Creating plan views

A plan view is a cohesive unit representing the view, group, sort, filter, bars, custom columns, and color support. You can use plan views to group work items. For example, you can group work items to view in tree style, group by Owner, sort by Priority, filter out Resolved items, add Status column, and color high priority work items.

About this task

When you create a plan view, you can either create a new view with minimal settings, or duplicate the settings of an existing view. You create plan views from the Planned Items tab of a plan:


  1. In the web client, open a plan and click the Planned Items tab.
  2. To create a plan view, use one of the following methods:
    • Create a view with minimal settings: Click the arrow next to the Edit Plan View icon (Edit Plan View); then, select Create View (Create View).
    • Duplicate the current view: Click the arrow next to the Edit Plan View icon (Edit Plan View); then, click Duplicate view name View (Duplicate View), where view name is the name of the current view.
    • Duplicate a view that is in a different plan: Click the arrow next to the Edit Plan View icon (Edit Plan View); then, click the Copy From Another Plan icon (Copy From Another Plan). This action opens a dialog box where you can select a different plan and then click a view from within that plan.
  3. Type a name for the view.
  4. In the Display field, choose to display the plan view as a flat view, Kanban board, taskboard, or tree.
  5. On the Options tab, click the arrow next to the More icon (More), and choose one or more of the plan view options.
    Learn more about plan view options:

    Plan view options

    A plan can have many display configurations that change the way work items are presented. When you create a plan view or modify an existing plan view, you can choose to use one or more plan view options.

    • Bars: Display a status bar for each group based on Load, Progress (Hours), or Progress (Size). Load bars work only when grouped by owner or when the planned time is enabled. For progress bars, you can choose between progress based on hours or complexity.
      Note: You must first configure groups for bars to display.
      Work item group with Bar view.
    • Colors: Assign colors to specific query expressions to highlight aspects of work items. Expressions must follow the syntax of attribute:value, where the colon means equals, so that the attribute has the exact value in the expression.
      Note: The attribute portion of the expression is case-sensitive.

      To select a color, click the arrow next to Colors. To change the Colors label, click the label and type a new label.

      For example, to identify work items with a priority set to high, type priority:high in the field. Work items with a priority of High are colorized:

      High-priority work item

      Here is the same work item in a taskboard:

      Colorized work item in a Taskboard

      You can use multiple conditions for different attributes to colorize work items that match all of the conditions. For example, if the expressions are priority:medium and severity:major, the work items that have both a priority of medium and a severity of major are colorized.
      Note: If you use multiple conditions for the same attribute and both conditions are matched, the work items that match the first condition are highlighted. For example, if the expression is priority:high priority:low, the work items with priority set to high are colorized.
      Note: For the Colors option, the search argument after a parameter contains English content by default. If you are using a language other than English, you must replace the English defaults with the target language for the colors to be effective. For example, if you select type:Defect, the word Defect must be in the target language.
    • Display: Use these views to display work items in a flat list, as a Kanban board or taskboard, or in a tree.
      • Flat: This view lists all work items.
      • Taskboard: This view gives a visual representation of work items. You can organize work items by dragging the cards across columns.
      • Kanban: This view is similar to the taskboard, but you can also set limits to the number of work items in each column. For more information, see Viewing work items with the Kanban board.
      • Tree: This view displays the hierarchical relationship of work items in a plan. Select a relationship from the list, where the first variable identifies the main node and the second variable identifies the subitems of that node. In the Include children from other plans field, choose the levels of outplaced children (work items that are not part of the plan) that display under the parent work item. To display all outplaced children of the parent work item, choose Any depth.
        Note: Consider the following points when you view a plan in a tree view showing the Related link type:
        • Items with lower IDs should appear as parents of items with higher IDs.
        • Outplaced parent items or items with lower IDs are not shown in the plan.
    • Exclude: You can exclude work items to limit the number of work items that are shown. Although an item is excluded, it remains in the plan. Use this view to exclude work items by the following categories:
      • Assigned Items
      • Empty Groups
      • Estimated Items
      • Execution Items
      • Expression
      • Items from Sub-Iterations
      • Items from Sub-Teams
      • Owned by Me
      • Owned by Others
      • Plan Items
      • Resolved Items
      • Unchanged Items
      Expressions must follow the syntax of attribute:value, where the colon means equals, so that the attribute has the exact value in the expression.
      Note: The attribute portion of the expression is case-sensitive.
      Note: Work items that are excluded from the plan might still display in case they are needed to show non-excluded items correctly. For example: for a plan that shows parent-children relationships and excludes the resolved items, a resolved parent still displays because it is necessary to show the child in the correct context.
    • Group: You can select an attribute by which work items are grouped. For instance, you can group by Owners to triage work, or you can group by Tags to see hotspots. Grouping options include the following categories:
      • Category
      • Folder
      • Iteration
      • Owner
      • Planned Time
      • Priority
      • Tags
      • Teams
    • Plan check: Plan checks analyze your plan and flag potential planning issues. Use these options to check for problems:
      • Invalid Estimate Check
      • Planning Problems Check (available in non formal projects only)
      • Priority Mismatch
      • Traditional Planning Check
      • Cross-Project Planning Problems Check
      • Contributes To Planning Problems Check

      For more information about plan checks, see Identifying potential problems by using plan checks.

    • Sorting: You can define how items are sorted. Sort work items by the following categories:
      • Estimate
      • Explicit Ranking
      • Planned Time
      • Priority
      • Ranking
      • User Defined
      Note: The User Defined option preserves the order of work items as you arrange them by dragging and dropping, even after you change views.
  6. On the Column Display tab, you can perform the following actions:
    • Add new columns by clicking the Add Column icon (Add Column), selecting a column, and clicking OK.
    • Change the order of the columns by hovering the mouse pointer over the Actions column of the row for the attribute, and clicking the Move Down icon (Move Down) or the Move Up icon (Move Up).
  7. Click OK, and then click Save.
    Note: After you create a plan view for a plan, the new plan view is visible to all plans of that particular plan type. For more information, see Associating plan views with a plan type.
  8. To edit the plan view, click the down arrow next to the Plan Views icon (Plan Views), and then select the Edit View icon (Edit View).