

witadmin deactivatelinktype /collection:http://AdventureWorksServer:8080/tfs/DefaultCollection /n:mylinktype
witadmin activatelinktype /collection:http://AdventureWorksServer:8080/tfs/DefaultCollection /n:mylinktype

The following command exports the definition of all link types to the file, mylinktype.xml:

witadmin exportlinktype /collection:http://AdventureWorksServer:8080/tfs/DefaultCollection /f:mylinktype.xml

The following example imports the definition of the link types defined in the XML file:

witadmin importlinktype /collection:http://AdventureWorksServer:8080/tfs/DefaultCollection /f:mylinktype.xml