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How to Detect Issues in Jira With Jira Query Language (JQL)

Marcel Deer - Writer for Unleash
By Marcel Deer
Michelle Meyer - Editor for Unleash
Reviewed by Michelle Meyer

Published August 19, 2022.

How to Detect Issues in Jira With Jira Query Language (JQL)

JQL means "Jira Query Language", a robust and flexible query language made for Jira. Creating filters in Jira that use data (fields, operators, values, keywords, and functions) can save you hours.

Despite its advantages, JQL intimidates many non-technical users, but you can ease into it with a little help.

Basic & Advanced Search in Jira

Basic Search presents you with a set of forms you can fill to narrow down your results, such as Project Name, Issue Type, Status, and Assignee. While it's simple to use and quick to fill out, the existing forms are limited.

Advanced Search JQL lets you do a bit more since you can create your own JQL queries (a series of simple elements strung together to form a more complex question).

Essential JQL Syntax

A JQL query consists of these essential parts:

  • Field: A piece of information that identifies an issue. For example, priority, issue type, epic tag, project, and fix version.
  • Operator: Expresses how your field is related to your value. It includes mathematical symbols like equal (=), does not equal (!=), greater than (>), greater than equals (>=), and less than (<) to represent logical comparisons.
  • Value: User-defined data points in your searches that can be used to generate a list of issues by comparing them against a field. For example, the Priority field could have either of the following values: urgent, high, medium, or low.
  • Keyword: Specific word(s) that performs actions in JQL. It can combine two or more words or affect the logic of a clause such as "AND", "OR", and "IS".

Combining these elements allows you to develop logical clauses to pinpoint specific sets or individual issues.

How to Search for Issues in Jira with JQL

  • From the navigation bar, select Filters.
  • Click on Advanced Search.
  • If Basic Search is displayed instead of Advanced Search, click Advanced next to the icon. If enabled, Switch to basic should appear next to Search.
  • Type in your JQL query. When you start, Jira will indicate if it's valid with a green checkmark and a red X for an invalid search. It will also offer a list of predictive suggestions based on the context of your query.
  • Click Enter on your keyboard or click Search to run your query. The issue navigator will reveal the results of your search.

When you start using Jira, you'll notice many search boxes used to search different parts of the software. That is why a Jira search can be frustrating for new users.

Moving issues between Jira projects is also allowed. All you have to do is access the "issues view screen", click the three-dot "Settings" option, and select "move" from the drop-down menu. You then pick the project you want to assign the task to.

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