View History and Find Work Items Using the History Field

View History and Find Work Items Using the History Field

The history of a work item tells you who opened the item, what changed, and why. This information helps you track how an item changes over time. When you specify history, provide as much information as possible to help the next work item owner understand what has happened and what they have to do.


This procedure is based on the work item types for Microsoft Solutions Framework (MSF) process templates that are included with Visual Studio Application Lifecycle Management (ALM). If your team project is using a different process, this procedure may not apply to your work items, and you might have to refer to the custom help that was created for the process that you are using. For more information, see Providing Process Guidance to Your Team.

You can use either Team Explorer or Team Web Access to view the history of a work item or find work items based on the contents of the History field. When you perform a search on the contents of the History field, it returns only work items that have changes recorded in that field. That is, it does not register changes that were made to text in other fields.

Required Permissions

To perform these procedures, you must be a member of the Readers group or your View work items in this node permission must be set to Allow. For more information, see Team Foundation Server Permissions.

To view the history of work items

  1. Open an existing work item, and then click the Details tab.

    This tab contains the Description and History fields.

  2. Under History, view the history of the work item.

  3. To show or hide the details of a history entry, click the plus or minus sign.

  4. To show or hide the fields that changed for a history entry, click Show Changed Fields.

To find work items based on the contents of the History field

  1. Open a query, and add a query clause.

  2. In the History list, click Field, and, in the Contains list, click Operator.

  3. In Value, type the complete word or phrase that is specified in the History fields of those work items that you want to find.


    Some fields, such as History and Description, do not support partial-word text searches. For example, if the History field contains the phrase reproducible behavior and you search for History:repro, the work item will not be found. However, if you search for the complete string History:reproducible, the work item will be found. You can also search for the string with a wild card, such as History:repro*.

    Also, common words are ignored. The search engine ignores words that are defined as stopwords. For more information, see the following page on the Microsoft Web site: Stopwords and Stoplists.

  4. On the query toolbar, click Run Query Run, and confirm that your query returned the results that you expected.

    If you do not receive the results that you wanted, adjust the word or phrase that you entered, and run the query again.

Community Additions

© 2016 Microsoft