Create Multiple Subtasks in Jira (Or Use Something Better)

Something as simple as baking a cake involves many steps such as finding a recipe, shopping for ingredients, following the instructions when mixing them together, etc. These steps are what one may call tasks and subtasks – individual efforts aimed at achieving a delicious result.

Unfortunately, most software projects are quite more complex than casual pastry baking. And project managers need to create way more tasks and subtasks. Often, creating them in bulk would be much more convenient and time-efficient.

How to create multiple subtasks in Jira?

For starters, you’ll need to enable subtasks in your Jira instance before you can create them in bulk. Go to your Project Settings ⚙️, click on the issues option, and then select the sub-tasks menu from the sidebar.

Once the subtasks are enabled, you can create a subtask issue type (if you need one). Click on the ‘add sub-task issue type’ button in the top right corner of your screen, and fill in the name and description fields in the pop-up.

Note: creating a separate Jira subtask issue type is not necessary, but it is quite helpful later on. For instance, you might have a need to delete or move subtasks in bulk. Doing so by selecting the appropriate issue type is much simpler.

Once you are all set, pick a parent issue – the issue you’d like to break down into subtasks and click on the create a subtask button under the issue description. Depending on your project and settings, you can do this from the board view as well.

That said, adding the subtasks one by one is hardly an option if there’s a lot of ground you need to cover.

Moreover, most users need additional functionality, like the ability to add custom fields or importing the field and the data from a different source. The barebones functionality of Jira simply won’t cut it.

Multiple subtasks alternative for Jira

There are certain automation options that can accelerate the speed with which you are adding subtasks.

  1. Script Runner: ScriptRunner is a powerful plug-in that does exactly what the name suggests. It is an irreplaceable tool in the Jira automation toolbox. And, sure enough, it has a built-in script for creating subtasks.
  2. Subtasks add-ons such as Create Multiple Subtasks for Jira: This add-on opens a window that lets you create custom subtasks and populate their fields with custom data. You will be adding subtasks via typing in the text in a custom window, so please make sure you are aware of the formatting. The plug-in allows you to create templates for frequently used subtasks such as code review.
  3. Smart Checklist for Jira: A checklist add-on is perhaps the most elegant workaround. A checklist item has almost everything you may need from a Jira subtask like tags, deadlines, custom statuses, and some context in the description. You can view the progress on a parent issue with a checklist at a glance from both inside the ticket and the board view. And, at the same time, all of the checklist items are maintained in the same parent ticket which means less maintenance and fewer abandoned subtasks. 
The checklist below illustrates the abilities of the workaround. As you can see, there’s room for sharing details or links; you can set custom statuses, tag people, and set deadlines. The progress is visible at a glance from the progress bar. 

Quick FAQ

Q: What are subtasks?

A: A subtask is a sub-ticket to a parent issue in Jira. This tool is used for either splitting a complex issue into several smaller parts or for assigning different parts of the workload to different people.

Q: What is the maximum number of subtasks for one issue?

A: Technically there is no limit to the number of subtasks you may have in one Jira issue. That said, a higher number of subtasks is more challenging to manage than it is advantageous. Tracking work becomes a chore. I’d suggest breaking up the parent issue if it involves too high of a number of subtasks.

Q: How do I create multiple subtasks in Jira?

A: You can use one of the add-ons I’ve mentioned above.

Q: How do I delete multiple subtasks in Jira?

A: Go to issues >> issue types >> subtasks >> select the relevant issue type and click Delete.

Q: How do I move multiple subtasks in Jira

A: If you have the necessary permissions, you will see the option to bulk update. You’ll need to find it by opening the … menu next to the share and export buttons. From there, you’ll need to change the parent ticket (the latter of the three options at your disposal).

Q: How do I close multiple subtasks in Jira?

A:  While there is no option to close multiple subtasks directly, you can use the bulk edit feature to move them through your workflow to the stage where tickets are considered closed.

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