Configuring a default description

You can configure a default value customization so that new work items include guidance in the Description field.

About this task

This task uses Multi-Line HTML to format text in the Description attribute that instructs users how to enter useful descriptions.


  1. Open the Attribute Customization page.
    1. In the Team Artifacts view of the Work Items perspective, right-click the project area and select Open.
    2. Click the Process Configuration tab.
    3. Expand Project Configuration > Configuration Data > Work Items, and then click Attribute Customization.
      The Attribute Customization page opens.
  2. Select Default Values and click Add.
    The Add Configuration dialog box opens.
    Screen capture of Add Configuration window
    1. In the Name field, type a name that describes the customization.
    2. In the Provider list, select Multi-Line HTML.
    3. Click OK.
      The Add Configuration dialog box closes.
  3. In the Configuration section of the Attribute Customization page, in the HTML field, enter the text that you want to include in the Description field of new work items.
    You can use formatting such as bold and italics.
    Tip: To add formatted text to the HTML field, create the text in another application and then paste it in this field.
    Screen capture of Configuration section with text in the HTML field

    Click Save.

  4. In the Configuration section in the left pane, under Project Configuration > Configuration Data > Work Items, click Types and Attributes.
    The Types and Attributes page opens.
    1. In the Work Item Types section, select the work item type, such as Defect or Task, that contains the attribute that you want to apply the customization to.
    2. Scroll to the Attributes section. Select the attribute to which you want to apply the customization and click Edit.

    Alternatively, you can click Add to add an attribute, and then apply the customization to the new attribute.

  5. In the Edit Built-in Attribute dialog box, in the Default Value list, select the customization and click OK.
    Screen capture of the Edit Attribute dialog box with the new customization selected in the Default Value field.
  6. Click Save to save your changes to the project area.


When users create work items, the Description field is populated with the guidance that you specified in the customization.
Screen capture of a new work item with text guidance in the Description field.

What to do next

If you applied the customization to an attribute that you added, you must add a presentation for the new attribute to the work item editor before the customization is displayed in work items. To add a presentation, click Editor Presentations.