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How to Add Custom Fields to Existing Work Items for VSTS

How to Add Custom Fields to Existing Work Items for VSTS

05th Aug, 2016



Visual Studio Team Services is designed for all teams and enables them to track work, share codes and ship software. It provides many tools to support managers, architects, testers, project managers, build and documentation teams and of course developers. The service is available in many languages and It is free for teams of up to 5 users. Additional users would incur a charge. The pricing calculator is available right here.


In this post I’m going to describe one of the latest implemented features from a VSTS process customization that were completed in the first wave. This feature allows users to modify fields of existing work item types.


Step 1: Creating an Inherited Process


This feature enables to extend the work items from any of your processes, such as Agile, Scrum and CMMI and to add your own custom fields to them. Before you can modify the fields on work item types, you will need to create an inherited process.


  1. Navigate to your VSTS admin panel and click on Processes button.
  2. On the selected process click on the three dots to open the drop down menu.
  3. Click on Create inherited process option.


  1. In the Process name field type the Name of your process.
  2. In the Process description field type the Description of your process.
  3. Click on Create Process button.


Step 2: Setting Process Security


You can set security settings for each process by creating, editing and deleting the process. This can be set by team project administrator, who will choose which processes can be inherited from and by whom.


  1. You’ll see your created process in the process tab. Click on the dots to open the drop down menu.
  2. From the drop down Menu choose option Manage processes security to set individual ACL’s for so individual users and groups can edit and delete the process.
  3. In the new window click on the User and on the right side of the window you will have the options for Modification of Permissions.


Step 3: Adding A New Field


  1. Navigate back to the Processes tab in settings area and click on Work Item Types.
  2. Click on Fields under Task section, to add new field to a task.
  3. Click on New Field button.
  4. In new window define the New Fields parameters. In this example, I will add a field for of a task.
  5. Click on Add Field button.

Step 4: Adding custom fields to existing work item


In this step I’m going to show you, how we will add the field that was created in previous steps to a task.


  1. Navigate back to your Board and open a task. In the upper right corner click on the three dots, to open the drop down menu.
  2. From the drop down menu, choose the customize option.

  1. In the new window in the upper left corner choose the process that was created in previous steps .
  2. Navigate to Task and click on it.
  3. From the menu click on Fields.
  4. In the right window scroll down to previous created Field, which has in this case the name . Click on the dots to open the drop down menu.
  5. From the drop down menu click on Edit to define parameters of new field.

  1. In the new window you will have the chance to specify the Definition, Options and Layout. The most important is Layout, so click on that field.
  2. On the right side you will have the chance to define the exact layout of the new filed. You can correct the Label Name and chose the Layout of new Field in task




These new features are really useful and they were implemented to improve user experience and design. In next month’s we can expect even more fantastic work from the VSTS team which should allow users to create custom work item types that can be used on the backlog, to share custom fields between different processes and improvements for custom states. I’m sure that we can expect some other great features too.