Issues (CORE)

Issues are the fundamental medium for collaborating on ideas and planning work in GitLab.


The GitLab issue tracker is an advanced tool for collaboratively developing ideas, solving problems, and planning work.

Issues can allow sharing and discussion of proposals before, and during, their implementation between:

  • You and your team.
  • Outside collaborators.

They can also be used for a variety of other purposes, customized to your needs and workflow.

Issues are always associated with a specific project. If you have multiple projects in a group, you can view all of the issues collectively at the group level.

Common use cases include:

  • Discussing the implementation of a new idea
  • Tracking tasks and work status
  • Accepting feature proposals, questions, support requests, or bug reports
  • Elaborating on new code implementations

See also Always start a discussion with an issue.

To learn how our Strategic Marketing department uses GitLab issues with labels and issue boards, see the video on Managing Commitments with Issues.

Parts of an issue

Issues contain a variety of content and metadata, enabling a large range of flexibility in how they are used. Each issue can contain the following attributes, though not all items must be set.

  • Content
    • Title
    • Description and tasks
    • Comments and other activity
  • People
    • Author
    • Assignee(s)
  • State
    • State (open or closed)
    • Health status (on track, needs attention, or at risk)
    • Confidentiality
    • Tasks (completed vs. outstanding)
  • Planning and tracking
    • Milestone
    • Due date
    • Weight
    • Time tracking
    • Labels
    • Votes
    • Reaction emoji
    • Linked issues
    • Assigned epic
    • Unique issue number and URL

Viewing and managing issues

While you can view and manage details of an issue on the issue page, you can also work with multiple issues at a time using:

Key actions for issues include:

Issue page

Issue view

On an issue's page, you can view all aspects of the issue, and modify them if you have the necessary permissions.

Real-time sidebar (CORE ONLY)

Assignees in the sidebar are updated in real time. This feature is disabled by default. To enable, you need to enable ActionCable in-app mode.

Issues List

Project Issues List view

On the Issues List, you can:

  • View all issues in a project when opening the Issues List from a project context.
  • View all issues in a groups's projects when opening the Issues List from a group context.

You can filter the Issues List with a search query, including specific metadata, such as labels, assignees, status, and more. From this view, you can also make certain changes in bulk to the displayed issues.

For more information, see the Issue Data and Actions page for a rundown of all the fields and information in an issue.

You can sort a list of issues in several ways, for example by issue creation date, milestone due date. For more information, see the Sorting and Ordering Issue Lists page.

Issue boards

Issue board

Issue boards are Kanban boards with columns that display issues based on their labels or their assignees**(PREMIUM)**. They offer the flexibility to manage issues using highly customizable workflows.

You can reorder issues in the column. If you drag an issue card to another column, its associated label or assignee is changed to match that of the new column. The entire board can also be filtered to only include issues from a certain milestone or an overarching label.

Design Management

With Design Management, you can upload design assets to issues and view them all together for sharing and collaboration with your team.


Epics let you manage your portfolio of projects more efficiently and with less effort. Epics track groups of issues that share a theme, across projects and milestones.

Related issues

You can mark two issues as related, so that when viewing one, the other is always listed in its Related Issues section. This can help display important context, such as past work, dependencies, or duplicates.

Users on GitLab Starter, GitLab Bronze, and higher tiers, can also mark issues as blocking or blocked by another issue.

Crosslinking issues

You can cross-link issues by referencing an issue from another issue or merge request by including its URL or ID. The referenced issue displays a message in the Activity stream about the reference, with a link to the other issue or MR.

Similar issues

Introduced in GitLab 11.6.

To prevent duplication of issues for the same topic, GitLab searches for similar issues when new issues are being created.

As you type in the title field of the New Issue page, GitLab searches titles and descriptions across all issues to in the current project. Only issues you have access to are returned. Up to five similar issues, sorted by most recently updated, are displayed below the title box. GraphQL must be enabled to use this feature.

Similar issues

Health status (ULTIMATE)

To help you track issue statuses, you can assign a status to each issue. This marks issues as progressing as planned or needs attention to keep on schedule:

  • On track (green)
  • Needs attention (amber)
  • At risk (red)

"On track" health status on an issue

After an issue is closed, its health status can't be edited and the "Edit" button becomes disabled until the issue is reopened.

You can then see issue statuses in the issue list and the Epic tree.

Other Issue actions