Illustrate a story by adding rich text and images

To improve the readability of your work items and convey detailed information, you can format text and insert images inline within their description and history fields, or within any field of type HTML. You can use this feature to capture information within a work item that you might previously have attached as a file.


The formatting toolbar appears above each text box that can be formatted. The set of text boxes that support text formatting varies depending on the work item type. You can format text and insert images inline using Team Explorer or Team Web Access. The specific set of formatting features differs between the two clients. For example, using Team Explorer you can choose the font, font size, and text and background colors in addition to applying formats of bold, italics, underline, lists, and hyperlinks that are available with Team Web Access.

You can copy and paste HTML text or an image from another application directly into the text box using Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V shortcuts.

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Required Permissions

You must be a member of a team. By default, all team members are members of the Contributors group for the team project. Alternatively, you must have the Edit work items in this node permission set to Allow for the team project for which the work items are defined. Your license must also belong to the group that allows the use of the Team features. For more information, see Change permission levels.

You can format text in specific fields, such as the Description, Accepted Criteria, and History.

Formatting toolbar

Formatting toolbar

To format text in a work item

  1. Open the work item that contains the text that you want to format.

  2. Select the text that you want to format.

  3. On the Formatting toolbar for the field, choose the text formatting tool that you want to use. You can also use the following shortcut keys to format your text:

    • Bold - Ctrl+B

    • Italic - Ctrl+I

    • Underline - Ctrl+U

    • Hyperlink - Ctrl+K

You can copy and paste an image into an HTML field, or you can insert an image that is saved to a directory.

To add an image

  1. In an open work item, choose the Insert Image Insert Image icon with the HTML field where you want to add the image.

  2. In the Insert Image dialog box, choose the Browse button, select the image that you want to insert, and then choose the Open button.

  3. Choose the OK button.

  4. Choose the Save Save Work Item icon.