How to manage dependent data in Jira

I’d like to make one field dependent on the data in another field. How do I do that in Jira?


Basic Example

In addition to single or multi-select lists, Jira also a cascading selection type.

Types of selection fields

The cascading field type has two drop down menus. The options in the second menu are determined by the selection in the first menu.

This field works well for grouping work by two levels like category and sub-category. Sometimes this field is useful and other times, two separate fields are used instead. It all depends on whether one selection must be dependent on another and your reporting needs.

Here’s another view of the same cascading field from the example above. This how it looks when you edit it in Cloud.  The first selection is on the top and the second selection is on the bottom.


I find cascading select fields hard for end users to query. The JQL for this field type is a little daunting. Here’s the format to use and an example in Cloud.

JQL format:
customfield in cascadeOption(parentOption,childOption)

JQL example:
“Operational categorization[Select List (cascading)]”
in cascadeOption(“Server Change”,”Storage”)

Use this to query the standard field called “Operational categorization” in Jira Service Management.

Advanced Example

Another method to limit selections is using the Jira Miscellaneous Workflow Extensions app from the Atlassian Marketplace. Here’s an advanced use case I built for one of my Jira Server clients.

The client wanted to better classify the type of support they provide for internal applications. They wanted to limit the selections in a drop-down field based on component selection.

For example, if the component is “Microsoft Excel” allow “Functional” and “Technical” as support selections but not “Security”. In the screenshot, “Security” was selected, so an error message is displayed at the top of the overlay.

This was easy to do with Jira Miscellaneous Workflow Extensions. I added a “Build your own” scripted validator, to a workflow transition, and used a little bit of code to limit the custom field selections.

Custom scripted workflow validator

For additional help with fields and related topics, take my Jira: Advanced Administration course on LinkedIn Learning. Not a member yet? Start your 30 day LinkedIn Learning free trial

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Author: Rachel Wright

Rachel Wright is an entrepreneur, Certified JIRA Administrator, and author of the JIRA Strategy Admin Workbook. She started using JIRA in 2011, became a JIRA administrator in 2013, and was certified in 2016. She is the owner and founder of Industry Templates, LLC, which helps companies grow, get organized, and develop their processes.

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