Jira Checkbox Custom Field Explained

Fields in Jira capture different information about an issue from user input on the issue screen (more on the screens later). Summary, description, due date, and attachments are all examples of fields you’ve probably seen in your Jira instance. You can finetune Jira to your needs by adding more of these, like the custom checkbox field, for example. 

jira checkbox custom field

What are custom fields and screens in Jira?

A custom field is essentially a Jira field you can modify and add to your Jira screens. The screen is essentially the pop-up window that opens when you click a button in Jira. For example, you’ll be looking at the Create Issue screen when you click on the “Create” button, and you’ll be looking at the Edit Issue and View Issue screens when you select to edit or view issues, respectively. This is important because you can have custom fields associated with all of these screens or only a select one. This allows you to input more information when you are creating an issue or to have a mandatory field you’ll need to fill before moving it to the next stage of your workflow. 

How to add a Checkbox to Jira issues?

⚠️ Before we begin, there are three things I’d like to mention:

  1. I’ll be using a company-managed project on a cloud version of Jira for this example. 
  2. You will need admin permissions to add custom fields. 
  3. The checkbox field probably won’t do what most users expect it to. If you are looking for a way to add a Jira Checkbox in the description to serve as a checklist or even a checklist template for things like adding the Definition of Done or Acceptance Criteria – skip to the How to add a checklist section. 

With that out of the way, let’s add a Checkbox custom field.

1. Navigate to Settings (the ⚙️ icon in the top right corner of the screen) and select the issues option.

2. Select the Custom Fields option from the menu on the right.

3. ⚠️ Type in the name of the field you are trying to create into the search box. In our case, it would be the Checkbox field. This initial search is important because it helps you avoid making duplicate fields. You see, Jira works in mysterious ways and chooses not to warn you when you are making a duplicate field. Perhaps it’s just trying to be helpful by keeping you on your toes? Who knows…

If you haven’t found the field you are looking for using search – click on the “Create custom field” button and select the Checkboxes field.

4. Configure your Checkbox field: add the name and checkbox options. Then click the “Create” button.

5. The next part is tricky. Jira will ask you to associate the new field with certain Jira screens. The thing is, custom fields are treated as a global setting, so selecting a screen now will apply your field to every project. It is OK to do so if this is your goal, but you can simply choose to skip this stage and add the custom field to a specific project directly. Click “Cancel” if you’d like to skip this for now. 

6. Go back to your Project Board and click the Project Settings button.

7. Select “Issues” and then “Screens”.

8. Open the Screen Scheme you’d like to add the custom field to. I’ll be adding the checkbox custom field to the Create issue screen for the purposes of this example. 

9. Select the field you’d like to add to the screen from the search box. You can then drag and drop it to rearrange the positions of the fields on the issue screen.

10. You are done. The Checkbox custom field has been added. You can now select one of the multiple options when creating an issue.

How to add a custom field in next gen projects?

Setting up a custom field in a next gen project is a similar process to the one I’ve shown before, but there are several notable alterations.

  • Start by going to your settings (cog icon) > Issues > Custom fields.
  • Select contexts.
  • Use the radio button to apply your custom fields globally, or select the projects you’d like to add them to from the Projects window.
select context for Jira checkbox custom field

Jira Checklist

I can say from my experience that the standard Checkbox field isn’t what most users are looking for when trying to add checkboxes. They’d rather have a Jira checkbox in the comment or description sections of an issue. Unfortunately, Jira simply doesn’t offer this functionality. 

However, there are third-party add-ons that do. 

You can use a Smart Checklist for Jira to add checklists or checklist templates to your issues. This way, you’ll be able to have checklist items with custom statuses, assignees, deadlines, and a fullscreen Markdown editor for customizable formatting. 

Jira checklist

In addition to that, Smart Checklist offers Jira templates functionality for recurring tasks. You can set up your automation in a way where new issues are created with a populated checklist.

Definition of Done checklist template

Moreover, a Jira checklist is integrated with Script Runner, JMWE, and Automation for Jira. What this means is that users can set up their automation in a way where a checklist is added based on the content of an issue and their workflow setup. You’ll also be able to set up validation making sure that issues can’t be moved to a different status unless certain items are checked. 

Checklist automation

How to add a Checklist to Jira issues?

The best part about adding the Smart Checklist add-on to your Jira instance is that the process is as easy as pie and only takes a few minutes. Just keep in mind that you’ll need Jira admin permissions. Alternatively, you can request the app from your local admin.

  1. Find the Smart Checklist add-on on the Atlassian marketplace. Try it for free. 
  2. Add the add-on from the marketplace or start your free trial. 
  3. Choose the instance you’ll be adding the add-on to. 
  4. Click on the button to install the message, and a pop-up will appear stating that Atlassian will inform you once the Smart Checklist is installed. It shouldn’t take longer than a couple of seconds. 
  5. You’ll see the Smart Checklist menu in your ticket once the installation is complete. Use it to add mini “subtasks” to your tasks and subtasks from the ticket, or open up the Markup editor to make your checklists more readable and informative. 

Try Smart Checklist for free!