Easy Shortcuts That Will Make You Like JIRA

June 9, 2015
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It seems as if almost every Web developer hates using JIRA. Many developers feel it’s tedious, time-consuming work and they’d rather do just about anything else.

But JIRA doesn’t have to feel that way. With the help of some easy-to-learn shortcuts, you can use JIRA more efficiently and have time to do something you enjoy. In fact, these shortcuts are all but guaranteed to make you like JIRA more – or maybe hate it a lot less.

I recently reviewed the shortcuts with Acquia’s India team, and developers there couldn’t thank me enough for simplifying things. As you probably know, JIRA provides bug and issue tracking and project management functions. In other words, it’s useful and often necessary – something not to be avoided.

You probably didn’t know JIRA is short for “Gojira,” the Japanese phrase for “Godzilla.” So, just as Godzilla would do, let’s destroy all those bad feelings you have about JIRA by reviewing five areas where shortcuts will make life easier.

Quick Navigation

“G” is the key to quickly navigating across JIRA. That’s right, by moving your finger to the middle of the keyboard, “G” can be used in tandem with other characters for easy navigation.

1. G then D - Takes you to the default dashboard.
2. G then A – Zip to the Agile board.
3. G then I - Opens an issues search with your default project. You can change search parameters.
4. G then G – Brings you to an administrative dialog.
5. / - Directs you to a global search box.

Solving Issues

Developers and testers spend most of their time solving issues on JIRA. Fear not, when you’re in an Agile board or using a search screen, these shortcuts will quickly do what you need to do.

1. A - Assign a current issue to someone.
2. C - Create a new issue.
3. E - Edit issue.
4. M - Comment on an issue.
5. S - Share an issue.
6. . - Access many other features using dot dialog.

Brevity with the Issue List

There aren’t many shortcuts for the issue list. But don’t worry; you don’t really need many. Here are the important ones.

1. I - Assign an issue to the logged-in user.
2. J - Move to the next issue in the list.
3. K - Move to the previous issue in the list.
Also, here’s a good one to know: Press G and I to go to the issue list itself.

JIRA Agile Board Shortcuts

The agile board is on the main “view items” page during the execution of sprint and standup meetings. It’s what your managers are following, so take note of these shortcuts. (Remember the quick JIRA navigation shortcuts we started with? Press G and then A to reach an Agile board.)

1. 1 - Takes you to “planning” mode.
2. 2 - Go to “work” mode.
3. 3 - Takes you to “report” mode.
4. N - Go to the next column.
5. P - Go to the previous column.
6. J - Proceed to the next issue on the list.
7. K - Go to the previous issue on the list.
8. S and B - Move an issue to the bottom of the list.
9. S and T - Move an issue to the top of the list.

It’s All in the Formatting

The most effective way of communicating in JIRA is through issue comments. Using shortcuts will enhance a comment or description of an issue. I’ll include some below, but a full list of text formatting tips is available at https://jira.atlassian.com/secure/WikiRendererHelpAction.jspa?section=all

1. To add bold text, place the text within asterisks: *Bold Text*

2. To add tables to issue comments or a description:
||heading 1||heading 2||heading 3||
|col A1|col A2|col A3|
|col B1|col B2|col B3|

3. If you want to add an external image:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/43/Drupal_Shiny_Icon.svg

4. Here’s how to include headers:
h1. H1 Text
h2. H2 Text

5. Want a bulleted list? Try these shortcuts:
* - To bullet
* - To create a bulleted list
** - To indent on bulleted list
*** - For further indentation

6. Or do you need to number a bulleted list?

# Bulleted
# List
## Indented
### Further indentation

7. Why not mix a bulleted list?

* a
* bulleted
*# with
*# nested
*# numbered
* list

So there they are, shortcuts that cover the important terrain on JIRA: basic navigation, solving issues, dealing with the issue list, working on the Agile board, and formatting.

Please let me know if you find any of these shortcuts to be efficient or if you have even shorter ways to move around JIRA.

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